Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coupon Adventure

When I first started to shop with coupons, I had people stop me and ask me how I do it after the see my total drop to nothing. I recall one time I was shopping at Target and my buggy was full of yogurt, breakfast bars and juice. My total was less than a $1 dollar and I had a shopper behind me make a comment, “I am very impressed, but do you have children?” I responded politely, “No ma’am, it is just me and my husband”. She didn’t stop and went on to tell me, “Well, you probably won’t have time for coupons once you have a baby and that’s why I don’t use them”. I smiled and remained silent, because I am planning to use coupons when we have children. I guess my argument is that where there is a will there is a way. Yes, we don’t have children yet, but I am busy Monday through Sunday working, studying and being a wife.

As we all wear many hats, I know that couponing is not for everyone; however I truly believe that every single family can rip benefits from using them. And yes, it takes time to learn all the ropes of the coupon world, but the rewards are great. Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike? It did take time along with a few bumps and bruises before you felt the freedom of peddling without falling down. The same way with coupons, it takes time and determination and I promise if you stick with it, the reward of saving money for your family is just around the corner.

Today I want to take you step by step of shopping at a grocery store…without spending hours of hard work. Oh and if you want to learn how to shop at CVS, you can read a step by step guide, here. First, you want to have coupons on hand. You can read here on where you can acquire coupons. I would suggest to buy at least 2 Sunday newspapers each week with coupon certs. Some weeks I buy only one paper and there has been weeks that I didn’t buy any. I have two co-workers who bring me their coupon certs. And my absolute favorite way of acquiring coupons is by simply e-mail to the company’s directly.

After you have all your coupons on hand you want to choose the best method of storing them. I personally prefer a coupon bucket method. It takes no time for me to sort and pick out the coupon that I need. I know that some people love to use a coupon binder. After doing some research it seems like coupon binder is the most time consuming way to keep your coupons organized. Now you don’t have to pick any of these methods and can simply store your coupon cert by date and clip coupons as you need. Let me share with you how I keep my coupons organized. I do not have extra hours to clip coupons (however, my mama sure clipped quite a few coupons when she visited me), nor do I want to spend hours clipping and organizing coupons.

So when I buy a newspaper, I look through the coupon cert and clip only those coupons that I know right away that we will use. Once you coupon for a few month you will also learn which coupon will get you a free products. If you do not use the product, you can give it away to someone who does use it. Once I clip the coupons that I need, I organize them in my coupon box. I never throw away the rest of the coupons that I did not clip. Instead, I write down the date of when the Sunday paper came out on the front of the cert and book it in the grocery bag. This way when I know that if I need to clip a coupon that will give me an overage on a product, I don’t have to kick myself for throwing it away. I then keep all the coupon certs marked with dates in a big bag in my trunk. Every 3 months I recycle the oldest certs. Yes, by not clipping all of the coupons, I may miss out on a clearance item, but my time is more valuable and I am ok if I do not get every single free item.

Now are you ready me to take you grocery shopping with me? Come back tomorrow for a grocery shopping adventure with coupons.

But today I would love to hear how you manager your time with coupons! Do you think the pay off of using coupons is rewarding?


  1. My organization system is ever changing. First I used the file folder system with dates, second I used a binder, now I'm just using printable coupons and ordering the ones I need. I found I was using SOOO few of the inserts that it was a waste of paper. With the holidays coming up, I may start buying papers again because the coupons are usually towards more baking, which is what I need. :)

    Would you consider writing a post on what is best to put in a shoebox for OCC? I was wanting to go ahead and purchase some stuff this week because of all of the great sales on back to school items.


  2. I think it depends on your priorities. Couponing for you is a priority, so I think you will always do it, even after having children. For this stage in my own life, couponing is less of a priority, and I'm doing it very little. Yes, I could give up something else that I'm doing and coupon instead, but for now, my values and priorities dictate something else. My husband wants me to work, and given that I make a high hourly wage and am able to work part-time at home, this is a better use of my time than couponing. If I were not working, I would definitely be couponing more. I think you felt maybe a little stung by her comment, and I absolutely think it was uncalled for. On the other hand, you haven't yet been through all the different stages of life (I haven't either!), and may not be able to understand why someone wouldn't do what you feel so strongly about and feel that everyone could and possibly should do. Does what I'm saying make sense? And having said all that, I will be reading all that you say about this topic with interest. Just because I'm where I am today doesn't mean that tomorrow will be the same. Especially when it comes to finances, I love being prepared and having as many tools up my sleeve as possible.

    You have a great blog! I just recently started reading, and am really enjoying it. As I mentioned, I'm at a bit of a different stage in my life. I've been married 17 years. We have two daughters who are 13 & 10. We've conquered a lot of our past financial issues - some of which I don't think you will ever see, thanks to your wisdom and planning now. We are fortunate to be debt-free other than our mortgage, and have an income that allows our kids to attend a private Christian school. While I would love to not work at all, I am able to telecommute and work primarily just while my kids are actually at school. We are a Catholic family, and I just love reading blogs by other Christian women. I found your blog by a link to your shoebox post. We've participated for a few years.

    Sorry for the extremely long comment! I just always feel a little weird if I start commenting on someone's blog out of the blue. :)


  3. I am so pumped at about these posts!! I have always just been to overwhelmed to even know where to begin!!

  4. I just label the inserts and cut what I need. I do more drugstore than grocery but I like the way you cut out what you need. I may start doing that.

  5. Oh, and you can totally coupon with kids! That was just an ignorant statement (not stupid, just ignorant).

  6. Hi, I actually just wrote a similar post on my blog Mssuzyhomemaker.blogspot.com :) I use a system VERY similar to yours! I have a plastic shoe box with envelopes labeled with categories and alphabetized... For me it is quick and easy to find the right coupon.

    I also agree that couponing is a priority that you must set for your life... I have two little girls and I know that prior to couponing everything was SO expensive, even on sale! With coupons we are able to not only save great deals of oney but also have a small stockpile of items so that we won't run out too. I have a limit to each item and anything over that limit we donate. I find that we are able to give back a lot more now than a couple of years ago... even on a tighter budget!

  7. I use a similar system, but slightly different. Instead of dividing into catagories, I just have them alphabetized. It is simple to find (and file) the coupon I need by going to the right letter. I acutally coupon a lot more now that I have kids (ages 13, 11 and 9) because there are so many more products out there they we would not have bought prekids. It also save enough with coupons at my local grocey stores, drug stores, and Target that it pays me much better than a part time job where I would have to be away from the kids. I am now teaching others with my own blog how to s money with coupons and to get many items free or close to free. I have given classes to friends and family. I think it is great that you started on this journey with saving money so early. I wasted a lot of money when I was younger because I did not know.