Couponing has been my one of my newest endeavors. Obviously, coupons are for saving money and I certainly have used them before.  However, I never used to use them like this! Now, I’m totally serious about couponing.

Just before little brother was born I stumbled upon a Nightline story about people who use coupons and sometimes literally pay nothing on their bill.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw the intro, but it’s true.  There are people out there who barely spend a dime on the products they buy. To do this, you have to have three things:
1. Be armed with a lot of coupons;
2. Know all the little tricks about using coupons; and
3. Be organized (& able to do some math on the fly).
Until doing some research, I had no idea about all the little nuances to using coupons.  Like, did you know that you can “stack” a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon for the same item at numerous stores?  Or, that you can load coupons to your shopper card? Or that there are about a ba-gillion places that you can print coupons from online?  Until recently, I certainly didn’t.
So, armed with this new-found knowledge (and a bunch of really cool websites that give tips and list deals), I have been couponing for the past few months.  And, I love it!!  Each week, I look forward to the Sunday paper for the coupons inserts.  To keep things organized, I created a large coupon binder modeled after some of the couponing pros.  In just a few months, I have saved hundreds of dollars on products just using coupons alone (not counting combining with store deals).
How much have you been saving?
I immediately started averaging at least a 30% savings.  Within a week or two (and learning more savvy couponing skills), I was averaging at least a 50% savings.  Then, consistently hitting somewhere between 60-70% savings on the big, cartful trips and hitting 70-95% savings on smaller, specific deal trips.
What kind of stuff do you get?
Here’s a glimpse at some of my shopping trips (taken from posts off my family blog):

I only paid $22 for all that stuff at Fry’s.  This was my first 65% savings trip.  What was especially crazy about it, was that my total would have been more than $25 on just the items in the right (the lotions, soaps, body washes, etc) had I not had coupons.
This one was my first 80%+ savings trip:

My total before in-store deals & coupons would have been $62.55; however, I paid only $11.72!!! Wow-ee! That would have been about what just the diapers cost at regular price.
This was my first 70%+ savings on a BIG shopping trip:

This one shows the diversity of things you can get with coupons. And not pictured, were two bags of PurinaOne pet food and a bunch of produce, including bananas, apples, salad, and organic grapes.  Of all this, the only items for which I didn’t have any coupons was the Kraft Parmesan cheese and the fruit.

Can you really “purchase” things for free?
Yes!!!! I know, crazy isn’t?!  It has been truly unbelievable how many free things I’ve gotten with coupons–even for some ‘expensive’ items too.  Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the items I’ve picked up for free. 

And, for these items, I MADE 85 cents!!  

That’s right, with coupons, they were all free, plus gave me the 85 cent overage that applied to the rest of my order.  Seriously, what’s not to love about making money on groceries?!
I seriously cannot recommend couponing enough–it’s been my biggest money-saving endeavor yet!

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