Monday, August 31, 2009

Money Saving Madness! Finding Coupons

Welcome to our very first Money Saving Madness! Every Monday a guest blogger will post about how SHE saves money.

One of my biggest household expenses is my food bill. As you can imagine, feeding a house full of 9 people gets pretty expensive. So in my quest to save at the grocery store I turned to my Bloggy BFF Brandy from I'm Not Your Average Soccer Mom for help. Brandy also has another blog Craving Savings where she posts about her impressive deals using coupons. The whole world of coupons seems pretty overwhelming to me so I asked Brandy to explain to me where she finds coupons.


Where to find coupons?

Most people think that the Sunday paper is the best place to get coupons when in fact there are many sources.

These are some of my favorites:

Online Internet Coupons - aka Printables have quickly become one of the most popular ways to get coupons. By only printing & clipping coupons that you choose it saves money AND time.

And companies often gift us with high value printable coupons. For example, I've found $3 off Smithfield bacon, $2.50 off Healthy Choice meals & $1 off Motts applesauce all in the last week.

A few reputable sources that I use:
-Betty Crocker
-Red Plum
-Mambo Sprouts (Yes you can find coupons for organic food!)

**Tip: You can usually print two printables by using your back browser.

E-coupons - These coupons require no clipping & no sorting. You just add the offers to your grocery card & the savings are automatically deducted at the register when you buy the specified items. It doesn't get much easier that that!
-P&G esaver

Upromise also offers e-coupons, but it works a little bit differently. Instead of receiving discounts at the register your "savings" will be added to your college savings account through Upromise. It's an easy way to save your pennies for college.

Blinkies, Peelies & Tearpads - These coupons are found right in your grocery aisles.

Blinkies are little distributing boxes containing coupons that stick out from the shelves, typically in front of the product featured on the coupon. As you pull one another one is released.

Peelies are located on the actual product themselves.

Tearpads are normally found on a display but can be hung on shelves.

**Tip: I always pick up a couple blinkies & tearpads, even if I won't immediately use it. I file them away & wait for a sale to maximize my savings.

Ebay - Yes I said Ebay. Whenever I need a large quantity of coupons I check Ebay where I can get them for pennies apiece & they are already clipped.

**Tip: By checking advance ads I can determine if I need to order additional quantities early enough for the upcoming sale.

I use to view advance ads, sales/coupon match ups & to see what my fellow couponers are buying. It's free to join & everyone is very helpful. I'm known as "uwoodz" there so stop by & say hi!

As you can see coupons are everywhere!

Denise: What do you say to the people who say you that you spend MORE money and buy things you wouldn't get if you didn't use the coupons?

Brandy: Sometimes I do buy things that I don't need, but I NEVER spend more money on them. Typically those items are free after coupon or I make money on them! And just because I don't need them doesn't mean it goes to waste. I'm always sharing with friends & family and I donate items 3-4 a year.

For example, yesterday I got 10 boxes of fruit snacks, 5 boxes of granola bars & several other items for $10.95 and then got back $11.50 in catalinas good on my next order. We don't eat fruit snacks, but my nephew sure does! Plus they are a great item to send to school for parties or to hand out for Halloween since they are individually packaged.

Denise: How much money have you saved this year using coupons?

Brandy: My total savings is $7828.32! I'm averaging a 76% savings on ALL my grocery purchases and 98% on my drugstore purchases. Using the reward programs from CVS (Extra Care Bucks) or Walgreens (Register Rewards) is a great way to save on toiletries, baby supplies, medicine, etc.

You can check out what I'm buying every week at Craving Savings.

Denise: How do you keep your coupons organized? It seems like so much work!

Brandy: I started out with a small coupon organizer, but I have since upgraded to a case file that has a handle. It has 19 divided sections that I use to separate my coupons into groups (frozen, meats, canned goods, etc.) so that I find them quickly. I carry it right into the store with me & place it in the front part of the buggy. You can see a picture of it HERE. This is what works for me but there are many ways to stay organized including the coupon binder method. Do a little research and find out what appeals to you.

Denise: How many newspapers do you buy each Sunday?

Brandy: Only 1. I check out the inserts and if there is a really good one then I decide to purchase more papers (expensive in my area @ 1.75/each!), buy just the coupons I need from Ebay, look for a trade on or ask family & friends for their coupons.

Denise: Will YOU do my grocery shopping for me???

Brandy: If only we lived!

Denise thank you for allowing me to share this information with your readers today. Couponing has become my obsession passion and I love to share the ways to save with everyone I know.


Beth said...

The other day... Sunday... I watched a woman pay 51 cents for 18.51 worth of stuff at would have been minus 49 cents but she forgot to use a coupon... I was impressed and it was for normal stuff...toothpaste, pantyliners etc

I guess it can be done!

Sandy Toes said...

Wow..I wish I could do this...I am SO VERY compulsive when it comes to food shopping!
sandy toe

Kristin said...

I've been hearing alot about saving big at the pharmacies. I need to do that! I spend little effort clipping only the newspaper coupons and I can usually save $10 easy just by doing that, so i can only imagine if I actually put effort into it! Thanks for this post!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

I'm so jealous...I wish I had the time and energy to be saving this type of money. Once my boys are back in school, maybe I'll give it a try.

Great tips though and I felt like I learned a whole other language (Blinkies, Peelies & Tearpads, oh, my!)...

Brandy said...

Carey - you have no idea! Wait till you see some of the abbrevations. BOGO, ECB, RR, WYB, FLIP, etc, etc, etc. LOL!

BTW ladies I clip while I'm watching TV so there isn't any "wasted time".

Brandy said...

Denise you rock!

Kristin said...

Wow. I am very impressed. I wish I could do all that. I'll have to try and get organized. The problem I have is the coupons in the paper are for things I never buy. I'll have to check out the e-coupons. Those look to be right up my alley!

Kat said...

I am not the grocery shopper in my family. Simply because I am usually motivated by hunger rather than saving money. And I tend to be an impulse shopper. Michael is the shopper...and I love it when he saves money. I will have to point him in this direction!

The Royal Family said...

coupons are great and I think your money mondays is a great idea too!

Jill said...

I used to be SOOO much better at coupon stuff...I am inspired to get STUDIOUS again...and YOU have done all the work!
BOY do I need to save money!

CaraBee said...

I had no idea there were so many ways to save! I need to start doing this!