I just got back from Target where I saved more than I spent. It was incredible. Mostly, I stuck to only purchasing things we needed (now or later, i.e., Christmas wrap for next year). I felt so good for the savings I created for our family with only a few extra minutes of strategizing before heading out the door to the store.
First of all, the bulk of what we bought were grocery items and cleansers, plus some Christmas wrap and ribbons for next year. Nearly all of what we bought was already on sale at the store (Christmas stuff was 50% off) and I had coupons for everything except the Christmas stuff. I purposely planned to use coupons and buy things that were only on sale to maximize the effectiveness of the coupons.
In addition, I did pick up one coupon along the way that was compatible with another purchasing situation I was doing because of a coupon I had. You know the kind stuck to the front of the package to use "now." I was able to use both the one I came to the store with and the one on the box without breaking any rules. Yay!
Okay, so the subtotal was $165. This price includes discounts already taken with store sales and clearance and it does not include sales tax. But the total, actual value of what was in the cart was much more than that thanks to the sales.
First, I gave the clerk the 5% Pharmacy Rewards card I'd earned because I purchase my family prescriptions at Target using my RedCard. Everything was immediately reduced by 5%.
Then, I handed her my stack of coupons. This reduced the total down to around a hundred even.
I used a couple small remaining balances on some gift cards that have been floating around in my purse (which I organized yesterday or the day before, revealing them).
I paid with my RedCard, which automatically gives me 5% off (in addition to whatever other discounts) every time I shop. If you're not familiar with RedCard's, it's a Target Debit/Check card. We have a couple main credit cards as a family for travel and emergencies, but otherwise, we don't like to have 27 little rinky-dink credit cards. If you have a Target Credit Card, I believe you still get 5% off your purchases -- but I don't, so the RedCard is great because it's just like using my bank debit card, while giving me the additional discount.
In the end, what came from my bank account was $83. Again, this was primarily necessities.
With all discounts totaled, the lady happily shared the news, I saved $108 today. That was more than I paid out of pocket, so it seems the percentage is swinging to the other side where I'm not such a novice. I'm actually starting to get the hang of this stuff! And I love it.
I do still, however, feel a tad bit guilty about being one of those coupon ladies who take forever in line and I'm sorry, fellow shoppers, but it's all for the good of the economy. Please forgive me.
A big help for me has been this website, if you're interested. There's a whole beginner's section to teach newbies like me, written in a very straight-forward kind of way. I'm still just at the beginning of learning how to coupon, but I can see how it'll be really easy and good for us over the long-haul. Besides, a little extra learning is not usually a bad thing.