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Monday, June 9, 2008

Coupon Analysis

In the past few weeks, I've been doing my best to shop using coupons and watch the sales to get the best deals that I can. I actually enjoy perusing the sale flyers to see what's on sale and how I can make the sales work for me.

But I started to wonder if I was really saving money. So I decided to take a detailed look at my receipts from the past week.

Total before savings: $83.78
Total after savings: $61.81
Total Savings: $21.97

Not bad, right? And while it looks like a lot of money for one person for a week, that involved a lot of stocking up. I won't need to buy Lean Cuisines for lunch or Coke Zero for the rest of the month, among other things. But the question is, did I buy anything that I normally wouldn't buy?

The answer is, unfortunately, yes. I picked up some pudding snacks and some single serve apple sauce because I had coupons. I did exactly what the manufacturers wanted me to do. So how much did this cost me? $9.38 before coupons, and then I used $3 in coupons. So $6.38 of things I wouldn't normally buy.

Not too bad, all in all. And the extras I bought are things that will go into my lunch and replace other afternoon snack foods. But that's still something that I need to watch out for when I'm clipping coupons

I also hit up CVS this week. It was a much more expensive trip than normal, because I needed to replace a few things. I also don't play the CVS game like some - I do my best not to buy something I don't normally buy just to get the ECBs.

Total before savings: $71.03
Total after savings: $40.87
Total Savings: $30.16
ECBs back: $3.00

Not bad. AND! I didn't buy anything I wouldn't normally buy, nor did I buy anything not on my list. Plus I managed to get enough deodorant to last the rest of the year. It seemed a little silly to buy four sticks of deodorant, but it's my preferred brand, and at $1.99 off, plus a "Spend $10, get $3 ECBs" plus a $1 coupon, it was worth it.

Because of all the stocking up I did this past week, I expect to not have to spend much over the next few weeks on groceries and items from CVS. Watching the savings add up can be a bit addicting. I just have to continue to be careful to only buy things I need - otherwise the coupons aren't worth it at all.

Also, I'm still buying a newspaper every week rather than subscribing. I would be saving about half the price of the paper if I subscribed, but I'm waiting to see whether or not I can actually keep up with the couponing. I used to subscribe to a paper before I moved to the D.C. area and it ended up piling up on my kitchen table because I lost interest in couponing, and the subscription cost became a waste. I don't want that to happen again.

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