Couponing it’s the new way to save for many, I have always used coupons I have just gotten better in the last few months. Faced with raising six children with only one income, some months barely making it I am always trying to find ways to save. After watching TLC’s extreme couponing I realized I was not couponing to my full potential. So this past August I challenged myself and this is what I did.
I told my family and friends to save me all of their extra coupons and I started purchasing more than one newspaper. I also subscribe to ALL You magazine which has lots of coupons and money saving tips. I created a coupon binder, I recently switched to a 3″ binder. I have it organized by numbered tabs 1) Produce, Dairy & Deli 2) Cereal & Snacks 3) Boxed & Canned foods 4) Condiments & Drinks 5) Frozen Food 6) Personal hygiene & First Aid 7) Household Non Food 8 )Misc 9 ) Specific Store 10) Store Coupon Policies.
I use the baseball card inserts sold at Wal-Mart for $5 pk of 35 inserts. I clip ALL the coupons of items I use, even if it’s not the brand I use. By clipping and organizing them myself I build a mental catalog of what I have in my binder. I shop at these stores Publix, Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Target, Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS and Walgreens. I keep the weekly flyers from the Sunday paper for most stores and anxiously await my grocery store flyers which arrive on Wednesdays. If there are more than one of the same inserts I separate them into identical stacks and cut 3 sheets at a time because clipping can be time-consuming. Every once in a while I get lucky and Gabriel will clip some for me and then I will file them.
**tip…learn your local stores coupon policies, they may change and they differ from state to state. Some states have double coupons and coupon limits.
**tip….make a routine of how many newspapers you will purchase and if easier to save time you can have them delivered to your home.
** tip...learn when your local stores weekly sales begin and end and if they offer rain checks.
**tip… the stores are coordinating their sales in combination with the coupons that are out, so be patient and wait for a good deal don’t just buy something to use the coupon make sure it’s a worthing sale.
** tip...Know how much you have in coupons before you check out because some cashiers will try to be super fast and end up skipping them.
**tip...Know where your stores clearance areas are, you can get big savings this way.
**tip…take your coupon binder with you, you may come across a great sale or clearance bargain not advertised. (example..the other day the skintimate shaving cream which is normally $2.79 was on a clearance table for $1.23 and I had 0.55- coupons, there were 4 left I paid 0.68 for each one, thanks to the fact I had my binder)
**tip..some stores have a store coupon section around their weekly ads, always make a stop there on your way in the store.
**tip…check online sites for extra $$ off coupons or one day sales.
Remember there is no right system for couponing, what works for me may not work for you. It’s not a science, I’m very OCD so if I’m not excessively organized I cannot bring myself to go out. I prefer to go to different stores for their sales, I know Wal-Mart can price match but realistically unless I know the cashier they always mess something up and I already spend enough time planning I don’t want to be at the register forever. I try to go to my regular cashiers, I will wait for them even if there line is lengthy because I know they take their time and they appreciate my savings; plus I enjoy the encouragement from them at the end.
For example, my Publix grocery stores ads run from Thursday to Wednesday so I go every Wednesday around 9pm, there are not many people in the store and usually the same cashiers are there. Publix allows you to use their store coupon combined with a manufacturers coupon so I’m basically using double coupons. They also have awesome buy one get one free sales each week and you can use a coupon for each item. One item rings a price the other scans at 0.00 so you must get both items but you are allowed to use a coupon on each item. Plus, if I’m running a little low on cash and I know an item will most likely be out of stock I get a rain check and I am then able to use it within a month when I’m having a better week $$. I abide by each stores policies and so far have had no issues. You will run into stubborn cashiers that seem bothered by your couponing but who cares, just watch them like a hawk because they will try to give you a hard time or skip your coupons.
When i clip my coupons I create my grocery list by reading all my sale papers, just because you see a sale does not mean it’s the best. Compare prices, even if it’s a 0.50 difference because if you’re getting more than one item that difference adds up quickly. Match up the coupons with the sales. Here is the method to my maddness…I created this chart to help me shop, this way I walk into the store already knowing what I want, how many and how much it will all cost me.
In the above price chart I have included a check box so items can be checked off your list.
Store name so there is no need to use separate sheets if your only picking up a few items.
Item description, item size and the type of sale EA (each) or BOG (buy one get one free).
The items sale price, number of coupons and their amounts.
Item quantity, final cost the total for those items and amount per unit. Unit for me is package but if you want to calculate by each single item it’s up to you. For example on the scott paper towels the final price will be $4.00 for a pk of 6 which will = 0.66 per roll.
EXAMPLE if your purchasing feminine pads BOGO @ $3.47 for two and you are purchasing 4 than you would multiply $3.47 x 2 because 2 will ring at that price while the other two will ring at 0.00. If you have 4 coupons at $1- ea you would subtract $4- from the $6.94 leaving you with a total purchase price of $2.94 for four items you then divide the final total by the number of items (4) and you ejust paid 0.73 for each pkg of pads.
If you like this method here is a Blank Price Chart for your convenience…
Learning to coupon can be time consuming but really worth it in the end. There are alot of great coupon sites out there that can help you figure out which system works best for you. The hardest part is finding the time, I do it while my family is sleeping. And it took me a few weeks to really learn to compare the sales papers but I’m very happy I make the time for it. I also use it as my “alone time”.
I will tell you it becomes addicting, the savings I mean!! For me this is my way of providing for my family, you can say it’s my second job stretching our pennies as far as I could. Please feel free to share this page, leave any comments or questions or email me. I have a link to Krazy Coupon Lady on my blog roll, I used her site to help me get started. I am in no was an extreme couponer but I would love to get there one day, who knows maybe I will 😉
Don’t forget to mail your left over or expired coupons to our military families.
They can use coupons up to six months past the expiration date.
Overseas Coupon Program
ATTN: Amanda Brumbaugh
10960 W Bridgetower Dr
Boise ID 83709
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