(I just read this post back in its entirity, and I totally sound like I need a coupon intervention. Don’t Judge Me.)
In my own mind, I’ve sort of categorized couponers into 3 groups.
1) The fanatic couponer- This is the person who plans everything on their shopping list based on what’s on sale that week. They plan meals based on sales, have no brand loyalty, and stick to $35 to $40 a week grocery budgets (seriously it’s possible) They have a deep freezer in their garage that contains everything they “put up” for the winter. They clip every coupon they find, and have a stockpile to last them 6 months.
2) The moderate couponer- This is a person who keeps up with the sales and their personal coupon collection. They peruse the internet for deals, try to maximize their savings, stick to a budget, and try to cut out things that aren’t necessary. They’re willing to try to new brands, but do have their favorites. They stock up on items when they’re at rock bottom prices, but they also don’t have cereal boxes and pasta sauce shoved in the master closet.
3) The “couponer”- This is a person who clips coupons, and if they’re buying an item and they have a coupon for then they’ll use it.
I definitely put myself in that middle category. It pains me to go to the store without a strategy. I hate overspending, and I love getting a deal. Over time savings really has become a game for me. It’s kind of a rush to leave a store when you’ve spent $30 and saved $100. However, my life doesn’t revolve around clipping coupons and saving money. I want to be present for my husband and children. Although my binder may look like it, I do not clip or print every coupon there is. I love donating items, so I will clip coupons on a few items that we don’t use if I know I can get them item for free or less than a dollar or two, but the way I look at it, there are items that I wouldn’t even want if they were free… so don’t clip those. It’s a waste of time and of your printer ink.
There are hundreds of ways to find coupons! Here are a few ways to find them and my thoughts…
#1 THE NEWSPAPER- Each week, in the Sunday paper, there are “inserts” that contain manufacturer’s and store coupons. Some of those inserts are Redplum, Smart Source, Proctor and Gamble Brand Saver, Publix (which can also be found at the front of each store), and there are occasionally other inserts as well. A few of the blogs I’ll tell you about later will often post which inserts and which coupons will be available in the upcoming papers.
What I do: I subscribe to the weekend Tennessean which gives us a paper on Saturday, Sunday, and the local “Williamson A.M” Section on Wednesdays. The inserts come in the Sunday paper and that Wednesday paper as well. Every week my grandmother gives me her coupons from her Sunday paper, and my mother-in-law will sometimes give me the coupons she isn’t using. I also recommend asking a friend, a neighbor, or a business for their inserts if they don’t use them.
This leaves me with at least 3 copies of each insert every week.
I’ve heard that Kroger and Publix will sell their remaining Sunday papers at a discount on Monday morning. You may want to look into that!
It’s always good to have 2 copies of each insert. I will talk about this later, but the main reason is for buy one get one free deals. Most stores, allow you to use one manufacturer and one store coupon on each item!
For example- If Publix has $4 toothbrushes on sale for buy one get one free (BOGO), you can buy 2 toothbrushes for $4. If you have 2 manufacturer coupons from the newspaper for $1 off toothbrushes, and you have 2 store coupons from a Publix flyer for $1 off toothbrushes, that gives you $4 in coupons that you can use on those two toothbrushes. That makes these items FREE. Most Publix will allow you to buy just one of these items at a dicounted rate. So in this case you could buy 1 toothbrush for $2 and still get it free. BUT if you have multiples, you get more free. These are the types of items I stock up on.
(Don’t get too concerned with how to find these deals, right now I just wanted to show you the importance of having the coupons)
#2 PRINTABLES- There are many many places online where you can print coupons directly from the source. Most coupon sites allow your to printer to print 2 of each coupon.
Sites to visit:
Coupons.com– A lot of times these sites have some of the same coupons that are in the newspaper.
Proctor and Gamble.com– Login to Receive coupons and free samples of products!
We usually eat Organic or All Natural products in our house. This can make couponing hard, but here are sources that you can print from:
Mambosprouts– organic coupons
Whole Foods– organic coupons, and you can print these as many times as you want!! Plus Whole Foods gives you a 10% case discount on their items, AND Publix accepts these coupons as well!!
Healthy Life Deals Organic printable database– This is a blog that I follow out of Saint Louis. The link is to a page that shows organic printable coupons that are available online (either on facebook or manufacturer’s websites)
Stoneyfield Organic- Become a member. Login and print coupons!!
A lot of stores now have coupons available on their facebook fan pages. You can feel free to look at your favorite companies and see if they have any available. When we get to the “blogs” couponing lesson you will also learn that these printables are often posted on these blogs (which takes the guesswork out for you!)
A lot of stores also have coupons available on their websites or in their newsletters. I suggest you create a separate email account for couponing. You can sign up to receive coupons from companies without flooding your main inbox.
#3 GET TO KNOW YOUR STORES!
Publix offers several “clubs” that you can sign up for, and they’ll send you high value store coupons in the mail. Most of these coupons are only available if you sign up through their website. Here’s the link for the clubs. We are members of all of them except the wine club (Boo! TN should really allow the sale of wine in grocery stores!!) The baby club, preschool club, pet club and Greenwise magazine have all been beneficial! I would recommend the baby and preschool club even for people who don’t have babies! I receive tons of high value baby coupons BUT I also get store coupons for dairy, produce, paper towels etc!! (You could always sign up and send the coupons you don’t need my way 🙂 )
ALSO another BIGGIE for Publix is the Stockingspree website. Sign up to receive coupons, and once a quarter a booklet will be mailed to you for Publix store coupons! These make for great matchups! I signed myself and Jarrod up to receive them, so I get two a quarter! My favorite coupon is one for $5 off Pampers!
In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, Publix puts out several flyers that are located in the front of the store with the weekly ads. These usually contain coupons and sales that run for several weeks, and are in addition to the weekly sales.
Target not only has printable coupons, but they also have mobile coupons!! Sign up to have coupons texted to your smart phone twice a month! All you have to do is hand your phone to the cashier at checkout! Also, you can sign up for their pharmacy rewards program, and for every 5 prescriptions you have filled, you will receive a coupon card in the mail for 5% off of a day’s worth of shopping. On a normal day that’s not a ton of money, but buy a tv, camera, iphone (think Christmas) and this could really help out!
Kroger has coupons that you can download right to your rewards card. Although I’m not a huge Kroger shopper, (they don’t take competitor’s coupons) it is very beneficial to go to their website and register your shoppers card.
Many stores have these types of perks! Now, I’m not going to do ALL the work for you, so visit their websites, get to know your stores, and you could save big! Hint: Rite Aid and other drug stores have online coupons too!
I learned early on that if I want a coupon for something and can’t find it, I might as well ask. For instance, there is an organic brand called Dr. Bronners. They make wonderful soaps, shampoos etc. If you email them, and ask for coupons, they’ll send you a ton of coupons AND samples! All I did was shoot their customer service and email saying, ” Hey I love your products and would like to try more, could you send me some coupons?!”
I’ve received coupons from EOS, Quorn, Nature’s Path, Say Yes to Carrots, Every Man Jack etc. all from just sending an email.
Whew! That should be enough to get you started.
Start clipping, printing, and organizing your binder!! Get those things in order so you’ll be ready to shop after my next post! Also, start investigating ways to sign up for newsletters and coupons for your favorite stores and products!
I will teach you even MORE ways of finding coupons in part 5 (Blogs and Facebook Lesson). The next section is going to be a combination lesson (part 3 &4 matchups and store policies) because after thinking about it, its hard to teach one without the other.