Saturday, January 30, 2010

Extreme Couponing 101 with Southern Savers

About two years ago, I first heard of Money Saving Mom through the blog world. I immediately starting my coupon adventure and have saved our family on average anywhere from $100-200 a month. I really would like to go to the next level and save our family more like $300 a month, but definitely need some help in doing this. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to hear that Jenny from Southern Savers was doing a workshop at First Baptist. It helped me so much, and I am really challenged to get to the next level (unfortunately I had to leave early...I could not believe there were 200 people there!).

Here is the top 5 things I learned from the workshop:

  1. I previously knew that every six weeks all items I buy go on sale. But, she recommends when these items go on sale, to buy enough to last six weeks. I seem to forget this a lot, because I am trying to stay in a budget of $100 for groceries a week (not including diapers). If at all possible, I need to aim for buying items 40% off the original price.
  2. She says in Columbia, Publix has the best deals (even over Walmart). The first reason is because when they have a BIGI free sale, you do not have to buy 2 to get the sale price. Second, Publix accepts competitor's grocery store coupons (the one in Lexington might not). This weekend, I was able to get Abigail's formula for only $18 because I used a Food Lion coupon. Third, most Publix stores double manufacturer's coupons that are 50 cents or less. Lastly, they have something called The Baby Club, and store coupons are found in Grape, Greenwise, and Family Style magazinea. Now, she admits, she does not have to have a certain item every week. In my family, we have some picky eaters, so they like certain cereals, etc. Therefore, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I will still have to stop by Wal-Mart for the lowest prices on those items.
  3. Even though you know I shop at CVS every week, I learned so much more about CVS. First, you can get a CVS white card if you have Blue Cross and Blue Shield's health insurance. Call here to get one: 1-888-543-5938. You will receive 20 percent off all CVS brand items using this white card. Also, she informed me that at non-24 hour CVS's you can get both the deals for the next week, and the deals from the previous week starting at 6 pm on Saturday night until close. This means that I will only have to go to CVS every 2 weeks! You can get rain checks for everything that is sold out, and they can go ahead and print your CVS extrabucks even though you do not have the items yet. This will definitely save me time. She says to pretend that CVS is its own little island that only accepts extrabucks and break up your purchases into many (around three) transactions.
  4. Organizing-wise she puts all her coupons into this file folder/binder she has. This binder is separated into 12 weeks and she labels the date of the coupon booklet with permanent marker so she can see it. She does cut some coupons she knows she will use into a "check" file folder. She spends 30 minutes planning her trip out and types out everything she will get and what it costs and exactly how much she will spend. She puts all the coupons that she is going to use into a zip-lock bag for her trip and has her typed out list. She tries to only spend 30 minutes in the store. She says putting coupons in a clear file folder could take you up to 1 hour or even 2 hours a week which is just too much for her.
  5. As far as printable coupons she recommends Redplum, Smartsource, and She also recommends getting on Kraft, Nestles, and Smithfield's email list (create an email account just for coupons). Also she recommends getting the magazine All You that has a ton of coupons in it (I think from Walmart). She will not pay more than this for items
  • Bananas /lbs $0.33
  • Grapes / lbs .99-1.29
  • Cereal - She tries not to spend more than $1 a box, diapers no more than $5 a box
She has a lot of workshops coming up and if you live in Columbia, I would highly recommend going to one of her workshops ($10 cost). Check out them here. She also does some in North Carolina and Georgia.

If you were there and have any more recommendations please let us know!

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