I am constantly bragging on FB about my mad couponing skillz. Often I get messages asking how do I save money. Usually my response is I just use this particular website, get the newspaper and go to the store. Today I realized that it is just a bit more than that.
I want to encourage EVERYONE to use coupons. For me it is so so fun to get free things or name brand products cheaper than the store brand! It is really a lot easier than you would think and although that extreme couponing stuff does work, you tend to have to buy a lot of crap you don’t really need.
I did succeed doing the extreme couponing stuff for one trip and I will tell you that it took me about 40 hours in one week just to prepare, I spent a lot less time with Eyan and a lot more time scouring the internet for the best deals. I got a lot of free items, but truthfully they were not things that I often use and I am all about spending money on things we use. I am not bashing the people that have huge stockpiles of free stuff, I just don’t have room in my house for more stuff than we need.
So here is SOME of what I do have stockpiled:
|Laundry detergent & softener (Paid $3.50 for each bottle of Tide & Downy)|
|My Full fridge & freezer. We also have 1/2 full freezer outside|
|My pantry full of deliciousness!|
Did I get everything for pennies on the dollar? NO! I paid, I just paid less than what the average person does and I saved about 25% doing it! Is 25% a lot? Depends on how much you value your money. I feel like if I spend $400.00 on groceries a month and of that I save $100.00 using coupons and store deals then I can either put that $100.00 towards our savings account or spend it on something fun!
- When I first wanted to try this out I went to the Denver Post online and ordered ONLY the sunday paper for the coupons. Since then however, I have been told that they offer only the coupons for free. Its called the “YES!” deal or something. You might have to research this because I don’t even know if it is accurate or not. I pay $4.33 a month (4-5 issues) and when I signed up I got a $10.00 gift card to King Soopers. Regardless I spend $4.33 a month and save at least 20 times that amount so I don’t mind paying.
- I also registered for free on a coupon match-up site, which works great for me. It does the coupon match-ups for me so I can spend more time with Eyan. (Coupon match-ups show you what is advertised on sale and matches the sale to any coupons that are out there and tells you where to find the coupons.) The site is www.Couponmom.com and I use it about twice a month, but you could check it once a week if you have more time and don’t have a toddler that wrecks computers. It is pretty easy to use, just go to “coupon deals by state” and click on the store you want or the link that says “choose your state here” and you will be given the match-ups.
- Start collecting coupons, whenever and wherever! I get mine from the coupon inserts in the newspaper as well as from the website above. Also with my King Soopers card we get an occasional coupon here and there and somehow we get target coupons mailed to us as well. I think it is from registering for our wedding and the baby, but I really don’t know. Also I ALWAYS check Targets website for their in-store coupons and occasionally when I really really want an item I will google it with a phrase like, “Item printable coupon month year.” Example, “Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread printable coupon Feb 2012.”
- Know your store coupon policy. I personally shop at both Target and King Soopers. King Soopers will double coupons up to a dollar in Brighton unless the coupon specifies otherwise. This means that a $0.50 coupon is worth $1.00 and a $0.35 coupon is worth $0.70! The only crappy thing about Kings is that they rarely offer a store coupon, but has a better grocery selection and some awesome sales. Also there is some digital coupons that are great but you also need to know that those DO NOT double and that if you have a digital coupon and a paper coupon, the store will only take the digital and only take it once. This is the tricky part. My advice is look up the policy or call. Target allows you to pair a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon but does NOT double. It takes like 5 minutes to call the store and get the policy. They do change, so you might want to check every few months.
- Understand that YOU CAN always pair a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon and if you manage to match this up with a sale you save the most money! This is how the extreme couponers get those huge savings!
- Check your weekly ads for sales and ONLY buy when things are on sale. This is what I do. Not everything we love is on sale all the time, so I tend to buy enough to get me through until the next sale at a great price and of course with a coupon. Sales typically rotate through every 6 weeks to 3 months. I am not that coupon savvy to know when a sale on something is going to happen, I just check the ads weekly and if there is something that I must have and I have a coupon for it then I will go get it, but that only happens like once every few months. Toothpaste is one of those items. King Soopers will do their 10 items for $10.00 and most times Colgate or Crest is only a $1.00 and since they double coupons I usually get it for free. At this point I have a good year supply of toothpaste and it cost me $0.00!
- Be organized! I used to have a little coupon organizer that worked but I was searching through the small space for a while trying to find a specific coupon with a monster toddler. Also trying to separate the coupons I planned on using and ones I didn’t was a pain. So finally after about 6 months of using this particular system, I finally upgraded to a little (and I mean little) coupon binder like you have seen on Extreme Couponers. I was reluctant to bring it to the store because of the cart room it would take up, and figuring out a new system, but it was AWESOME! I have 10 pages of cheap ($1.00 store) baseball card holders and an old binder that my sister used in college. I went through and organized all my coupons by type and order that I find them in the store. I can do this easily because I have a semi-photographic memory and I remember the layout of the store and what item is in which isle very easily. I will tell you that it today was the first day that I used the binder and I had to shop by myself for the first time in a while with a little monster. I was a bit scared using this new system and having Eyan to entertain, but it was SO much easier. It did take me about 1.5 hrs to organize the binder, but the time I save in the store was so much shorter. I was in and out of Kings in 1.5 hours on SUPERBOWL Sunday with a toddler at nap time and I only forgot 1 item!