Couponing 101: Saving money, whether you're broke or not.
Well since it's a popular topic, and I'm typing the same things over and over, I am making a new thread. I started couponing a few months ago to deal with a changing economic situation in my family, and we are doing SO much better just by spending an hour or so a week preparing to shop, and just not heading into a store going willy nilly!!!!!
So here's some couponing tips and I'll let you guys know where I learned:
1) Go to a good couponing blog. I like one by the krazy coupon lady. Google it.
A good coupon blog will let you know where the sales are, and take a lot of time and pain out of planning.
2) Follow the blog long enough to learn the ropes. The key to couponing is to couple COUPONS with the store sales. So if Rite Aid is having a Buy one get one sale on pads (true story) and you have a B1G1 COUPON from the manufacturer...you CAN use those coupons to get 2 boxes of pads 100 percent for free after taxes.
3) Learn to combine coupons. At some stores like Target, you can combine one of THEIR coupons with a manufacturer coupon. I usually save 50 % off any Target transaction.
Example: 98 dollar receipt before coupons...after coupons....$55.00 out of pocket....and $20.00 back in Target gift cards for my next transaction. This was all food and laundry detergent!
3) EAT AROUND SALES AT FIRST. After you have a heck of a stockpile of food, you can pretty much eat anything you want, knowing it only cost you .25 cents a box/can or whatever.
4) I also suggest at first you don't clip all the coupons. Keep your 1, 3, 6...whatever number of inserts you get in a folder or paper protector, with the date on the front. THEN when a site says "Smartsource 3/3", you can just pull out that insert and find what you need easily.
A few more tips:
Printables are best done in grayscale so you aren't shelling out your cash in ink all the time.
The site I mentioned does a weekly "How to shop for free" with the best available coupons paired with the best sales....using that, you get a rolling rewards balance, which means LESS CASH OUT OF POCKET.
The site also does a weekly "Shopping for $5.00 or less' for each of the major stores...same deal guys.
NEVER PAY RETAIL. If you have a $1.25 bottle of Triaminic, when your kids are sick, you aren't shelling out $10.00 at the gas station at 2 am.
Doing this has allowed me to have a substantial amount of groceries in the pantry, and a full cabinet of soap, deodorant, razors...toothpaste and medical supplies, and even MAKEUP, all in the last three months. I have not paid more than 50 cents for toothpaste, for example, and most of it was free...and I won't have to buy more for maybe two years. Not only that, but we have a LOT more cash on hand in the week before payday. And most of it is due to spending an hour a week clipping and planning =)
Hope this helps.
This is my bathroom stash a couple of weeks ago before I got more free Fish oil etc and had to start clearing out. This was when the free/cheap stuff started breaching the top shelf:
And this picture is the stuff I got yesterday. I paid about ten dollars TOTAL out of pocket...and earned about $21.00 in rewards to use next time.
I will NEVER NEVER NEVER pay full retail for razors again! It's a serious rip off!!!!!!
Love the tips, but question: to be successful with this, does a person have to sacrifice their favourite brands?
Also: in your experience, is it typically the mass-boxed/processed items that qualify for these deals? We're slowly transitioning our home to healthier products, avoiding petrolium-based items, excess preservatives, etc. can I still aim for those goals and cash in? It's even more expensive!!
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I've always been a planned shopper/penny pincher but certainly could get better at it.
Best thing I ever did to help cut the bills was grow a big garden.
Started a small one when I bought my little farm and just expanded each year until I can now put up enough fruits and veggies for a whole year.
Believe it or not, every week they have a list of things to get at Trader Joes, whole foods etc! Those stores don't exist in my area, so I can't benefit...but I'm sure others do. There are often coupons for organic products as well...honestly, less than the other stuff, but they are there. And as they say, a penny saved....is a penny earned.
Same thing with Beauty products. I've seen a few Physicians Formula sales and coupons in the past couple of months, as well as the alternative care products.
I did actually manage to get a bottle of Tom's natural toothpaste for my son for 75 cents last week, actually. =P
I dont know. I hate having to do multiple stops for things. If I need shampoo, feminine products, paper towels, etc. I'm just not driving to different stores. I"m just not. If one store is having a sale on one product and another store is having a sale on another, for me, its just too much of a hassle. I hate shopping to begin with. I'll gladly pay retail if it means not driving all over the place for 50 cents or a dollar off. Heck I burn more than that in gas driving to the stores.
The idea of how much money I WASTED while I was making good money and throwing it out on restaurants all the time...and shelling out retail just for convenience...makes me sick inside.
Think of it this way....if you save $100 dollars a month couponing, and spend an extra 15 minutes shopping...is that not worth an extra $1200 dollars in your bank account at the end of the year, JUST by spending an extra 15 minutes? You could choose only two stores to coupon at, and keep your travel/annoyance low, and still come out FAR FAR Ahead.
This is a receipt I got shortly after I first started couponing. (Sorry, I've been throwing them out lately LOL) I was getting products I never bought before because they seemed expensive...and getting them for next to nothing!!!! I paid .53 cents for $23.50 worth of stuff!
This is interesting... I have thought about it before, but honestly, where do I find coupons?? I don't get a newspaper delivered to my house, I am guessing Flyers in the stores? I only grocery shop at SafeWay & Extra Foods. Interested to read/learn more, as I do live in an "expensive town".
Great thread. I've found that in my area, coupons tend to be for processed foods and cleaning products, BUT I have had some success checking out the grocery store's website each week, and buying the produce and meats that are on sale. We don't have places like Trader Joe's and such. In fact, all the grocery stores in town are owned by the same two companies!
I'm also planning on growing a garden this year, as well as keeping chickens for eggs and meat.
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