Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Christi the Coupon Coach Review

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I go back and forth with couponing.  It is truly a love-hate relationship.  I love to save money, but I hate searching for deals and cutting the coupons out.  I have no organization, so I end up with piles of coupons or inserts all over my dining room table.  When I finally have an "organized" pile ready to be used, I forget where I put it.  When given the opportunity to review the book by Christi the Coupon CoachCouponing Made Simple, I hoped it would improve my attitude and ability to save money, especially since money is tighter now than ever before.

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This book is replete with success stories.  They give me so much encouragement.  If someone else can do it, then I can, too.  As I read through the book, Christi reinforced many things I already knew but had forgotten.  She talks about stacking coupons.  I knew my local Publix did that, but I also found out that Target does it, too.  While researching the different options I had for stacking, I learned that the Publix online coupons aren't Publix coupons at all but manufacturers' coupons.  Therefore, they cannot be stacked with coupons from the Sunday paper.  I also learned that, besides Target's online coupons (which are Target coupons), there is an app called "Cartwheel" that allows you to save even more money at Target, and these can be stacked with Target coupons.  There are some huge savings with this app like 20% off clothing.  Some food items are only 5% or 10%, but there are often deals for single food items 50% off.

I try to buy at least 2 papers a week, but money is so tight right now I don't feel comfortable wasting $4.  I haven't found a store nearby that sells the papers for less than that.  I sometimes will buy the $2 one and the smaller one that is either $1.25 or $1.50.  I can't remember.  I like to go through the inserts and cut out the coupons I'll definitely use and the ones I might use.  It actually helps me remember what I have and is easier for me to find the ones I want instead of having to flip through inserts.  I have begun using my printer more for coupons.  I will type into my search engine the name of the product I am looking for, and many sites will be available, some having the coupon I want.  You can also go to Red Plum online.  There aren't as many coupons here as are in the paper, but it is a good site if you don't have a paper.  Smart Source also has a website with printable coupons.

Sadly, I have not yet incorporated a storage solution.  I have issues with being labeled.  If I walk into a store with a coupon box, even a little one, I'll be one of those "coupon ladies."  I know, I need to just get over it.  The cashiers are actually amazed when I save money.  It never seems like enough savings to me, but the cashiers just love it.  I saved over $25 on a $70 order (pre-savings) on one shopping trip, and the cashier made sure my kids knew that I had done a great job and saved a lot of money.

My family gets annoyed when I go to the store with my coupons.  My husband would rather just buy whatever he wants regardless of the price.  I, on the other hand, will not buy something if I know I have a coupon for the same type of product from another manufacturer.  I am not brand loyal for anything.  Well, there is one thing, but that's it, just one.  As I walk through the store, I flip through my coupons.  Again, I have no organization; so they aren't even in alphabetical order.  This drives my husband nuts.  Alphabetical order would be better than no order.  My kids hate going to the store with me without coupons.  If they ask for something, I won't buy it if I know I have a coupon at home but have forgotten to take it to the store with me.

We have made use of Walgreen's and CVS more, probably more so CVS because they have that red coupon kiosk when you enter the store.  My bank also has monthly deals with cash back for certain purchases.  My credit card has a rewards program.  There is a store a few miles down the road from me that is a scratch and dent food store.  When large chain grocery stores receive a case of an item with even just one that is damaged, they cannot sell any of them.  So, this store buys them and then sells them at a significant discount.  My stereotyped impression of this type of store was not a good one.  I ventured in one day just to check it out and found perfectly good boxes of organic toaster pastries for $1.29 a box; they sell for $3.99 at Publix.  Unfortunately, they closed two weeks after I first shopped there.  Supposedly, there is another one a few miles further away.  I'm not sure I'll ever get there, but it goes to prove that there are many different types of stores available besides the main chain stores; and we need to get over our stereotypes and find the deals at little out-of-the-way places.

Something Christi talks about is reading blogs about coupons and deals.  This is something I had never thought of before.  My husband had sent along an I <Heart> Publix blog a couple of weeks ago.  I was able to find some good information here about savings.  Searching for other savings blogs is something I'll need to spend some time doing in the near future.

Another way I found to save is using Amazon's subscribe and save program.  I had gotten so tired of waiting for good deals on Charmin bath tissue that I chose to use this program.  My husband has two things (Charmin being one) that I can think of to which he is brand loyal.  Of course, those two things are the most expensive of their kinds and have the worst coupons.  Using Amazon's program, I found the cheapest price per roll - 40 double rolls for $19.97 (50 cents/roll).  I saved $1.00 as a promotion and received another $4.00 off as a "coupon."  I will regularly be receiving 40 rolls of Charmin for only $14.97.  Now, there's a chance I will only get to use that coupon one time, but I won't be wasting time looking for the best deal anymore.  I won't have to worry about whether or not my husband will be unhappy because I've bought an inferior product just to save some money.  You can choose your shipping interval.  I think this one will come every other month.

There is a lot of wonderful information contained in Christi the Coupon Coach: Couponing Made Simple.  It is a super resource for someone who is brand new to couponing, and it is a great source of encouragement for someone who is already doing it.  The paperback version of this book sells for $18.00 on Amazon, but the Kindle version is only $4.99.  This is a 72% savings.  Buy the Kindle version, and you'll already be on your way to big savings!!


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