For those of you who don't know, I'm a saver. Not a saver as in a hoarder (OMG have you watched that show?? I want to help those people soooo badly), but as in saving money. I'm frugal...or some may say cheap, but I'm ok with that. I shop at garage sales and thrift stores and when I shop at "regular" stores, I shop the clearance racks and sales. It absolutely KILLS me to pay regular price for ANYTHING. I know it's a necessary evil sometimes, but I avoid it as much as possible. Oh, and I use coupons.
I've been using coupons for a while now (before I was married) but I wasn't really "good" at using coupons until fairly recently. What does it mean to be "good" at using coupons? Well, I don't use coupons just because I have them. That was my trap in the past. I used to think, "oh, I have $1 off such and such an item, I need to buy it". I'm much smarter about it now.
I wouldn't say that I'm a pro at it. I know of many women who are MUCH better bargain hunters than I am...so I read their blogs and get their tips, teehee. The key to couponing is matching the coupons with the weekly sales. See what's on sale, use your coupon with it and voila! Even more so, you need to find the BEST sale and use your coupons with it. There have been multiple times where I have walked out of King Soopers with items for free, or they paid me to take it.
The other way to coupon is to go to stores where you can stack coupons and load up on the savings. If you don't know what I mean by stacking, it's when you use a store coupon (i.e. Walgreens, Target and Safeway all do this) along with a manufacturer coupon on the same item. You can get some great deals doing this as well.
Tonight I sat and cut out coupons from this last week's newspaper, my latest issue of All You Magazine, and ones I printed from coupons.com. I still need to get them in my coupon organizer, but then I'll be all set for my trip to King Soopers tomorrow.
Some people say they don't use coupons because it takes too much time. I can see their point. It does take time...but here's MY point. I'm mainly a stay at home mom. If I can sit and spend and hour cutting and organizing coupons for the week, that's not too bad. Not too bad when you figure that most weeks I go to the store and save at the very least $10, if not $20 (or more) just with my coupons. $10-$20 an hour for couponing...not too shabby. Those little slips of paper are as good as cash in my hands. I don't take it too lightly.
Other people have said that buying the store brand is cheaper so they just do that. I will agree with that...sometimes. BUT, if an item is on sale (a decent sale) that week, it can be cheaper to buy the name brand item and use your coupon.
On a side note: when I cut out the coupons from the newspaper, I cut them ALL out. I seperate them into 2 piles, the ones I want to keep and the ones I'm sending away. All the coupons I don't want I ship overseas to a military base, where families can use them while shopping at their BX. They can also use coupons that have expired, up to 6 months. So at the end of the month I pull out all the coupons that I didn't use and put those in my "send" bag as well. It's very selfish really. It makes me feel good to know that I can help the families, of the men and women who are serving my country, save a little money while they are so far away.
If you are interested in doing this you can go to www.ocpnet.org and find out more info. I mean, really, $5 in shipping costs every couple months to show support and help our soldiers and their families save a few dollars...it's not too much to ask, I don't think.
The main point of this post is because I've had people ask me how I do what I do. How do I go to the grocery store, spend $70 and save $80 (ok, that's only happened a couple times)? Stick around and you might find out. I'm not going to become a blogger who sits there and leads you through the entire grocery sale ad for the week. I just don't have the energy to do that. But, if I have a chance, I can let you know about what deals I was able to score for the week and, if I do it early enough, maybe you can score them too.
Just a side note, since I live out here in the far east I mainly only shop at King Soopers so that's the store I'll focus on. I might throw in some Walgreens or Target deals on occassion but don't expect TOO much of me. I have a toddler and an infant ya know. :)