Monday, November 5, 2012

30-day Challenge: Week 1- Couponing

...Couponing 101
I've been couponing for over a year now. I'll admit I was more into it in the beginning and it started to taper as we geared up for lil A's arrival.  Now that we have things back on schedule I'm ready to dive back in!  I've really missed all the savings, so I can't wait to get things started again!! 
So back in 2011 I posted about how to get started with couponing.  It was a great tutorial, so I'll reiterate that post as well as some new points that I find helpful now. 

1) CLIP IT.  Whether you get the paper inserts (Red Plum, Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble), magazines (All You) or even online...there are coupons everywhere.  Find what fits for you and start collecting.  The best way to get the most savings is to have multiple copies.  For the paper inserts, I have friends and neighbors who give me theirs!  I also do a lot of online clipping.

I prefer going to the following links:
  • Blog - A Thrifty Mom - Sarah is amazing at finding deals.  I usually scope her blog daily to see how to save!  She even has this awesome tutorial on how to coupon.  Absolutely fantastic. 
  • Target Coupons
  • Walgreens Coupons
  • Red Plum
  • Smart Source
  • Walmart
  • - A database for everything coupons!  This is my go-to every week. 
  • Retail Me Not - This is a great source for online promotional codes, but it also has some coupons, so I like to type in my store and see if there are any deals going on.  
  • Store coupons...ya know, the ones that are on the back of your receipt or that get printed off after your purchases!  Usually they are similar to the items you've just purchased!
  • Coupons attached to the items you're buying!  You can use them at the time of purchase!
  • Set up a coupon e-mail address and register it on brand name sites like: P&G.  Just Google search your favorite brands.  You'll be surprised what you can sign up for!
2) STORE IT.  It's important to have an organized way of storing your coupons so that you utilize all of them before they expire.  Plus it makes it easier to keep them in the same place.  I first started out by keeping them in a ziploc bag, but that became a hot mess.  I next picked up an mini  expandable folder and I store them in alphabetical order.  It's a lot easier to find them.  My only annoyance is the fact that Target coupons are slightly longer than the folder and I have to fold them a little bit.
Currently I keep all my coupon books in a file folder by month.  That way when I need to find a specific coupon I can search for it on sites like and find the exact book. (Example 2/7S = February 7th SmartSource)

3) PLAN IT. 
  • I first make out a menu list for the week.  I know, it seems extreme but after coming home after working all day it's a relief to already know what I  need to do to get dinner on the table.  Plus it helps to have all the items I need to make it.  It's those impromptu grocery trips that cost time and money.  (Let's be honest, we've all gone in for milk and left with 10 other items).  Anywho, from that  menu I make the grocery list.  I also add on the items we've run out of that have been written on the grocery list during the week  (We keep that list stuck on the fridge)
  • Second, I research all the ads for the grocery stores I'll be going to.  First I check through to see if there are any deals I just can't pass up.  Items that I was not planning on purchasing.  I look for staples and items that may not go bad right away so I can store up. 
  • Thirdly, I start gathering my coupons that I can use.  This is the fun part for me because I try to find coupons for everything I need to buy.  You'll be surprised what a Google search on the leftover items brings up.  A few months ago I got a coupon for a free avocado!  Not kidding!   So it helps to search! Check with the coupon policy for each store.  Some allow you to double up the same coupon or even get money back for the difference if the coupon is more than the price of the item (<--Walmart does this!)
4) SAVE IT. Time to go shopping!  I usually go once a week... unless there is a huge sale on an item.  I take my list and clip my coupons to it.  Then I go and purchase all the items that are only on my list.  It's funny now because all  those sale end-caps don't tempt me anymore since I already researched them online!  hee hee...

Get ready for 
Weekly Food Prep & Freezer Meals 

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  1. Oh wow...I clip coupons but am not this organized about it. I will definitely be using some of the tips from this post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Being organized about coupons is probably half the battle in actually having them ready to use when you need them. I have sort of given up on couponing! Not totally. I still save them and clip them but in general I don't save much at a time so it just gets frustrating. I need a couponing mentor to teach me how to do it right!!

  3. I love coupons! I don't organize mine until I actually go to the store because the website I use has weekly lists and they say the name and date of the insert they came with so if I go ahead and cut them I won't know where to find it. But coupons have been wonderful for me and I love getting groceries on the cheap. It's a good feeling when you look at your receipt at the end of a trip :)

    1. That's so awesome Morgan!! You should share one of your weekly grocery store savings! We'd all love to hear how much the coupons help out!!


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