Anticipation Buying

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Recently, my wife and I had some guests over to visit. While here, one of the guests used the restroom on the main floor of our home, where we have a large closet where we store supplies over the long haul. She observed that there were about twenty bars of soap, several bottles of Old Spice body wash, several large bottles of shampoo, and six boxes of our son’s favorite breakfast cereal (Yogurt Burst Cheerios) stowed away in there, and when she came out, she made a half-curious and half-sarcastic comment about them.

Here’s the real scoop: every item listed above cost us less than a dime. In each case, we saw a tremendous buying opportunity matching coupons to a sale and we simply stocked up big time on those items, leaving us with a large closet stuffed full with unusual items. I like to call it anticipation buying.

Anticipation buying revolves around four distinct principles.

First, there are some items that we will continually use over time. Soap, shampoo, oatmeal, Yogurt Burst Cheerios (without them, our son would riot), flour, sugar, some fruit juices, milk, coffee, razor blades, toilet paper – these are items that we use over and over again and continually need to stock up on. Because we’re aware of this, we can use a specific plan of attack for these items to get low prices on them.

Second, there are irregular opportunities to find such items on sale. These items pop up on sale on a completely irregular basis. Brand A shampoo might be on sale one week, then two weeks later Brand B will be on sale. Not only might national brands be running a promotion where items are on sale in stores, but individual stores might select different loss leaders to get people in the door.

In order to keep up on these individual sales, we just follow the grocery flyers in our Sunday paper (and in other flyers we get in the mail throughout the week). I usually have flyers for all of the local grocery stores and I keep an eye out for their big sales by reading their flyers each Sunday over breakfast.

Third, there are irregular opportunities to find strong coupons on such items. I clip every coupon for items in the above categories that are of acceptable brands from the Sunday paper, and if I see a very good coupon, I’ll stop at the local convenience store early on Monday morning and ask for the inserts out of the old Sunday papers (the cashier always says “Sure” and I start scavenging for coupon inserts). Sometimes, I can get as many as fifteen of the good coupons – if they’re for $1.50 off an item I know we’ll use frequently, it’s like cash in the pocket.

So, we patiently clip all coupons for these items and save them until there’s a sale, then stock up. I have the coupons. I have the flyers. I then just wait for them to sync up. Usually, it happens about a month or so after I clip the coupons (yep, the one month coupon strategy at work).

Another tactic to note: quite often, individual store flyers will have coupons that match the manufacturer’s coupons you have. Often, you can use these coupons simultaneously. So, let’s say my local Fareway ad has a coupon letting me get Herbal Essences shampoo or conditioner for $1.99 a bottle (limit 6) and I have three “save $3 on 2 bottles” coupon from the manufacturer. I just take all of them there and walk out with good shampoo and conditioner for $0.49 a bottle.

Here’s a real-world example. Recently, I had several copies of a coupon that permitted me to save $3 on any two bottles of Old Spice body wash. I waited until I noticed a sale – and not long ago, there was one at a local Walgreen’s. The individual bottles were $1.79 on sale there. I took in my wad of coupons and picked up ten bottles, paying $0.29 a bottle. I walked out of the store with ten bottles of soap, having spent less than $4 total – and it was just a five minute stop on my normal shopping trip. That’s how you save money.

What’s the long-term effect? The result from doing this regularly is quite interesting. Our regular shopping lists almost never have these “anticipation” items on it. Instead, they almost always just list the food items we need for the week, which means that at the grocery store, we rarely even visit big sections of the store. We mostly visit the produce aisle, the meat counter, the dairy area (for milk, etc.), and a few other specific places (pasta, canned items, bread when I’ve not made any), and that’s about it. Our grocery bills are cheaper and our shopping trips are actually quite a bit shorter because we’re not going over to the far side of the store to pick up shampoo or toilet paper – the time invested in executing this strategy is partially redeemed on ordinary shopping trips.

When I first started The Simple Dollar, I had a very simple coupon strategy that didn’t save me a whole lot of money. It’s been fun to watch the strategy evolve over the years – first syncing it with a grocery list and evolving that strategy a bit, then discovering the figuring out how sales and coupons synchronized and now evolving that strategy a bit. I used to believe that perhaps coupons weren’t worth the time invested, but I’ve found more and more that if you do it intelligently, there are some serious savings to be had – and it doesn’t take as much time as you might think.

