Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New adventures. Coupons

Well for the last few weeks we have been working on trying to save on groceries.
So far our average is about 40% off what we have gotten. Pretty good in my opinion for just starting out.
For example last week we spent 170 on groceries and such and ended up saving 130 in coupons and discounts.

I figured I would share some of my tips and update how we get better at it. This is part of my whole reorganizing and getting better about how our house operates.

Let me first say, This is very labor intensive and requires a great deal of preparation.
From first cutting coupons to getting them all organized, then finding the best deals for the week, It takes quite a bit of time.
Secondly I was skeptical to even try this doing it. As an example I would see store brands of an item for .79 and with coupons or discounts I could get a name brand for .49 I didn't think to be much of a deal, But if you take 5 of the .79 and 5 five of the .49 you save 1.50 which when applied to something else, adds up pretty quickly

WE shop mostly at a store called Kroger, There are links to deals at other stores, but for where we live and the fact that they Double coupons up to .50 is what keeps us going there.

Here is a breakdown of what I did to save some grocery money. Hopefully it will help you too.

A. Get a Grocery savings card for your store you shop most.
     1. Sign up with your information, You get additional coupons in the mail
     2. Some stores have electronic coupons you can load to your card.
         a. Be selective about your electronic coupons, For example our family doesn't use some specified
             medicines or pregnancy tests. :)
         b. The store I use has a phone application that I cant bring up to see what I have on the card.
             this saves me time and I don't have to print off 8 pages of additional things to look for while    shopping.
         c. Electronic coupons are sometimes pretty nice. For example we get 3.00 off toilet paper every so
             often.
     3. Link websites such as P and G saver, Upromise, to your shopping card.
         a. P and G Saver will let you sign-up to receive additional coupons by mail and free samples.
         b. Upromise offers college saving and exclusive coupons.
         c. There are other sites that link to your card such as cellfire (phone app) and shortcuts.com
      4. Set-up a folder from your email to be for coupons and a Favorites tab for coupon websites,
          a. You Favorites Tab can include sites like Clorox, or Kellogg's which offer coupons as well.

       5. Know your stores policies, Stores like Publix for example accepts Target printable coupons.
           and Target accepts their printable coupons and manufacturers coupons, Which can make for some   
           great prices.

B. Get a 3 ring binder and at least 2 sets of baseball card sleeve packs.
        1. Get 2 packs of dividers as well.
       
Here is what I have learned doing this research,
Your going to have about 3 months of coupons at any given time.  Most coupons are at their prime towards the expiration date as this is when a new product to replace the old is coming out and the price should be lowest.
You are going to have a major amount of hygiene products, make-up. Cleaning supplies and laundry coupons. You can stock up on toothpaste almost every week, Getting a tube for .25 or better almost every time. My family and I are stocking up on these supplies so they don't pop up later when we need them and we are forced to pay full price.
One benefit we have noticed so far Is my wife is able to get some nice things. Such as we were able to get a Olay Facial cleanser for 1.25, which normally cost about 7.00

C. Organize your binder by your store layout,
    1. This may take a few times going to the store. As you have probably been through the aisles of your
        store hundreds of times, Trying to remember each aisle is tougher than you think.
    2. Put your older coupons in the front page of each section. This way as each week passes your can have
        older ones up front and ready to go for those great deals,
    3. Couponmom.com suggest putting the date and what coupon book they came from on each coupon. I 
        have not started doing this but it may be easier for some to keep track this way.

D. Save yourself some major time and energy and go to couponmom.com
     1. this website breaks down the deals per store the best deals for that week and well pretty much helps
         you find the best deals. Slickdeals.net has the same thing and has some more intense coupon
         strategy's but is a little harder to navigate and follow.

E. Be ready to spend some time in the store.
    1. even though I have a book, organized by store. It seems I get to that aisle and we get stuck there for a while looking for the deals we want to get. I am sure there is an easier way to do this, but it does lead to some family time, Which is always good.

F. Not convinced.  Try it for a month, I think you will see that its worth the extra time to do it. If you spend 15-20 minutes a day or less you can get ready for your grocery day.

G. Some of these deal you get items for pretty much free, or for a less than .25
     You can keep them for yourself or donate the extras to charity's and food banks as well.
      I fully think the good Karma from that will come back to you ten fold as well