Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview With The Couponer: The Coupon Hustler

Morgan from The Coupon Hustler has been gracious enough to let me interview her today.  I think you'll enjoy getting to know her better.

Julie: How long have you been couponing? Why did you decide to start?

Morgan: I started couponing in December of 2005 when my first son was born. I was a teen mom, and we didn't have help from any family, and we lived on our own. Back then, I would use coupons, but I never even thought of matching the coupons to the sales. I eventually realized I was spending more than I was realistically saving! In January 2011, during a period of time both my husband and I found ourselves unemployed, I saw the first episode of Extreme Couponing. Seeing this episode couldn't have come at a better time. It was a daily struggle for me just to buy the store brand laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, etc. I thought to myself, "Wow! I never thought of that!" (referring to matching coupons with the sales). I said to my husband that night, "On Sunday, we are going to buy 4 Sunday Papers, we can do this!" I did exactly that, on that following Sunday! I heard about WUC on the show, and went to Nathan's website, along with several other couponing websites and taught myself how to coupon!

Julie: How big is your family? What is your grocery budget? Has your grocery budget changed since you started couponing?

Morgan: My family consists of me, my husband, and my two boys (ages 5 and 3) along with 2 German Shepherd dogs, a Chihuahua, a cat, a California King Snake, 7 Chickens, and 4 Ducks! We have many to feed! My budget is $500 a month for groceries, and $20/month for H&B/Cleaning products. I don't ever purchase garbage bags, and that saves me about $10/month. I buy so many groceries, that I use the grocery bags for garbage bags! I used to spend $250/week on groceries; which in my book is insane! I am buying the same products as before, except now I'm getting the name brands for less than the store brands!

Julie: What is your favorite store to shop at?

Morgan: Personally, my favorite store is Publix. We just moved from FL to TN and in FL there is no coupon doubling. Although, Publix in FL accepts stacked coupons (store coupons combined with MFG coupons for one item); competitors coupons; and of course the Publix Promise. Now, we live where prices of groceries are significantly cheaper, and they double coupons (at Kroger). I haven't been able to find as many deals as I was able to at Publix. Kroger does offer the mega sales, which I believe makes shopping at Kroger worth it!

Julie: What has been your favorite coupon deal?

Morgan: My favorite coupon deal was the 10/$10 Mueller's Pasta deal at Winn Dixie in FL. In February 2011, just a month after starting out, I found a wonderful deal at WD! Mueller's Pasta was on sale for $1, and there was an IP on Mueller's website for $1/1 (which allowed unlimited prints). I printed about 200 coupons and went to three different stores. At the same time, there was a $5/$25 store coupon in the weekly ad, so I separated my pasta, meat, and milk (because of the overage) into about 6 or 7 different transactions! This was when I realized, I CAN do it even though my store doesn't double coupons! I later found a similar, but better deal, at Publix for Mueller's Pasta! It went on sale BOGO (Price for one: $1.43), and I had more of the $1/1 coupons! This time, I had $0.57 overage for every two that I bought. I combined this deal with another favorite of mine, the Purina One Beyond Free or $3/1 cat food (about 30 boxes or so), along with meat, laundry detergent, lysol, etc, and ended my transaction spending $2 and saving over $400!!

Julie: I did that deal at Publix, and it worked out great!.

Julie: Do you stockpile? If so, where do you keep your stockpile? Got any pictures to share?

Morgan: Yes, I do stockpile! Right now, since we just moved out of state, I had to say bye-bye to my refrigerated and frozen stockpile, but as of right now here's a few things in my pantry I have stockpiled the following using coupons: Hunts Tomato Sauce/Paste/Diced Tomatoes, Kraft Homestyle Mac N Cheese, Mueller's Pasta, Kraft BBQ Sauce, Manwich, Cereal, Coca-Cola, Manhatma's Yellow Rice, and Steamfresh Veggies (frozen). In my bathrooms, I have Purina Beyond Cat Food, Dentastix, Kibbles N Bits, Pedigree Dog Food, Herbal Essences Shampoo/Conditioner, Nivea Body Wash, Dove Body Wash, Rightguard Body Wash, Dove Deodorant, Maalox, Halls Cough Drops, Advil, Aleve, Excedrin, etc.! My food stockpile stays in the pantry and the kitchen, but my H&B stockpile is spread throughout 3 of my bathrooms, and under the kitchen sink! I don't have any pictures at this time. :(

Julie: What made you decide to start a blog? What do you hope to share with your blog?

