My husband keeps telling me I need to blog about my couponing skills, which I don't think are that great. I am not one of those people that leaves the store with $100 worth of groceries for $10. But I got to thinking about it and I think I coupon in a way that is realistic for everyone and I still save quite a bit of money.
I also help curb my spending by taking out my grocery money in cash every time my husband gets paid. Occasionally I will have to use my debit card on my last trip of the pay period, but usually only for $10 or less. If you aren't doing this, I promise it will make a difference.
So let's get started with basics. It takes time to build a good coupon stash, but thanks to printable Qs, you can have a decent stash so long as you have enough printer paper :) I use coupons.com, Target.com and various blogs and savings sites that point me in the direction of savings.
Buy the Sunday Paper (and get two), but head over to SundayCouponPreview.com first and see what will be in the inserts. Sometimes I don't have to buy the paper and sometimes there are no inserts, so we aware of that.
Find out if your go to store takes competitor Qs. For instance, Publix takes competitor Qs like Winn Dixie, Target and some even take Walgreens Qs.
Get those Qs organized! It may take using a few different methods to find what works for you. I use aa small accordian file like this:
Many people swear by the binder method , but that doesn't work for me, it may work for you, try it out :) I have mine organized into categories and I have an empty pocket for the coupons that I intend to use for that particular shopping trip. Sometimes I will run across an item on sale and having them organized by category makes it easy to find.
Learn the Rules. Knowing what you can and cannot do with a coupon can make a difference. Many blogs and savings sites have a run down of the rules for specific stores. Remember that at Publix you can use a store Q (and this can be a competitor store Q) AND a manufacturer's Q on the same item. So for example, if an item is BOGO you could use a store Q and a manufacturer Q for each item (4 coupons total) and get a REALLY good deal!
Publix - I Heart Publix
CVS - Money Saving Mom
Walgreens - Money Saving Mom
If you do a simple google search you can find TONS more helpful blogs and websites.
I love shopping at CVS for items like laundry detergent, cosmetics and toiletries. I don't go every week but I always check the ad to see if there are some good deals. Sometimes it's best to buy something that you may not need at the moment, if you can get a great deal, because it always happens that when you NEED it, its not on sale and there are no coupons. Just make sure it is something that you need.
I went to CVS on Sunday and I didn't do great, but I didn't do bad either.
I keep thinking I bought something else...but anyways, I got all these items for around $10. I saved $17. It's not the best CVS scenario because I wasn't starting out with any EBs and honestly, my Qs weren't the best. But still its a pretty good trip.
Publix :) - I could go on for days about Publix. You can save TONS of money at Publix, but don't count out big retailers like Wal-mart. Make sure you do some price comparison. For example: The new Cinnamon Cheerios cost $2.50 at Wal-mart. They are around $4 at Publix. If there isn't a BOGO deal going, Wal-mart is a better deal. Wal-mart tends to have better prices on these kinds of pantry staples, so if you are low on Qs and the sales ad isn't what you need there are other options.
Take Time to Research. Take 15 minutes everyday to check your favorite blogs and sites for any deals, printables or matchups that someone else might find that you missed.
Be a Meal Planner - plan your meals with the sales ads in hand. You will save more this way. You will also avoid those days where you are too tired and end up ordering pizza. If you planned for this kind of day you can make soup and sandwiches instead. And trust me, there is ALWAYS that kind of day.
Food is only going to get more expensive as the year goes on, it's best to save wherever you can. You will get better at it as time goes on, it does take some time to get the hang of it. So go get some scissors and clip some Qs and save some $$$