Couponing, Saving Money

Couponing for Beginners

coupons

Hey all! So, as a work-from-home mommy, it’s hella important that we save money and learn to stretch a nickel into a dime. One way I’ve learned to do this is with coupons. Now, I’m not going to say I’m a fiend or addicted. I don’t spend 40+ hours a week searching ads, make my family help me clip deals, or creepily search through neighbor’s recycle bins for their throw away’s – that’s for crazy people. Lol…  I would much rather spend my time with my family then going insane trying to figure out how I can get 500 packages of ramen noodles for free. (We really don’t eat ramen noodles. You can see here, we still eat as healthy as possible despite being on a budget.)

So here’s my take on couponing – for the normal person…

  1. Pick 2 Stores (I started with 1):
    • Harvey’s – they double coupon’s up to 50 cents and they have awesome deals, plus I like the people and environment. If something is missing the shelf they are always more than willing to dig through the back for more inventory. And if they’re totally out – I’ll take a rain check – thank you. This guarantees that I’ll be able to get that product for the same price the next time I come back to the store. It’s local so I can stop in many times throughout the week. $5 off $40 or more coupon
    • CVS – Catalina’s!!! Decent deals. They don’t double coupons but I feel their Catalina’s more than make up for it. On top of the Catalina’s – they always have a saving’s center. It’s a little booth set up on an end cap that will spit me out STORE coupons when I insert my card. This is super important because I can then stack those coupons with my manufacture’s coupons and increase my savings. Every time I’m near a CVS, even if I’m not shopping, I’ll stop in to slide my card and get my savings. It’s a little further then I care to drive (25 mins) so I only stop by once a week but again, I love the stores and the willingness of their employees to help so for me it’s worth it.
  2. Pick a time:
    • I do all my couponing and shopping planning during nap time now. I have a very active one year old and I like to interact with him. In an era when television and video games run rapid, I choose to focus more on physical activity by not sitting in front of my computer or looking at my phone very frequently while he’s with me (even if it is for the betterment of our budget).
  3. Coupon Regularly:
    • My big focus is on digital coupons. Why?? Because they’re free and you can find some savings online they you can’t find in the paper. I’ve already explained how I print the ones I want when I visit my husband at work however, most of the foot work is done at home – again – during nap time. Most online coupons don’t change much or frequently so I only browse through them once a day to once every other day.  You have to be careful on the online coupons though – they seem to have more restrictions – like not being able to use 2 identical coupons in the same day – so make sure you read the fine print!!
    • Sunday Paper – This is the only time I will spend money on coupons and I will only buy one – THOSE SUCKERS ARE 3 BUCKS NOW!!! I’m looking currently looking for a place to buy JUST the inserts because I’m told I can get them for only a dollar a piece but I haven’t found a reliable source. The couple people I know who’ve done this say a bunch of the coupons were already expired when they received them so I’m a bit hesitant. If you know of a place to order just the inserts please let me know in the comments below – it would be such a huge help!! I appreciate you!!
  4. Get a coupon binder:
    • You don’t have to go all gung ho with this. Again, when I was starting out a couple years I go I bought a new 3 inch 3 ring binder, some dividers, photo sleeves (because I couldn’t find baseball sleeves), pen and pencil holders – well I didn’t stick with it at that point, it sat in the trunk for months, and finally all got thrown out (thanks to my husband who hates my hording. Lol). Now I use an old, Christmas themed, cook book my mother got me a couples years ago. Has dividers, pages to insert my coupons, it’s sturdy, and best of all, free…. stick a fork in it and call it done!
  5. Talk to your friends:
    • Everyone who knows me knows I use coupons. I’m not ashamed; I get more time with my family and babies then most people I know, because I coupon. Couponing comes up in conversation so many different ways for me because I try to do so much with it; whether we’re talking about the price of this or that, saving for Christmas, or just talking about different life choices, almost all my conversations I COULD tie back to couponing. That doesn’t mean I’m going to bring it up in every conversation, I’m just saying it really does affect all aspects and each area of my life. When couponing does come up though, there are huge perks to it because, let’s face it, everyone is trying to save to one degree of another, whether you’re an extreme couponer, rebate coinsure, or just an ad shopper. My point it – they may know of a sale you missed. It happens, even to the best bargain hunter. On the other hand, maybe you can fill them in on a sale they missed – spread the love. They could also have some tips if they’ve been doing it longer or best of all, be willing to give you their coupons. Now, I don’t specifically ask people for their coupons (except my father-in-law) but I have had some friends offer to give me either their Sunday coupons or just their everyday circulars.
  6. Don’t stress yourself out about it:
    • This is probably the most important of all the tips I give you today. DON’T STRESS OVER IT!!! When I first started I was shopping all the store ads, comparing all prices, doing math until I was blue in the face just to see when store I could save 2 pennies more at. I was driving myself and my family crazy!! Not anymore. I’ve made my decision – pick the stores I like and know the best and there you have it. I may not be brand loyal on most things but I am store loyal. If I miss a deal, then I miss a deal. You’ll find, after doing this for a while, that the same deals always come back around and the same coupons will be available again. The point of being home with your family is to have less stress, less anxiety, and more time to relax with your loved ones. Don’t allow a silly thing like couponing bring that junk back into your life. You might as well go back to work if that’s how it’s going to be.

So there you have it … there are 6 steps but they’re super simple.

Here’s what I do with my receipts AND savings that helps loosen the belt at Christmas.

What tips and tricks have you picked up through couponing and how else do you save money for your family?? I’m always up to trying different money saving techniques!

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