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Old 12-07-2010, 08:39 PM   #61
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Some of ya'll are really over analyzing this.
I don't really think so. How the heck are we supposed to figure out how to save money w/o the appropriate amount of analysis?

For example, I saw a coupon in the mail this week for a Sansa Clip+ (portable music player I was thinking of buying). $10 off - great, I asked DW to check the price in the store when she went. $44 for the 8GB model after the coupon.

Well, the 2GB model is fine for my needs (it takes a micro-SD card, so the built in memory isn't that important). Amazon has the 2GB model for $30, free shipping, no 7% sales tax, plus a 3% rewards paying with Amazon credit card.

So, if I used the coupon, did I save $10, or did I spend $17.98 too much? Is that 'over-analyzing' it, or is the difference between saving money and spending more than I need to? What do you think my wallet says at the end of the year?

Yet, something tells me that a lot of people would say they saved $10 by clipping coupons, and it just takes a little time and effort, and if you aren't doing it you are passing up all these 'great deals'.

Sure, some coupons fit just right and it makes sense to use them. I'm just skeptical that it can make up a very significant part of a budget that is already being scrutinized.

The concise version: Over-analyze it? Whadya' think we do all day?

-ERD50
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:01 AM   #62
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Some of ya'll are really over analyzing this.

We found prior to couponing that our food bills were higher at Walmart than Kroger and Ingles, not lower. They have a lot of "price drops" and loss leaders but overall we paid more for an average cart.

Plus the meat quality there is extremely disappointing as well as produce (I love fresh peaches, nectarines and apricots). I don't care how good the price, I will not buy meat at Walmart!

This is just my experience with them in the two states I've lived in. YMMV, as regional competition varies.
I would have to say our local walmarts have produce and fresh meat at least equal to the grocery stores. And I get to pay the "everyday low price" instead of waiting six weeks for the cut of meat or type of fruit/veggie I want to go on sale.

I'm curious what your average monthly grocery expenditures are over the last 6 or 12 months? A significantly lower average grocery expenditure (without a reduction in quality, freshness, or variety) would indicate to me that you have a clear winning strategy with the couponing. I'm serious - if I could trim our $450/month food bill in half, it might be worth spending a couple hours a week if I can maintain quality, freshness and variety.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
The concise version: Over-analyze it? Whadya' think we do all day?

-ERD50
Basically, the bottom line is our food budget is a fraction of what it used to be. Its not just a comparison of what we could have paid retail at place X verses what we are now paying at place X. We both look at total costs when purchasing, not just who has a sale unless it actually saves us over what we could get it for elsewhere cheaper.

Wife was excited today. She stopped by Kmart and purchased 6 pairs of pajamas for our 2 sons who have outgrown what they have now. She waited until there was a deep discount special, and used Kmart rewards from a previous special for a combined total of $0.

BTW... also a big user of Amazon. We shop there so much that we're Prime members because we end up saving far more than the annual Prime member fee. Its really nice to get something huge like a lawn tractor dethatcher in 2 days with no shipping. Often Amazon is hard to beat, especially through their partners, but I always make sure I can't find it lower elsewhere.

BTW... anyone interested in a free $50 gift card from Jeep?
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:27 PM   #64
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Basically, the bottom line is our food budget is a fraction of what it used to be. Its not just a comparison of what we could have paid retail at place X verses what we are now paying at place X. We both look at total costs when purchasing, not just who has a sale unless it actually saves us over what we could get it for elsewhere cheaper.
What is the fraction, roughly speaking? 3/4? 1/2? 7/8? And was this going from willy nilly shopping without planning to careful coupon clipping and deal hunting? Or from generally frugal shopping to frugal shopping with coupons and paying attention to sales cycles?

+1 on the amazon.com. We buy tons of stuff from there. Frequently using their subscribe and save and coupon codes to get stuff much cheaper than from brick and mortar stores. And they don't charge sales tax, so that means everything is 8% off.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:26 PM   #65
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What FUEGO said, and also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by missionfinder View Post
BTW... also a big user of Amazon. We shop there so much that we're Prime members because we end up saving far more than the annual Prime member fee. Its really nice to get something huge like a lawn tractor dethatcher in 2 days with no shipping. Often Amazon is hard to beat, especially through their partners, but I always make sure I can't find it lower elsewhere.
I signed up for the free trial period of Amazon Prime and then dropped it before any charges were due. I'm curious why you think this is worth paying for. I almost always get the free shipping (missed it only once that I can recall, when DD needed a book very soon, but that was ~ $1) - the items are either over $25, or I add something from my list that I keep for that purpose, stuff I need/want but am in no rush for.

