Couponing 101

Is it Really on Sale??

So I was at Target two days ago and noticed that they had their 12 Packs of Coke on a display with a HUGE sign that said “Limited Time Sale” 12 Packs $4.99! What in the world???!!

I almost started laughing… $4.99 is not even close to being on sale for a 12 Pack of Soda. In fact, it is the most expensive price you will pay for it. And yet, Target was advertising it as a “Sale”. (For all of you who are curious, anything under $3.00 rocks- although, I usually wait for $2.50 or less per 12 pack)

It really makes you stop and think about how many things are posed as “on sale” when they really aren’t. With that said, I think I really need to put together a list of price points of items that I purchase. And maybe that will help all of you too. I keep a pretty good list of buy-it-now prices in my head. So I just need to convert them to a post for everyone.

Until then, give an idea of what your price points are for the newbie couponers. What are regular items in your household.. and what price do you wait for until you purchase it?

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34 Comments

  1. Bring it on lady! I know I have gotten that same way with my purchases. I was at a store last week, and saw a price and immediately put back an item that was on my “Need it this week” list. We did without because the price was 2.00 (or about 40% more) than I was willing to pay! =0) Oh what a terrible lovely thing this couponing is for us. lol…

    We do without less often than not– but we save more and more and more every month by watching the prices as well as using the coupons. =0)

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  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this!!! I have only been doing this about a month now and there are soooo many items that I see and think…I THINK that is a good deal??? Especially for things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc it seems like the price never goes real low so I never know when I should grab or wait.

    Thanks again!!!!!!

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  3. THANK YOU. I have been doing this for about a month now. I actually went to 2 out of my 3 stores that I tend to shop at and made a list of everything I buy and the cost. I know that items go on different prices throughout the seasons, but I don’t know what a good price for most items are. A list from you would be great. Another question – how often do you not use coupons. I tend to not use them unless it is something I my family uses, but sometimes I use the item but don’t know if I should buy at that price or let the coupon pass. For instance, I have to use the “FREE” detergents because of my son. So I typially purcahse Tide Free, Bounce Free, etc. We have all of those coupons at .25 from last weekend. Do I wait and see if the items go on sale and if they don’t use the coupon right before it expires or do I wait and see if another coupon comes out and the item goes on sale?

    Thanks. I love your postings.

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  4. I’m sure they rely on the “hurry shoppers” that just grab & go without thinking. I also question Homeland & their tactics. I feel they “jack up” their prices so you think you’re getting good deals even with double coupons. It’s like reading labels on products. Both can be quite deceiving. Needless to say, I keep my calculator handy when I’m grocery shopping.

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  5. You read my mind! Just this week I was thinking of emailing you to ask this exact question about good quality toilet paper, trash bags, etc. THANKS!

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  6. I keep a Spread sheet type in my Folder with me at all times.. I can track normal price so I cac tell if it is a REAL DEAL or not.

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    • What a great idea! I think I’ll start doing that. Thanks for the tip!

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  7. This is such a great topic to cover! I look forward to reading this as it gets expanded upon. I am not a major couponer, but I certainly like to maintain the internal “good/bad deal” sense when possible. Cereal is one of the biggest offenders in my experience. Depends on your region, but I see about $4.50 – $6 on full prices for premium varieties. Love the “2 for $5” specials and the like.

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    • I’ve been couponing for about 18 months and I before that I ‘used coupons’. Cereal is a perfect ‘stock up’ item. I don’t pay more than $1.00 a box (name brand). There are occassions where I will pay closer towards $1.50 if it is something special my family eats or we’ve been out of for a while.

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  8. I so need this list!!!! Can’t wait to see it. My main items are baby and with that said diapers (depends on the size) for size 1 I try to stay around .10 /diaper, and size 3 around .15/diaper (I hate that size matters). Also wipes I’ll never pay more than .02/wipe but usually stock up on .01/wipe! I’ll never pay for pads or tampons (I think I already have a life time supply! (at least for me)) !

    Thanks for putting these all together!

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  9. I never pay more than $1 for cereal and when I do pay for toothpaste I won’t pay more than $1.

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  10. I would LOVE it if you would do this. It’s always nice to compare the prices we have in our heads of what a good deal is with someone else so we know if we should be shooting for a lower price. I would definetly like to see this!!

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  11. I can’t wait to see your list Melea! You are so incredible at what you do! My only request would be that we can save & edit your list to make our own. I’m not sure if that makes total sense, what I mean is you may put dog/cat food on there but some people don’t have pets. Or diapers & formula but not all have babies. It would just be nice to have it in Excel so that we can add our own notes to it or delete the stuff that doesn’t necessarily apply to us. Just my idea. Thanks!

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  12. I had that same thought the other day while shopping at Walmart. They were advertising something as “don’t miss this great deal”. They made it sound like it was one of those deals you don’t want to miss out on and that will go fast. HA! It was the same price that it regularly is. Made me laugh. I even turned to my 10 year old and showed him what a “great deal” it was NOT. Even though it made me laugh it also reminded me that I can’t let my guard down when looking for a good deal.

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  13. Awesome idea! A point of reference would be great. It’s really hard to navigate the isles and find out what really is a good sale or not…especially when it comes to buying the economy sizes.

    Meredith @ Deals.com

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  14. Maceys does this all the time.. they drop the item a penny in price and call it “on sale” in their weekly add- makes me laugh how many people will fall for it and buy it because they think it is an amazing deal.. My husband works in the scanning department and we just laugh about this stuff! Thanks for throwing this out there Melea!

