Several ladies have asked me lately "how do you save so much on your grocery shopping?" Well i'll happily tell anyone who will listen. There are several classes going on out there that teach the "coupon game" but I offer up the 411 for free.
First off, gathering a hefty stash of coupons. The most obvious place to start is the Sunday newspaper. There are usually three inserts in the Sunday paper. They are the Smart Source, Red Plum, and Procter and Gamble. I usually purchase several copies because I like to stock up on certain items therefore I need several of the same coupons. Perhaps you know someone who gets the paper delivered and they don't use the coupons. Maybe they would be your coupon fairy and give you their unused coupons. Either way get at least two copies each Sunday. Then their are printable coupons; Coupons.com, smartsource.com, afullcup.com, redplum.com). All of these sites allow you to print coupons for free. At the afullcup.com site you can print Target coupons that can be used at Target or Publix as a competitor coupon (more about Publix coupon policy later). Also, at the grocery store their are blinkies . These are the little black boxes that hang onto the shelves. I always grab at least four of whatever coupon is hanging out (if we would use the item). Last, the store usually offers monthly flyers, booklets, peelies (stickers on the packages), and somtimes in the sale ad are coupons. Publix has a kiosk at the front of the store and there are always some type of booklet with coupons. You will become a bloodhound for diplays offering coupons. Always grab more than one. I never take a stack of coupons or clear a shelf of an item and I usually leave coupons on the shelf for free items that we do not use (like cat food or litter). So, start being on the look out for those coupons.
Second, You have to get organized.
You will need to figure out a system that will work for you. Some people like to cut out and file coupons by category in a shoebox type of container, or keep the coupon ad intact, dated, in a notebook. I combine these methods. I have a file box for coupons that I have cut out or picked off blinkies. I have a notebook for Sunday flyers. I date them and put them in clear inserts by category. Check out frugalcouponliving.com click on her link for coupon organizing system.
O.K. now we have our coupons and they are organized. Next thing to do is plan the shopping trip. I love sites like iheartpublix.com because she gets the following weeks sales up about four days early. She also tells you were to go to get the right coupon. Forexample, if Kellog's are buy one get one, she will say smart source 6/28/09 1.00 coupon. Then I will go to my notebook, flip to SS dated 6/28 and find the coupon.
Now, different stores have different coupon policy's. Publix (my favorite) the have the best coupon policy. At Publix, they allow one manufacturer coupon combined with one store coupon per item. They also accept competitor store coupons. If you have a Target, Foodlion, or Harvey's (all these stores put out weekly coupons on their websites) nearby then these are competitors for Publix. Even if you purchase buy one get one (bogo), you can still use coupons on the free item. Combining manf. coupons and store (or competitor coupons) with bogo sales often make for free or nearly free items. Sometimes, I end up with overages by combining coupons. This is extra money that comes off the total balance. An example, this week Publix has Degree deoderant for 2.00. I had a 1.25 manf. coupon and I printed a 2.00 Target coupon. The Degree was free plus I made 1.25 for taking it out of the store. I usually have several free plus overage items each week. When buying bogo items always use a coupon on each item. Forexample, lets say Kellog's cereal is 4.00 per box and on sale buy one get one free. I buy two boxes even though one is free and I use my $1.00/1 coupon on each box. I get cereal at $1.00 per box, that is a stockup price. My family likes cereal!!
I also shop using the stockup stockpile method. What that means is, I have a target price that I know is the lowest price an item will go. When it is at it's lowest price and I have matching coupons, I buy several of the item. I also meal plan according to what meats I have or are going to be on sale this week. I like the bags of Publix chicken tenderloins that are 6.99 a bag normally, but once every two months they will be on sale at 4.99 a bag. I buy them up then 6 or 7 bags at a time. Then I freeze them for later, for months even. I do the same thing for hamburger, lunchmeat, steaks, and pork chops, shredded cheese. The past two weeks have been stockup weeks for paper towels and toilet paper. Foodlion has ran some awesome sales on sparkle, brawny, and quilted northern tp. combined with coupons. I have tp and p.towels stacked floor to ceiling in my laundry room.
Not all stores accept coupons like Publix stores do, that is why Publix is the BEST. Foodlion accepts only one store cp. or one manf.cp per item. They also have very good meat prices each week. You have to sign up for there customer loyalty card.
That is coupon shopping in a nutshell. I usually spend about two hours per week planning and organizing. I actually enjoy seeing how much I can get for so little. I want to tell the little old lady scraping by, or the family with the Dad laid off, that there is a way to eat well and healthy without breaking the bank.
Next post, making CVS and Walgreens work for you.
Here are some additional blog sites that organize deals with coupons on a weekly basis. iheartpublix.com, fiddledeedee.blogspot.com, southersavers.com, and moneysavingmom.com
Happy Couponing Ladies! Please contact me if you have questions.
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