Thursday, February 24, 2011

How I Coupon & An Uncoventional Giveaway

Like with everything else (it seems), it takes me awhile to catch on to good stuff.  Swagbucks is an example.  Another example is couponing.  I couldn't quite imagine that it would be worth it because we don't buy much stuff that you can use coupons for.  I've never seen a coupon for a 25 pound bag of rolled oats or bulk spices - have you?

So, back when I hosted a coupon purse giveaway for Mavis, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  We don't get the newspaper, so I asked my dear neighbor, Marie (Hello, Marie!), if she wouldn't mind passing the coupon inserts from her paper on to me when she was done with them.  She was happy to- she's sweet like that.

The first thing I thought as I flipped through the inserts was that I don't buy any of this stuff.  Then, I started reading some of those coupon websites (my top three: Hip2Save, Blessed By Bargains & Totally Target) and got caught up in the thought of saving money and began clipping like an animal.  I've mellowed out since then (thankfully) and have come to a pretty happy medium.

If you're not sure about coupons, let me offer up what I do.  It may be more do-able than you think.

1) I stick to the stores I shop at anyway and go to each one once a week.  For me, the two stores are a non-chain grocery store and Target.

2) I signed up to get their sale circulars on line and watch for items I buy.  I may not need the item this week, but if I know I will buy it at some point, I take note of the sale.

3) Next, I got my hands on some coupon inserts that come in the paper.  The two most popular ones are Red Plum and Smart Source.  Ask a friend or neighbor if you don't get the paper- many people just pitch these inserts.  I clip the coupons for the stuff I buy even if it isn't on sale that particular week.  Then, I save the inserts for possible future use.

4) Next, I match coupons with sales and watch the coupon websites I mentioned (they point out sale and coupon combinations)  AND search this coupon database for what's on sale that I usually buy.  The data base is amazing.  Instead of having to hunt through my old inserts or do searches online, the data base tells me which coupon insert a coupon is in (that's why you save them after you clip your top coupons- a sale next week might match a coupon in your old inserts) or provides you with a link to follow to print out an online coupon.

Now, you're ready.

The best tip (that I've found) is that if you can, use both a store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon (you're allowed) on a SALE item that you would normally buy anyway.  THIS will usually make your purchase cheaper than buying generic.

If you want to take it a step (or 10) further and get multiple coupon inserts for multiple deals and buy stuff you wouldn't normally buy, that's fine, too.  You can donate your surplus to food banks and shelters.  Just be careful that you're not buying stuff just because you have one coupon (unless it's free, of course).  If you do this too much, you may end up spending more than you're saving.  Just saying.  The idea is to SAVE money:-).

On my last grocery store trip, I saved $5 off my $30 total.  On my last two Target trips- my first week's total was $30 and I paid $11 after coupons.  My second week total was $24 and I paid $5!  So, in the last two weeks,  I saved $43.  Not bad.

My coupon binder.

A great way to organize your coupons is to buy a three ring binder and some baseball card sleeves.  Add dividers and your coupons are organized.  I use a smaller coupon case for my actual trips to the store (because I know what I will buy/what coupons I will need).

Happy clipping!

Speaking of Mavis.  You all need to hop over to her blog this morning.  Not only does she talk about coupons, but every week she does a giveaway.  This week's giveaway is a tad unconventional-  in true Mavis-style.  Good luck to all! Pin It


  1. Good job on the savings TH! If I can ever shake this asthma and begin to feel better again (say a prayer for me, would ya?) I am going to try my hand at coupons again. The last time I tried to be like Mavis I ended up paying $25 out of pocket for what I THOUGHT was going to MAKE me 11 cents!!

  2. I'm trying to get excited about coupons. I know people save crazy amounts of money, but I just haven't found that "high" I hear about. I just want to get out of the store. :)

  3. Michelle,
    There is a slight learning curve at the beginning. The key is don't buy things you wouldn't normally buy while you're getting the hang of it. That way, if you mess up, you're no worse off:-). Feel better soon, please!

    I hear you! I hate shopping. If you have a list and your coupons at the ready, you can be in and out just as fast. The key is to stay focused:-).

  4. That's PRECISELY how I organize my coupons. Works great! I have also found it helpful to organize the sections in the same order as my local grocery store is organized. Even though I have a small, zippered pouch in the front for the coupons I intend to use that day, occassionally I want to switch one out as I shop, and having it organized that way makes it quick and easy.

  5. Well done on your savings! I wish, wish, wish we had coupons over here!
    Have a lovely weekend

  6. that's EXACTLY how I do couponing!! Exactly! It works well for me. I keep meaning to do a post on it, but I forget because it's so second nature to me that I don't remember to document or take pictures. Well, that's the beauty of a blog to pin down some of this daily stuff.

  7. All I can say is you're very well organized!


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