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  15. I love the idea of this post, and all the comments as well! My number one frustration is toilet paper…don’t know how much I’m supposed to be paying, or what a great deal is. Thanks Melea!

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    • I agree about the toilet paper. I also will pay a little more for the toilet paper in my bathroom. The kids can use the cheap stuff 😉

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  16. I know savvy shopper deals has a list of price points but I think more items would be great. But any just is awesome!

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  17. mmm ive been couponing for about 2 years wouldn’t say i’m a pro but i don’t pay more than .50 per roll of toilet paper and stock up when there .30! my max for cereal is 1.00 but they havn’t had really good sales so i went up a bit to 1.25 katchup and other condiments are usually under 1.00 and last year smiths had there “any coupon equals 1.00” so i got a ton of that kind of stuff for like .25! poptarts 1.00 toothpast toothbrushes deotorant FREE! tide/other laundray soap under 5.00 hope this helps some of you.

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  18. I am way excited for this! I also keep a list in my head, but it would be nice to see what deals everyone else waits for. I always stock up on Fruit Snacks and Fruit Roll ups when they go for $1! It only happens about once a year, so I stock up good. I do the same when fun kid cereal is less than $1.50 per box.

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  19. One of my stores does this frequently, safeway and has buy 2 12 packs get 3 free, but they forget to mention that they jacked the price of one up to $7.99 so yes watch those prices.

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    • In my area Safeway is the WORST offender of this. They had Oscar meyer hot dogs buy 1 get 2 free. They were marked up to $4 a pack ($1.33 ea on sale)!! At few weeks ago I got them at Safeway for $.49 a pack. The buy 2 get 2 free soda always makes me laugh it’s not cheap when you have to pay $15 for the 2 you buy.
      Kroger also will run the same sale 2 weeks in a row but the prices are usually $1 more the 2nd week. If you don’t look closely you just grab an item thinking it’s the same sale as last week but it’s not.

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  20. So what is the best way to track price of items like paper towels, toilet paper, etc? I started trying to use sq ft, but most ads don’t have any of that information, it is more by the roll. Just curious how to balance what “unit” to figure best price on..

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  21. Walmart is the king of “sales” like that. I’ll see something there that’s marked down on sale & it’s the same price I’ve seen it for months. Example: Yesterday I saw some beach towels they said were marked down from $4-5 to 3 something… I bought a couple of them 2 months ago for the price they were claiming was the sale price. Dishonest marketing! Disappointing!

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  22. Check out that sale in cereral this week at Smiths, I paid 66 cents per box. Yummy variety too. Use your $5.00 off 5 coupon for Kelloggs. Dont forget to check out the Colgate toothpaste, use the coupons for freebies on two. Keep your list till Tuesday and stock up after reviewing the next weeks ads for things not covered or storage. Youll get the hang of what things cost if you concentrate on Wallmart and their price matching policy. They’re usuall overall lowest anyway if not match it.

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  23. I am new to couponing, so I was amazed to get cereal under $.80, especially when they are $3.50+. I don’t pay for toothpaste for more than $.25 but mostly get it free. I have been getting baby wipes for free, formula for free or less than $1, tooth brushes for free, body wash and body bar soaps for free, razors for free, visine for free…. all thanks to this site on helping me!!

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    • how do you get formula for free? can you elaborate?

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  24. So my husband pointed this out to me about 2 years ago. The store will put up a sign under the product to say that it was on sale but when you looked underneath it to find out the original price of it it was the same.

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  25. Last week Target had Charmin’s sensitive toliet paper on sale for 10.49. I had the $2.00 off target coupons that came in the paper and I had a manufacturers coupons for $2.00 off that comes in the package. I knew the packages I bought would have the same coupons (they’re marked $30 of coupons inside). So I paid $6.49 for each package of toliet paper. Each pack was 18 double rolls=36, so .18 per roll. Charmin sensitive is the softest toliet paper. Seriously people ask us what kind we buy.

    To me is a good price on this brand of toliet paper though I’d never pay that much for another brand. I only buy the packages that have coupons. The coupons are for pampers, gillette, bounty, bounce, tide, old spice, dawn, olay, and charmin. They are usually high dollar and don’t expire until 2013. When you factor in the coupons too it’s a pretty good deal.

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  26. I had to laugh at Target’s ad recently, which advertised Target brand diapers for $14.99 as a good deal, when my local store has them marked at $13.99 regular price. It’s too bad stores have to be dishonest and sneaky to get us to buy things.
    I look forward to your list.

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  27. I started couponing in March and have and made up my own way of keeping track. I made a shopping list template on the computer that has columns for: item, sale/ price, coupon, quanity, price each, and final cost. I hand write in my items as I go through the flyer (I’m in MA). When I get home from the store I add in anything I didn’t originally have on my list -like suprise sales or discontinued items. At the end of 6 months I am going to take a highlighter and highlight the best prices for my area. I have a circle of friends who also coupon and I am lucky to be able to trade for multiples. So if I am unsure about a sale price I’ll use one or two of my coupons and wait to use the rest (if it’s an item I dont want to miss out on) until just before the coupon expires. Also, at our stores on the bottom of the sale tag there is the items sale end date, I jot that down on my list too.

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  28. Growing up my dad kept a spreadsheet of items and what time of year they typically go on sale for stocking up his food storage (I guess stores stay consistent with this every year). The number one tip I’ve always remembered is never pay more than $.10 an ounce for cold cereal.

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  29. YAY! Please oh please put up a list of Price Points. Mine is VERY small and I’m constantly forgetting what is a good price for various items. It’s such a bummer when I find out my awesome steal was actually a pretty typical price to pay. Thanks!

    Reply

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