Saturday, April 25, 2009

Learning the Art of Coupons . . .

We all want to save money - and couponing can be a WONDERFUL way to do this. As I have started on this journey - I have come across many who have cut their grocery budget in half and even down to 1/4 of what they were spending intitally. It is a learned skill - basically you have to just get out there and start experimenting. Here I have listed many of things that were helpful to me in starting and I'll add to them as I continue to come across great resources. Overall - good luck and I hope you save a bundle!!!!

Things to do first . . .
1. Order the paper. For my family of four, I order 6 Sunday papers. I personally think this is perfect because then I am able to REALLY stock up when there is a good sale. I only clip one set of coupons each week and file the other 5 sets in a large manilla envelope with the date I received them on the outside of the envelope. EX 4/21. Then, when there is a good sale - I can take the time to go back and clip the ones I want. ( I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!) Plus, then if I am at a store and find an unadvertised sale - I still have one coupon handy. :)

If you are in Arizona - Multiple Sunday papers subscription offer (must be PYP member--membership is FREE) : https://subscribe.azcentral.com/circpromos/promopages/pinchingyourpennies.php

Usually $1.25/week Sunday-only subscription offer (only 1 paper per week):dbe.azcentral.com

2. Sign up to recieve daily emails from certain blogs. I have listed the ones I subscribe to -click on their link on my sidebar to be connected to them and then commit to check your email at least once each day!!! (You don't want to miss the best deals!)

Deal Seeking Mom
It's Hip To Save
Bargain Briana
Stretching a Buck
Nickels N Dimes
Once a Month Mom

The beauty of the daily email is it alleviates the need to REMEMBER to check them. They send you an email "highlighting" what has been posted and you can scroll through quickly and decide if any of it is something you want to look at or quickly delete!!

3. If you are in Arizona - there is one particular site I suggest to follow grocery store sales -

Bargain Moms

She tackles all the grocery stores here in our area each week.
Fry's, Albertsons, Safeway and Bashas.
She is very thorough.

If you are back east - many of the blogs I subscribe to tackle the grocery stores back east. They also follow the sales/coupons at Target, CVS and Walgreens.

4. Coupons have their own lingo. On a site when they are referring to a coupon it will look something like this. $1/2(4-30-09) 1/21 RP This means $1 off 2 items (expiration date is 4-30-09) Coupon is found in Red Plum 1/21.

The lingo will get easier and easier!! Just keep trying. Most Sunday papers have more than one insert - thus the reason to specify.

RP = Red Plum
SS = Smart Source
P&G = Procter and Gamble
V = Valassis

5. CVS and Walgreens are the best place to shop for OTC meds, hygiene products and things like diaper/formulas. I get almost everything from these stores with the exception of Food. They both have Rewards programs that are awesome - though seem complex at first. Most of my hair products/deoderant/toothpaste/toothbrushes/body washes/body lotion - I get here for FREE!! I also like to get my cleaning products/ makeup here when there are good sales!! You'll be floored if you watch. Each week I check these 2 sites. www.iheartcvs.com and www.iheartwags.com. The sites I subscribe to will also put out their "favorites" for that week and will give you some ways to save the most money!! CVS and Walgreens are some of the best kept secrets. However, I have found - especially at CVS that you must go right at the beginning of the week or often the product is gone. They will usually give you a raincheck.