I've got it down to a bit of a science. Hit $25 for the free shipping, and then place a separate order for the next $25 worth, etc. I found a problem if you lump them all, and if they are coming from the same warehouse, they will hold up your other items until they all are filled. But separate, or separate warehouses (splitting the orders decreases the odds of two things in one order being from the same warehouse) helps reduce shipping delays. Most stuff arrives n 2-5 days, sometimes the next day, even with free shipping.

I also check around and like you, rarely do I find a better deal outside Amazon, but if I do and it is a reliable place, I go for it. Buy.com is probably my #2 source.

-ERD50
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:28 AM   #66
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I'm curious why you think this is worth paying for. I almost always get the free shipping <and on and on>
That is also my procedure(s)... word for word.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:31 PM   #67
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After buying things at garage sales for a dollar or two (98% off), "20% off" or "30% off" doesn't really mean anything to me. Very often, of course, the "20% off" is a discount from an inflated cost.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:53 PM   #68
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I took a look at that Southern Savers site--excellent layout! Anyone know of a similar site for other regions of the country?
I started on this coupon kick February 2010 and will never go back. It's kind of addictive, to be frank.

I have so much free (or less than free) name brand stuff (toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, food). It's really amazing what you can get. Today, at Walgreens, I got Hallmark wrapping paper and tissue paper for $3.60 and got a coupon for $5 off of my next purchase.

I agree with the above poster that the blogs are the best to use. I don't have the time to figure out these deals, but a quick look at a few blogs once or twice a day can get you some great deals. Below are two of the main blogs I look at.

www.commonsensewithmoney.com
www.hip2save.com
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:04 PM   #69
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I started on this coupon kick February 2010 and will never go back. It's kind of addictive, to be frank.
...

I agree with the above poster that the blogs are the best to use. I don't have the time to figure out these deals, but a quick look at a few blogs once or twice a day can get you some great deals. Below are two of the main blogs I look at.

www.commonsensewithmoney.com
www.hip2save.com
Thanks for the links. I spent about 10 minutes over there, and I suppose if you check these each day you might occasionally find stuff that aligns with what you might normally buy. But I didn't see anything that interested me with my quick glance. I'm still skeptical that these savings could be any significant part of the money I spend. I suspect that these do exactly what the companies hope - create an impulse buy for something you might not have bought anyway. Yes, if you're careful you can probably find some true deals from time to time.

Related to an earlier post, I happened to stumble upon a blog about what a great deal Amazon Prime is. It didn't make sense to me, it was largely false 'savings'. Some lady gave an example of how she got a heating pad for her cat, and the two day shipping was 'free' with Amazon Prime, and she needed it fast because it was getting cold. What, she didn't know winter was coming? Why not order it a week or two ago, so you have it on time (again, my Amazon free shipping is normally 2-5 days)? So many comments that you really save by the time you pay for expedited shipping 3 or 4 times. Plan ahead - how often do you really need something in 2 days versus a chance it might take 3-4-5 days?

-ERD50
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:20 PM   #70
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Why not order it a week or two ago, so you have it on time (again, my Amazon free shipping is normally 2-5 days)? So many comments that you really save by the time you pay for expedited shipping 3 or 4 times. Plan ahead - how often do you really need something in 2 days versus a chance it might take 3-4-5 days?
It may not be a need, but it's definitely a want sometimes. Normally I can't afford the 2 day shipping and go for the free 3-5 day shipping. But when I ordered my Kindle, I signed up for Amazon Prime and got it in 2 days. That was wonderful. I had to cancel it within the allowed timeframe, though, because the fee is too much for me. They let you do that (probably hoping that people forget to cancel), but I think you can only re-join once a year or something like that.

Some people normally order a huge amount of stuff from Amazon and choose to pay for the 2 day shipping simply because they want it. For those people it might be a savings. I do agree with you, though, that the best way to save money is to order less, and wait patiently for the free 3-5 day shipping.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:36 PM   #71
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I really admire people like missionfinder's spouse who is so good at using coupons, and who obviously enjoys it and who saves money while doing something she enjoys! Everything I enjoy doing seems to cost us money so kudos to Mrs. Missionfinder from me.

I look through the Sunday coupons for two products that I buy regularly that are specific national brands and if I find them, those $2 coupons make my day. Back when we tried to use more coupons, when the kids were little, we were miserable failures at it, but I can handle 2 coupons .
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:37 AM   #72
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Thanks for the links. I spent about 10 minutes over there, and I suppose if you check these each day you might occasionally find stuff that aligns with what you might normally buy. But I didn't see anything that interested me with my quick glance. I'm still skeptical that these savings could be any significant part of the money I spend. I suspect that these do exactly what the companies hope - create an impulse buy for something you might not have bought anyway. Yes, if you're careful you can probably find some true deals from time to time.

