Shopping

Coupon Mom Olympics

I started couponing about eight years ago. My first job out of college paid practically nothing and using coupons provided a way to stretch my budget. Almost everything I learned about coupons back then came from CouponMom.com, so I was excited to have the opportunity to shop in her Coupon Mom Olympics last week.

Six shoppers were given $50 to buy as many groceries as possible for a local charity in less than 30 minutes. I’m by no means an extreme couponer, but I was hoping years of coupon knowledge would help me take home the gold, silver or bronze ($500, $250, $100 Kroger gift cards respectively). My training consisted of asking friends and co-workers for coupons and creating a spreadsheet with my shopping strategy. I was feeling confident until I saw two of my competitors come in with bags and binders full of more coupons than I have used in the past calendar year. And became completely intimidated when they said they got them from going dumpster diving each week.

Maybe I don’t have what it takes to be a coupon champion, but it was fun to pretend that I was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep. After realizing that we could do more than one transaction at the register (something I ordinarily have no patience for), I figured out a last minute deal and only spent about $37. I should have thrown more items into my cart to use up the $50 budget – oh well. While waiting for the rest of the contestants to check out, I sat with another shopper and my shopping assistant (by the way, having a shopping assistant was fantastic) in rocking chairs that were for sale in the middle of the paper goods aisle of the Kroger. They have surprisingly comfortable chairs for a grocery store.

About an hour later the results were announced. I came in 5th place with under $200 in groceries. The gold medal shopper, Ashley, stretched her $50 budget to $700 in groceries for North Fulton Community Charities. Together, all of the shoppers purchased nearly $2,000 in groceries to provide hunger relief in our community. A reporter was there to capture the action for the local news, if you want to see the Coupon Olympics for yourself.

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It is officially crunch time for Christmas shopping procrastinators. There is still time to buy some last-minute gifts, but check out the infographic below for presents you might want to avoid – or they might end up returned or destroyed. It was created with guys in mind, but I definitely agree with some of the gifts on the “most unwanted list.” More than half of men surveyed said they would not want to receive a cologne box set. I got this horrible perfume gift set as a Christmas gift a few years ago and, in addition to being allergic to it and not wanting to smell like Elizabeth Taylor, it was one of the worst gifts I have ever received.

Instead of giving into shopping panic and buying cheap cologne or magnetic chess sets, think of what the recipient would really like to receive. Even on Christmas Day, you can instantly send a gift card online or find something fun at drugstore. Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

Infographic Source

DollarShaveClub_Holiday_Infographic (2)

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Five Gifts That Give Back

December 9, 2013
Gifts That Give Back

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. The end of the year is also the most popular time for charitable giving. Almost a third of online donations are made during last two days of the year. I think a donation to someone’s favorite cause makes […]

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Six Ways to Save During the Holidays

November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are almost here, so it’s time to start thinking about ways to make it through the holidays without overspending.  Here are six things I do to maintain my budget during the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year: Make a Reasonable Budget I’ve been making a Christmas shopping budget each […]

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Make It or Buy It: Cake Pops

March 20, 2012

I’m a big fan of Jennifer Reese’s cookbook, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.  She does a great job of letting the reader know if an item is better to buy in a store or worth the time it takes to prepare it at home.  It turns out that making things from scratch is often […]

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Pinterest Envy

February 12, 2012

I got a Pinterest account months ago, but I’ve only been using it for a week.  My biggest fear about becoming an active Pinterest user was that “pinning” would become my new favorite way to waste time.  While my time-wasting fear was totally warranted (an hour on Pinterest goes by really quickly), the real danger […]

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My First Black Friday: Was it Worth It?

November 25, 2011

I hate crowds and getting up early, so I’ve always skipped Black Friday.  The news footage of people getting trampled and fighting each other for bargains has always made me wonder if being a Black Friday shopper was worth the effort.  I made my Christmas shopping list back in September and recently saw that one […]

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Small Business Saturday: Get a $25 Amex Credit

November 14, 2011

The thought of getting up early for Black Friday isn’t very appealing to me, but I love the idea of Small Business Saturday.  This second annual event encourages people to shop at local small businesses on Saturday, November 26th.  It’s been sad to see many local businesses close during the recession, so it’s great to […]

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