questionssome questions for the couponers out there in…

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This is such a tough question because all if these things depends on your household and eating habits. I am single with no kids and have no real preference with brands so I tend to get incredible deals on things I will use. If you do have a preference with brands, it will be tough. Start with using the Sunday paper to get your stockpile going. You will then use the internet to match your coupons with the best deals. Some of the websites I use are couponmom, Iheartriteaid, iheartcvs and iheartwags. Also, find places that price match, such as Walmart. They will match the lowest advertised price anywhere, and then when you match that up with a coupon, you can get many things free. I could go on for hours about this as it does take a lot of research and time, but trust me, you do get very nice rewards (i.e. free stuff) out of it.

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My sister (10 children) and her 2 adult daughters (1 infant each) have gotten their system down pat. They are the ones who can go into CVS, Walgreen's, etc. and come out with several bags of name-brand items and more money in their hands than when they went in.. Seriously. I've seen them do it, and they do it on a weekly basis. They also only pay about 10-20% on groceries from Publix, Kroger, WalMart. Each has dedicated a small bedroom in their homes as a huge walk-in pantry, + sev. closets. I actually just went "shopping" at my niece's house last night, in fact. They trade with each other on things one might get for free or nearly free that they won't use but know one of the rest of our extended family will. They also make regular donations to the local food pantry charities. And when our area was decimated by the tornado-fest last spring, they loaded up boxes of soap, shampoo, razors, deodorant, etc. and had it dropped off at the nearest shelter in <6hrs.

cont'd.....

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Prior to seeing them do this, I was a skeptic who believed it would always be cheaper to just buy generic. But they get name-brands cheaper than store brands all the time.

It's an art, and takes work---you gotta have a system. Too much to explain here, and since I don't have the time to devote to it, I'm not the best to explain it anyway. My sis calculated out once that based on the time she puts into it (about 20hrs a week---organizing and shopping), she earns ~$40/hr, and that's tax-free. (Don't have to pay income tax like you would if you earned the same amt at a "job.")

There are (free or very cheap) couponing classes offered in most communities, and they LOVE to teach others how to do what they're doing. It's like a game to them, and they take pride in their savings.

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Here's one example of a savings chart:

As it now stands, here are our savings after 64 weeks of shopping at CVS:

Total value of purchases: $2290.90
Total out-of-pocket that we have paid: $144.42
Total ECBs generated: $694.94

Total value to out of pocket savings ratio: 94%

If you don't want to take a class or can't find one, go to a web site like MamaCheaps and click on the "beginners" button.

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One more thing....

One might ask how anyone could spend so much money at a CVS or any "drugstore."
Until they started doing this, I never would have guessed that you could get so many types of GROCERY items at those stores, cheaper than at a grocery store. I had always thought of them as having higher prices, which they do. But if you play the game, you'll come out ahead by doing a good bit of your grocery shopping there.

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Thanks for the advice everyone!