Related to an earlier post, I happened to stumble upon a blog about what a great deal Amazon Prime is. It didn't make sense to me, it was largely false 'savings'. Some lady gave an example of how she got a heating pad for her cat, and the two day shipping was 'free' with Amazon Prime, and she needed it fast because it was getting cold. What, she didn't know winter was coming? Why not order it a week or two ago, so you have it on time (again, my Amazon free shipping is normally 2-5 days)? So many comments that you really save by the time you pay for expedited shipping 3 or 4 times. Plan ahead - how often do you really need something in 2 days versus a chance it might take 3-4-5 days?

-ERD50
Yeah, I mean I probably act on 1% of the deals you see on these blogs. Some weeks there are a lot, some weeks (like the past 3-4) are slow. I will say that from my calculations, I have cut my grocery/toiletry/home accent budget to 25% of what I was spending. I don't buy a ton of stuff, but things like razors, shampoo, deodorant, etc. can add up and I literally don't purchase it anymore unless it is free.

Like you said, it depends what you're looking for, however the things I mentioned above everyone (hopefully ) purchases and uses. To me, it's worth it to spend 30-45 minutes a week (total) for these deals. I will say, however, that for people without self control this could lead to a ridiculous amount of spending as was mentioned in a post above. For FIRE members, this is far less common than in the general public.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:47 AM   #73
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Here is an incredible list of LBYM Resources:

ShoppingBots and Online Shopping Resources 2011

(Also available as a 44-page PDF document.)

For example, I learned of SpendFish.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:53 PM   #74
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I learned about CellFire.com from HeyItsFree.com. You load the coupons onto your grocery card, and the amounts are automatically subtracted from your total.

Cellfire Coupon Guide - Hey, It's Free!

However, I tried it, and there were no coupons available for my area.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:40 AM   #75
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And Groupon.com is interesting.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:20 PM   #76
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I never thought it was worth the bother to use coupons, but about a year ago I started doing it as a game and to send some soldier packages for the holidays. I am amazed at how much I've saved.

Well, this week I got the following items free:

2 boxes Ronzoni pasta - using an IP (internet printable) coupon which doubled at my grocery store

$45 in free groceries from ShopRite - on a previous promotion, if you bought $20 worth of certain items, you got four $5 coupons to spend in each of the next four weeks. I did various deals nine times. These were things I needed. One deal was on Pompeiian olive oil and vinegars. Another was on HBA products including Pantene shampoo. Yet another was on Bounty paper towels and napkins, which I did 3 times. Now, the prices paid on some these items were slightly high, but they yielded 100% back, plus I used several coupons. For example, on the Bounty paper towels, they were on sale for $4.99 for an 8-pack of Basic, but the usual shelf price was something like $6.99. The $20 purchase was programmed off of the usual shelf price. So, I purchased 3 8-packs of paper towels, shelf price $20.97, but paid $14.97 less $3.00 in coupons, so OOP (out of pocket) was $11.97. Then, I received four $5 coupons for each of the next 4 weeks. So, for $11.97, I will receive three 8-packs of paper towels plus $20 in groceries of my choice (one stipulation is $10 is for batteries, toys or appliances so I last week I got some 9V batteries which happened to be 1/2 off to replace in our smoke detectors)

$5 free items at Hallmark Gold Crown store - used coupon found in Oprah magazine, bought 2 packages of tissue paper, paid only $0.33 tax

2 packs of 20 Duracell AA batteries - at Staples, 100% of the amount paid will be refunded in the form of a reward to use for future Staples purchases, I use the rewards checks to buy HP ink for my printer which I will need to buy anyway

In the last couple of months, here are just a few of the deals I've gotten:
free - 12 Muir Glen canned tomatoes and sauce
free - 24 Del Monte canned tomatoes
free - 24 Hefty trash bags (donated to food pantry)
free - 12 Apple and Eve juice (donated to church)
free - 20 Stove Top stuffing (donated to food pantry for Thanksgiving)
free - 4 Scrubbing Bubbles foaming cleaner
free - 4 Butterball turkey bacon
free - 2 pouches Bumblebee tuna
free - 8-pack Scott and Charmin toilet paper (using $5 off $25 Rite Aid coupon plus other items with 100% rebate)
49 cents - Lysol cleaning products, toilet bowl gel, spray cleaner (donated to women's shelter)
49 cents - 12 Ajax laundry detergent (donated to food pantry)
49 cents - 16 Chock Full O Nuts coffee (donated to food pantry)
49 cents - 4 Fantastic spray cleaner
$1 or less for cereal (kids like Cheerios, Multigrain Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch)
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:22 PM   #77
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Some websites I like are: hip2save.com and afullcup.com
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:28 PM   #78
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Also, iheartriteaid.com and iheartcvs.com and iheartwags.com
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