Wednesday, June 19, 2013

End of the Introductory Saga: Couponing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin.  Us city folk often forget that there is an entire state of people outside of Madison and Milwaukee.  I apologize in advance for my blanketing use of "Wisconsin" when I really mean my Madison-centric experience.  Still, we do not have most of the stores that coupon bloggers provide savings guides for.  This unites us! Forward!

I shop exclusively at three grocery stores: Woodman's, Copp's, and Willy Street Co-Op.  I do 80% of my shopping at Woodman's.  I shop at Copp's when I need to pick up a few items near by and price is no object (I would love to find out the price difference - I'd estimate it is about 30% higher).  Willy Street Co-Op is my go to for specific bulk products and a marvelous selection of meat and seafood.  I go there about once a month to stock up on those items.

For non-grocery items, I often pick them up at the grocery store.  However, I go to Target, Walmart, and Walgreen's from time to time to pick up other items or take advantage of a particular great deal.  Walgreen's/CVS is the go to place if you are looking for extreme couponing type savings in your neighborhood.  They are the number one place to find freebies or extremely good deals.  They often base sales around circulating coupons and even offer their own coupons which allow you to stack both.  I highly recommend finding a good couponing blog (I am partial to Krazy Coupon Lady because of her awesome printables list).  They do the work for you - no need to pour over coupons and circulars in an attempt to find the best deals.  A few minutes once a week, scan for products you need, save some money.

For example, I just found these awesome $2/1 Organix Shampoo or Conditioner coupons.  I was about to pick them up at Woodman's when something told me to wait as I am not completely out.  I checked out KCL's blog and voila! Walgreen's has a BOGO sale on Organix through today, dropping the total price to a mere $2.25/bottle! That is $6.24 off of the regular price.  If only we had a Rite Aid, as you'd end up paying only $1.99 after their register reward!

Couponing.  Copp's is one of the only stores in the area (Sentry's and Pick N Save do, too) that doubles coupons.  It is only once a week and 5 coupons.  Once a month, you can double up to 10 coupons on their Double Double Daze.  The trick you will see on "Extreme Couponing" is multiple transactions.  In each transaction, you can use 5 or 10 coupons.  Therefore, you can make multiple transactions to use more coupons.  This takes some chutzpah because you are officially trekking into crazy couponer territory.  Your cashier may say it's not allowed or give you grief.  People may look at you crazy.  Depending on your personality, you will either feel empowered or embarrassed.  A way around this is getting a few friends or family members to come with you and go to separate cashiers. Be assured that Copp's allows multiple transactions but be sure to check other stores' policies. 

Walmart offers cash back on overage but beware, many employees are not versed on this and you may need to speak with a manager.  Be sure to bring a copy of the coupon policy to back you up.  Their low prices mean many freebies and moneymakers.  The hassle with the workers deters me from going there unless necessary, but maybe your local location is better.

I generally find Target to have the highest price point of the three but they do have great deals (sometimes) and offer Target specific coupons.   They often have deals on their store brand, Up and Up.  Check out "coupon match ups" for any of the stores and you can find out where to get the best deal!  I usually check Pocket Your Dollars or Krazy Coupon Lady.

My ambition is to offer Woodman's price match ups based on what I find on my trips.  They do not post their sales or a comprehensive circular so it must all be figured out on location.  Still, they have the lowest prices on just about everything with the best selection.  Their organic selection is quite superb and offers much better prices.  Definitely check their website as the do have a "circular" with a few coupons you can obtain in stores.  Once I found Woodman's specific printable coupons on there, too.  I recently printed out two Stonyfield Organic Yogurt $0.50/1 coupons and stacked (using a manufacturer coupon and store coupon on the same product) them with a $1/2 Stonyfield Organic Yogurts (32 oz.).  Great deal on a healthy snack!

Stay tuned for my next entry on how to use a spreadsheet to figure out any potential money draining buys! 

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