Last week, I decided to try out extreme couponing aka the “dark side”. This was not intentional at all. Since starting to use Instagram, I have been following a number of accounts that focus on personal finance, budgeting and savings. One particular user shared about getting free groceries so I thought, “why not see if this is real?”
My first experience was with Google Express, a service of Google that delivers groceries and other items to your door. I decided to use it at Whole Foods since they carry a lot of gluten free, vegan foods my son likes that are so darn expensive! I was able to get a $15 off coupon code and if I signed up for a membership, I would get delivery free. (Membership is $10 a month, but they give you free 3 months. I plan to cancel the membership). My total spending was $16.96 and I paid $1.96 for these four items: can of black beans $1.99 and 3 boxes of pasta mixes that are $4.99 each. Not a bad deal at all!!
My next adventure was with Instacart (warning: referral link). They have free delivery on your first order and I received $30 in coupons. I ordered six boxes of pasta mixes from Whole Foods and expected to pay nothing. When my order was delivered, the Instacart shopper knocked on my door. He told me that they only had 5 of the boxes I wanted. I still have $4.68 in credit since I was only charged for the items I received. Seeing a young man working his side hustle spoke to my heart and I gave him a 10% tip. In the end, I paid $2.53 for $25.32. Still, not a bad deal.
Now I caught the bug! I needed detergent and toilet paper, so I looked into how I could get some discounts. With coupons and a sale, the detergent was supposed be $3.24 each if you count the $5 gift card you get for buying two. Excited about getting a super deal, I drove to Target and got the last two containers of detergent containers they had. I also went to the clearance aisle and got toilet paper for $6.35. My daughter was with me and wanted to buy some boots that were on sale with a gift card her grandparents got her. When we went to check out, I was a little distracted trying to help her pay (and a little offended when the supervisor came up to the cashier and said, “Make sure you check the boots box for other items” as if my daughter was trying to steal something.) In the confusion of me asking if they said that to all customers or just minority ones, I forgot to use the cartwheel app to get 25% of my purchase. I went to customer service and they were nice enough to give me the value of the coupon or $4.50 but I think I ended up paying more because of the order I was supposed to do it in. At the end of the day, I paid $14.20 for 12 rolls of toilet paper and two 1.07 gallons of detergent.
What are my thoughts on the experience of extreme couponing? Would I do it again? What did I learn? Well, many of the deals are for first time users only. To use Instacart and Google Express again, I would definitely pay more than if I grocery shopped at the store myself. I may use the remaining balance on Instacart if I can get free delivery again. I never thought before to shop clearance for items I need, so I will definitely be doing that again when I have household needs. I saw quite a few more great deals, but I didn’t need any of the items offered. I don’t think stockpiling works for me but I don’t think it hurts to find great deals on things I planned on buying anyways.
What do you think? Did I get some good deals? Have you ever/do you extreme coupon? Is it worth the effort?