By Jill Cataldo, Coupon Queen, Published October 05 2012
COUPON QUEEN: Couponing success stories
Q: Since reading your column, I have been shopping differently. I have to tell you about my ketchup deal. Bottles of name-brand ketchup were on sale for $1.25. If you bought 10, you saved another $5 instantly. That dropped each bottle to 75 cents. I also had five coupons good for $1 with the purchase of two bottles. So I paid $2.50 for 10 bottles of ketchup, a quarter each! The ketchup doesn’t out-date for more than a year. We use a bottle a month so this is not too much to buy. But look what I save in the long run!” – Sunny L.
A: Stocking up during a good sale is always smart shopping. At times I receive email from new couponers who are afraid to begin stockpiling. More than a few of them have confessed that they don’t want to turn into one of “those crazy people” with a house full of groceries! But it’s easy to maintain a moderate stockpile that doesn’t overtake your home and your life. My stockpile fits on a set of shelves in my basement with an overflow shelf in my garage for paper products. The space allows me to do normal, three-month stock-ups and ones in which I might find a great deal and want to stock up in somewhat larger quantities.
Q: I am really amazed how much cereal goes up and down in price at the market I shop. If I had to say a range, it is usually low at $1.49 and high at $3.99 a box. I really like a certain brand of cereal so I try to stock up enough on it when it is on sale and I have coupons. But I have also learned when I don’t have any coupons, just buy it when it goes to $1.49! I am noticing more and more price spreads like these on so many things. – Cole E.
A: Great tips! Aside from dairy and produce, my goal is never to be caught paying full price for something. I aim to keep enough of the products we use most frequently on hand and restock my shelves at home when prices are low.
Q: I thought of you when I got a great deal on school clothes for my daughter. Our clothing store had a sale: Buy any denim item and receive a $10 coupon for your next shopping trip. We found some girls’ jeans on sale for $4.97. We bought five pairs that cost $24.85 and got five coupons for $10. Now I had $50 to spend on more school clothes! I ended up buying 11 more $4.97 items. After those coupons I paid $4.67 for the rest of her clothes. So, that’s 16 pieces of clothing for $29.52 and tax, about $1.85 per piece! – Maria F.
A: I love getting coupon deals on clothing! We tend to think of coupons in terms of groceries and household items, but coupons are available for all kinds of things. Many department stores offer coupons for clothes – a good “$10-off-a-$25-purchase” coupon in my mailbox or email is usually enough to motivate me to look for some bargains! I like to stock up on shirts, jeans, cargo pants and coats for my children. I’ll buy several sizes ahead if it’s an item of clothing where styles don’t change much year-to-year. You never know what might be on clearance, and the time you need something may not be the time it’s on sale.
One year, I found boys’ two-piece pajama sets on clearance for $2.99. My son is allergic to synthetic fabrics, and finding all-cotton pajamas at a good price isn’t always easy. Finding a whole rack of them? I bought a set in every size from 5 to 10!
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.