Friday, February 20, 2009

oh I love my coupons...

Last night was my special time with Jonathan.....and my coupons....

Coupons help me be VERY frugal.
They allow to buy things that I wouldn't have room for in my tight budget.
They allow me to buy things for donation to area homeless shelters.
They just make it soo much easier!!

I know MANY ladies who say "it's a giant hassle", or "I don't have time"....and I can understand that. Over the years, I have fallen in and out of love with my coupon box. There were times that it wasn't as important. Well, lemme tell ya: it's VERY important right now. Groceries aren't cheap and my family won't stop eating.

This is the method that works for me and my family. It does not work for everyone. My way is a bit unconventional, I'll admit. But my way is simple and requires the least amount of advance planning. Let's face it: that's the main reason that people resist being frugal BECAUSE IT REQUIRES PLANNING....

Well...I have more time than money so I make this work for me. And work it does!

Suzanne's way to save a pile of money with coupons:

1) I do my BIG shopping at a store that at least DOUBLES coupons. (if you're lucky, some even triple...)

2) I also shop at a store that uses a loyalty card for their frequent shoppers. This is essential.

3) I don't study the store flyer. I do look over the loss leaders but in MY experiences, that's not where my deals have been found.

4) I buy at least one Sunday paper and cut out every coupon. if I don't use it, I give it away. Or I use the coupon and get a free product and donate it to someone in need.

5) I SHOP WITHOUT SMALL CHILDREN. This is VERY important because you will need to focus on your shopping...

6) Know your stores policies about manufacturer's and printed (online) coupons....

7) Here's the final step: I walk the aisles with my very organized coupon box and I see what's on sale and match it up with my coupons......

Let's say it's Pepperidge farm Goldfish (which my kids LOVE but I am usually too cheap to buy). The store has them for $2.19 regularly. But this week, they are 10 for $10.00. A huge savings right off the top but when you combine a $0.50 off of two coupon, it becomes an amazing kid-pleasing bargain. It works out like this:

2.00 for Goldfish on sale
-1.00 $0.50 coupon doubled
$1.00 for TWO bags of Goldfish

So instead of paying $4.38 for two bags at regular prices, you'll pay a mere $0.50 per bag. And your kids will tell you that "you're the best mom!!"

I do this all over the store. In every aisle. And I stock up. I try not to buy things that are not on sale. I TRY...but sometimes I have to. I have a running idea in my head of how much my stores charge for the products I use. Some people keep a Price Book, but that's too much work for me.

This was my reciept from last night's shopping trip.

Before my coupons and my loyalty card, I spent $224.32. A big amount....
But after my coupons and my loyalty card, I only spent $120.83. (I don't count the $10 cash on top of that.....) ---I also earned points off of my gasoline fill-up, $0.10 off of every gallon for every $100 that I spend.-------

So I saved $108.82.....that is a BIG amount, too. I saved almost as much as I spent. It's like getting half-off of my groceries. And admittedly, last night wasn't even my biggest night. Not a slow night, but I have done it better and bigger.

My point is that coupons are NOT that big of a hassle. They are not that hard.
You can work the system to benefit your family, too.

Now I'm gonna answer the questions I always get when I post about this:

1) I shopped locally at MARTINS® Food Markets. They are located in Winchester, VA and they double coupons up to $0.50 and their loyalty card also prints out coupons.

2) I use a homemade coupon box. I find the ones that you can buy are too small and not organized how my mind thinks: so I made my own. A $0.99 plastic shoe box with a fold-down lid, and homemade lil dividers (using up the scrapbook papers!) It works great! People always want to look at it in the store.....Especially when I am checking out and the cashier says "You saved $108 today with your coupons..."

3) Yes, it's true.... the paper is filled with coupons for products that I don't use. But I manage to find LOTS of product coupons to save my family money. You can too!


Berry Patch said...

I'm always in awe of people who can do this. ;-) Of course, it doesn't help that in the little town I live in there is NO store within a 100 mile radius (that I knkow of) that doubles coupons. ::sigh:: Although, I like your ideas. They actually seem easier than doing "The Grocery Game" or something similar.

SB said...

I did the Grocery Game for a while, but it didn't give me the MASSIVE savings that I have with my own method and it took too much time for me. (I am lazy. I would rather read a book than store flyers...)

rennratt said...

One of my good friends has recently started training me in the magic of coupons. I saved over $60 a few weeks ago IN ONE STORE! She has also trained me to play 'coupon fairy' when I opt not to purchase certain items! (My daughter LOVES helping with this!)

My husband, who had been somewhat skeptical up to that point, is now a huge fan.

If you have a Kroger store locally, I highly recommend checking out their website. They have links to coupon sites. I believe they double the coupons, too. They may even accept 'manufacturer coupons' on top of the on line coupons. My friend (noted above) regularly gets items free at Kroger.

I'm also a fan of Aldi AND have started purchasing food boxes from Angel Food Ministries. I pick up my first box tomorrow...

I can't wait!

Thank you for sharing your ideas. You help me fend off panic for grocery shopping!

SB said...

$60? That is awesome....! None too shabby!

We don't have Kroger here. I have not been in one since I left Texas...

I do love ALDI. They are cheap enough and they don't accept coupons....but still I love 'em.

ohhollyf said...

Wow, i don't know where to start;
First I love your blog layout choice, it says to me you don't need the color wheel to be elegant!
Secondly, #5 is great advice, I couls save $ hiring a sitter, than losing out from not paying attention
Third(ly)Aldi doesn't take cqns? Bummer I was going to hit the one up in my Mom's town!
Oh and I cannot find Glenn Beck on Hula ! Holly ( something is wromg with the comment moderation)
Fourth but not least, what an inner thrill to walk away from a sale knowing you still have $ in the checkbook to stop at the Thrift Store,lol !
Fifth is I cannot find Glenn Beck on Hula :(

Linda said...

Now that I actually GET coupons (not that pathetic 2 coupons and 30 advertisements for junk that we got in the M'htn paper), I think I will start your method. I used to cut them all out...and I used to either pass them on or play "fairy"...but I have to do something. My grocery bill is outrageous.

I wanted to click on your photo to see your tabs on your coupon box, to get an "organization" idea....can you share how many and what they are?

And do you still have the link to the CVS site that tells you how to shop there?

Holly's Mom said...

How do you organize the coupons in your box, what are your categories?

My problem is getting organized, having the coupon with me, having it not be expired by the time I need to go shopping and can using, and being able to find it.

SB said...

I will doa close-up of my binder tabs in my box as soon as I gain REAL photo (and not cell phone photos)....My computer is almost done healing itself.

The site that does the CVS magic is at Money Saving Mom which you can find in the column on the left side. She rocks!

SB said...

It is so sad that Glenn Beck is NOT on HULU. I record him on my DVR. His show has been REALLY good this week. It's on at 5pm on FoxNews. He's doing a big special next month that we don't want to miss.....

I can go WITH you to store and keep an eye on the kids. I love Martins because they have an indoor TreeHouse to watch the kids while I shop.