Thursday, March 5, 2009
A little more on couponing . . . Part 1
The house is still WAY to quiet, I can't wait until tomorrow and Trev gets home. I'm sure he's having a great time and I can't wait to hear (and then blog) all about it!
I've had some people ask about this whole coupon thing, since I just finished making my list for the week I thought I spell it out here, there are some great deals to be had this week at Wal-Greens and some at Safeway, although I'm waiting until Saturday to go to Safeway because there are a few items only on sale Saturday & Sunday. I will be making 2 trips to Wal-Greens this week, I try not to do that because I want to waste my time going back and forth, but there are a few things worth making another trip for this week and since they are coupon items I can't do it at one time.
The first thing I did was find a cute binder, and yes, it has to be cute to make me want to look at it over and over every week, but I'm weird like that! In the binder goes all of the weekly coupons that come in the Sunday newspaper, we get the Contra Costa Times so when I started doing this I figured I was good, but what I found was that the SF Chronicle has much better weekly coupons, strange as they are the same ones, just a different version I guess. So every Sunday we are on a mission to find a Chronicle, which we usually do, sometimes it just takes more than one stop. I thought about getting a Sunday only subscription but it was more than just buying it at a store, and I am buying the paper to save money not spend more than I need to!
I take those weekly coupons and mark the front page of the packet with the date and which paper it came from, three hole punch it and put it in the cute binder. Sometimes I thumb through them to see what's in them but usually I don't, I rely on couponmom to do that for me at a later time, I'll forget by the time I need them anyway! This process makes couponing work for me. I love saving money, but I hated clipping coupons, filing coupons, finding coupons once I got to the store if I actually remembered to take them with me, and then usually once I did, they were expired! So, taking the whole packet and filing it in the binder is so simple and no little coupons to keep track of.
Although there is another web-site that I do print individual coupons from, it's www.coupons.com. There are usually good cereal and yogurt coupons and some snack stuff. These coupons are replenished on the first of each month. I guess each coupon can be printed so many times, once it's reached it's limit it's no longer available. I have figured that out the hard way, I wouldn't print the coupons when I saw it, thinking I'd wait until I needed it (therefore not having to keep track of it and file it!) and then I would go back to it and it would be gone. Well, now I know, print on the first of the month anthing you think you might need and file it in the binder. For those loose coupons I get from printing on-line or ones that are inside a package, I got some photo album pages at the office supply store, you can see in the picture of my binder. I have a real casual filing system with those pages for anything loose I come across.
So now that everything is organized and has a home, I log on to www.couponmom.com
and bring up the list of the weekly ads on her site, just a little disclaimer: it is not always 100% accurate, but considering it's a free service I don't stress over it. She has the Ads for Safeway, Wal-Greens, Wal-Mart, Target and probably a few more, but these are the ones I use. Target and Wal-Mart don't seem to have big savings as a rule, at least on the items I use. I find great savings with Wal-Greens and Safeway.
I scroll through the list usually with the weekly ad also in front of me, I'm more of a visual person and I want to see the little picture of what is on sale, not just the words telling me what it is. I check the little box of anything I think I might be interested in and then print the list. Now this is the great part about the list, first you have your list ready for when you go to the store, and second, it will tell you which ad and which date there are additional coupons. Having kept the coupons in order by date in my binder, it is now very simple to locate a coupon that I want want.
Here are a few examples of items I'll be picking up this week. Without this process I would have NEVER been able to get these deals.
Colgate toothpaste, the cost is $3.29, if you buy one you will get $3.29 back in register rewards (more on that later) making the toothpaste free, + I also have a .75 off coupon that I will be using, so now, Wal-Greens is actually paying me .75 to take this toothpaste.
Nabisco Crackers, on sale buy one get one free @ $1.99. So with the sale that is a $1.00/box. There is also a newpaper coupon for $2.00 off 2 boxes, so now my crackers are also free, love that! And we eat a ton of crackers in this house. The best part is that because I get 2 papers each week, both of the ads actually had that coupon, so I can now get 4 boxes of crackers free.
M & M's, I can never have enough of those! The are on sale 2 bags for $7.00, there is an easy saver coupon (more on this also later) for $3.00 off, making it 2 bags for $4.00, pretty good deal. But there is a newpaper coupon for $1.00 off of 2 bags, so now I'm paying only $1.50/bag of M & M's. And I have 2 of those coupons too!
So, you get the idea? I know it all sounds a bit overwhelming, but after a few weeks of doing it it actually goes pretty quickly, the first few times I did this it probably took an hour or so to get through it. I've been really paying more attention to prices too. In general Wal-Greens is more expensive than Wal-Mart or Target, so it is helpful to have an idea on prices to make this work the best.
Couponing Part 2 tomorrow!