The first thing you need to know is - ANYONE CAN do this. It does take time, patience, and willingness to learn from your mistakes. I still make them even 10 months into this challenge. I still learn something new almost every time I shop. There is a learning curve at first and it can be very overwhelming. Just be patient and committed and it will get easier.
Michelle asked the question: How did I do this?
The trick to getting the best deals is to match store sales with coupons.
Now, because I have multiple coupons for each item, I am able to get lots (14 Special K Cereals) for less than $1 each. Now, even if I had only 1 coupon, which I would because I subscribe to the observer and that is where I get 97% of my coupons, I would still get the cereal for less than $1 (plus tax). But I would only have ONE.
Last week, Harris Teeter had Special K cereal on sale BOGO (Buy One Get One FREE). They are normally $3.59 each. Now, IF you only have ONE coupon, you only buy ONE box of cereal. The cereal would ring up 1.80 most of the time*.
* Some stores only offer TRUE BOGO deals, meaning you really only get one free if you buy one at full price. Most products ring up as half price though. You would just have to check before you ring up the item if you only want one.
I used a $1 off 1 coupon from the Red Plum insert from December 14th's newspaper. (I will post my coupon organizing system very soon.)
If you have more than one coupon, (like I had 10) you CAN usually (again, different stores have different policies about this) use one for EACH item you purchase. So I bought 10 cereals for $17.95 (plus tax - I am not adding that in right now for simplicity)
That is $3.59 times 5 BTW :)
I used TEN $1 off 1 coupons which made my total $7.95 for 10 boxes of cereal.
I had a different coupon for the other four boxes. That one was $1 off TWO boxes, so my total for those four boxes was $2.60. But hopefully, you get the idea.
$1 off ONE box of cereal DOES NOT happen very often. So this was an awesome deal indeed. But I would not have been able to stock up so well, if I had not collected so many coupons.
The jelly was a bit different also. They were on sale 5 for $5 (or $1 each). As you can see, I only bought THREE. I only had THREE coupons. My coupons were for $.25 off 1. You probably already know that HT doubles all coupons up to $.99. So the jelly was $3 and I used THREE coupons for $.25 each that doubled to $50 each. So I paid $1.50 for ALL THREE jars. BTW, each of those jars are normally $2.45. So I got THREE for nearly HALF of what ONE usually costs.
Stay tuned for more tips...