nerd post alert: i am not THAT crazy coupon lady.

I informed you some time back that I have started couponing.  And not THAT kind of couponing.  There will be no 50 bottles of mustard or 10 gallons of marmalade here.  I am what my friend Beth refers to as a "Civilized Couponer".  It's true.  I've learned a lot and I thought I would share it with you.

First of all, I decided to start couponing because of my sister in law.  My busy, professional chiropractor, actively involved in her community, first time mom who has no NEED to coupon sister in law, who informed me that she never pays for razors, or many other toiletries.  She had me at free razors.  Is it just me or do you HATE to buy those kinds of things?  I mean if SHE has time to do this than anyone can.  I promise you that. :)  And she is normal, too.  I've seen inside most of her closets and there aren't any hoards of crazy stuff.  She DOES have an awesome closet FULL of diapers that she hasn't paid more than a couple of dollars a pack for that makes me feel jealous and foolish for ever buying a pack at full price.

With that said...

Here is a little fyi to prove I am not one of THOSE couponers:
-I only buy ONE paper a week.  I may eventually buy two but I will never buy dozens, nor will I ever dumpster dive or rob recycling bins to get coupons.
-I only coupon for things that I need or use.  Maybe eventually I would do it to score free things to donate to food banks or animal shelters but I am taking it slowly to learn the process well.
-I don't do shady things.  The end.
-I am overly nice and kind to my cashiers.  I talk to them, empathize with them and are EXTRA kind to them in a GENUINE way.

I started slow but have already shaved lots off of my grocery bill and I have set us up to NOT have to buy any kind of toiletry ever again at full or even half price.  I can honestly say, I will NEVER pay full price for anything ever again.  

While I am learning the system and how it all works, I started by committing myself to a couple of stores to start with.  For me, I chose CVS, Giant and Staples.  CVS because that is where my sister in law frequents for her best deals and honestly I needed her support and help.  Giant because that is where I like to shop the most and is the grocery store I am most familiar with.  And Staples because...well, my sister in law told me to. :)  

This week has been a good couponing week for me here are some of my BEST deals. 

At CVS this week I had two trips, the first was on Sunday and I got:
3 cases of Pepsi
3 cases of Amp
3 greeting cards
a shaving cream
2 bottles of advil
a peanut butter egg.
Between coupons and Extra Bucks I paid $2.15!!!!!

I did a second trip later on in the week and was able to get ALL of the above FOR FREE with CVS PAYING me $1.27.

For this particular trip, CVS was running a special spend $12 on certain products and get back $6 in Extra Bucks.  THEN there was a rebate in the Red Plum for $5 this week for spending $10 on the same products leaving me with owing $1.  THEN on top of that I had a coupon for each item leading to my $1.27 profit. :)  My sister in law was able to make $5-6 on the same deal because she has more coupons in her stash than I do.

See?  All legit and not crazy, just matching up deals with coupons.  :)
Another good deal I got this week was from Kroger.  They were running a special where you buy ten of a certain assortment of product then you get $5 off of your bill.  My sister in law also sent me an $8 rebate from Digiorno when you buy two pizzas...which were included in the Kroger deal.  I also had coupons for everything else.  At the end of the day I will have paid $9.50 for ALL of this.  That's like buying the pizzas (on sale!) and getting the rest for FREE.

Why am I telling you all of this?  To encourage you to give it a try.  I resisted for a long time because of all of the stereotypes out there about couponers and I didn't want to be associated with them.

But thankfully, because I have a nice, normal and awesome sister in law, I have jumped in and I am NEVER going back. :)

So jump in.  Get a paper.  Start small and learn along the way.  You WILL get hooked.

Love, a Civilized Coupon

*disclaimer...I am not saying that any of you gung ho couponers are crazy or uncivilized...just a little out of my comfort zone. :)


Bri said...

good job!!! that's awesome!! I got into crazy couponing a bit a year ago, and have leveled out. It's sorta life changing to know I'll never have to pay more than like a quarter for toothpaste and deodorant :)

a blog full of weldons. said...

i admit. i've watned to start but never got up the gusto. but this sunday, i'm buying a paper and giving it a whirl. geeze louise our grocery bill is out of control! maybe this will help :)

ps. ppl dumpster dive and steal trash? crazy town, i tell ya. crazy!! haha

Jennie said...

