Demonica asked me a couple of questions in another thread about coupons and grocery shopping.
I've been couponing heavily this summer and have saved over $1,100 since June 30th (I've maintained a spreadsheet just to see the savings add up).
Rather than respond in that thread, I thought I'd start a new one. With the economy like it is, we can all use some help.
Here are some tips. I've been blogging about my couponing experiences (along with everything else in my life).
Here's what Demonica originally asked:
Originally Posted by Demonica
I do have a question for ya...I don't get many coupons since I don't have a newspaper subscription so what's the best place to find truly useful coupons? I get our local paper (they deliver it free, whether you want it or not...lol) and some coupons in the mail, but all those coupons are for stuff I'll never use! And, the majority of them aren't even food coupons! Also, we're vegetarians so coupons for meat items are useless as well...lol...Are there any websites that are really good for coupons?
Oh girl...you have no idea what you've asked for...
Here's what you need to do...
First, do you read blogs? I use Google Reader to get to my blog subscriptions quickly. It's wonderful and easier than visiting sites separately.
I visit the following sites a few times a day:
Frugal Coupon Living
The gals who run these sites do the hard work for the rest of us. They list the sales at various stores.
The neat thing about what they do is as they list store sales, they will tell you exactly where to find coupons.
The trick is saving your coupon inserts each week (if you do get a paper, which I HIGHLY recommend -- get a paper from the biggest metropolitan area you can find...you'll recoup your money in the end). Don't clip the coupons yet...unless you're gonna use something for a specific sale. Write down the date on the front of each insert and file it some place. You'll need them as the weeks progress.
Ok...so the sites above will list the places you can find the coupons.
They are not only located in the newspaper but online
, which they provide links for.
A couple of my favorite sites for printing coupons:
Target Coupon Generator
(free registration required)
Hot Coupon World
(free registration required...then click the link to access coupons)
Most of the sites will ask you to install a Coupon Printer. It's safe. Allow it to install the first time, and you should be set to go.
The coupons are supposed to only print once, but if you hit the "back" button on your browser, tell the computer to reload the page, you can get a second printing.
Why is this important?
Because for Buy One Get One Free (B1G1), you can use TWO coupons...one per product. That's a huge reason why I buy two papers each week.
Now, using coupons is a bit like playing the stock market.
You need to wait for the prices to go low before you buy. Save those coupons. Sales come around in 10-12 week cycles...sometimes more often than that.
If you can wait and use coupons when things go B1G1, then you will have hit the jackpot. Most times, you'll only pay a quarter of the cost for both items combined than not using a coupon or only using one coupon.
It's really incredible.
Example that I did last week (read more here
Uncle Benís Rice Ė B1G1 @ $1.49
Used: $1 mfg off of each box (printed from the internet)
! This was a MONEYMAKER
That $.51 went towards paying the rest of my bill. I made money on a couple of different products last week.
Now, another thing you can do is stack coupons. Stacking is where you use a store coupon (this is something not put out by the manufacturer but by the store itself) and combine it with a manufacturer coupon...for the same item. BIG savings. I often do this at Publix and Target. It saves tons of money.
If your store accepts competitor coupons, stack them with mfg coupons. Publix is the only store near me that allows this, and I save big time.
If you decide to take the plunge and start couponing, get organized. I blogged about my coupon organizers here
Yes, it's a bit of work. But it's soooooo worth it, I cannot even tell you.
Last week, I paid $.07 for jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce. I got six free boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese.
My favorite experience recently was getting 12 free bags of dog food.
I have three large dogs and go through 50lbs a month. Combined with the two free bags I got yesterday, I should have enough dog food for a month.
Today, I got two free double-boxes of Kotex and one package of AA batteries. I also paid $.98 for four boxes of Tylenol today. I'm storing things away. A lot of it will go in a box for my daughter for college next year. I donated a bag of school supplies, and I have a bag of food that's getting filled up and will be donated.
It's wild and crazy, but it's become an adventure. Especially when you pay $25.13 and SAVED $92.18 for this: