Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mother of Style's Guide To Using Coupons

  I hope you are using or starting to use coupons, because you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.  I'm not going to go coupon crazy with my all postings, but I would like to share the results of a quick shopping trip I took recently because it shows what you can do with coupons.  Shopping with coupons has been great for me because:
  1. I feel less stress over how much we spend on food each week since I'm reducing that amount with coupon use.
  2. I enjoy my non household-and-food purchases more because I've been able to balance them out with what I've saved through coupons.
I make one big shopping trip each week at my favorite store and add to it with a couple of little stops during the week while the kids are at school to pick up the bargains from other generally pricier stores.  Here's what I bought on a recent trip to Safeway fo $9.61:


I saved $36.21 (79%) off the total price using a combination of sale price, store and manufacturer's coupons.
  • The 2 bags of Bagel Crisps were free with 2 manufacturer coupons.
  • The Nesquik bottles were on sale for $1 each and I had 4 manufacturer BOGO (Buy One Get One free) coupons,  so I got 8 bottles for roughly the price of 2 bottles at regular price.
  • The Campbell's soups were .50 each combining sale price and a manufacturer coupon, a savings of $2.00 per can.
  • The 2 Fruit 2 Day drinks were each half price combining sale price and a manufacturer coupon.
  • The Stouffers Macaroni was $3.00 instead of $6.00 after combining sale and a manufacturer coupon.
  • The Kraft horseradish mayo was on sale and combined with a coupon, which made it $1.25 instead of over $3 at full price. 
So, all the above and what I wrote previously are why I like couponing, and what keeps me motivated to plan ahead and use coupon whenever possible.

 I think there are three parts to successful couponing:  1) Getting coupons,  2) Info on how and where to use coupons and 3) Knowing how to organize all those coupons.  Many people use a three-ring binder with photo inserts to organize according to type, but I have found this little receipt organizer to work great for me: 


  It's a good size to keep in one of my big purses when I go out.  I use the spot in the very front to hold the coupons I've already pulled for a shopping trip.  I still bring the whole thing because sometimes you see something on sale on that wasn't advertised and I like to be prepared for that possibility.


To recap the threeparts of successful couponing, I'd like to share a few sites:

Getting Coupons 

  In addition to getting coupons from your Sunday paper and the Tuesday mailers (at least it comes on Tuesday in my area) that come to your mailbox, you can get coupons from clipping services (you pay for their time to clip, not the coupons).  For more on that topic, visit Hot Coupon World.

  You can visit sites like Red Plum, Coupons.com and SmartSource.  They are the ones who put out the coupons you find in the Sunday paper.  Sometimes you can find those same offers online,  but usually they are a bit different.   You will have to install a program to print the coupons, but once its done, you're set.  You can also find store specific coupons on most grocery sites as well as big box retailers like Target.

  Another way to get coupons is by downloading them onto your shopper loyalty card.  These are available at the grocery retailer sites for their own store, but can also be found to use at most any store from sites like CellFire and Shortcuts.  The benefit of these type of coupons is that they will be applied to your order just by scanning your card and ensure that you won't forget to use, which can happen with paper coupons.

Info On Using Coupons & Organizing Your Coupons

  There are many sites out there that post daily about what deals are available.  My favorites, as I've mentioned before, are Krazy Coupon Lady and Fabulously Frugal.  They tell you about what coupons to print, where you can find more (like ones on facebook) and how you can use them by going through the weekly ads and matching the sales to coupons that you might already have or a link to where you can print your own.  I also suggest searching for terms like "frugal," "coupon" and "thrifty" with words from your city or region to find sites that can tell you about deals specific to your area that might get missed on a nationally-focused site.

  Most of these sites will also suggestions on how to store your coupons.

I think I've said my piece on coupons for now.  If you have any tips or tricks, I'd love to hear them in the comments section! 

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