Discount-Calcuating Magic [aka Behold My Mad Skills]

I was in the middle of planning a coupon-ified shopping trip yesterday, and it dawned on me that there HAD to be a better way to figure out how much I was about to spend/save than a bunch of scribbled notes and messy calculations on the backs of envelopes.  So, I went to my brain’s memory file cabinets, scrolled all the way back to my sixth grade computer class, pulled out the long-disused file on Excel spreadsheet creation, and put that knowledge to work.  Behold, the fruit of my labor:

I was only off by a few cents, and that was mostly because I got (read: impulse bought) a couple things that were not on the list while I was there.

It worked so well that I’ve decided to make it available to all of you – FOR FREE!  Let me know how well it works for you, and if there’s something that I should change to make it better (after all, you all are probably better at couponing than I am at this point).

To download the original spreadsheet:

For Microsoft Excel 2007:  click here

The way I designed it to be used is like this:

  • Under “Item Name,” type in the name of the item (be as specific as possible, I’ll explain later)
  • Under “Quantity,” type the number of items you intend to purchase as whole units
  • Under “Retail Price,” put the normal full-retail price for that item in the store you’re going to visit
  • Under “Sale Price,” put the current sale price, including any store coupons (or you can add those later on their own, but you’ll have to do a little more of your own figgerin’ to do it that way)
  • Under “Mfr Coupon,” put the amount of the manufacturer coupon you intend to use, if any, in terms of the amount to be discounted per unit
  • … let the spreadsheet do the rest!


This week, I had:

  • 1 manufacturer coupon for $2 off Garnier Fructis Blow-Dry Perfector, which is currently on sale for $9.99 at CVS, but normally retails for $11.89 there.
  • 2 manufacturer coupons, each for $1 off two boxes of Kellogg Corn Pops Cereal, which are currently on sale for $1.88 each at Rite Aid, but that normally retail for $4.49 there.
  • 3 manufacturer coupons, each for $0.70 off one box of Kellogg Raisin Bran Cereal, which are currently on sale for $2 each at Stop & Shop, but that normally retail for $4.29 there.  Stop & Stop automatically doubles all coupons worth $0.99 or less.
  • No manufacturer coupons for them, but Lays chips are on sale for Buy 1 Get 1 Free at CVS; they normally retail for $3.99 each there.

I’d enter all of that like this:

Then, the spreadsheet automatically calculates the savings and the total out-of-pocket cost (OOP).  And the end result looks like this:

Pretty cool, huh?

Admittedly, I’d advise doing one list per store, just so you don’t confuse yourself or buy things at the wrong store (not that I’ve done that recently or anything) but for the purposes of explaining how this works, I broke that rule.

Here’s the link again to download it: click here

Leave a comment and tell me how it works for you, and email me if you have an especially successful shopping trip, I just might post about it!

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