Let me start this post off by saying I am NOT a professional couponer. I am not like those [crazy] people you see on TV. I do not have a stockpile of items I don't need in my garage. I do not subscribe to multiple newspapers. This is how I coupon the easy way. I don't get hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for $0.58. I do save money on every trip, though!
Where Do I Get My Coupons?
The coupons I use come in "the bag" that is delivered to my mailbox each week. My mom's group also has a coupon train where you send your unwanted coupons on to the next friend and they take what they want and send it on. I get coupons from that as well as my lovely mom who always cuts extra coupons for me! You can also get coupons from your Sunday newspaper, but I don't get the paper anymore.
I've also used websites like coupons.com to find printable coupons. I've found that using printable coupons is best when you're looking for specific coupons, otherwise you waste a lot of ink/paper.
A lot of grocery stores have digital coupons that you can "load" onto your shopper's card. I do this and as soon as they scan my card, the coupons scan through automatically. Easy peasy!
For retail shops, you can almost always go to their website and sign up for coupons via email or snail mail! I also LOVE the website and app Retail-Me-Not. I have used this app SO many times on a whim. I'll find something I want, but feel too guilty to buy it at full price. Open up Retail-Me-Not, find a coupon, bam, item purchased guilt-free!
When Do I Coupon?
Cutting coupons really doesn't take long at all, you just need space. I usually cut coupons while watching my DVR shows during Carson's nap or after he has gone to bed. I try to do this every week...usually on Sunday night or early in the week during nap time!
|Chip likes saving money, too!|
Organizing My Coupons
When I cut my coupons, I have 3 piles: trash/scraps, coupons to file, and coupons to give away. The give away pile goes to my coupon buddy from my Mom's group. I bought a cute little coupon organizer at Staples and guess what? I used a coupon for it so I only paid $2!
When I first bought my coupon file, I had to decide on sections. I thought about what I usually have coupons for and what I usually purchase. I made the tabs on my computer by simply making small text boxes the size of the tab inserts that came with my file. Obviously you could hand write these as well, but isn't everything so much more fun in a cute font?!
I cut out my labels and used double-sided tape to attach them to the tab insert cards. Here are the tabs I decided on for my coupon file:
- Meats & Produce
- Boxed & Canned Food
- Dairy & Refrigerated
- Baking & Paper Goods
- Cleaning & Household
- Health & Beauty
- Pets & Baby
- Frozen Foods
- Misc. Coupons
- Target Coupons (Yes, I go often enough that I need a section JUST for Target!)
After I cut out my coupons, I clean out my file before filing my new coupons. I go through each section and discard any expired coupons. Once my file is cleaned out, I can file my new coupons.
How Do I Use My Coupons?
I usually shop at the same grocery store every week. Because of this, I'm able to wait for things to go on sale and watch their weekly ads. I try to always buy items when they're on sale or when I have a coupon, but obviously some things have to be purchased at full price sometimes! I meal plan which helps with couponing. I make my grocery list according to our weekly meal plan and pull out any coupons that I may need to use. I also plan around what coupons I have. For example, if I have coupons for ________, I will pick a recipe that uses that item!
I hope I was able to help some people save some money. I really think people overestimate the time it takes to cut coupons, it's SO easy and there are so many easy ways to save some dollar bills! :)
How do you coupon? Do you think it's worth the time?