I love the weird and strange shows on TLC right now. The best show so far has to be the one about the crazy coupon ladies. My mom used to clip coupons and it drove me crazy. I thought, do you really save enough money? Isn’t it taking you more time to clip these than it’s really saving you? It’s sort of like driving 15 miles for cheaper gas.
Well if you do it right, you can basically get hundreds of dollars of merchandise for FREE. Yes. I had no idea. It’s not the same thing as saving 75 cents on your favorite frozen pizza once in a blue moon. This is a way to really work the system and basically feed your family for free.
It’s not rocket science but it takes time and organization. These people have stockpiled thousands of dollars of toilet paper, cereal, toothpaste, deodorant- you name it…for maybe a few bucks out of their pockets. They never have to buy these things again for years!
How do they do it? Every product is pretty much in a 3 month “promo” cycle. So, every 3 months you keep an eye on what product is up next. Usually a few main ones you might need go up once per week. So, you might want to haul a certain pasta, a frozen meal you eat often and tin foil one week. The next week is your toothpaste week, and so on.
You then get a lot of coupons- maybe even 50 of them for that product. You get them from the paper delivered to your door, online clipping services, etc. It’s not always easy to get so many of them but there’s a great reason why you would. You are essentially going to get them for free so why not just buy enough to last you your entire life. It beats going back over and over again and having to pay attention to the product’s promo cycles again.
The problem is you have to worry about storing the items, but these ladies use an extra room, the basement and the garage. It’s not overtaking their house like on an episode of Hoarders and all things considered, seems pretty harmless. If there was ever a nuclear disaster, I know who’s house I’m heading to.
When you get the coupons it’s generally for a certain percentage off from the actual company like Nabisco. Then when you go to the market, you will see that certain products also have the “club savings” type of scenario around similar times. This is the “in store promotion”. These ladies watch the online forums to hear about what in store promotions are hitting.
So that soap you like to use and have a coupon for half off, is also discounted even further right now. The store takes the additional coupon discount OFF the store price at that time. Then, a lot of stores double your coupons so that 75 cents is now 1.50. Guess what? That soap only cost $1.50 and you just got them ALL for free.
It seems like this should be illegal but the catch is stores don’t really think you’re going to do all this work, and most of us won’t. One lady has done this freaky coupon shopping for 30 years and has never bought shampoo or toothpaste- ever. It’s always been free. She shops and usually only pays 5-20 dollars on 2-3 carts full of stuff. She takes the coupons from her neighbors and spends her weekends clipping them. She was able to stay completely debt free and raise her children because of this. She also mentions calling the manufacturer of your favorite items because generally they will send you tons of coupons in the mail.
Another lady dumpster dives with her kids (a normal suburban mom) to get all the extra coupons. Luckily it isn’t “10 coupons per person maximum”. She then plans the specific “load” she’s going to get that week and stockpiles her garage. She got $684.00 worth of stuff for only 6 bucks. After watching this, I sort of feel like I’m throwing money in the garbage if I don’t at least try to do a better job at saving money. What a perfect show for a recession minded society!
I was curious if anyone thought about doing this for the people who are in need. Well, the last guy they feature did in fact buy a truckload of Total cereal and gave most away to a food bank. I thought that was pretty cool. I’ll have to check out the next coupons in the mail. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of spending hundreds of dollars at CVS for stuff I use all of the time.