A few years ago I thought we needed to cut some items from our budget, save money somewhere.
Do you ever feel like you’ve cut everything you can cut and there’s just no more cutting that can possibly happen?
That’s how I felt. There wasn’t anything else we could ‘give up’. The only place to cut was the grocery bill and unless we were all going on radical we’ll never eat again kinda diet, there was no cutting out the groceries. I don’t make extravagant recipes anyway.
Honestly, I gave up on trying to save any money in the grocery store. I thought it was a lost cause, until I started couponing.
Couponing makes me happy.
I’m not talking about extreme, over-the-top couponing either. I don’t steal my neighbor’s paper to get their coupons and I don’t have an extra room for my stockpile. I coupon to save money on my grocery bill.
In addition to food, my grocery budget includes all cleaning products, personal hygiene products, and paper goods.
Here’s the catch, couponing takes a lot of time. It’s true and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are most likely lying. If I’m wrong, hurry up and share your secret!
So decide if you have time or money to spare. I chose giving up about two hours late on a Sunday night. I can do that much without disrupting our entire lives.
Give yourself time to figure things out. It’s not going to be easy at first, because juggling sales flyers and a load of little coupons can be confusing, especially when you’re in a grocery store. Eventually you’ll get the hang of things.
Organize. Organize your coupons or you’ll go crazy. A simple binder with plastic card holder pages (the kind for trading cards) works great, but find something that will work for you. The type of system isn’t as important as the functionality of the system.
Have a plan. Make a list! Know what you are going to buy and which coupons you are going to use before you ever set foot in a store. Strategize so you’ll save the most money.
Stay in your budget. Stick to your budget and don’t go over, even if it means passing up a good deal. Budgets trump coupons.
Start small. Pick one store and familiarize yourself with their coupon policies and discount card systems.
Buy name brands. I know this goes against the thrifty grain, but name brands go on sale and manufacturers put out coupons only for name brands. Many times you can get the name brand product cheaper than the store brand.
No brand loyalty. If you want to save money, be flexible.
Have some fun! Treat yourself to a discounted bag of M&M’s. (I passed up that sale this week thank you very much. *pats own back*)
Buy the Sunday paper. It will pay for itself.
Buy before there’s a need. Don’t wait to buy something until you need it, buy it when it’s on sale and you have a coupon. This seems crazy, but if you wait until you need it, you’ll pay twice as much for it. I’m talking about items like toothpaste, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo and hair care products, cleaning products, and laundry detergents. (Although, you can totally try my DIY Laundry Soap and Shower Cleaner recipe!)
Shop the Pharmacies. CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid – They have new sales every single week. You can check their flyers online, so you can take your time and match up your coupons. Many of these small stores give you “money” back (coupons for Free Money towards your next purchase) on many of the items we all use.
My town has a CVS and I score some pretty amazing deals in CVS. Even my husband is impressed. Since I can walk there, I don’t even waste gas money. It’s a double bonus!
Double Coupons rule! If you are fortunate to have a nearby grocery store that doubles your coupons, you’ll save big. Shop in that store.
They are currently building a Shop & Save in my town and I can’t wait. They have great sales and they double coupons.
Print online coupons. There are many coupons available online, take full advantage of these.
Involve your kids. Recently I needed a desk chair. It was during the back-to-school sales and I set out to buy a sale chair in Walmart; however, my daughter (who roams the store while I shop) noticed that CVS has the same chair as Walmart and it was on sale for less. I combined their sale with a coupon for school supplies and an additional 25% off coupon and I got a chair for $24 and change. She saved me $25 dollars!!!
Teach your kids to look at prices and sales flyers. You’ll be surprised by how much they remember. Also, have them clip your coupons this way they can help match coupons to sales.
Couponing isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has the time to clip coupons. I understand that, but I happen to have a wonderfully lame life and nothing better to do at 11pm on a Sunday night. So I clip coupons and look for sales. It’s becoming like a game for me. I actually strategize about buying deodorant. I don’t even think I should be proud of that, but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
Save Money with These Websites
Get printable coupons at Money Saving Mama.
If you live in the South, Southern Savers will help you match coupon to your store’s sales.
Try saving with Crazy for Coupons & Freebies.
Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less wrote a Beginners Guide to Coupons. (Don’t forget to check out her 31 Day series. It’s wonderful!)