I am pleased with how I did this week at the grocery. I only went to ShopRite, but I stopped by twice, on my first trip I spent $19.55 out of pocket, and saved $121.71. My second trip I spent $1.83 and saved $14.96. No trips to CVS or Rite Aid.
More and more I am having friends and even strangers at the store ask about couponing and how to do it. I've said it before so pardon if I'm annoying, but I LOVE the website Living Rich with Coupons - she's on FB too. I am so thankful for her site, it makes couponing much easier for me. But here are a few random tips from me.
*Don't even start "couponing" unless you are interested in it. Once you get a system down, it is not too bad, but it is time consuming. If you know you'll hate cutting/printing/organizing coupons, don't. Instead, pay a lot more attention to your circulars. These come in the mail usually on Thursday or Friday. I used to be so annoyed and now I can't wait to get them!! Anyway, look through the different ones and circle items your family needs or wants that are a good price. The store that has the best sales gets your business that week!!
*Buy coupons off Ebay. For example. a week or 2 ago, there was a coupon in the Sunday coupon insert (out of the Sunday paper) for "free or up to $3 off" any size Purina One Beyond dry cat food. We have 3 cats so I view this as a hot coupon. I have several from my coupon friends and ones I got myself, but I also ordered 40 off of Ebay. This cost me almost $15, but the value of the coupons is $120. This cat food has a long shelf life, so I can store them in my garage easily. My ShopRite will not let me get all 40 at once, and I wouldn't want to clear them out like that anyway - so over the next month I will get cat food every time I go to the store, in groups of 4. Most stores put a limit of "4 like coupons" in one transaction.
*If you are close to a neighbor that gets a Sunday paper, ask if they use their coupons and if they don't, would they mind giving them to you. One of my neighbors bless her heart, cuts out what she wants and then hangs the rest of the circular on my door in a bag. I also get coupons from my in-laws, my fake sister-in-law, and my couponing group of friends. Your couponing pile will add up.
*View coupons as money. First of all, most grocery stores double the face value of a coupon - .50 off becomes $1, etc. Wouldn't you pick up a $1 off the street and feel good about it? Same with saving $1. Every little bit adds up.
*Find a good way to organize your coupons, and a good time to do it. I personally have a coupon binder. It is a large 3-ring zippered binder, filled with baseball card sleeves and dividers. I picked it up from Staples and I call it my baby. TMI?
*Keep track of your savings, it motivates you.
*Menu plan and if you can, designate a morning a week (or evening, whatever) to prepping your meals. Chop veggies, shred cheese, etc. Even make the whole meal. What does this have to do w couponing? First, plan your meals around the sales. Pork is $1.49/lb? That's a great price. Buy a huge tenderloin (around $15) and cut it up into sections - you'll probably get at least 4 meals out of it for a family of four. I AM a family of four, but 2 out of our 4 won't eat pork - so for us we get at least 6 or 7 meals out of it. I will freeze most (yes, I am blessed to have an extra freezer in my garage - an investment I think is a great idea for couponers but mine was free!) but also have BBQ pork or pork fried rice that week. Second, you save money by not having 5pm roll around and you don't care what it costs to order take-out, you are NOT doing one more thing that day by making dinner. Been there done that - and still do. But less often.
*Sometimes it pays to stop at an extra store that week. Farmers markets, drugstores, groceries. Yes, time is money, but if you save $50, spending an extra hour and 1/2...and buy exactly what you need and want...that's time well spent. Same with couponing. If you spend 2 hours a week, but save $60 - that's $30/hour. Not bad, right?
*Ok I already said something along these lines, but that's how important I think this is - if you want to get into couponing, get a friend who wants to do it too. It is so much more fun. You can share coupons, tell each other about deals, meet up at a diner while you go organize or cut your coupons.
Let me know if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer!