Monday, August 18, 2008

My Coupon Methods

I wrote this a few years ago, but I wanted to repost it due to a friend who has asked for it. This is some of what I try to teach.

My Coupon Methods

First of all, I collect coupons. I have friends and family save coupon packs. The ladies homes that I clean for saves the coupons for me. Ladies at church save coupons for me. In the past, I also have dumpster dive coupons. I always take 4 to 6coupons from the red catalina (blinkys) from the grocery stores. I always check packages before I throw them out, sometimes there are coupons printed inside. I also trade coupons on and trade on the coupon trade forum. I trade dog food coupons for cat food. Also, at the library and at the store itself, people leave coupons. Also if you see coupons attached to the products, you can take some and not use them that shopping trip. I have also been known to do a few coupon trains. Also, there is a Walmart Magazine called,"ALL YOU". It typically has great coupons in it!

Second, I have a 3 ring binder, and inside it has plastic pocket sheets, I catagorize my coupons in that...and I always have that with me (in case of a good deal). The binder has my name and phone number, just in case I lose it (GOD FORBID!). I keep a calculator, a sissors, and a pen in there too!

Third, when I do find something on coupon, and matching a store sale. I buy as many as I can if the price is a great deal. I don't just use a coupon because I have it. Coupons can be worthless if you don't get the best deal possible. This week, Walgreens has deodarant for 99 cents, my husband perfers the gels and they are what are on sale. Also there is a 75 cent coupon in the paper. So I will be buying 10 deodarants this week for 25 cents each! I spend one hour/two hours on sunday going over the sales ads. Circling anyting we may need in our household then going to my binder and finding the coupons. Since I go shopping once every 5 to 6 weeks, I look over the paper and whatever week has the best sales, that is the week I go shopping. I rarely buy anything if it's not on a sale ad and has a coupon. And I stockpile, so I am not buying the same things every month. This last month, I bought 9 jars of peanut butter. 4 jars will go to the local food shelter and the other 5 to my food stockpile. Peanut butter can stay in my stockpile for up to 6 months. The jars were JIF and they were less than 40 cents each! I always match sales ads.

I cut coupons in piles, cutting all the same coupons at the same time, then taking the pile and filing it in the binder. I go through the binder ONCE a month to pull expired coupons.

TO maxiumize my savings, I go to Aldi's (or Save a Lot) and buy the basics. Whatever is cheapest. If the item is on sale at another store, I dont' buy it.

When I go shopping in my area, I have a plan..Go to Kwik Trip first (gas station) they have bagged milk cheap! It freezes well. ALso they sell bananas for .29 cents a pound all the time. SO that is also a source for fresh fruit for me. Then I stop at aldi's. Grap the basics, and the cheap cat litter, then I stop at Lolgi's and get all the coupon/sale items, then I stop at walgreens, and buy whatever I have coupons/sales for. Then I stop at Menards and do there rebates, then I stop at Fleet and Farm and get all pet food and supplies ( cheapest in my area!). I have to drive to the next town to do this. and it's a perfect loop for me from one store to another, so you may have to adjust this to fit your area.

Then that is it for a few weeks...I don't shop again. I don't keep a price book, but I know costs, so you may want to do that until you know if something is a good deal. Also, I keep a list of the things we need, so I only make a trip "into town" once.

Right now my kitchen is STOCKED! I have had some great shopping trips. My menus are planned based on what is on sale. We aren't brand specific on any thing except one thing...My husband has to have Mentadent toothpaste due to the taste of other toothpastes. Other than that...we aren't brand specific. We use ALOT Of generic.

Here is my last shopping trip into town.
Kwik Trip $8.00 milk and bananas. Used my frequent buyer card, I get a stamp for every bag of milk, after 20 stamps, I get $1.00 off the next purchase.
Then Aldi's $70.00 there. Buy the basics, frozen food, cat litter.
Then Walgreens, spent $25.00, but getting $15.00 in rebates
Then Logli's, spent $167 before coupons, and $53.00 after
Then Menards, didn't spend anything because I had rebate cards from last month, and I am getting $18.00 back in rebates again
Ad I didn't have to stop at Farm and Fleet becasue I got 100 pounds of cat food from freecycle.
Total trip $156.00
Rebates yet to get..$33.00

I do feed the family, the animals, all cleaning products, and health and beauty products, and all paper products on this method. I spend about 4 to 8 hours a month doing this...but if you take the money I save just at Logli's ($147.00 and divide that by 8 hours)'s $18.00 an hour...I don't make that kind of money, but I make our income stretch, so to me it's worth it.

Oh one more thing, I have a store in town that doubles coupons on wednesdays, I will go over there in a pinch or if they have some really good deals. I also will go over to our local Walmart. I can get pasta noodles for 50 cents a box...and unless Walgreens has there .33 cents sales that is the cheapest I have found. I stock up to the limit on the .33 cents sales. We eat alot of pasta with veggies. Cheap, quick easy meals.

Also, while I am doing couponing, I also participate in shoppers hotline where I get points for scanning what I buy. I redeem those points for gift debit cards. So, I am even getting more benefits from my shopping.

Hope this helps and gives you some ideas! Happy Couponing!

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Frugalmommie as been on WITI FoxNews6 Television Milwaukee, WTMJ620 Radio, Several local newspapers, The Wisconsin State Journal, and is in a feature article in All You Magazine in the April 2009 edition.