16 November 2010

how-to shop and save with coupons

by kendra of key lime digital designs

I am certain we have all had times in our life when there is that extra push to save money. As full-time college students and parents, my husband and I are in that season of our life. Christmas and the holidays are around the corner {in my family that means: 2 birthdays, christmas, and an anniversary all within a week}, not to mention the costly affair of applying to pharmacy school.

That is what brought me to the conclusion that I needed to start tackling the project of couponing. I am going to be honest, when I see a lady walking around the store with a binder of coupons I think, "aren't you embarrassed?" But, what is there to be embarrassed about saving $37 a shopping trip? Or spending 50% - 60% less on groceries a month? Not a single thing. I am a binder lady now and you can be one too.

:: Use your Resources to obtain coupons.
Printable Internet coupons:
Once a day or every few days I browse through the 3 coupon sites below. If I see a post with a printable coupon for an item I typically buy say, save $.55 on Cheerios, then I print it.

The Krazy Coupon Lady
Hip 2 Save
Utah Deal Diva

Local newspaper: A lot of coupon ladies get the multiple copies of the weekend newspaper for the coupons. This is great if you plan on stock-piling. {Buying a lot of something when it is a screamin’ deal.} My family lives in a small-ish house and we don't have a lot of stock-piling room so I stick with the printable internet coupons.

:: Get organized.
It doesn’t matter how you organize your coupons. You can use a binder, folder, etc. You can put them in alphabetically, buy expiration date, or by sections at the grocery store. Just make sure it works for you.

:: Choose where to shop.
When you are just starting out only focus on one or two stores. The 3 coupon sites above post several times a day with multiple couple deal scenarios. Don't stress yourself trying to get them all. I choose to do my main shopping at my local Smith's. I used to think Smith's was an expensive store, and it can be if you don't buy the items on sale. It is the same way at every store. Just pick the store you like most and that is close to your house.

:: Match up.
I read through the Weekly Smith's Ad that comes in the mail. Look at the things that are on sale. Try and match the manufacture coupons to the things that are already on sale. For example, last week at Smith's they had mac & cheese on sale for .49 then I used a coupon for $.75 off two boxes. That made each box of mac & cheese only .23. That is a good deal!

:: Write a list.
Once you have figured out the best deals and what you plan on buying write a shopping list. That way you don’t forget anything. I also pull out the coupons for the things on my list and move them to the front of my binder. That way you aren't trying to gather your coupons while the cashier is waiting for you to pay.

::Another tip.
Just take all your coupons to the store even if you don't plan on using them. {hence the giant binders} The first couple weeks I was trying to coupon I just carried in the stack of coupons I planned on using. But, every time I got to the store I would find something in a clearance bin, or that wasn't advertised in the ad on sale. I would kick myself for not having the coupon to make it an even better deal.

Trust me, I know it is a little intimidating getting started. I am not an expert by any means. I am learning new tricks to the couponing game every week. And, that is what it has become to me. A game. I love to see how much money I can save or the look on the cashiers face when my bill goes from $72 to $35.

Don't feel like you have to jump head first into couponing. Even using a few coupons here and there is great. Every dollar counts, right?

Do you have any other couponing tips?

image via flickr.


chloe said...

i think one good coupon tip is to remember to be realistic- you can't have a coupon on absolutely every item you need to buy- well i guess maybe you could, but i have never had that experience :)
couponing is great but it takes effort and organization- 2 things i am still slowly learning

bedelia said...

Well, along with the match sales to coupons. I actually go to Walmart and they price match any ad price. So, I make a list of all stores good deals that I have coupons for and then, price match and coupon. I've only had like 2 cashiers ask for the ad but I think they are supposed to so I always bring them just in case. I believe other stores price match as well. i just haven't looked into it.

Anonymous said...

These are great tips! Thanks so much for posting them.


Katy said...

Only use special offers if you would buy the item anyway. Otherwise you're spending more on things you wouldn't usually buy. A good test before you go ahead.

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