Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Chatter -The Couponing Craze!

Hi everyone!  I hosted two chats this weekend and at both the topic of couponing came up.  I promised that I would share some of my money saving strategies here on my blog!

Where Are The Coupons?:
First, you need to figure out where you will be getting your coupons!  I have a friend who picks up twenty newspapers for me each week.  Luckily, there is a vendor who sells our Sunday paper for just $1 each near her home.  You might look around your area and see if someone there offers papers at a discount too!

There are also many online sites that you can use to print coupons.  More and more companies are signing on to Facebook now and I'm seeing a lot of coupons for print by "liking" their pages!  Also, if you have a favorite product be sure to visit their website because you can often find coupons to print there as well. 

Here are some of my favorite places to find online coupons:
Smart Source

Get Matched Up:
Now that you have your coupons you'll want to make sure that you maximize how much you save when you use them!  There are SO many sites and blogs now that list what is on sale in your area stores.  Just do a google search for "coupon matchups" and you'll get a huge listing. 

I personally use Southern Savers because this site lists most of the stores available where we live.

You can browse the sales ads by store, clicking which products you intend to buy and once you are finished at the very bottom of the list you can click to print your shopping list for that particular store.  Once I have all of my lists I go to my coupons and pull out the ones that match each list and place those in envelopes with my list.  I typically end up visiting between two and six stores each week to find my deals.  Just make sure that you aren't driving way out of the way or you'll end up using your savings in gas lol!

Sales Cycles & Stocking Up:
Make sure that you read the section on Southern Savers about sales cycles and how to buy enough of the things that you use often to get you from cycle to cycle!

Stacking Coupons:
One of the most effective ways that I've found to save the maximum amount of money is to stack coupons.  Some of the stores that I shop will allow me to use a store coupon in conjunction with a manufacturer coupon, this double dip of savings has netted me many free or almost free products!  Some stores will allow you to use competitor's store coupons too, so check those store policies!

Buy One Get One Free (BOGO):
That is one of my favorite phrases :) Remember, many stores will allow you to use a coupon on both products in a Buy One Get One scenario!  So, if you have two $1 coupons on rice and the store has a BOGO free sale for $2, you could use both coupons & that rice would be free!

Does Your Store Double (or Triple)?:
The supermarkets that I shop most regularly will double coupons up to 50 cents.  So, those lower discount coupons are really much more valuable than they may seem!  Check your store policies to find out if they will allow you to double!

Buy Smaller Sizes:
Read your coupons and if smaller or even trial sizes aren't excluded consider purchasing those sizes instead! 

Get Organized:
Something else to consider when you begin couponing is how you intend to organize your coupons!  I began with the Accordion File Method, but soon learned that I liked things a bit more organized, so now I place all of my coupons into binders which I can bring along with me to shop.  That way if I see a must have item at a great price I have my coupons right there with me and can purchase it!

Southern Savers has a great section on getting organized with videos!

I hope this information helps get you started on your couponing journey!  I invite you to leave a comment and even links to your favorite couponing sites! 

Happy saving!!
Connie Prince


Suzanne (scrapsuzy) said...

I use Southern Savers as my main couponing site, but also like The Krazy Coupon Lady, CouponMom, and Hip2Save. I have all 4 of them on FB, where they post TONS of info. I have found Hip2Save to be the fastest to post the latest deals.

Every other week, I am low on grocery money, so I go to CouponMom where I can sort the deals by store and percentage off, then I only buy those things that are the most off (like 75% or more).

I use a double-D ring zippered notebook that also has an accordian file in it. I use 3x5 photo sheets, so I have 4 pockets on each page. I rarely have to fold a coupon to put it in the pocket, and they are easy to get out.

I'm still trying to find a good balance on printing coupons. Their shelf-life is often fairly short, and it uses a lot of ink. I try to be careful to not overprint, but then I don't want to miss out on the good ones, either!

Connie said...

Great tips Suzanne! I'd love to find those photo pockets that you are talking about..the thing I dislike about the baseball card inserts is having to fold up the coupons and they do make it tough to get them out again!

Suzanne (scrapsuzy) said...

I got them at Office Depot.

Connie said...

Awesome, we have those stores here :) Thanks for letting me know!!

Laina said...

One thing I'd say to beginners is to start small. One store is enough to start with, then work your way up by slowly adding more stores.

Also, don't expect to knock your grocery bill down by 90% like in the TV show, at least not on a regular basis:
1) they are extreme and to them couponing equals a full-time job, sometimes more.
2) there is proof that some have been committing fraud

Oh, and if you're on the Northeast coast, here's a good matchup site for you :)

Terry said...

Thank you Connie. I'll have to see if I can get into this enough to make it worthwhile. Now where is my Sunday paper ...

GrandmaBev said...

great tips from everyone.

Trista said...

Thanks for the tips Connie. I have really gotten back into couponing since watching the show, but sadly have already noticed a change in the mfr coupons b/c of the extreme couponing show. Yesterday the coupons had in red print that only four like coupons could be used per shopping trip. :(