Morgan: After successfully teaching my neighbor how to coupon, I sought out to teach more people. I am a very resourceful person, and I needed somewhere to share all my good finds, deals, success trips, etc.! My blog is still in the works, but it is new and should be fully loaded by May 2011!

Julie: Congratulations on getting started!

Julie: If you could give one piece of advice to coupon newbies what would it be?

Morgan: I would tell them to start slow! My first month of couponing, I spent way too much at the drug stores, even after coupons! I was going coupon crazy! Get comfortable with the prices at your stores and do the math at home before you go to the store to avoid overspending! Always go with a list!

Get to know Morgan better:

- Would you like to be interviewed and share your couponing story? You don't have to have a blog of your own to share, just comment or email me at drunkitty2000 at and we'll get the interview started.

Sent Hubby to the Store Trip

Since I wasn't feeling well and we needed eggs, I figured it would be smart to go ahead and give hubby my Publix list.  I did take the "stock up" items off the list (except 1) and cut it down to just the things we actually needed. 

Yogurt (Voskos on sale 10/$10)
Salad (Publix brand on sale 2/$4)
BIC razors

I wrote in the amounts next to the items corresponding to the number of coupons I was giving him - 10 BIC razors, 3 Voskos yogurt.  He texted me to say that they were out of the BIC razors.  So, I'll have to go back sometimes this week and at least get a raincheck.

He came home to tell me that he's spent the entire $20 I gave him.  How the heck?  He handed me the receipt and the first half was filled with Voskos yogurt.  How many yogurts did you buy?  Well, your list said to get 10!

I really hope I like Voskos yogurt!

So here's what the trip turned out to be....

10 Voskos Yogurt @ 10/$10
- (2) $.75/1 coupons
- (1) B2G1 free coupon
1 Spring salad mix @ 2/$4
18ct Egglands Best Eggs @ $3.49 (I should have specified that the coupon I gave him was best for the 12ct)
- (1) $.35/1 coupon
1 bag Grapefruit @ $3.29
1 bag oranges @ $3.99

= $19.57 +tax

Saving Star - A New Way to Save

I learned about this from Stacie over at Simply CVS, I haven't tried it yet but I'm looking forward to it.

Saving Star is a new website that you can link your savings cards up to.  Saving Star has their own coupons that you can add to your cards (add the coupons to all your cards at once), where Saving Star is really different is that instead of taking the amount off of your total (like typical e-coupons from Cellfire or Shortcuts), SavingStar tracks the savings you earn through them and when you reach $5 you can redeem your savings in the form of an gift card, Paypal credit or other options.  From what I'm seeing, it shouldn't be hard to hit $5 with many of their coupons being in the $1 range.

I signed up and added my CVS, Rite Aid & Kroger card all at one time.  I'll be sure to report back how this works out for me after I've had a chance to earn some savings.

BIC Razor Deal

I'm so glad I've hung on to all those great BIC razor coupons that have come out in the last month.  I've got quite a few thanks to some of the wonderful coupon traders over at WeUseCoupons, and now is the time to use them.

Publix has an awesome deal this week on BIC disposable razors.  They have the 3packs on BOGO for $5.49 (aka $2.75 each).  There have been two great coupons in the last month, 1 for $2 off BIC disposable razors and the other for $3 off BIC disposable razors.  If you have the $3 coupon you'll be making some money, but even the $2 coupon makes for an awesome deal.

Timing on this one couldn't be better as my hubby just loaded the last of his razors into his baggie and our stockpile is now empty!

Great Deal on NatureLuxe at CVS

Last week, I posted about being a BzzAgent for Covergirl NatureLuxe.  Over the weekend, I finally got a chance to try the new Natureluxe Silk foundation and I have to say I like it quite a bit.  I'll be posting a full on review (with pictures) in the next few days, but in the meantime I wanted to share a deal on this product at CVS this week.

