I don’t know if I am going to try to make this a regular thing or not, but I need more stuff to post about, and since I have sort of been on a money saving kick as of late, I figured I would share some of the tips I have been learning with other people. So, here we go with “Money Saving Tip #1”
Some of you reading this may already know this one, especially if you’ve been around me lately. I may have even taken the time to explain this to you in person, if you were lucky. When I say Use Coupons, I’m not just talking about clipping a few out of your Sunday paper and using them to get $.55 off a box of pop tarts, I’m talking about using coupons in a way that you may never pay more than $.30 for a box of pop tarts ever again. Want to know how it works? Well here you go!
First I’m going to give you two websites that will help you more with this concept if you decide to try it out.
We will start with how to organize your coupons. If you have ever clipped coupons before, you know how time consuming (and time wasting) it can be. I’ve done it. When I first started trying my hand at couponing, I clipped everything I got. I have to admit I kind of actually like cutting the coupons out, but it in the end it was a HUGE waste of time. That means there must be a better way, and thankfully there is. If you have a filing cabinet with an empty drawer, that will work great, but if not, all you need is a small filing crate, with some file folders. You could even use manila envelopes if you want, but files would probably be better. Each Sunday when you get the paper, just pull the coupon inserts out, don’t even look at them, and throw them in a file folder. Put that day’s date on the folder, and drop it in the crate. That’s it, all done. Now sit back and spend the time you would have used doing something more productive, like actually reading that paper.
Now this is the part everyone seems to think will take the most time when shopping with coupons, yet we have already cut out a large chunk of time by not clipping any. Surprisingly though, this really shouldn’t take you that long either. The first step to planning your shopping trip is to go to one of the websites I gave you above. When stores put out their ads for the week, both of those websites put a list of the deals from the ad up, and under each item they list each coupon that has been released that you can use on that item. For instance, Yogurt may be on sale for $1.99, and underneath there would be coupons, usually listed in red. They are organized by the date and type of coupon insert that they were in. Here is an example taken from GroceryFreak.com:
*Kellogg’s Cereal Crispix, Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Corn Pops or Apple Jacks, 11.2 to 16.5 oz, at $3.99
-$1 rice krispies or Crispix 11-08-09 RP makes it $1
-$1 Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries PRINT
-$1/2 rosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Corn Pops or Apple Jacks 11-08-09 RP
-$1/2 crispix 10-18-09 SS
In this example, various Kellogg’s cereals are on sale for BOGO (Buy One Get One). This ad was for Publix, so what that really means is that these Kellogg’s cereals are half off (you don’t have to buy 2 to get it for the sales price at most grocery stores). Now these boxes of cereal have gone from roughly $4 a box,to $2 a box. Not bad just with the sales, but with coupons we can do better. Let’s say I’m just starting out and don’t have the first coupon. See the PRINT button on the “Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries” coupon? For those coupons, you can just print them out right at home. That will make those Rice Krispies $1 a box. When was the last time you got a name brand cereal for $1 a box? Even if you wanted Fruit Loops, or Corn Pops, they would be $1.50 a box. See how that works? We just bought a $4 box of cereal for $1.
Now that you hopefully understand that part of the process, all you have to do is go down the ad list, find things you want, find your coupons, clip them, then go to the store. 15 – 30 should be all you need to plan out a trip. Now if you do need things (like milk) and it’s not on sale, then by all means get the milk, but if you are going to need baked beans in the next month, and they are on sale this week plus you have coupons, don’t pass it up just because you have two cans left in the pantry. Stock up on the stuff! Most stores run their sales on a 6-week cycle, so if you stock up with enough for 6 weeks, you won’t need any more till it goes on sale again!
Speaking of stocking up, you also want to stock up on your coupons. If you get one paper on Sunday, you’ll have one copy of each coupon, so when you go try to stock up, you’ll be able to get one, maybe two items at a low price. I don’t know about you, but that probably won’t be enough to last me six weeks. So you know what, you gotta buy more papers. Find the paper you have access to that comes with the most coupons, and buy a few. Base it on how many of an item you would need too, so like maybe four copies is good for you, or maybe you want ten. That part’s up to you.
One more way to save is with e-coupons. I know kroger uses them, and I think other stores are starting too, but since we only have kroger right now, that’s what I’m focusing on. There are at least four sites I know of that do e-coupons, and all you have to do is sign up (for free), then add you kroger card, and start loading these coupons on. When you scan your card at checkout, it will automatically deduct the amount after you finish scanning! The really great thing about e-coupons is that you can use a manufacturer’s coupon AND an e-coupon on the same item! Oh, and don’t forget you can stack a store coupon in there too if you have any.
As for the four websites for e-coupons, here ya go:
I hope that in some way this will help many of you save more money, and stay tuned for another money saving tip that I will post sometime in the future!