Couponing 101

   

    Last week, I wrote a blog post about my desire to learn the ins and outs of couponing in order to reduce my monthly grocery bill.  You can read all about my couponing concerns here, The Secrets of the Coupon Sisterhood. As promised, I have compiled a list of couponing do’s and don’ts from some of my readers who are experts in the fine art of frugal grocery shopping.  I am very excited to share their advice with you and I hope that it helps to reduce your expensive grocery bills, especially in these trying economic times…  Please note that you can find their blogs and learn more couponing tips from them by clicking on their names and visiting them.  So, without further ado, I give you:

COUPONING 101

1.  Maree says:

    One way I know we save in the grocery area is when I plan our week’s meals BEFORE I go grocery shopping. When I know my week’s meal plan I seem to be so much more organized with the things I purchase and don’t overstock or buy “extras”. It also means I am organized and can work on meals that use similar items but aren’t necessarily repeats. It makes me more aware of what is in the pantry, what we have plenty of, etc. I don’t troll for coupons but I do keep my ears open for extra special deals…

 

2.   Daria says:

I am new to the coupon arena as well and do spend about 2 hours a week clipping coupons, tracking down deals, etc. We spend around $400/mo now on a family of 5, not as good as some, but still pretty frugal in my opinion.

I don’t do the meal planning thing though. I just make meals with what I have. If I thaw chicken then I figure out a recipe to use chicken. Sometimes that means I pick up a red pepper or a head of broccoli on my way home from work, but that’s ok with me. It has really cut down on the wasted produce expense we had previously.

 

3.    QponCutie says:

The key is to use your coupon when the item is at its very lowest price, and buy as many as you will use in a 3-month period. Then when you run out of say, ketchup, you know you have some stored away, and you don’t have to run out and pay full price for it!

The sales cycles average about 3 months, so you will have an idea of when the item will be at a rock-bottom price again…

 

4.   Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle says:

Here are a few things I would suggest as you get started:

Make a list of the frequently purchased items. It helps to have all the stuff listed out. For food, possibly look at what your kids enjoy eating the most of.

Find a blog that covers the stores you shop primarily. If you shop at Kroger, there are a ton of sites (like mine that lists every single sale and tells you exactly which coupons to use to take advantage of that sale price to the fullest.)

Don’t go all crazy extreme with the coupons. That will make you just stop, honestly. Focus on understanding the rules and policies for that store. For example, does the store double your coupons? Do you need a loyalty card to get the price on the shelf? Those things are so important to understand and obviously impact your savings. For me, not doubling means I just don’t buy it now.

 

5.   lynn @ Maven of Savin says:  

BABY STEPS! I recommend starting with one grocery store and one drugstore. Then find a frugal blogger that does the coupon match-ups. WE DO IT FOR YOU. We even tell you where to get the coupons. I honestly only clip when I need them – I just hang onto the inserts until then. So I spend probably and hour to clip and plan my trip from the already prepared coupon match-up. Occasionally I will store hop, BUT ONLY FOR A ROCKIN’ deal.

 

6.   BLR Graham says:

It would be great to sign up for your local grocery store’s weekly offer to decide what bargains they have for you in their store. Plan your meals based on what they bargained for. I bet you can also find other discount products they offer for household and/or personal use.

 

7.   Diane says:

I won’t shop without coupons. I don’t do the whole meal planning thing, I use what I have. I have been able to create a stockpile from saving money. Now, I just buy what is on sale AND match a coupon to it. I have managed to get a lot of items for free or just a few cents. The trick is having the stockpile, so you don’t have to buy items at full price. Then there are all those samples! I don’t think I will ever need to buy shampoo or lotion again!

 

8.   Jill says:  

The two most common myths about couponing are:

1. Coupons are for junk food and

2. It takes HOURS.

#1: Find a blog in your area that does the work for you. Go to http://www.becentsable.net/store-deals/ Scroll down to the grocery deals by state and find one that works for you.

#2: Find a way to organize your coupons that works best for you! If you find a blog that gives you the source of the coupon (i.e. online, or which newspaper insert) you don’t have to cut every single coupon you MIGHT use.

