EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

May 10, 2013

Savings that you really can use

I recently received some great emails from readers filled with stories of their money-saving couponing successes.

Dear Jill,

In your recent column there was a letter from a reader who thinks couponing is all smoke and mirrors and you outlined another shopper’s recent savings. I was that shopper! It takes hard work and attention to detail rather than ‘smoke and mirrors.’ But without examples, I can see where one would be skeptical.

I thought I’d share some examples of deals that all add up to savings. I truly think of this as income from a part-time job. Viewing it that way may help people realize the value of it.

First, in two recent shopping trips, I spent $44.45 and $48.64 and saved $50.16 and $50.12 respectively. Preparing for each trip took about an hour spent this way: going through the weekly ad to check specials, using a coupon site to match coupons to offers and then clipping the coupons from my newspaper inserts, weekly newspaper supplements or printing those available online. Both trips involved a combination of vendor coupons, store coupons and special/promotional pricing.

Here are several specific examples of deals I got:

One was for bags of mashed potatoes priced at $3.79, buy one get one free. I had a store coupon for $1 off 2 and two 75-cent manufacturer coupons. So what would have been a retail purchase totaling $7.58 was $1.29, or 65 cents per container of mashed potatoes. Another sale was on 100-percent whole grain pasta, buy one get one free at $1.59.

I had a $1-off-2 coupon so purchased $3.18 in pasta for 59 cents, or about 30 cents per box.

Fig cookies were on sale for $3. I had two $1 off coupons and on the cookie packages were ‘peelie’ coupons for $1 off fresh fruit. So, I was able to get two packages of cookies and nearly 3 pounds of bananas for $4!

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