Friday, March 04, 2011

Coupon Savings in my world.

This post is for Nancy. I do not see her on a regular basis, but she is the Man's cousin, and thanks to the fabulous social network called facebook, we are now able to at least communicate frequently.

I posted about my savings at the grocery store on facebook and she asked me to give her some more information.

Let's start with disclaimers - I have a real 40+ hour a week job. I have an athlete who lives at my house. I am perpetually disorganized. I do not have the energy or the inclination for extreme coupon processes. I do not have anywhere to store large amount of nonperishable goods (no 100 big ass packages of toilet paper sitting around). I have no desire to purchase some 400 dollars worth of stuff for 5.00 and I refuse to run all over town because this store has a 3 cent better price on an items. So I guess this could be called couponing for the real world.

Last year I saved approximately 1800.00 using store "bonus" cards and coupon savings. That may not seem like much to the kings and queens of the process, but it was a good number to me.

Here is my process.

1. I have the following store promo cards in my wallet. Bi-Lo (my grocery store), BigLots, Ingles (the run by store on the way home), CVS, RiteAid, Barnes and Noble (I pay 25.00/year for this one but we buy so many books and magazines that this is a luxury worth having for me). I faithfully scan them and check the little coupon printers at the appropriate stores.

2. I check the following websites often. (my gorcery store) they have the weekly ad online, so I can plan ahead.

3. I "like" several manufactures websites on Facebook.

4. I get email newsletters from my favorites, including pillsbury and hobby lobby.

5. I collect the coupon inserts from the paper and sale papers of stores I frequent.

6. If we don't eat it - I don't clip it. If I don't clip it - I leave it in a box that my local library has just for this purpose. I do clip diaper coupons for friends with babies and I share those. If I notice a special in a store ad and see a coupon I may even note that on the coupon for those friends.

My storage and working system.

We add to our grocery list all week. I don't have a printout list - honestly most of the time it is the back of a junk mail envelope - and it may be written in pen, pencil, marker, or even crayon depending on what's handy.

This is my Coupon Keeper. I made it. It makes me happy. It appeals to the artsy fartsy standards for being visually appealing. It works for me. That last statement is absolutely the most important one.

I slide my coupons into library card pockets. Each page has a picture and a quote. The pages are divided into the various groupings that made sense to me.


Note - the STORE category is for those store specific coupons - especially the ones that print on the bottom of the receipt

Note - RESTAURANT coupons go in my misc section.

Behind each coupon page - there is a pretty piece of paper. Notes to remind me to check facebook pages for specials etc.

My tracking is where I write down the date/store/ and savings.

I shop on Sunday afternoon most often - I will check the store add online and add specials for the pantry to my list - again I say - I only buy the stuff we relly do use.

I go through my coupons and stack them up to match my list. This is when I cull the ones that got away - coupons that expired. I make notes on the list about the items that I have a coupon for. I also will add items to my list that I have a coupon for that is about to expire. I paper clip the coupons to the front of the book.

Off to the store - I mark off the list - if there is a coupon note on it showing that I already pulled a coupon for an item, I pull it from the stack and tuck it in the side of the book double checking any "rules" on the coupon - such as buying two of an item. I will also add coupons from the book when I have the "oh crap that's not on the list" moments as I cruise the store.

At the check out - I put my handy reusable bags on the counter -- cha ching -- my grocery store give a discount just for that act.

scan store card - groceries - coupons - write check - load car - sit down - write savings on tracking list. try to figure out who I can sucker at my house into putting these away.

here is my pile for clipping right now.

the newpaper inserts
magazine coupons

online printout coupons

Always check packaging - thats 1.50 in the top of a box that I bought on special already -

The whole process takes about two hours time per week. Not including the drive to the store.

I also keep the coupon book in my car all the time - so I can check when I "stop by the store" on the way home.

By the way - Dollar General in my area has huge discounts available using their online site and in store promos - always check the front rack for those.

My goal for this year is to try and save 2000.00 at least - that is 167.00 per month - right now with all my tracked goodness, I am well on my way to that goal.

Any questions - I will happily answer them. There is a ton of information on how to out there. But I will share all I know about my discombobulated process.

Have a wunnerful day.

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