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68 thoughts on “Anticipation Buying

  1. I wish stores in Europe did coupons. But they just send out flyers, and what bugs me the most about them is that none of the stuff in the flyer is ever anything we need. They’ll advertise soda, prepared egg salad, packages of soup (just add hot water), ice cream, Super-Fancy shampoo, and everything that we DON’T NEED at ridiculously low prices.

    That’s the problem with most of the things we buy–we buy basics to put our meals together, and use generic for things like shampoo (though I insist on using a brand-name toothpaste–an extra 50 cents versus an 800-euro dentist bill isn’t much to debate). Alas, those are the things that are NEVER on sale here.

  2. Why did your guest find it necessary to poke through your storage closet?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I was taught that snooping is very, very rude.

  3. Ignore the sarcastic comments of guests (I’m sure you do.) Anticipation shopping is a great strategy (if you’ve got the room). After all, it’s the collateral damage that’ll kill your grocery bill averages. You know, the soap you had to buy full price because you were totally out, and then the candle/body wash/new pens you pick up while buying said soap because it’s on sale and you can’t help yourself.

    Plus, I just hate running to the store because I’m out of something; I’d rather have six backups than none.

  4. Trent,
    Thanks for the real wordl examples of this. I frequently hear of people employing the strategies you mention, but I wasn’t certain about how it worked exactly.
    I have tried to use multiple coupons on a single item , but the store usually denies them. Only one coupon per purchase!
    I will try to be more diligent in my purchasing of these items in the future.

  5. Target allows you to use both a Target coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on each item. The coupons are on their website and I have gotten some fabulous deals this way. Target will allow Super Target coupons in regular Target stores as long as they carry the item. You can even print their coupons of at the store kiosks where you look up baby and wedding registrys.

  6. We do the same thing. It is a great way to save. Your friend probably isn’t as savvy as you are when it comes to saving. It is a great way to save.

  7. “I hope that wasn’t an enclosed closet!”

    It was, but we’d left the door open and the doors face the toilet and sink.

  8. Good post. Pretty rude, guest, though. Couldn’t imagine commenting on the contents of my hosts’ closet.

  9. I’m curious about your method for storing and organizing your coupons. I’m just imagining trying to follow the four week coupon strategy and seeing piles of coupons stacked up around our home office. The cat would have a field day. :)

    Do you store coupons by category? Alphabetically? By store? Paper clips? Expandible files? So many options!

  10. Most stores allow a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon on the same item – I’ve done it at both Target and Fareway in the last month.

    As for getting multiples of the same coupon, I usually go to a convenience store late on Sunday or early on Monday and ask if I can scavenge coupon sections out of the old Sunday papers that are about to be tossed.

  11. “I’m curious about your method for storing and organizing your coupons. I’m just imagining trying to follow the four week coupon strategy and seeing piles of coupons stacked up around our home office. The cat would have a field day. :)

    Do you store coupons by category? Alphabetically? By store? Paper clips? Expandible files? So many options!”

    Future post!!

  12. Sometime I’d love to see some numbers & some cost/benefit thoughts on how/if these bulk strategies work in these cases:
    1) You’re a military family (like us) and move every 2 years
    2) You’re in credit card debt & so these purchases accrue interest
    3) You’re not in credit card debt (like us) and you saved your money in a high yield savings account instead of allowing it to sit in your cupboard in the form of product

    I’m a big fan of the coupon + sale strategy… I’m just not sure it saves quite as much money if you think about these things (and others like the cost of running your deep freezer or having to rent/buy a place with big closets or having to buy/acquire extra boxes to move your goods or the car costs associated with going to stores if you live rurally like us…).

  13. Thank you for the great examples of how to do this correctly. I always see people who clamor on about how they got a great deal on items that they never use.

  14. I think this is a great idea to save money, but it is worth remembering that there is an associated cost that can negate the benefit.

    Firstly there is a monetary cost of having bought items before they are needed. If you have a year’s supply of Old Spice for instance, that is money that could have been earning interest or a return elsewhere. And I won’t even mention debt reduction here if it applies! (Do you have offset mortgages in the US – where mortgage interest is applied to the NET bank balance/s instead of the full mortgage amount for instance?)

    Secondly there is what I call the clutter cost, which affects some people (mentally) much more than others. I hate cupboards stuffed with items that don’t belong in that room (such as the coffee currently in my laundry cupboard from a 2 for 1 offer.)

