Planning an Extreme Couponing Shopping Trip

I'm planning a trip (well two trips) and I thought I'd walk through my planning process for both since it might help you get some idea of how much time it takes to plan and how to make use of all of the resources available to couponers.

My method may not be your method. My method is not the only method. This is just the one that works for me, particularly for trips that I'm making specifically to take advantage of sales and special promotions.

Either tonight or tomorrow, TW and I will head to Meijer and Jewel-Osco and here's the process I go through before we leave the house:

1) I read blogs and forums every day that provide information about upcoming sales and promotions. More importantly, I read blogs and forums that provide coupon match-ups for weekly sales and big promotions. By reading A Full Cup's Meijer and Jewel forums, I knew both of these sales were coming and I could keep an eye out for coupons that might be useful for these sales.

2) Last night, after the TLC Extreme Couponing show, I grabbed the newspaper and opened up the weekly ads for Dominicks, Jewel, and Meijer. I immediately tossed Dominicks in the recycle bin because there's just nothing there I want or need (at those prices). Jewel and Meijer, on the otherhand, had pretty ads that highlighted all of the sales I'd been hearing about in the forum and I began a running list of what I thought I might want to buy.

3) Then I went back to those forums and found the threads specific to those two sales and looked at the coupon matchups provided. (Meijer 10 for $10 with 11th Free and Jewel Catalina Sale)From there, I made a firm list of what I plan to buy.

4) I'm printing my list, and for the Meijer sale, I'm making sure to add a few extras just in case they're out of something I planned to buy or in case I change my mind on the fly. This particular sale is a 10 for $10 sale with an 11th item free. So it will be important that I buy items in multiples of 11. I won't do multiple transactions - that's not how I role and Meijer does not require that for this sale.

5) Once I have my list, I go through the matchups and make sure I've printed any coupons that I need but haven't already printed and then I go to my binder and pull out the coupons I plan to use. I also look at the e-coupons available for my loyalty card at Jewel and the m-perks and mealbox coupons available at Meijer to make sure I'm using the best (or most) possible coupons for my purchase. (At Meijer you can pair a mealbox coupon with a manufacturer's coupon -- that's called stacking. At Jewel, you can pair an e-coupon on your loyalty card with a manufacturers coupon, too.)

6) When I have all of my coupons together, I print my list and put everything into a legal sized envelope, (one for each store.) I'll also take my full coupon binder in case I see something else I want to buy.

Here's the list of what I'm planning to buy at each store.

Meijer's 10 for $10 - get 11th free sale. * items are coupon items
- Sunny Delight
- American Farmhouse Mini Cheese Chunks 3 oz
- 3 Green Giant Frozen Veggies*
- Meijer mini garlic loaf
- 4 Old Orchard Juice*
- 4 Angel Soft TP
- John Morrell Smoked Sausage*
- 2 Earthbound baby carrots*
- 16 oz tomatoes
- Dole Cole Slaw
- Dole Salad Blends*
- 10oz spinach
- Cucumbers
- Organic Mushrooms
- Celery
- Red, Yellow, Orange bell peppers
- Stuffed olives
- 3 Aunt Millie's bread/buns/english muffins*
- 2 Betty Crocker Cake Mix*
- Bisquick*
- 2 Delmonte Naturals*
- Kraft BBQ Sauce*
- 3 Pillsbury Grands*
- Quaker Rice Cakes

Possible Filler Items
- Ro-tel tomatoes*
- 4 Barilla Pasta*
- Aunt Jemima Breakfast Entree*
- Renuzit Adjustables*
- Suave Shampoo/Conditioner*

Also at Meijer but not a 10 for $10 sale
3 - Jif/Smuckers Jelly $5.00
(2) .75/1 Smuckers

Jewel's Catalina Sale (with coupon match-ups and Catalinas inline
- Johnsonville Brats 3.99 $1 OYNO
- (2) Wesson Oil 2.99 (2) $1 OYNO
--- $1.00/2 Wesson Oil (SS 04/03/11, Exp: 5/15/11)
- Tidy Cat 3.49 $1 OYNO
--- $1.50/1 Tidy Cats Litter (RP 01/30/11, Exp: 4/30/11)
- Boursin Cheese Spread 3.99 $1 OYNO
- Purex Crystals $2.99 $1 OYNO
--- $2.00/1 Purex Complete Crystals Softener (RP 3/13/11. Exp: 4/30/11)
- Purex Laundry Detergent $2.99 $1 OYNO
--- $1.00/1 Purex Detergent (RP 03/13/11, Exp: 5/7/11)
- 2 Tostitos Artisan $2.50 each $1 OYNO (if included in sale)
--- (2) .55/1 internet printable
- 2 Maruchan Ramen $2 each $1 OYNO
- 2 Emerald Nuts $4 each $1 OYNO (Depends on whether my coupons are for the item in the offer)
--- (2) $1 off Breakfast to Go Emerald Nuts products (IP)
- 2 Pop Secret Popcorn $1.50 each $1 OYNO
--- (2) .50/2 from Military Family Magazine
- 2 Dannon Activa $2 each $1 OYNO
--- (2) .50/1 from Miltary Family Magazine
- 2 Tyson Breaded Chicken strips $4.99 each $2 OYNO
---(2) .75/Tyson breaded chicken

Also at Jewel but not a Catalina sale:
4 24 pack coke/coke zero $11 each (this is outside of my normal price point but with every 2 cases, you receive a free six pack of bottled coke, which brings it into my price point)

And here's how we did:

This is what we bought at Meijer


- Sunny Delight
- 3 American Farmhouse Mini Cheese Chunks 3 oz
- 2 Green Giant Frozen Veggies*
- 2 Old Orchard Juice*
- 4 Angel Soft TP
- John Morrell Smoked Sausage*
- 2 Earthbound baby carrots*
- 2 16 oz tomatoes
- 2 Dole Salad Blends*
- 10oz spinach
- 2 Cucumbers
- Organic Mushrooms
- 4 Red, Yellow, Orange bell peppers
- 3 Aunt Millie's bread/buns/english muffins*
- 1 Betty Crocker Cake Mix*
- 3 Bisquick*
- 2 Delmonte Naturals*
- 4 Pillsbury Grands*
- 3 Renuzit Adjustables*
- 3 Meijer Sandwich Bags
- 2 Smuckers Jelly
- 1 Jif Peanut Butter
- 6 32 oz Powerade
- 1 Coffee Creamer
- 1 Serrano Pepper
- 1 can cake frosting
- 1 Rubbermaid food storage container
- 1 Meijer orange sodea (TW was thirsty at check-out)

$109.58 worth of products. I used $1 m-perk coupon, $12.42 in manufacturer coupons, $4.00 for the free 11th item promo, and $43.68 in Meijer sales. Total out of pocket - $48.48 with a savings of $61.10.

This is what we bought at Jewel-Osco


- 2 Johnsonville Brats
- Boursin Cheese Spread
- 2 Tostitos Artisan
- 2 Maruchan Ramen
- 2 Emerald Nuts
- 2 Tyson Breaded Chicken strips
- 4 cases of Coke/Coke Zero
- 2 six packs 24oz bottled coke
- 2 64oz Welch's Grape Juice
- 2 packages of roast beef
- 1 1/2 lbs green grapes

$144.61 worth of products. I used $17.46 in manufacturers coupons, $48.02 from loyalty card preferred savings and received $9.00 in Register Rewards to be used OYNO. Total out of pocket - $79.03 with a savings of $74.58.

BlogHer Community Manager
Life. Flow. Fluctuate.

OYNO = You'll receive a Catalina coupon to be used "on your next order"


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