Saturday, June 18, 2011

Couponing: Oz Style update

This week is my second week of being a novice couponer. This morning I sat down with the week's junk mail and went through it all. I mean REALLY looked at what is being sold and the prices. I am focusing solely on groceries at the moment as this is the area where I feel our household can really save some dough.

I physically cut the sale items I wanted out of the catalogues and clipped them all together with a bullclip. Then I took the little pile of paper shopping. I think C was a little embarrassed. He should be thanking his lucky stars I'm not toting around a large binder folder full of coupons and clippings just yet!

I've found the hardest thing is learning what things really cost. I mean, the catalogue may tell me that something is on special for $1.29 off, but how do I know that I can't get the same item at another supermarket for $1.50 cheaper normally? So it's been a steep learning curve and it has been absolutely shocking, SHOCKING I tell you, to realize just how blase I have been about groceries for many years.

I used to walk in, buy the things I needed and get the hell out. Do you do this? Sometimes I wouldn't even look at the price. So for example if I needed pasta sauce, I bought the brand I knew I liked. And sometimes, it is the brand my mother buys. I think "they" (being the people behind all these brands) rely a lot on familiarity and comfort to sell their product, and I've come to believe it is just silly!

I had to break some very big brand habits when our household had to start shopping at Aldi, and I'm doing it again now. If another brand of tissue is on sale that is not my "normal" one, I'm going to buy it. Because you've got to try it before you knock it, right?

One problem I've encountered is the price of buying in bulk has set me back a few more dollars than I thought it would initially. I spent $170 last week at Aldi and Coles combined, but I'm hoping that it will last me 2 weeks. Yes, that is including meat. So if it works out to be $85 a week in groceries, I'm going to be a happy clam, because it will mean no more mid-week stop-offs at the local shops to get last-minute things for dinner.

Here are a few rules I've set myself:
  • If we don't eat it, don't buy it, even if it's on special (duh)
  • If it's a bargain, buy at least two
  • Check the free in-store magazines for coupons (I was so excited to find my first coupons last week!)
  • Use your loyalty card to get points (FlyBuys at Coles, Everyday Rewards at Woolworths)
  • If you can get it at Aldi cheaper, only buy it if it tastes ok (always a hit-and-miss situation)
My best bargains for these past weekends have been:

  • $6 for a 780g jar of Kraft Peanut Butter (got 2 because we burn through it like nothing on earth).
  • $3.49 for 1kg Sard Oxy Plus stain remover (the equivalent in Napi-San brand is about $7 I believe)
  • $1.29 for Crumpets (50% off)
  • $1.49 for Doritos (50% off)
I have found the most helpful website by far is Oz Bargain, as it lists the weekly grocery specials and the dollar AND percentage savings for each major supermarket.

Admittedly, today I went and spent a further $60 at Coles, thus blowing my original budget plan, so I'm going to be trying harder next week. I must admit though, $11 of that was on ice-cream to get a free 6 month magazine subscription!

What's your best bargain lately?

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