Thursday, June 13, 2013

Start Couponing and Start Saving

Couponing is one of the main ways I keep my grocery budget at a mere $30 a week.  I have been serious about it for the last year and have gotten pretty good, if I do say so myself.  I have yet to figure out how to get $500 worth of groceries for free but I also don't know what I would do with all those groceries anyways, so I thought I'd share just a few things I've learned.

Every couponer has their own way of doing things.  If there's one thing I have learned it's you have to do what makes sense to you.  I started out with a little accordian folder.  That got old really fast and I quickly switched to a binder with baseball card holders inside.

This was the only thing that made sense for me. I've seen other's use shoe boxes, accordian files, and even suitcases. Do what works for you.
I don't carry my binder with me, into every store, every day.  Cuz that would be crazy.  Instead I carrry a little 4x6 photo album that I use as a small coupon organizer.  I have slots labeled with the names of the stores, with the coupons I need for each store in those slots.

I also use envelopes if I need to do more than 1 transaction.  This keeps me more organized in the store.  I have my list with what I'm purchasing in each transaction and put those coupons in the envelope.
Then those envelopes go in the store's slot.
For easy quick access.
When I've taught a couple family members how to start couponing one of the questions I got was "how do I make my lists?"  Well here is how I start:
1st I visit my favorite coupon websites for their store match-ups.  While looking at those sites I make a list for the store(s) I plan on shopping at, the items at the lowest prices, and the coupons needed (to make sure I have them).
Here is what it looks like:
After I have my list of the best deals and their prices after coupons, I start figuring out what I'm actually going to buy with my whopping $30.

I have a few websites I check regularly for coupon match-ups, here are my favorites: - this site is by Joni from Extreme Couponing and she lives in Toledo, Ohio so most of the deals and prices she lists are relevant for my area as well which is why her site is the one I check most frequently.  This is the one I use to make my weekly shopping lists. this site is by Joannie from Extreme Couponing but she lives in California so some of the stores she lists and deals aren't good where I live.  She does have great deals for magazines.  I've gotten Rachel Ray and Taste of Home for under $4 a year the last couple years. site is by Jessica from Extreme Couponing and she lives in Idaho.  Once again many of the stores and deals aren't relevant to my area but she does post coupons and other deals the other sites don't have.

These sites are how I create my shopping list.  I generally write down all the best deals and then go through to pick what I need and what will work within my budget for that week.  I have had to pass up some great deals because of my small budget and what I need for that week, but we have never done without any necessities.

I get the Sunday paper delivered to my house every week, but unless it is full of loads of amazing coupons I don't normally buy any more than the 1.  Instead I go to coupon clipping websites and purchase multiples of the coupons I need.  This also gives me the opportunity to get regional coupons that I didn't get in my paper. based in Florida, and I've had great success with them.  They do have a minimum purchase of $3.96 which can be annoying when you only want a handful of coupons. based in Tennessee.  I love them because I get the coupons the quickest and they have no minimum purchase, which is fantastic.  I can order 5 coupons or 50 and it's ok. based in Tennessee.  They have their coupons up the Wednesday before they actually get in your paper.  Haven't a clue how they do this but they do.  They also sell the whole coupon insert.  I've never needed to purchase the whole thing but it's nice to know I could if I wanted.

Couponing is kind of like a learned art form.  It's quite a bit of information to take in but go to the websites and start perusing through them.  Print a couple coupons, take them to the store, and save some money.   It takes practice and like anything else, the more you do it, the better you will get.  Then you too can make your $30 budget work.  I promise once you start saving you won't be able to stop, it's seriously addicting!

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