Tag Archives: couponing

What I’ve Learned From Being Broke: Part 3

COUPONS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND

Anyone who knows me or checks out my posts on Facebook knows that I am completely SOLD to using coupons for everything.  Yes, coupons take time.  Yes, brand loyalties have to be thrown out the window.  Yes, I had to completely change when I shopped, the way I shopped and how I planned my meals.  But, it’s all worth it.

This is what I know.  Manufacturers want you to be drawn to their products so they put out gobs of coupons.  There are very few things that you cannot find a coupon for if you are willing to do a little hunting.  The stores do NOT lose money if you give them a coupon.  They are reimbursed by the manufacturer.

I save anywhere from 40 – 65% on grocery, health/beauty and cleaning products every week because I take about 20 minutes before I shop to get organized.  Then, when I get home, I take about 5 minutes to see what stock up items I bought this week to plan meals for next week.  It found what works for me.

Jeff asked if, when we’re independently wealthy, I will go back to my old ways of shopping.  I said absolutely not.  For the small amount of trouble, there is no reason to pay retail prices again.  I get the same high saving money that I used to get spending money– and it makes me feel like such a smarty.

If you’re interested in trying it out, check out the new video tutorials on southernsavers.com There is definitely a strategy needed to save the big bucks and she’s got it!


Shopping and Eating

A large part of what I do as a mom and as a wife is manage our meals and do all the shopping for the family.  As a person, I don’t like to spend money needlessly.  So, about 6 months ago I got into couponing.  It used to take a huge chunk of time, but now it does not…at all.  The change:  no more clipping all the coupons.  I put the weekly coupon inserts into an expandable file by week and pull them out and clip only the ones I use each week.  Time:  20 minutes.  I think it’s no secret that I’m a southernsavers.com fan.  I use this site exclusively to get organized and know what to shop for.  Jenny’s new feature is printable shopping lists!  This is a huge time saver.  Here’s my 2 for the week:

Picture 1

I spent $47 at Publix this week and saved $38.  Not a bad week, but not great, either.  In the list above, there’s no way to show how many I bought of each since I write that part in.  I buy 3 newspapers, so if the best match is from the newspaper inserts, I usually buy 3 of them.  If the best is an internet printable, I buy 2 since that’s all they’ll let you print.  But, the idea is to stock up for 6 weeks on the things that are on sale–whether you have the coupon matches or not.  Thankfully, I have most of the ones you see now so I can get the lowest prices.  But, I did not have a Coffee Mate coupon, but I still bought it because if you see it here you know this is the lowest price it will be in the 6-8 week cycle.  And, I didn’t have the Stacy’s coupon, but I got 1 anyway because Jeff loves them and $2 is a slammin price for those.

What will we eat this week?  Well, I don’t usually eat what I buy this week, except for the stuff I typed in at the bottom (with no prices).  I buy groceries one week, then I make my list for the next week according to the things I’ve just stocked up on.  Does that make sense?

Monday:  ground chicken burritos

Tuesday: pasta spinach florentine, salad, bread

Wednesday:  baked cod, mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli

Thursday: (small group night and meal at church) I’m taking broccoli cheese soup (made with the $1 broccoli, $.19 chicken broth, $1 cheddar cheese bought last week)

Friday:  out to eat with family

Saturday: tailgating, not sure what I’m making yet, but it will likely be something I have on hand

Sunday: BIG salads and baked potatoes

Then, there’s CVS.  I don’t do CVS every week because the coupon matches can be a little tough and random.  This week, I had everything and I did exactly this and paid exactly what you see below.  If you want to see where the coupons came from, you can go to southernsavers.com and check out this week’s ad and matchups.  It would have been a WAY long list if I’d included those, too.  The great thing about the CVS list this week is that I have 2 stocking stuffers and all my Halloween candy for pennies.  If you have never “worked” CVS before, you’ll definitely want to check out the getting started guide to understand why you break your items into multiple transactions.

Picture 2

Hope this helps someone!


Thoughts on Coupon Organizing

This post is really only for those totally crazy coupon people.  I can say they’re crazy because I am one and I hang with lots of them.  We officially met together last week to all get a sort of “Couponing 101” lesson together.  People brought their ideas, their resources and their questions.  We let the kids have the house and we all sat at table and tried our best to answer all the “But what about this…??” in everyone’s minds.  It was an incredibly good time…if you’re a nerdy nerd, like me.

A few weeks ago there was a great post on Southern Savers (the MAC DADDY of all coupon websites–there’s a link to the right if you want to give it a spin) about the different ways that people organize their coupons.  For me, this is some seriously good reading.  I found it comforting that I did fall into one of the major categories of coupon organizing methods: 3-ring binder.  I affectionately call it “The Beast” because, while it is the LARGEST 3-ring binder one can purchase, it is bulging and ready to explode with all my coupon treasures.

Here are some shots of it:
(sad right, taking pictures of your coupon organizer)

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So, you start with the biggest binder you can find, purchase many, many pages of the business card organizers (found at Staples, some people prefer the baseball card organizer because the pockets are bigger.  I personally don’t mind a little coupon oragami to be able to see lots on one page), tabbed dividers and sheet protectors.  My sections started as:  General Grocery, Health and Beauty, Cleaning Supplies, Paper Goods, Baby, Pets and Restaurants.  But, as my stash grew, I broke out some sections from general grocery: Dairy, Snacks, Breakfast, Meat and Veggies and these are serving me just fine.

IMG_3060I put all the restaurant coupons in a sheet protector.

IMG_3061And, I put my “extras” (coupons that I don’t THINK I’ll use, but I save anyway just in case something comes up free and I could get it and donate it) in envelopes labeled with that Sunday’s date.  Also, I’ve ended up using a lot from the extra file at CVS.  Sometimes you can get something for free and get the Extra Care Bucks back to use on something you really do want.  So, the extras can be a money maker.  Another thing that’s in here that I didn’t take a picture of is my zipper pocket.  It’s one of those clear pencil pouches that has holes to go into a binder.  I put my coupons for each trip in there and then just pop it out and take it with me when I’m ready to go.  Though, I need to buy another one so I can separate drugstore and grocery store trips.

If any of you want to tackle this system, good luck.  I think it’s the best one overall.  It seriously doesn’t take me long to organize them all and then I can easily flip to them when I sit down to plan my “attack” for my drugstore trip on Sunday and my grocery trip(s) on Monday.  Here’s one last time, then I’m leaving this alone.  I know that some of you are genius level and thought of this your first week clipping coupons, but I can be a little slow to come around.  To make clipping multiple copies of coupons go super fast, lay matching pages on top of each other and clip them all at the same time.  Then, they’re already in neat little stacks and you don’t spend 3 hours making little piles all over your living room floor.  Example:  you have 3 copies of the Red Plum insert from Sunday’s paper.  Take off all the top pages and lay them on top of each other.  Clip all the ones from that page at once.  So EASY…I don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier and save myself hours and some serious backaches from bending over the piles of coupons.

To end, I’ll share  a funny moment with my child from this morning.  As I am sitting and organizing coupons from this notebook, Carter pulls some of them from the front pocket and is holding them.  I say, “What do you have?”  He says, very clearly, “Cou. Pon.”  I can’t believe my 22 month old has this word in his vocabulary.  Or, maybe I can.