    And thirdly the space. We all pay for the space that we inhabit, either through mortgage or rent or opportunity cost for those lucky enough to be mortgage-free. Space comes at an increasing premium. Sometimes it’s good to let Walmart et al store things you don’t currently need. Just a thought.

    But it would be good to have similar money saving coupons in the UK. Having said that, I tend to find most 3-for-2, 2-for-1 or 50% off items are very rarely for anything I actually use or would consider using.

  15. I have been trying to get better on my coupon/anticipation buying as well. I’ve evolved from no coupons to using them whenever I need an item. With prices up, I’ve evolved again to going through the Sunday (and Thursday) flyers to see what the sales/loss leaders are, and after a month or so I seem to be in sync with everything and seem to be buying mostly only the sale items. I’ve stocked up, which I never had done before (thought buying “just what I needed” was the way to save money). I remember the 3rd floor room in my Grandmom’s house where she stored the toilet paper and tissues. She had lived through the depression and I guess never wanted to be without those items again. I used to laugh – it would take her a year to go through all that! But now I see the light! Wish Grandmom was still around so I could tell her she was right all along!

    Thanks for the post Trent, looking forward to seeing how you store/organize your coupons as well!

  16. Carmen questioned the strategy of a year’s supply of Old Spice, but it looks like you got nearly a year’s supply (10 x .29 = $2.90) for less than the usual price of one! Kudos to you!
    As for storage, I’m able to keep bulk tp and paper towels in my laundry room on shelving that I installed. So what if it’s too high to reach? It was wasted space, otherwise. And this is surplus, not the weekly restock.
    My kitchen was lacking in cupboard space and has no pantry, so I bought an assemble it yourself pantry/cupboard at Target, on sale, and some shelf organizers from Marshall’s, and now I have organized space for canned goods (bottom shelf), cereal (top shelf), and boxed mixes (cake, drink, rice, noodles, potatoes etc) on the shelves in between. A nice fabric lined basket (Marshall’s again) on the top of the unit offers even more storage.
    For under $50US, I’ve nearly doubled my food storage space.
    I’m looking forward to your future post on coupon organization. I use coupons haphazardly, so could use some tips in that area. :)

  17. There is another option for many of these products. Don’t buy them at all! Most personal care products are chock full of chemicals we don’t need. Look into alternatives that can come from your kitchen and are safe for our bodies and our earth. Just my two cents!

  18. I’d just like to point out that hoarding can be a mental disorder. However, Trent seems to be advocating buying things you’ll KNOW you need and that the total cost of 10 bottles of shampoo can equal the price of two.

  19. I just found your website and love hearing a man’s perspective–somewhat different than the many mommy blogs out there.

    I hear so many people say they won’t buy ahead or stockpile because of space issues. Even if you only buy 4 cans of something instead of 1 when they’re on sale, you’re doing yourself a financial favor. I’ve gotten creative with storage and none of it affects my daily life (underbed boxes, high-up cupboards I can’t reach, etc.). It’s not hard!

    I use a small accordion file to organize my coupons, as described here:
    http://sahmmoney.blogspot.com/2008/03/faq-how-do-you-organize-your-coupons.html

    I write about doing things with less effort, so anyone can organize this way.

  20. Just want to point out that you only want to do this with things you *know* you’ll need. That’s why I stockpile whenever I find a good sale, but only on non-perhisible stuff I’ll use no matter what, like toilet paper, laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, etc. Almost never on food products (except bottled water and propel).

    My grandmother is good at finding a deal and stocking up, but she’d buy something and I’d try it and say “this is yummy” and then she’d go out and buy 3 months worth on sale and I’d say “um… Grandma, it wasn’t *that* yummy!”. So I’d just be ready to eat the Cheerios myself if your son decides someday that he’s gotten tired of them.

    On the other hand, my dad drinks Diet Coke by the 12 pack. Will not drink the store brand. It disgusts me how much money he spends on this, but I’ve put this to good use as our local grocery store chain is doing this deal where you spend $40 on certain products and you get 2 free movie tickets. So before going to the grocery store I ask my dad for $40 to buy him some Diet Coke (which is on sale now anyway) and get the movie tickets (which are worth about $25, movies have gotten so expensive these days that I only see them when the grocery store does this deal). He’s been drinking this stuff for over 10 years, I’m sure he’ll use it up, I just need a place to store it…

  21. Stocking up on stuff you use when it’s offered for pennies on the dollar is not the same thing as hoarding. Hoarding is buying up as though you’re expecting Old Spice, Pillsbury and Charmin to forever stop production.

