Monday, June 13, 2011

it's been far too long

i know, i suck at blogging.
i did start a new blog about our house/budget- you can read it here:
not that i update that all that often either.... sorry!

but, i did start couponing a couple of weeks ago (not going to lie- totally inspired by that TLC show) and some people asked me to share what i do so here it is!

some tips:

-buy newspapers**. some people are wanting to buy 100 things of laundry detergent- i don't want to do that. i want to be really reasonable about couponing and not: buy things we won't need/use OR buy things in super bulk. we are living in 1100 SF- there is no way i can have an entire room or a basement to keep my "stock pile" plus- from what i've read, sales are cyclical. don't think: i'll never see this good of a deal ever again. YOU WILL! in about 3-4 months. so, get enough to only last you that long and you'll be fine.
I buy 5 sunday papers a week. when we move i'll get them delivered because it's cheaper then buying them and sometimes there are even extra inserts! this means i'm usually not buying more than 5 of each item- which seems reasonable to me. it costs $7.50 a week for the papers.
**some people prefer to get them for free from neighbors or dig them out of the trash- i think most people that get the paper these days, get it for coupons (because not many people actually get it delivered anymore) so to me, buying them is the least amount of hassle. another option is to buy ONE paper and then if there is a coupon you like, you can find a coupon clipping service online and order coupons through them. i've heard they aren't very expensive, so if you are wanting to buy like 50 of one item, i would get the coupon for it this way.

- clip EVERY manufacturer coupon you see. Ok, i don't clip EVERY coupon (things like cat/dog food, coffee ect) but, i use the philosphy: if this was item was free, would i take it from the store? if i answer yes, i clip it. the value of the coupon might only be .50 but the item MAY end up being very cheap or free- so clip it, no matter what the value on the coupon is. in the paper (at least here in denver) there is a red plum (RP as they call it on couponing websites) and smart source (SS) these are where you'll find manufacturer coupons that you can use at any store. many stores double coupons up to $1. so if it's a .50 coupon they'll double it to $1.

- then, look through the store ads. i start with walgreens and find some AWESOME deals there. Last week i got $10 fish oil vitamins (for my parents) totally free and this week i got $10 razors for $1, free bayer aspirin (normally over $3 each) and an airwick room spray for $1 each. (normally $10) I also look through Safeway, King Soopers and Target. What you are looking for is of course, things you normally buy and als0 things you have manufacturer coupons for. If things are on sale at the store and then you have a man. coupon, that's when you should buy. that is probably the best deal you're going to find- so jump on it.
For example- if laundry detergent is on sale for 4/$8 and then you have 4, $1 off coupons then it will really be 4/$4 making them $1 each. this is called "stacking" when you use a store deal/coupon along with a man. coupon.

- keep all of your manufacturer coupons in a binder or little accordion folder. I got an accordion folder but with only clipping coupons for 2 weeks, it's already getting full and disorganized- even though i have it broken down into 12 categories. so, i am going to get the binder instead and use card pockets (like for baseball/trading cards) and keep coupons in those instead. you'll want this to be super organized because this is what you take to the store with you just in case in you find something on sale or clearance that you weren't expecting to get. if you see an item discounted really low and also have a coupon with it, you can either get it for free or sometimes even make money off the coupon. you won't be using all the coupons you clip that week, because not everything will be on sale- and so you don't want to waste them! most coupons are good for a few months so you can hold on to them (organized in your binder) and then use them once there is an awesome sale. that's really the only way to get stuff for free/close to free.

- after i look through and devour the whole paper (or 5 whole papers) I then go to this website:
Krazy Coupon Lady -- she does a lot of the work for you. (i've looked at a lot of coupon websites and hers in my favorite. it's really easy to navigate and it looks nice- i can't STAND ugly websites) I try to do the match ups (sales/coupons) on my own but there is a lot i miss- so this website is awesome. she breaks it down by store and what coupons to use when. somehow she even knows what deals are going to happen in the future so she'll say: you CAN use this coupon for candy this week at this store, but if you wait till next week you can buy them at this store for even cheaper.

- take advantage of things like register rewards (RR- also called catalinas) at walgreens. these are the coupons that get printed out after you buy something for you to use on your next transaction. for example- that's how i got the razors for $1 each. they were normally $10, onsale for $8.99. $4 off manufacturer coupon and a $4 RR- making it essentially only .99. I had to pay the $4.99 though and then the coupon prints out. I use that coupon on my next transaction, so it's just as good as cash. you cannot get RR for the same item, 2 transactions in a row. So, for example today- i did 10 transactions at walgreens. all of my odd transactions were essentially the same and all my even transactions were essentially the same. so, i still i got all the RR and i spent the RR from trans #1 on #2, #2 on #3 ECT. hopefully that makes sense :)

-this week i did something that was a lot easier then my trip to walgreens last week. I organized each of my 10 transactions and put together the coupons with a paperclip and then a sticky note on top, to tell me what to buy (and quantity) for each transaction. then, i made a "master list" which told me what to buy and the quantity i needed to buy in total. For example i was buying dial body wash for $1 each. so i had that 5 of my transaction sticky notes and then i also had on the master list: 5 dial body washes. this way, you don't have to try to keep your transactions separate in the cart. I tried to do that last week and it was SO hard. i had to drag around 2 carts and still, they were all jumbled by the time i got to the register. so this time it was SO much easier- i just would put up on the counter each item based on the sticky note and then hand her all those coupons i needed for that transaction.

-i clip coupons on sunday afternoon after church. to me, it's a nice, relaxing activity- like taking a sunday nap :) I get up on monday morning and try to be at walgreens just as they open at 8 am.

I really haven't started buying my groceries with coupons yet- I have just gone to walgreens the last 2 monday mornings to buy things like toiletries, laundry and cleaning supplies. i figure if i can get all of this for super cheap (about 80% savings this week) then it's OK to spend a normal amount on groceries. i am going to start looking for more grocery type coupons but to me it seems like its mostly for a lot of.... crap... like prepackaged meals/frozen food ect which we don't really eat a lot of (nor do i want to) so, for now-- mostly household stuff.

So far with coupons i've gotten really nice razors (i now have 28 :), lots of laundry detergent (i currently have enough for 505 loads, and since i only do about 5 loads a week- that is enough to last me for 2 years!!!) dish soap, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, medicine and lip balm. For most everything, i didn't pay over $1 each (dish soap- less then $1, laundry detergent about $1.80-$2.50 for 32 load bottle of liquid detergent) so, i am REALLY excited! Last week I spent a little over $70 and saved about $190. This week i spent $32 and saved a little over $235.

if you have questions, let me know! I am in NO WAY an expert like the TLC ladies but, if i can help, i will :)


Emily Kate said...

I love that you're doing this! I haven't been any good at it in awhile. It's hard when I don't have a car so I can only go in the evening (often when the deals have already been picked over). I also felt like I had to be really organized so I could check out fast because I didn't want the other people/clerks to hate me.

And I agree about the groceries thing. It's harder to find coupons for fresh food rather than processed/packaged. It just seems easier to the drugstore stuff.

Carrie S. said...

I coupon, girl, it rocks! You have to have to have to have to...check out It is the best. Good luck!