Sunday, May 8, 2011

Extreme Couponing: The Whitney Experiment; Volume One

As some of you had perhaps seen in one of my status updates on Facebook, I'd decided after watching numerous episodes of "Extreme Couponing" on TLC to challenge myself to actually obtain and use coupons for my own grocery items. Some mights say, "Big whoop--they've been making coupons for decades...did you just now get the memo, Blondie?" Well, smarty pants (assuming someone reading this was actually thinking that and directing it toward me), I didn't just get the memo, but I DID just decide that I was going to try to see how far I could drive down my grocery bill with these paper thingymabobbers.

I, Whitney _____________ (I never use my last name on my blog), have never EVER shopped with coupons. As a matter of fact, until today, I didn't even know where to get any (other the auto coupons that they spit out at me at the register at Super Target). Don't get me wrong--I love to save money. I will bargain hunt ANYTHING rather than pay full price. Some might have the misconception that since I totally dig high end fashion that I just throw my money at whatever tickles my fancy. OH CONTRAIRE--this fashionista can find deals like no other. Why I've never carried this "thriftyness" into my grocery shopping I DO NOT KNOW. I do look for deals on food--I don't just shop willy nilly for grocery items, either. I've just never thought about groceries hard enough to have a plan of attack for my grocery trip. I've periodically taken time out of my day to make a grocery list but I usually end up forgetting it at home or leaving it in the car and not realizing it until I'm already well into loading up my cart so I forget it altogether most days. BEHOLD THE NEW ERA OF WHITNEY GROCERY SHOPPING--starting today I'm a changed woman (for a little while at least--until the Whitney Experiment is over).

I bought the Sunday Post this morning. I was less-than-impressed with the very small amount of manufacturer's coupons it contained. I grabbed the circular from my favorite store, browsed for items I would need that were on sale, and then cut out coupons for the other things I would purchase. I grabbed my purse, my envelope full of coupons, my circular ad, a nice pair of 4 inch wedge strappy sandals (because as some of you saw from my "All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go" blog--this girl hates grocery shopping, but if I can do it in a fabulous pair of shoes it makes it way more tolerable for me)--and off I went to the store.

As I made my way through the store I was trying to teach my children about items, prices, and applying coupons to those items. They seemed to get it. My trip was way more focused. I'm usually in and out of the store like the Tasmanian Devil, but I took a little more time today to make sure my items matched my coupons, etc. I purchased brands I had never tried before. This may be a good thing, or a bad thing--I'll let you know. For example: I am usually a toothpaste snob, but scored 5 tubes of toothpaste with a coupon and paid nearly the same price as one tube of my regular toothpaste. If I end up with Bubba teeth by the end of the next 6 months you will know why.

So then off to the register. All of my items were scanned and then I handed over my coupons. The twins watched as money started to come off my original total. By the time all was said and done---I saved approximately $17.00. Now, just so you know--I have no room to store items like the people in Extreme Couponing, and I'll be damned if I'm going to sleep with an entire shelf full of food next to my head or with 500 rolls of TP under my bed like some of the people in that show do because they have run out of space for all their food that they got on sale. The next series on TLC should be called, "Food Hoarding: Buried Alive" where they can combine their hoarding show with their couponing show since there are a lot of similarities between the people who "EXTREME stockpile" anything.

"$ just sucked minutes out of my life to read this stupid blog and you only saved $17.00?" Isn't it uncanny how I can read the minds of hecklers? ;) I may have only saved $17.00 today. However, it was my first day with the whole "coupon" thing so I think I will get better at it. Not only that, but I don't just look at it as $17.00. Multiply that by the 4.5 grocery trips I make on a monthly basis and it comes out to $76.50/month, which happens to be nothing to sneeze at in today's economy.

Stay tuned as I continue to try to drive down my grocery bill even further. I am a total novice right now, but I plan on getting much better as I go. I just hope I don't have Bubba teeth by the end of it because I only had coupons for Colgate instead of Crest. (Eeeeeek! There goes my Colgate endorsement. Don't give up on me yet, Colgate--I still haven't USED your toothpaste so it might actually blow the competition away!) ;)

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