    Why pay full price each month when you can buy the same product for 80% less? High yeilding saving accounts are only paying 3%. It’s even a better return than Prosper – without the risk!

    Not quite the same situation but I have an adult nephew that would snoop through medicine chests whenever he came over, then gossip to his cousins about about everything he found. My wife was quite annoyed and played a prank she remembered from Candid Camera. She emptied out the medicine chest in the main bathroom and filled it with several dozen ping-pong balls. And that ended that!

  22. Stockpiling with the use of coupons and weekly store sale papers is a great way to save money. When I really see a great deal and I don’t have the necessary coupons I will search EBAY and try to coordinate a coupon purchase to arrive BEFORE the sale ends. Works most of the time.

  23. I love to stock up. I like knowing that I don’t have to run to the store just because I’ve run out. I like knowing that I paid less for the items that most people paid. I find places in the house that we weren’t using for anything else (i.e. on top of a cabinet in the garage) to store things. Life is more efficient and costs less this way.
    I love Old Spice. My dad wears it.

  24. I think the point is that Trent is getting this stuff extremely cheap. It isn’t drawing interest on the credit card or money that could be used elsewhere. Like he said – every item costs less than a dime. Frankly I’m not worried that he could use the 60 cents it cost him to buy that ungodly 6 bottles of Old Spice soap for something else. If you have the space to store it and you will use it then its a great plan. I often combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons and occasionally rebates to get great savings on things I use. Sometimes I even make money if its free after rebate and I have a coupon. In my area Walgreen’s and Rite-Aid are great places for doing this. But I am planning on moving in a year or two so I’m trying to use up my supply of some things.

  25. My husband drinks a lot of brand-name juice and at any given time we might have 25-30 bottles of the stuff (depending on the expiration date) stored in several places in our house. Same goes with his Irish Breakfast tea (which is surprisingly cheap at Whole Foods). One big thing is to watch the expiration dates, though.

  26. I don’t know of a single store here (NZ) that would let you use a coupon on a sale item. Plus if you go to the supermarket regularly you soon realise that almost everything is on sale every alternate week. If I need something and it’s not on sale, I just wait a week, and sure enough, next time I go to the store it’ll have a sale sign on it.

  27. Great reminder on the powers of keeping your eyes open for coupons, and bulk purchasing. I get some great deals at Amazon Groceries every once in a while, too. Also, watch- the stores with double coupons often charge twice as much to begin with!

    Lisa

  28. I think that hoarding products is just a waste of space and money also. Buying more that you need to consume is tying up money that could be used somewhere else. Even if it is on sale.With our just on time delivery systems there is no need to hoard.I can see if it a really good buy having one xtra anything over that is just doing the warehouses job.

  29. Kristen –
    If you are a military family, you can still do the same thing on a smaller scale and stock up for 1-2 months at a time. Anything you have left you can donate to a homeless shelter, since you got it so cheap.

    If you’re in credit card debt, it makes more sense to do this since you’re paying much less for the items you would buy anyway, allowing more money to go toward your debt.

    If you live rurally, this makes the MOST sense to stock up on one of your regular trips to the store so you don’t have to go to the local grocery when you run out and pay even more than the regular price you can get at WalMart (I’m also rural)

    I do this as well. To avoid clutter, I keep just a few items in my pantry/linen closet and keep the rest on shelves in the basement and anytime I run out of something I can just go “shopping” downstairs.

  30. Guests in your home should not be snooping in your closets. I’m surprised they had the nerve to say anything.

  31. I noticed some have listed a few websites that seem to be something like having the Sunday paper. Has anyone compared these websites ( couponmom.com , thecouponclippers.com , grocerygame.com , etc) to the Sunday paper? What’s the best?

  32. I do this all the time with things like toothpaste, soap, toothbrushes etc. We don’t go crazy but it is always nice to have the extras on hand when needed, rather than having to make a special trip and probably pay full price. CVS is great for this. Just last week I got a toothbrush for $2.99 with $2.99 back in extra care dollars. I was also able to use a manufacturer’s $1.00 off coupon and I paid for it with extra care dollars from a previous purchase so I not only got it for free, but I really made a dollar on the deal. I now need sunscreen for my kids so I will be looking to see what they have on sale in the next few weeks and using extra care dollars with coupons to hopefully get it for about 75% less than retail. I don’t find great deals there every week but every two – three weeks they have something we already use and need and I can use extra care dollars to buy it for free and earn extra care dollars for another purchase. Done this way, I can chain a bunch of free or very low cost items.

