I wrote this article for the MOMS Club newsletter but wanted to share it with all my blog friends.
You really need to Meal Plan. Since I grocery shop weekly I plan my
meals every Monday and try to shop on Tuesday. The meals are
planned around what is on sale at the grocery store that week. I
use legal size envelopes for my shopping list. I divide it up into
categories such as health and beauty, cleaning supplies, Meats,
produce, etc. I only purchase items that are on sale and if I have
coupons I try to stockpile nonperishable items. Like for example:
This week Shoprite has Purex Laundry detergent on sale for 1.99.
I had coupons for $1.00. You are allowed to purchase 4 and use 4 coupons. So for $4.00 I got 4 Purex laundry detergent. Now, since this is the only detergent I use I will
either make 2 orders or go back during the week a 2nd time to buy
another 4. I need to purchase enough so I won't run out and have to
be forced to pay $5 a bottle when it is not on sale. They will go
on sale again but not for months later.
Okay, where do you get coupons for items that you use? I get one
paper delivered to my house. After looking at the coupons on Sunday if I notice that there are a lot of coupons in that Sunday paper that I use I will go to the store and pick
up another 3 papers. I have also asked my in-laws and parents to save
their coupon inserts so when they come to visit they give me their
inserts and I cut out everything. Why everything? I make 2 piles. One
for items I use and one pile for items that I'm going to swap/trade/give away.
I belong to coupon_Exchange at yahoo groups where you send and
receive potlucks of coupons each week in a round robin type fashion.
This is how I get different amounts on coupons from other states.
So say for example: In NJ we get $1.00 off on 3 boxes of General
Mills Cereal. Well, in another state they may get $1 off just one
box of General Mills Cereal. So you can save more by having coupons
from other states because you won't have to purchase so many boxes
Another way I have found recently is to write to all the companies
that you frequently purchase products from. I recently wrote a
letter to Heinz via e-mail saying how great their ketchup was and
that my children use it on everything. I then asked them if they
had any coupons for their loyal customers and then a couple days
later I received some coupons for Heinz ketchup in the mail.
Another example was I wrote a complaint letter to Johnson & Son
about Fantastik Oxypower. I normally purchase Fantastik Heavy Duty.
My husband purchased the Oxypower one and I complained as it didn't
do such a great job and in the mail I received a coupon for a free
fantastik. I have a notebook where I write down which companies I
have contacted and I try to do at least one a week.
I also was finding it hard to find coupons for products that I use
on a daily basis. Like for example: every week my husband wants
this 4c Totally Light Energy Rush powdered drink. I searched e-bay
and found buy one get one free coupons. Yes, I did purchase 20
coupons for $2 but get this! These coupons are good until May 30
and for every week I've been purchasing one of his drinks and
getting the 4C lemonaide for the kids free! These boxes are
typically $5.50 or more. So I am saving $110.00 minus the $2 I
spent on them so that's $108 in savings on our drinks alone. So the
little amount I spent on ebay is well worth the savings in whole.
Another place I get coupons from is Hot Coupon World . You have
to sign up and join but it's free. Once you post a couple of times
you then will have access to the trading section. This is a great
place to learn all about couponing and you can even trade and make
up wishlists. I've gotten tons of coupons through trading for items
that I do use. One thing I have learned from this sight is the
advantage of shopping at CVS. Okay, I have gone there before but
never knew that you can earn free things. I'm still a novice at CVS
but I have done some really good deals on shampoos, toothpastes,
razors, soda and other things. At CVS they have special items each
week that you earn ECB (Extra Care Bucks) when you are a member and
these ECB's can be used on anything on your next trip. They do
expire so you need to go back within a month to use them.
I also read many blogs. My favorite 2 are Free-bates and Money Saving Mom. They give some great tips on saving money and even post what to purchase to get the best deals at various stores such as CVS, Walgreens and Riteaide.
How do I sort my coupons? You can read my article here.