My life as a follower of Christ, a wife and the mother of many

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Not so "extreme" couponing...but still saving!

I'm sure by now many of you have either heard of or watched the popular show on TLC, Extreme Couponing  . Many times the shoppers spend 10-12 hours in a grocery store, load up 6 or more grocery carts full of every item imaginable, and end up leaving the store having paid next to nothing.  With today's economy being what it is, the idea of saving money is on a lot of people's minds.  I know it's on my mind a lot, especially with a large family that includes teenagers!

I used to watch the show and follow a few couponing websites but the idea just seemed like too much for me.  How could I spend time couponing when I have so many other things that need to get done?  Also, in order to begin using coupons, you have to have some and every time I got the idea in my head that I was going to try it I realized that I didn't have any coupons.  I also tend to not want to do something halfway, so I knew I didn't want to get started unless I had a good stash of coupons. So with that in mind, last November I began saving my coupons and I began couponing for our family.  I have enjoyed it so much and I have saved our family a lot of money in the process.  Now, before you imagine me spending hours dumpster diving and clipping coupons, coupled with hours in the grocery store and turning a garage (which I don't have anyways) into a storeroom, I'm here to tell you that for me it doesn't look anything like that.  You can do it on a smaller scale and still save your family money.

  • I first started by saving the coupons out of the Sunday paper.  At the time, I didn't have a subscription so I would purchase the paper at a dollar store.  I purchased two papers each week.  Not long after that I subscribed to the Sunday paper at a discounted rate and I now receive two papers a week.
  • I keep the inserts together until I'm ready to clip them.  The date of each insert is printed on the binding, which I use as a reference until I'm ready to clip the coupons.  When I do find the time to clip the coupons, I put them in binder.  This is one thing I said I would never have, but it makes my couponing so much easier.
  • I check at least two couponing websites on a regular basis.  These sites will alert you to a printable coupon for an item that will be coming up on sale in the near future or a coupon that is rare or high value.  The two websites that I highly recommend and that I refer to regularly are:
Money Saving Mom               
  • These two ladies spend a lot of time matching up current store ads with the large amount of coupons that are out there.  These coupons can be newspaper inserts, internet coupons or any other coupon that is available.
  • I go through their match-ups store by store.  I have a little notebook that I carry with me that I write my lists in.  I will title one page "Rite Aid" and I will go through the match-ups and write down anything that I am interested in purchasing.  I will jot down the item, the price and my discount.  I then go through my binder or inserts and take the coupon for the specific item and place it in my Rite Aid envelope.  Each item looks similar to this:
Pantene Shampoo 2.99
1.00 UP

What this means is that the shampoo is on sale for $2.99.  I have a $1.00 off coupon, bringing the item to $1.99.  The store will give me a register reward for $1.00.  So, the Pantene Shampoo really cost me $.99.  If I can get quality shampoo for my large family at that price, I'm happy!

  • What is a register reward?  CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are three drugstores that offer these types of rewards, all under their own name.  You can use the reward like cash towards other purchases.  Some exclusions do apply, such as milk, tobacco and alcohol.  I can take that $1.00 reward and combine it with others to pay for my other purchases.  
So you see, it can be done on a smaller scale while still saving money and purchasing the products your family needs.  Next time I will share a little more insight on how I use coupons and some of the things that I have learned since I began couponing.

Be blessed!