  33. I recently read an article by a WSJ columnist saying that at the rate of increase in the cost of food versus interest rates on savings, it was a better investment to stock up the pantry on food staples, strange as it might seem.

  34. amen, trent. i do stock up on really good sales and i don’t consider it hoarding. i just wrote a five-part series on using the grocery game on my blog. GG isn’t free, but it’s a very small cost and they do the matching of sales and coupons for you. everyone has a different situation, but for me it is well worth it. i’ve cut my grocery bill and i have a lot more food/HBA than i use it.

  35. Good post! I am really trying to get better about doing this kind of thing..why pay more when you don’t have to?!? And hoarding is a non-issue in my opinion, as you clearly have space to safely store your purchases and you’re not buying tons of stuff that you won’t ever use.

  36. Amy Dacyczyn author of the ‘Tightwad Gazette’ asked would you rent out closet space in your house for X dollars? I think most would say yes. This motivated me to buy in bulk. So if I’m buying toliet paper, I do look over several flyers and calculate which store has the best bang for the buck.

  37. I don’t think Trent is hoarding – but I agree with a few points made by others:
    You might get sick of the old spice- or the same shampoo after a while. And kids are notorious for loving it this week and “ahh not so much” next month.

    I don’t believe in excessive storage – a few ahead is fine – the website is the “simple” dollar – how about simplifying your life that way too?

    And – how about variety is the spice of life? I guess I don’t have many complaints about storing paper towels or TP – but the shampoo and soap and all that – live a little! :)

  38. A great place for free coupons is to visit your local Starbucks mid-Sunday! There are usually tons of them in the “already read” bin. It makes me feel less guilty for getting a latte while I’m there.

    I love stocking items ahead using the coupon with the store sale method, you just have to be diligent to get things that you know you will use before they expire.

    You can get a lot of items free this way too, especially toothpaste, deoderant, shampoo. If they aren’t a brand I like, I then donate them to my local shelter.

  39. From an online forum I frequent regarding coupon terminology:

    One Coupon per Purchase
    This essentially means that if you purchase one bottle of ketchup, you can use one manufacturer’s coupon for that bottle. If you have two coupons, you can use both coupons with the purchase of two ketchup bottles. You may not use two manufacturer’s coupons for one bottle of ketchup. Many cashiers and some managers are bewildered by this wording and want to limit you to just one. If your store circular prints wording like “double four identical coupons,” then they will obviously take 4 of the same in one transaction. Have circular available.

    One Coupon per Item Purchased
    This means the same as One Coupon per Purchase with the added language clarifying you may use ten of them if you purchase ten items.

    One Coupon per Customer/Family
    Ouch, this is not very consumer friendly. Some stores will allow you to use this in the same way as One Coupon per Item Purchased. Others will require you to make multiple transactions so as to make you multiple customers. This is a YMMV.

    One Coupon per Transaction
    We dislike this one. It is usually on the Ensure coupons. If you have two of these coupons and want to use them, you will have to perform two transactions. It’s a strategy to limit how many you purchase in a transaction. Well, we know how to make a few transactions, thank you very much. It’s a hurdle we have to overcome.

    Grocery Game http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=63542
    Hope this helps someone!

  40. Wait a second, you mentioned above that each item cost less than a dime, then later you mention the shampoo and conditioner costing $0.49 per bottle.

  41. As far as coupon clipping:
    1.) Clip any coupons for items you would buy, even if you doubt there’ll be a sale for it before expiration (what harm will clipping it and not using it be?). And if you end up needing the item and it’s not on sale, at least you get some money off.
    2.) Clip any coupons for ANYTHING free after coupon. Even if you won’t use it, you can donate it to charity, send it to the troops, etc. Goodwill goes a long way.
    3.) Organize your coupons in forms of categories that are comfortable for you. There are coupon organizers out there that have tabs for Frozen, Sauces, Grains, Cleaning Products, Dairy, etc. I got one of these as a gift and use it (I changed some of the tabs to fit my own needs).
    4.) After you categorize your coupons, put them in date order if you can. It makes it easier to clean our your coupon organizer each month or two.
    5.) Each weekend when you get the store sales paper, pull out your coupon book and start matching sales to coupons, and buy buy buy!

