Well, some people have asked me to explain how I do my couponing. I will do my best to explain, but please feel free to write me and ask me questions…
A few months ago, I read about CouponSense.com and decided to give it a whirl. It was $4 for the first month and $15 per month after that. I subscribed and thought I could get by on just the printables without ordering a paper. (Online coupons that you print.) Not so much. I was running out of ink and the suggestions they gave for where/when to use them were few and far between. So I got myself a subscription to the AZ Republic and I get 3 copies of each paper. (That’s triple the coupons on Sunday) I did that for awhile, but was feeling frustrated that I was spending more than saving. The power of suggestion is expensive. They kept telling me, “You can get this fr only $1!” But if you think about it, you don’t really need it, won’t use it, and then you wind up with 3 of each one and before you know it, you’ve over spent your budget, with not as much as you’d hope for to show for it. Then my friend Joli told me about The Centsable Shoppin’ Blog. I had seen it before, but hadn’t really followed it much. She showed me how to organize coupons and how to shop. I went home and quit Coupon Sense that very night and never looked back. Now I’m saving a lot of money and getting things I will actually use! (Thanks Joli!)
Here’s how I do it:
1.) I get 3 copies of the Sunday paper (AZ Republic) and get the coupons out of it. There are usually anywhere between 1-3 insert booklets of coupons: P&G Saver, Smart Source and Red Plum.
2.) I cut out the coupons for products I need or use and file them. To see my filing system, skip down past the list of steps.
3.) When we get paid, I take out the cash for my food budget. It really helps me stay accountable and true to my budget and not overspend on things I don’t need or use.
4.) On shopping day, I go to Fry’s and go through every aisle, looking for what I have in coupons. Unless it’s a necessity like milk, eggs, bread, butter etc., if I don’t have a coupon, I don’t buy it.
5.) I look for what’s on sale. I never knew this, but you can use coupons on sale items, and at Fry’s in AZ, all coupons under $1, are rounded up to $1. So if I’ve got a coupon for $.10 off something, it’s really worth $1 off. Nifty huh? So if something’s on sale for $1 or less, it’s FREE!!
6.) I combine sales and coupons to get stuff I need and will use for cheap. When I can, I’ll stock up on the item. That way, I’ve got multiples I can use for a long time to come!
Right now, I only coupon at Fry’s. You can use coupons elsewhere, but they may not be worth as much and I don’t understand the rewards systems at CVS and Walgreens etc. There’s no Safeway or Albertson’s where I live and I don’t find the coupons or prices as competitive at Basha’s. So Fry’s is where I shop. It’s a good place for beginners I think 🙂
Filing System: Every couponer has their own system for filing coupons. Here’s mine- I have a 3 ring binder with a bunch of those baseball card inserts in it. At the beginning of the book, I begin with one end of the store and file it according to aisle all the way to the other side. That way, when I go into Fry’s, I open up my binder to page one of coupons and start at one end and work my way across.
Tips and Tricks:
* Like I said, you can use coupons on things that are on sale.
* All coupons at Fry’s are worth $1 unless the value is more than $1. (Even if it says, “Do Not Double” etc on the coupon.)
* Fry’s coupons do not round up to $1.
* I use TheCentsableShoppin Blog for good deals on random things but I don’t use it as a shopping list. Otherwise you just get overwhelmed with everything on there.
* If you email/write companies asking for coupons or flattering them, they will often send you coupons.
* Have a separate email account to sign up online for coupons.
* It takes a couple months to build a good inventory of coupons to make some awesome shopping trips. I think that was one of the hardest things for me to learn. I wanted instant results, but coupons are good for sometimes as long as 6 months, so you have to wait for the sale and then POUNCE!
* If you get to the store and they are out of a product, don’t fret. Go to customer service and get a raincheck. Then go home and get some more coupons if you can 🙂 and then go back the next week to see when they’ve restocked.
* I used to think if the price tag said, “5 for $5.” That meant you had to buy 5 in order to get that price. Not so. Just means the item is $1.
Here’s the summary of my shopping trip to Fry’s tonight. Here’s the photo of my haul and then I’ll explain how I did it…
Okay, we’ll start from the left…
Blistex: I got coupons on the paper for $.55 off a blistex product. These were on sale for $.89 so I actually made about $.11 on these since the coupons rounded up to $1.
Schick Quattro: These babies are around $7 for each pack of 4! But, they were on sale: Buy One Get One FREE. and…I had 3 coupons for Buy One Get One Free. You can use coupons on free items, so with my coupons, I got 6 packs for…..free.
Carefree Pads: On sale for $1.99. Had $.50 off coupons for these, so I got these for $.99 each.
Sodas: Were on sale $.88 each
Satin Care Shaving Cream: I love this stuff, it smells so good and it works great. Was on sale for $.99 had $.75 off coupon. Rounded up to $1, which made these….free!
Milk: Was on sale for $1.57.
Crest: I had a raincheck for these when they were on sale for $1, and they were all out. I had $.50 off coupons which rounded up to $1 and made these….free.
Imperial: I needed butter lol, but it was on sale for $.99
Toblerone Chocolate: Got 3 coupons in this last week’s paper and these were on sale for $1 each so these were…. yep. Free.
So that’s basically how I coupon. If you have questions, or want more details, let me know!
Till Next Time,