The Coupon Challenge

I think this might be fun and a little exciting.  I am doing a coupon challenge, of sorts.  Recently my Mom asked me if I would do some couponing for her (well not exactly for her but all the same she is the one who is asking me to do it).  She is going to give me $20 every two weeks for the next six to eight weeks and I am going to do as much with it as I can with it.  The only items needed are personal care and household products. 

The reason I find this challenge so interesting/exciting is that it is so doable.  How many of us can’t spare $10 a week? I spend more than that on soda :), anyone who knows me knows that is a fact! So I am going to show everyone how much can be done with $10 a week by a person who has just started couponing.  I am sure that the experts out there could do SO much more.  But if you are hesitant about couponing or don’t think that you could save enough to make it worth it perhaps this will inspire you.

Now, the thing to remember is that  coupons are not free (usually).  There are certain circumstances that make coupons free: printing them off the internet, if you already get a newspaper and have just been throwing them away I consider that free (you have been paying for the paper already), getting inserts from family who does not use them, or if you get them from recycling bins or trash cans.  As far as the recycling bin/trash can option, I don’t do it.  I don’t ever plan on doing it.  I think its a little too hard core for me.  Plus most of the time you end up trespassing to get them or standing in a dumpster. I’ll pass.

So assuming that the majority of your coupons are not free, you have to factor the cost of newspapers in your budget. I personally wait and get my Sunday papers on Monday at the dollar store for only $1.  Sarah gets hers at the newspaper office in town, I believe, and also gets them discounted.  Every week I buy two papers. However starting this last week I will be buying four; two for me and two for my challenge.  I am not factoring the cost of the newspapers into my $10 a week.  I want to be upfront about this.  The reason is that even on my own limited budget I want to help my Mom with this thing she is doing.  I would rather pay the $2 out of my own pocket and use a full $10 for merchandise. 

Here is what I accomplished this week. There is not a ton of products but the price on them was amazing!

Retail: $45.03
Paid: $7.48
Savings: $37.55
I did my shopping at Walgreens and Rite Aid.  There were several reasons this deal was so cheap. 
  1. The Gain was already on sale for a great price, $5 a bottle.  Once I combined that already awesome price with manufacture coupons and an in-store rebate (called an up reward) they came out to $2.83 per bottle!
  2. If you are doing the math you will realize what I just said makes no sense.  If the gain cost $2.83 a bottle and I bought three that comes to a total of $8.49.  However, the total I paid on this trip was $7.48.  How does that work? The stores actually paid me money to take their merchandise 🙂 I made $0.26 each on the blue Colgate and $0.25 each on the white Colgate
So there you have it.  In week one I only spent $7.48 and got $45.03 in product. I was under budget so I will be adding that amount to next week’s $10.  I had planned on getting some paper towels and toilet paper but it just didn’t pan out for me.  But this is a great start!
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