    @Trent, I’m all for doing the stockpiling that you mention. I currently have 5 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats that I got for $.50 a box. And TONS of Hamburger Helper and Rice-A-Roni that I got for very cheap (some even were free after coupon). Toothpaste is never paid for, or floss or mouthwash. Shampoo (the Mrs. likes Biolage) we get at Costco for as cheap as possible. Etc.

    People have made fun of us for being so cheap, but this strategy alone has saved us about $150/month compared to a typical family in our area. And while people make fun of us, we’re able to buy the house of our dreams.

    Only thing bad about being frugal is that there are no more new cost-cutting strategies :)

  42. Wesa – The shampoo and conditioner were a hypothetical situation. The Old Spice was a real world example and that was $0.29, but some of the items were probably free and averaged to a dime. Or maybe he was just estimating.

  43. @ Matt…I’ve been living a frugal lifestyle for 20+ years, and I am still learning new ways to save money. Otherwise, why would I waste my time on a site like this? There are tons of ways to save money, the only ones that count are the ones you actually USE!!

  44. How do you draw the line between stocking up and being greedy? I recently found a great deal on cereal. Plus there were coupons on the store shelf that made the price $.75 per box. There was a limit of eight boxes per transaction. But supply was limited to stock on hand. This means that I could go through the checkout line with eight boxes a limitless number of times , but if I cleared the shelf, no one else would be able to take advantage of the good deal. I had my son with me, so we each purchased eight boxes, then I went to another store location in the same chain and we each purchased another eight boxes. This cereal is normally $3.59 per box, so it was a great deal. But where does fairness come in? Anyway, I just stumbled onto this deal, but it did get me excited about coupons; and I’d really enjoy reading more about that. Thanks for a great post and a great site.

  45. I think this is genius, both from the savings, but also the convenience and additional savings of avoiding a) buying them for full price at the grocery store during a grocery trip or b) burning gas on extra trips when running out of “critical items” such as toliet paper.

  46. Another point to note is that if you follow the strategy you do (I do as well, btw), you can keep yourself from making extravagant purchases. For example, I do what you do for my shampoo and conditioner. I use coupons to buy reasonably priced shampoos in advance so I don’t run out. If I were to just run in to pick up shampoo at the store (or worse yet, when I’m at the hair salon!), I’d give in to my weakness of buying over-priced hair supplies. So long as I have plenty of this stuff “in stock”, I can more easily resist the temptation to say, “well, I need it, maybe *this* on time I’ll buy the [insert tempting advective here] stuff.” :)

  47. This is definately not hoarding, I think hoarders buy the stuff but don’t use it. This is the only way to buy your household staples, as long as you know you’ll use them. Look around your house, there’s always a place to store extra goodies. ANd btw, there’s not a better smell in the world than Old Spice!

  48. I just want to comment about using coupons. I started just over a year ago going at it like Trent. I used to spend $120.00 a week @ grocery store for a family of three (one is a teenager). I got so frustrated when one of the two local stores moved out, Rural area here. The remaining Food Lion jumped their prices sky high. So, I started using coupons on a regular basis matching them up to stores outside of town when I would be in that area.

    After just over a year I am down to just over $60.00 a week, stockpiled in every category again and love to go to the store. I have even shopped for Christmas using my coupons! I will be putting together 6 very nice Bath and Body baskets for the ladies on my list. I also have used the Bath and Beauty items for gifts @ church for my secret pal.

    I am able to keep my freezer stocked full to keep the cost of running it down. I am able to take advantage of good deals on meat when they come around. Got close to 30lbs of ground hamburger in the freezer right now @ .79 cents a pound = $23.70
    I made up 3 meat loaf’s, 15 burgers, and cooked the rest with onions/peppers/garlic for quick fix meals.

    By taking advantage of the

  49. I just want to comment about using coupons. I started just over a year ago going at it like Trent. I used to spend $120.00 a week @ grocery store for a family of three (one is a teenager). I got so frustrated when one of the two local stores moved out, Rural area here. The remaining Food Lion jumped their prices sky high. So, I started using coupons on a regular basis matching them up to stores outside of town when I would be in that area.