#3: Stockpile. Buy items when they are on sale AND you have a coupon. If spaghetti sauce is on sale for $1.00 and you have a $1.00 coupon it’s free. Buy it even if you don’t plan on having spaghetti. Even if you hate spaghetti, buy it and donate.

#4: Ask the successful couponers for help. I think you will find that we love sharing the knowledge.

 

 

 

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  • http://forblogs.blogspot.com Vic

    this is interesting:) love what the viewers had to say! i’m horrible when it comes to using them but when i do i expect to use them the way i want….double please:)

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Vic. I thought they had some great advice too. I am really starting to become a lot smarter in the way that I spend my money on groceries and other household items.

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  • http://scrapsillysara.blogspot.com Sara E

    I sooo agree with the ones who say to buy the smaller items when they are on sale and use a coupon… get the most for your money that way

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Sara. I am finally getting hip to this whole couponing thing and was even discussing it with Hubby tonight. I’m not sure if he was really listening but I know I was chattering away…

  • http://songberries.blogspot.com Carol

    Great article! I’m following you from Twitter! Would you stop by and follow me?

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Carol. I’m happy you found your way over here from Twitter. Of course I will stop by and follow. One good turn deserves another!

  • http://cariboobutterflycrafts.blogspot.com/ Jen Webster

    Hi Maria! Great blog! Thanks for the follower over on twitter. I am following you there as well as here.
    Cheers!
    Jen
    http://cariboobutterflycrafts.blogspot.com

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Jen. You are so nice! I’m glad you like the blog, it is really a labor of love for me. Thanks for following. I look forward to hearing from you often.

  • http://www.mymodernguide.blogspot.com Beki

    Hi! New follower! You can visit me at mymodernguide.blogspot.com

    Beki

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Beki. Thanks for following, I am glad that you decided to stop by…

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  • http://www.thepinkpuppydog.blogspot.com April K.

    Awesome, awesome, awesome advice/ideas. Love it all!!

    P.S. I chose you for the Stylish Blogger Award! To see what to do next, go to: http://thepinkpuppydog.blogspot.com/2010/11/yay-me-i-won-award.html

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, April. I am so glad that you benefitted from these couponing tips. I know I certainly did! Thank you for choosing me for this award, I really appreciate it so much!

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  • http://www.thehickmanfour.blogspot.com Sara

    I will be coming back to your post here to read it further. I am a new follower from blog frog. http://www.thehickmanfour.blogspot.com and http://www.touchofhomelearning.blogspot.com

    My mom is really great about getting good deals, but not consistently. I need to drop our food budget by 50-75 every two weeks. I am thinking it’s not that much, but I need to do it. I will be back to read further. Thanks for doing this.

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Sara. I think all of us would love to reduce our food budget monthly. This is especially true since it seems that grocery prices just keep going up and up. I hope that this information is useful to you. It has definitely caused me to pay more attention to the way that I am spending my money.

  • http://www.undeservingrace.com Undeserving Grace

    My biggest problem with the coupon idea is I always forget them when I go to the store..they almost need to find a home in my car just in case I stop by on the way to go somewhere else…
    Just dropping in from the nov bloggy mom hop..I’d love to have you visit me at undeservingrace.com!

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      I totally agree with you, it is a big inconvenience to keep all of the coupons categorized and organized. I’m thinking that buying some kind of accordion file that we can keep in the car might help us with this particular aspect of couponing.

  • http://abbyandizzysmom.blogspot.com Erin Margolin

    Great tips here, Maria! I go in fits & spurts w/ using coupons and I get easily frustrated w/ them…this inspires me to give it another go!

    Happy Friday!

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  • http://www.unplannedcooking.com/2010/12/what-windows-do-for-a-home/ Unplanned Cooking

    Such great ideas. I always find it hard to get organized but when I do love the savings!

    Following from Mom Loop

    • http://www.toughcookiemommy.com Tough Cookie Mommy

      So true, it is hard to stay organized but the savings are worth all of the aggravation in the end.

  • http://www.kouponkrazed.com Diane

    I love how you put it altogether in a post. I will add one more comment to my suggestions, you can’t be brand specific! Sometimes it’s even better to buy the store brand, rather than use a coupon. Anyway, I loved the post, keep up the good writing!