Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Couponing

SO, you know by now that we have ridiculous grocery bills each month due to the special foods our kids have to eat. Usually we hit the lovely $1200 mark by the time we add paper towels, toilet paper, etc. into the mix. Now I don't know anyone who can afford that, so we have been trying to find ways to cut it back. One way is to buy fewer convenience foods and to make more from scratch when I can. This helps, but not enough to make a big dent.

So I decided to get into coupons. When I first started using them, I would save $10 or so per trip to the grocery store, but I knew there had to be more to it. I had heard of people saving half and even getting some stuff FREE because of coupons. So my research began. I quickly discovered that the first step is to check your weekly circulars in the Sunday paper. If you don't receive a Sunday paper, buy one. If you live in a small town, try to get the metro area paper...it has more coupons. Also--check the paper before you leave the store. If the newspaper runs out of coupons, the subscription papers get them first and then they alternate for the store/sale newspapers. The 4 fliers that I always check: Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, & Target. I look at Food City and Ingles but rarely shop there. They just don't carry enough of the kids' food.

My Sunday afternoon is basically all about coupons. I have learned that the key is to cut out any coupons that you might possibly ever consider using. There are items that are not my 'brand' that I have learned to like when they are super cheap. So I cut out my coupons and get my organizer out (this is very important to have. I got a plastic one with tabs at CVS) And I flip through my coupons to refresh my memory of what I have. Then I go through the circulars and cut out extra coupons there and circle or cut out the items that I think we might buy. The idea is to get the item on sale and then get extra cash off by using your coupons. Sometimes you have to cut out coupons and save them. Often the items will go on sale 1-2 weeks after the coupons come out.

My next step is to look online for printable coupons that I can use on items that did not have coupons in the paper. There are several sources for these. I will post them at the end. Just know that the coupon needs to say manufacturer coupon in order to be used at any store.


Printable Coupon Sites


For the products that you buy regularly, sign up for their newsletters. Often they will send subscribers special coupons via email.

Finally I check the following sites to see about deals that help me get stuff (usually toiletries) super cheap and sometimes FREE.

Another very important thing: MAKE SURE YOU LEARN ABOUT REGISTER REWARDS FROM WALGREENS & CVS EXTRA CARE BUCKS FROM CVS! I often get my best deals (free stuff) from these 2 places.
You can also load coupons to your Value card via Upromise. These are called E-coupons. You can also load coupons on to your Kroger card here.



When it is time to go, I make a list for each store, and put all coupons for that store's purchases in a Ziploc bag together and label it. Brandon is the shopper. He is better at following the list than I am. He goes and uses the coupons and gets the deals. Usually he goes to CVS, Walgreens, Earth Fare and Kroger each week. Sometimes Target is thrown in there too. These stores are all pretty close together and the extra work and planning is DEFINITELY worth it for us.


There is so much more and I have only scratched the surface, but maybe this will help you get started. By using coupons and the above resources, we have been saving $100 per week, and getting brand name stuff that I would not have purchased before.

4 comments:

Gabrielle said...

I hope to see you at The Knoxville Coupon Fair on Saturday!!
Gabe

Nina said...

Thanks Sunny....I have gotten out of the habit but you have sparked my interest again =) We are trying to live on a tight budget and I need to save as much as possible where I can in order to make it work for us. You are a wonderful mother....I love reading your bog and entries on FB. Have a wonderful evening.

All About the Bailey's said...

Look at you! Super MOM!!!
Thanks for the info...will check it out, I don't usually save that much, however I have this rule that my coupons must stay in the car and visable so that I will actually use them...and I have the rule that every where I go I must first ask myself...."Do I have a coupon for that?" Hope to see you soon.
Miranda

Sarah said...

Hip2Save.com is a good site, too.