Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coupon Clipping 101

Good Morning! Well, today is a big day for us here at the ranch, my youngest is about to enter the "double digits", she'll be ten tomorrow. So, my day will be filled with all of the duties that any good Mom has to do to prepare for the big event. Ugh....the grocery store, that will be my least favorite duty! (Every time I say duty, I have to say "Do your duty and vote for Judy", a phrase I used to get myself elected class secretary in 4th grade, it was even catchier than I thought!)

So, today I would like to give you a couple of tips about grocery shopping and using coupons. I am by no means an expert on this subject, because I'll take a sink full of dishes over going to the store any day, and if you ask my family, that's really bad. But, I have come across some great tips and learned a little bit about how to get the most bang for my buck.

This is the funny part, I quit getting the Sunday paper with the coupons in it, because I was sick of supporting such a racially biased paper, but I no longer had my beloved coupons. Problem solved, our neighbors are older and much more settled, so do not need to use coupons. It has worked out good for everybody, that way once a week they have an excuse to see my kids and I get my money saving parts of the paper I won't support-ha!

Anywho, back to coupons; it really doesn't take that much time to clip them if you stay on top of it and clip each week. Make yourself an organizer, any system that best suits you is what will work. My sister's envelope is by brand name, and mine is in the order of the store, whatever works best for you. As you are clipping get a good idea of what each coupon is good for. I think this is where people tend to get frustrated and quit. Coupons are very specific with sizes and amounts, often times you'll have to buy 2 or 3 items to use that coupon. If you don't follow the coupon exactly, the computer will beep at you at the check out stand, I don't know about you, but $.39 off just isn't worth making everyone in line mad by going back to get more or another product.

Also, I will not use a coupon (or even buy the product) until it is already on sale, the savings on these items can be drastic. The sister that I mentioned before, is organized enough that she often gets things close to free this way. When an item that I use often is on sale and I have a coupon-watch out, in all of my excitement you might even hear my "Right On!" from across the store. I think this is great advice, turn it into almost a game, the more you play, the more you save, and it won't take you long before you are loving the results.

Now, I am signed up on a few of those sites that put the coupon right on your card. The problem for me, has been to remember what is on my card and how would I keep the correct sizes and amounts straight if I don't have the little piece of paper in my hand telling me what to buy. So, for now I just keep clipping. There are also some great sites that help you learn how to play the game even better, like when the stores have their rock bottom prices, and so on, but that was just taking too much time. The trick is finding a balance between saving money and not costing yourself time doing it.

I had to laugh last time I went to the store with my kids. We were in a big hurry, so I had them helping me. I don't know about you, but leaving the kids in the candy aisle could be a dangerous thing, but because they know my coupon system so well by now, I handed them my pouch and told them if it was on sale and I had a coupon, go for it! I was so very impressed when they met up with me and had everything exactly right, BOGO or whatever, my kids know the system!

In my opinion, there is no longer a stigma involved with using coupons, especially if you have followed all of the rules. Thanks to bar codes the checker just scans the coupons and off you go! It took some time getting used to people looking at my huge stack of coupons, thinking "oh geez, this will take forever", but like I said, it only takes a minute or so. I save at least 20% off of each grocery bill, and actually that is a low number, it is usually closer to 30%! In just one month, the savings can be huge, and I don't even enjoy going to the store without this fun little challenge anymore!

Don't forget your reusable grocery bags! Save the earth and save trips to and from the truck. These bags hold much more than those nasty plastic bags, plus we get a $.05 credit for each bag we bring in. Using coupons and reusable bags are wonderful lessons for your family, a great way to save money, and an even better way to buy necessities without feeling ripped off! I would love it for anyone to chime in with your money saving ideas at the grocery store or anywhere else for that matter!
Have a miracle of a day!


Kelly said...

Another little tip: When I get the coupons put on my card, I write the information on a little sticky note and put the sticky note with my coupons. Then when I make my official list, I transfer the information or just stick my sticky note on my list.

Daisy said...

It pays to carry the coupon packet with you to the store; there might be unadvertised specials on which you already have coupons.