CVS is offering you a $2ECB when you buy Covergirl NatureLuxe Foundation this week.  Now, combine that with the $2 coupon (which has been available in the paper as recently as this week, or let me know and I'll send you one) and that makes for a nice deal.

As for a preview of my review, let me just say that Covergirl Natureluxe Silk foundation could easily replace two products I've been using from Clinque (and save me a whole lot of money, in doing so).

Free Tea Sample

Sign up for the Healthy Tea Store's newsletter and get a free sample of their Japanese Cherry Blossom Tea.

Huntsville Peeps: Get 50% Off on Huntsville Times

For my friends in Huntsville AL, if you've been considering getting a subscription to the Huntsville Times but have been putting it off for whatever reason, you'll want to call THIS WEEK to get one.

They currently have a deal where you can get 50% Off either a weekly subscription or Sunday only.  I picked up a 6 Month Sunday Only subscription for just $21.75 (that's about 80 cents/wk).  If you prefer you can get the full week delivered for $41.10 for 6 months.  This offer is only good until May 1.  When you call, be sure to tell them that you want the 50% off deal (and mention the price listed), as evidenced from when I called they aren't going to give it to you automatically.

My Rite Aid Trip - Using Rewards Before They Expire

I posted on Facebook Saturday that I'd actually managed to go an entire week without shopping, ANYWHERE!  I have to admit I was impressed.  But, the truth is that I hadn't shopped because I hadn't felt good.  Last Sunday, I realized that my not feeling good the week before had allowed $9 in rewards (between Walgreens and Rite Aid) to expire without being used.  Weirdly, I wasn't that upset by it.  However, after posted on Saturday that I'd made it an entire week without shopping anywhere (even the grocery store) I figured I'd better check to make sure I didn't have any more rewards about to expire.  It was a good thing I checked, as I had $10 in +UPs for Rite Aid that were expiring that day.

I hadn't really looked at the ads very closely during week, so I took another look and I was happy to see the great Nivea deal (buy $15, get $5+UP), and figured that after coupons I'd be trading $6 in +UPs for $5 in +UPs, so that only left another $4 to spend.  That is, if I could find the Nivea, which I couldn't.

Two stores later I finally decided to just do it and here's what I ended up with.

  • 2 Dixie paper plates @ $3.59 each (after 10% wellness discount) = $7.18
  • 2 Post Great Grains cereals @ $4.29 BOGO = $4.29
    • (2) $1/1 Post Cereals
  • 2 4pks Cadbury Cream Eggs @ $1.99 each = $3.98
  • 2 Reese's peanut butter eggs @ $.50 each = $1
  • 2 CK kitchen tools @ $.90 each (after 10% wellness discount) = $1.80
  • 1 Diet Dr Pepper @ $1.34 (after 10% wellness discount) = $1.34
    • used $3/$15 survey coupon
    • used $10 in +UPs
Total Before Coupons & Discounts =  $28.98
Total After Discounts = $19.49
Total After Discounts & Coupons = $2.92 (95% savings)

Unfortunately, that used up all my +UPs, so I'll have to start over again with building them.  I was doing really well for several months there with rolling them regularly and keeping at least $10 worth at all times.  Luckily, Rite Aid seems to be the easiest of the drugstores for me to shop, so I'm sure I'll have them back soon.

Hobby Lobby 40% Off Coupon

Hobby Lobby has another 40% OFF any 1 Item coupon available this week.  You can print it and take it with you or you can pull it up on your phone or mobile device and just show it to the cashier to get your discount.  You can also use it when shopping at online.  Click here for the coupon (valid through April 30, 2011)

Hot Deal: Resin Knives & Cutting board

HousewaresDeals is the daily deal site for houseware items, and today's deal is a pretty nice ones.  It's 4 resin- coated knives and a glass cutting board for just $19.

I bought a similar set a month or so ago from them and I love it.  The knives are amazing.  Even my husband, the knife snob really liked them and commented on how easily they slice, dice and chop.