Real Talk – I’m a Moderate Couponer

I can’t call myself an Extreme Couponer, nor do I want to. However, I did devote about an hour of time over the weekend and this morning to preparing for my weekly shopping trip to Target. Since we live in a city with a sparkling new pretty Target with the full grocery store section, I have chosen to shop there. It’s a 5-10 minute drive, and there IS a grocery store literally across the street from our house, but, I love Target, what can I say?

I have watched all episodes of Extreme Couponing and have wanted to have that feeling of elation at the checkout, but what those people do is OVERWHELMING. I mean, binders. They have BINDERS of coupons that they bring to the store. And they enlist their kids, friends and relatives to push extra carts around the store for them. I don’t think so.

But Target. Target, I can do! I finally broke down and downloaded the Target Cartwheel app and their basic mobile app that navigates their website easier. I did this in-store a few weeks ago while a Target associate (team member?) and I tried to find the 5% off loofahs on our phones in the middle of the store. He suggested I download both apps and use them to my advantage. He added “and you should totally get a RED card too.” UGHHHH. I always say no to the cashier when they ask if I want one. So last week, I did my research and realized that 5% off everything, everytime, was a great deal if I’d be shopping at Target for, well, everything.

So, now you have the background, and you have your homework – download Target Cartwheel and their other mobile app, “and you should totally get a RED card too.” It took about a week from application to receipt of my RED card, so plan ahead.

Long story long – here’s how my shopping day went:

1. Final check of coupons checked against Cartwheel and mobile coupon deals. Also, check the weekly ad for “gift card” offers – these are deals that if you buy X amount of certain products, you get $5, $10, or $15 Target gift cards back!

2. Commit to myself that I will only buy what I came for and what I have coupons and/or Cartwheel deals for.

3. Once at Target, get on their WiFi and open the Cartwheel app as my shopping list.

Using the apps and coupons as a shopping list is a big help to keeping to task and budget. This works if you’re not bound to buying certain brands and flavors. For example, greek yogurt is always on sale – but if you’re a strict Yoplait or Dannon fan, you’ll miss out. Open your mind to trying the brand that’s on sale!

At checkout, it’s nice to tell the cashier that you have the apps and coupons so that they know not to speed ahead and press “total.” In addition to the app offers and coupons, I also had a $5 and $10 gift card from my last shopping trip.

Today, there was a snag, but it ended up working in my favor. The register froze, JUST LIKE ON EXTREME COUPONERS, and I actually had to switch registers AND unpack and have the cashier re-scan all of my items.

This unpacking and rescanning scored me a second $15 gift card! When you buy 2 HUGE boxes of Pampers Swaddlers this week, you get a $15 gift card back. So, I got paid $30 to buy diapers today, or, one box was nearly free (retail $34.95).

With Cartwheel app offers, Target mobile coupons, and coupons I clipped from, and 5% off with my RED card, I saved $20. I had $15 in gift cards from the last shopping trip, bringing savings to $35. I earned two $15 gift cards for next time with the diapers purchase! Since one of those was in error, I’ll call my savings from today $50.

The Cartwheel app is cool because it logs how much you’ve saved since you started using it – I’m at $48.90 on that, and I’ve only used it 3 times.

Lesson – if you’re like me and love Target, and especially if you buy  your groceries there – use all of the savings available to you!!

I usually only buy groceries a week at a time, but after this shopping trip, I’ve got a couple week’s worth of meals, I just need to add in fresh veggies. That’s a whole other post – my local $.99 Only store has amazing fresh seasonal produce, mostly on Tuesdays.

Highlights from this week’s ad and apps:

Tombstone pizzas: 10% off on Cartwheel, $1 off 3 printed coupon, $1 off 3 mobile coupon

Coffeemate Creamers (Girl Scout cookie flavors): 5% off on Cartwheel, $1.25 off of 3 printed coupon, $.55 off one printed manufacturer coupon

Pampers Swaddlers Diapers: buy 2, get $15 gift card, $1.50 off one printed manufacturer coupon

Archer Farms Trail Mix: 5% off on Cartwheel, $1 off two mobile coupon

Women’s Merona tops: 15% off on Cartwheel, $5 off $25 purchase mobile coupon


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