    After just over a year I am down to just over $60.00 a week, stockpiled in every category again and love to go to the store. I have even shopped for Christmas using my coupons! I will be putting together 6 very nice Bath and Body baskets for the ladies on my list. I also have used the Bath and Beauty items for gifts @ church for my secret pal.

    I am able to keep my freezer stocked full to keep the cost of running it down. I am able to take advantage of good deals on meat when they come around. Got close to 30lbs of ground hamburger in the freezer right now @ .79 cents a pound = $23.70
    I made up 6 meat loaf’s, 15 burgers, and cooked the rest with onions/peppers/garlic for quick fix meals.

    By taking advantage of the CVS ECB as others on here have mentioned I don’t pay for milk anymore. I just use the money I make off my coupons and freebie ECB that are offered each month to pay for milk.

    I have used the extra money I save each month to put into my retirement account. In the last five months I have added close to $275.00 to this account.

    Also want to mention that I will purchase any item under .25 cents that I would not use to put in a pile to go to Iraq. I have a cousin over there and they have to pay for everything that they use in the military. If they need a bar of soap then it comes out of their paycheck. One time I talked to him (myspace), he told me he ran out of shampoo and a bottle cost him nearly $10.00
    I sent over 15 bottles (all the extra I had and I had paid just 50 cents a bottle @ cvs and earned ecb and bought milk with ecb i earned) so he could share with his buddies. He now sends me a list of stuff every two weeks on what he is getting low on or what his buddies might be needing.

    I have also donated to the local homeless shelter, animal shelter and take a basket of stuff to the Assisted Living Community our church visits the first Sunday each month.

    All for just $60.00 a week!!!! I can feed my family, save for retirement, send our troops needed items, help the elderly and donate to the local shelters for what I was spending in groceries over a year ago. All this while grocery prices are going through the roof!

  50. This post was the inspiration for me to finally get myself organized — and I saved $30 off a $90 bill at the grocery store last night! We specifically looked for BOGO and sale items, and I also had a handful of coupons, some of which matched up. My husband was shocked – so was the bagger and checker. We’re definitely going to start stocking up. I’m starting to focus on buying staples when they’re a good price vs. waiting until we run out of something. Up next is a trip to CVS to see if I can “play the game” and win!

    I am also starting to notice prices more though — like the cookies “on sale” yesterday for the normal price they’ve been for weeks, and the Purdue chicken now regularly priced for $7.99 that has been “on sale” for $2 off of $9.99 for the past few weeks… Grrrr….

  51. That’s impressive savings. I’m working on trying to learn the “stock-up/anticipation buying” game. However, like a few commenters, I’m in the “worried about having to move frequently” wagon – making it difficult. I like the idea about donating the extra stuff to a good cause – I’ll have to look into that.

  52. Great post. I am a big coupon clipper too. We recently had triple coupons at our local store and I got a $40.00 order for $1.50 and that included 8 jars of baby food. You are right though about that one month rule – if you wait, the coupons match up with sales.

  53. I just did a similar post–except I showed pics of my stockpile from CVSing–I used mr linky, you should come link your article up–I am sharing with many local friends the how toos on CVS and I want as many people as possible to share their tips/advice/suggestions/frustrations/etc with the how too of stocking up! Come join the fun!

  54. having a few extra bucks saved for these deals is important, too. you can’t save if there’s no cash! that said, loss leaders with coupons are heaven! Stocking up on nonperishables is key. Old Spice smells great on my husband! Underthebed storage, baskets and just piling up in the corner work well with little space.

    Luck and love.

  55. Hi, I just have to say, please don’t feed your kid sugary dry cereal for breakfast. Not only is it way more expensive than large flake oatmeal, even using coupons, it wreaks havoc with the child’s blood sugar levels and behavior.

    I have never been crazy about oatmeal myself, but I have found a way to prepare it so I can enjoy it. I have posted the recipe on my blog – give it a try and dump the boxed cereal. You will save money and your kid will feel better with lasting energy for the whole morning. It tastes really good if you use the right type of oats and drizzle on a little maple syrup, sliced bananas and some pecans.

    http://www.creativelifeskills.blogspot.com

  56. Sounds like an excellent system you have. The one-month coupon plan sounds like a great way to stretch your budget even further, and if it’s possible, buying in bulk seems like a great plan.

    All in all, excellent post and plenty of good ideas.

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