My family and I are always on the lookout for great deals at grocery stores, pharmacies, and general goods stores. When we find a deal that results in 50% off of an item we like to buy, we generally buy three or four of that item. However, when a deal comes along that saves us 90% or more, that is when we really stock up.
Because we are a family of extreme couponers and our process is well established, saving 50% takes little effort. Our goal, however, is to save 90%, and that takes a bit of extra effort to achieve. Thankfully, it’s become easier to reach this goal by using SavingsAngel and its new “Price Watcher” feature.
How Extreme Couponing Works
In a nutshell, as an extreme couponer, I collect and file coupons, then look at the sales in the recent store flyers and match the coupons with the sale. I determine if the final price of a sale item plus a coupon makes it worth buying.
For example, say that a single bar of Olay soap normally costs $1.75. It then goes on sale for $1.25. The sale alone is good for about 29% off, and is not sufficient to justify making the purchase. However, if I remember that I have been holding onto a $1 coupon for Olay products, I can use it on this single bar and get it for only $0.25:
One Olay soap bar: $1.25 (on sale)
$1 off manufacturer’s coupon: -$1
Final price: $0.25
At that price, I would most likely use 10 coupons to buy 10 bars of soap and pay just $2.50. That is how to stock up and save time and money. It saves money because I didn’t pay $17.50 for 10 bars, and I saved time because I don’t have to go back to the store to buy soap for quite a while.
But what if you’re new to couponing? What if you don’t already have an established process to match up coupons and sales? Wouldn’t it be nice if all the math, research, and deal-matching could be done for you?
How SavingsAngel Helps You Save
SavingsAngel is an online service dedicated to helping you cut your grocery bill in half – for a nominal fee of $5 per week (billed every four weeks). Whether you are newbie or a budding extreme couponer, SavingsAngel can help you move up to the next level.
When you partner with SavingsAngel, you outsource much of the time-consuming tasks to them like matching coupons to in-store sales. However, you still have to do your part too.
Here are the responsibilities that SavingsAngel covers:
- Compiling Sales Data. Its network of 70 Angels (employees and contributors) gather and compile all of the sales ads from the major (and minor) grocery chains, pharmacies, dollar stores, general stores, and office supply stores. This includes non-advertised sales that are not in the store circulars due to lack of space. These sales are only found by actually visiting the retailer. If the item is on sale, SavingsAngel knows about it.
- Researching Coupon Sources. Using its partnerships with manufacturer and vendor outlets, SavingsAngel matches those sales with the largest network of printable coupons found anywhere. If a coupon exists for the product you wish to buy, SavingsAngel can tell you where to find it.
- Reading the Fine Print. SavingsAngel double-checks all coupons recommended to you. Specifically, it tells you the expiration date, quantity limits, whether the coupon can be doubled, size limitations, exclusions based on flavor, and max dollar amounts. The bottom line is that when a coupon is paired up with a product, you can be sure it will work at checkout.
- Reporting Deals. The deals are put together for you to view. You can find the item’s regular price, the sale price, which coupons to click on to print, which coupons to cut out from your newspaper inserts, the final price, and the savings percentage. If the deal is acceptable by your standards, you check it off to print out later.
Price Watcher Alert Service
Price Watcher is a new feature that sorts through all the deals on SavingsAngel and alerts you to the ones that you want most. You specify which deals you would like to see by choosing a savings percentage on a wide variety of product categories. Any deal that meets or exceeds the savings threshold you set for that category will be sent to your email inbox.
For example, you can set the category “bagels” at 40% and “trash bags” at 60%. After your preferences are set, you’ll receive an alert when any new deals are reported that match your settings. With more than 200 categories, there’s a lot of room for customization.
Price Watcher allows you to fine-tune percentages on products inside of categories as well. For example, even if you set the “peanut butter” category to 60%, you can override it and set it to 50% specifically for “Jif Peanut Butter 12 oz.” and 80% for “Peter Pan Peanut Butter 12 oz.” There are more than 30,000 products in all, so fine tuning is something that can be accomplished over time, rather than all at once. You can also exclude an entire category, such as “disposable tableware,” by removing the percentage on it. No deals will be sent to you on any category you exclude.
To me, this is crucial. Price Watcher has effectively eliminated the need to look at any grocery store sales pages in the newspaper. Since I no longer have to match up store sales with the coupons I have in my collection, I can relax and let the deals come to me via email. When I receive a Price Watcher Alert, I know it matches my specifications, and I need to do nothing more than clip or print the coupons required for that deal. This has saved me a lot of time.
In addition to doing all of the research and matching, SavingsAngel provides the following resources to help you in your extreme couponing ventures:
- Online Community and Forum. Meet other SavingsAngel customers and discover how well it’s working for them. You can ask questions from veteran couponers and receive instant answers.
- Help and Support. You can find FAQs and video tutorials, and can even talk to a help desk Angel if you need assistance.
- SavingsAngel Academy. Discover a new way to shop and how to start saving hundreds of dollars a month on groceries.
- Meal Planning Service. This service teaches you how to make healthy meals and snacks with the items you save money on.
- Product Search. Want to know how much an item costs at your store, even if it’s not on sale? Do a product search and add items to your shopping list before you head to the store.
- Coupon Search. If you’re looking for a specific coupon, SavingsAngel knows where to find it. If it’s printable, a link is provided.
Your Part in the Partnership
- Collecting and Printing Coupons. You still need to buy newspapers or collect coupon inserts. SavingsAngel tells you which inserts have the coupons you need to clip and which coupons to print.
- Shopping at the Grocery Store. You still must do your own shopping, but this should be fun now because you will spend a lot less than before.
- Setting Your Preferences. Tell the SavingsAngel Price Watcher what you like and don’t like. Your preferences determine what deals you will be notified of.
- Spreading the Word. SavingsAngel gladly pays for word-of-mouth referrals. Refer four people and your membership is free.
My experience with SavingsAngel has been truly remarkable. I’ve tried other couponing services before, and in many cases, I have found better deals on my own. I also subscribe to and follow multiple couponing websites; I’ve found that sometimes deals are outdated or expired, or the links to printable coupons don’t work.
During my test of the Price Watcher feature, I set all the categories to 90% as a default, and SavingsAngel found some deals that I did not find on my own. I realize that brand-name cola is not something that’s often found with 90% savings, so I set that percentage to 50%. SavingsAngel located where I could buy two liters for 65% off, and that made me very happy.
SavingsAngel is easy to learn and follow. As you pursue the outlined deals, you will surely cut your grocery bill in half or more.
Have you had any experience using SavingsAngel?