I LOVE it! I have wanted to coupon for ever but here in California we don't have the same great coupon rules as other states do. Stores don't double coupons and we can never get overage (get more money than the value of the coupon) so PLEASE coupon for me! I think its smart and as a stay-at-home- mom, a great way to contribute to the family income.

Carla said...

fun post. I used to be the coupon queen. I was always getting little cheques in the mail too. I eventually ran out of time I think when we had our 6th. By then I think I was sending hubby to the store : )

Handbags*and*Pigtails said...

Funny, my super busy works for a lawyer sister in law taught me how to do "civil couponing" too. Its absolutely amazing how much you cna get for so little. I set the rule early on that we would not stockpile either. Thats just a huge waste(or can we say hoard?) when its stuff you dont need.
But toothpaste, shampoo, even my Dishwasher gel caps...Im there!

Kimberly said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I think I'll give it a try ... civilized couponing ... I like it!

jonahbonah said...

I've been "civilized couponing" for years. You're right. Life changing!

Wendy @ Ramblings from the Sunshine State said...

Amazing, isn't it? I started couponing when I was 18, so I've been at it 10 years now. I do get 7 papers a week, but I get them delivered and don't dumpster dive or any of that crazy stuff. It's definitely worth the time & effort though.

DL said...

I am also a "civilized couponer" and love this post. I started couponing a few months ago and will never go back. Its silly not to save my family money. I have started keeping a running tally of all I have saved in coupons in 2012. So far over $165! So exciting but not extreme - Thanks for the post

-Dawn @

Pink Fairy Vicky said...

What great bargains! We don't have anywhere near as many coupons or deals like this in the UK so I am always just ever so slightly jealous!

tigerchick said...

I am a big time couponer myself. Went to CVS last night and got the products for the Colgate rebate. I was wondering if you sent in UPS codes as indicated on the rebate form...I thought the wording was confusing. I just sent in my receipt and rebate form and hope that is enough.
How would you even do that for a product like the Irish Spring body wash where the UPS code is part of the plastic bottle?
Yes, after couponing for several years now, it is hard to pay more than half price for just about anything. My favorite websites are and

cbryan said...

My husband and I were just looking at our budget, and while we were able to make HUGE cuts in frivolous spending (Sometimes a girl just has to buy fabric though!) the grocery side is what is killing us. I would love to start couponing but I just don't know where to start!

Katie said...

Great job! I have been couponing for a bit over a year now. Cut our grocery bill in half. It's alot of fun and it is helping us pay off debt. Every bit counts.

Katie said...

Great job! I have been couponing for a bit over a year now. Cut our grocery bill in half. It's alot of fun and it is helping us pay off debt. Every bit counts.

Heather said...

I have been what you call civilized couponing for a while - the overboard couponers make me a little ill, but if it works for them, then, hey! I won't judge. I have been off and on purchasing one to two papers a week - with also asking my elderly neighbor who usually throws them out and my mil, to save the coupons for me (score two extra sets that I don't have to pay for!) I also wanted to mention that there is a local blogger near me who has started a coupon swap at our local library. So, for those who, like us, only use coupons on the products that we use (brands, etc) why not pass along the extra ones that you don't use to a small box/file folder and see if you can find a common area shared by many (like the library or possibly a small coffee shop?) If a small business, talk to the owner and see if you can leave something in a corner that would allow you to swap coupons. If you - and a couple of friends could commit to keeping up with it - maybe once every week or so - then it doesn't turn into an eyesore for the shop owner, but still helps those who may or may not purchase any papers - or perhaps just one - to get more coupons for free. THEN, all of the expired ones, you can have shipped overseas to military bases over there - they are permitted to use these expired coupons 6-12 mos past date. If that is too much, message me, I will get you the name of the local blogger (near you too!) and she will gladly collect and ship them, I am sure. Win-win! Great job and keep up the good work!

Betsy said...

You've almost convinced me! But I don't understand how you know what paper to buy or how to find which sales are going on which stores. Is all of that online? Any Sunday newspaper? I feel like I need a Civilized Couponing 101.

Betsy said...
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