Couponing. Dun dun dun. Some of you might be ectatic that I am writing about it today because you LOVE couponing and everything about it. You love the rush you get when you save a lot of money. Then on the other hand some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying "couponing...who has time for that?" Well friends I am right smack dab in the middle of both of you. I love it. I love seeing other's successes with couponing, but then sometimes it overwhelms me and I do not want to worry about what is on sale and that I have to make sure it is the exact price that the ad says and heaven forbid you pick out something that is not "one of the options on the sale".
So I finally found a website that I like. I found this website years ago. After I was semi using it I went to a class that my friend was doing about couponing. I wanted to see if her method was better than mine. I am always looking for better/easy ways. I was so happy to see that she was using the same website. I took some her her tricks and used them with mine and I didn't have to learn too much! It was easy on the brain!
So down to the nitty gritty.
Start collecting coupons. I get one newspaper. It is suggested that you get one per person in your household, but this works for me right now. The more you get the more you can stockpile on sales. So that is up to you. In Utah we receive Proctor & Gamble, General Mills, and Smart Source in the newspaper. Then we also receive Red Plum in the mail...so that one is free. However, you will save a lot more money if you get the coupons in the newspaper. There are a lot better options. Next, organize the coupons. I have a 3 ring binder with baseball card holders in there. I use those only for miscellaneous coupons I get from vendors or if I clip a coupon I did not use then I will stick it in there. I have it sorted so that each page has something different on it...baby/kids items, grocery needs, snacks, cleaning, personal care, entertainment, services, and restaurants. However, I do not clip coupons from the coupon packets that come in the newspaper or mail. As soon as I get those I label it with the date (it is printed very small on the side). I then put them in a filing cabinet. I stick the newest one in back. You do not need to keep coupon packets longer than 5 months. At that point they will all be expired. Once you are organized you can start searching the deals.
I use grocerysmarts.com. It is a 100% free website. I love that! I think it is so user friendly and it is not time consuming. This is a perfect combination in my book! When you pull up the site it will give you the option to pick your state. Then once you pick your state you will pick a store. Some people go to many different stores. I, however, do not like grocery shopping now that I have a child. I didn't mind it before, but now....not my favorite. I like Smith's because I get fuel points. So I always check on the deals weekly there. The next thing I do is hit start in the upper right hand corner. That will highlight the whole page. Then I hit the star at the top of the left hand column. This will un-highlight the "Extreme" deals. I search through those first. If there is something that I know I do not need/want then I click on it and it will highlight that row. Once I have done that I go through and look at the 4 star items as well. I do this because again, I get fuel points for shopping there. I will stock up on the 4 and 5 star items. Once I am done clicking and highlighting the items I do not want I hit the shrink button in the top right corner. That will get rid of anything that I do not want to shop for. That is step one. The next step is to cut or print coupons. On the list you just created you will see in the second to right column a list of coupons. It will state what the item is for, the amount off, the expiration date in parentheses, the coupon packet you will find it in, and the date. For example, Chex Mix, Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, Chex Mix Popped or Chex Mix Xtreme, any flavor 4.5 oz or larger .50/2 (08-23-14) SS-6/29. This means that the coupon is for Chex Mix, Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, Chex Mix Popped or Chex Mix Xtreme, any flavor 4.5 oz or larger. It is $.50 off of 2. The expiration on the coupon is 8/23/14 and you can find it in the 6/29/14 Smart Source. So I will pull all my coupon packets and cut them out. If there are any coupons to print or load to a card it will list a link and you can click on it and it will take you right to the site to do so. SO SIMPLE!
Next is to get ready to go to the store. I put all my clipped and printed coupons in an envelope. I paper clip the envelope to my shopping list that I printed from Grocery Smarts (in upper right hand corner of Grocery Smarts there will be a print button). I usually write how many I need to buy of each item to get the deal or with the certain coupon. Try and buy enough items to last you 6 weeks. That is how often grocery items go on sale (typically). I try and write a grand total down at the bottom, but that does not always happen. If I am not in dire need for anything else I will just get these items, but usually I need something else. If I only need a few items I will write those items in the Notes section of the Grocery Smarts sheet. If I have a lot of other items to get for my meals then I have an app that I use (coming up in another post).
I know that seems like a lot to do every week, but I can assure you that I take a half an hour TOPS each week and that is on a long week for me (again I only have one newspaper. If I had more people in my family then I would get more newspapers and I would have to cut more coupons out). I am a very busy woman and mommy and this is something that I can handle. I like to save the money, but also not take too much time. I know there are other ways where I could save a lot more money, but right now this works fabulous for me! Do you have any couponing tricks up your sleeve?