I had a friend/follower ask me today how I manage to get myself organized, find deals and get in the store. Instead of ONLY responding to her, I thought I'd share with all of you as well.
The first thing I will say is that it does take time. I won't lie. It does take time for me to cut out coupons and organize them in my binder. Finding the deals, well, I let the pros do that, for the most part. As I mentioned in my previous post, I rely on Jennie at Bargain Blessings to give me the King Soopers match ups. She also does Safeway, Rite Aid and Walgreens...and Sunflower market as well, if I remember right.
HowEVER, I still go through the ad myself because I always end up with coupons that other people don't have. Those are ones I pick up from catalinas (those coupons that print out at the register), ones from the store itself (King Soopers sends them to me in the mail), certain companies (i.e. Gerber, Huggies, etc), and so on. Plus, as I mentioned, the bloggers are only human an may miss a deal. Maybe it's an unadvertised item...whatever the case may be. Anyway, it's good to check the ad (and the store as you're walking through) yourself to see what goodies await.
That's the reason why I always take ALL my coupons with me to the store. You never know when you'll come across an unadvertised sale or markdown item that you can get for a STEAL.
When do I have time to do all this organizing? Well, since I have 2 kids, it's usually naptimes or after they are in bed for the night. Sometimes I sit and cut out coupons (or organize them) while they are having afternoon snack. Then when they are done eating they love running back and forth from the table to the trash can, throwing away the coupon "scraps". Making them a part of the project is a good thing! You have to start the kids early when it comes to learning how to save money and the value of coupons.
I go to the store once a week, normally. We live 16 miles from our grocery store so it's not easy to just run over there on a whim...which is a good thing. We all know that 90% of the time, when you walk into the store, you end up buying more than what you came in for. Limiting the number of times you step inside those doors will limit your spending.
I try my hardest to go to the store by myself. Either the morning, naptime or after bedtime. I don't have a specific day that I go because that varies depending on my husbands schedule. I've been meaning to ask when my local store does the bulk of their markdowns so I can plan my trip on that day (if possible) but I haven't yet.
If I have to bring a kid (or kids), the car cart is my best friend...as well as the free cookie in the bakery section (look in the donut cases).
The coupons I have out and ready to use are in order based on my store. I have a route that I take and my coupons follow that route. I HATE sorting through coupons looking for the one I want. They are organized by aisle, in my hand, so I save time in the store. And, of course, my binder is organized by product type and those tabs are alphabetized to make it easy for me to find one if a deal springs up.
I would rather spend a few extra minutes at home sorting and organizing than stand in the aisle and do it.
So I don't know if that answers the question. The main thing for me, in many aspects of my life, is organization. I love my binder but it's certainly not for everyone. Get a small coupon holder (the dollar spot at Target has them off and on), or even regular envelopes. Organize your coupons, in whichever method is best for you, let the deal finding bloggers do the bulk of your work, make your list and head on off to the store.
Please feel free to send me any more questions. I'm happy to help if I can!