Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coupons 101 - Learn how to save money every week

I have been a "coupon queen" for probably 30 years, and I have a system that really works.  If you need to save money, give my system a try.  It does take some time every week, but with discipline and dedication, you'll be saving money in no time - lots of money!

1.  Buy a file box, not just a little plastic pocket with dividers.  Get something that's easy to carry, but big enough to hold lots of coupons.

2.  Buy dividers and label them by category - dairy, fruit, vegetables, snacks, soup, laundry, toilet paper, cleaning, etc.  I have 26 categories.

3.  Buy a Sunday paper every week.  Most weeks there are coupons.  On weeks that there are lots and lots of coupons or high value coupons for items I buy, I will buy two or three Sunday papers.

4.  Sign up on the websites of your favorite products.  They will often mail you coupons or allow you to print coupons online.

I spend every Sunday evening cutting out coupons from the weekend paper.  Then, I sort through my coupon box to remove any expired coupons.  Finally, I file my new coupons behind my category dividers.

On Monday and Tuesday the new week's grocery ads arrive.  I usually check the grocery ads, as well as Target, K-Mart and Walgreens, for sale items I may need or use often.  All store have "loss leaders" every week.  These are the items they sell below cost just to get us into the store.  If these are items I use often, I will stock up.  It's a double bonus if I have coupons for those items.  I make my shopping list (and plan my upcoming menu) as I study the ads, and I pull any coupons I plan to use at the same time.  If I plan to visit multiple stores, I use an envelope for each store to record my list and store the applicable coupons.

I'm fortunate enough to live in Fenton where it is cost effective to shop at multiple stores.  For those of you who don't have all of your favorite stores within one mile of each other, consider the gas money you'll spend driving from one store to another before you drive to multiple stores just to save a few dollars.

Tip:  Study the Walgreens ad each week.  Walgreens uses Register Rewards.  They are not coupons, but they are dollars off rewards to use on a future purchase when you buy a particular item.  I often tell people that I don't buy body wash, soap, shampoo or conditioner and I never pay more than half price for laundry detergent or cleaning products.  By using my coupons to purchase these items when there are register rewards, I actually make money sometimes.  Walgreens will often give register rewards for the total price of a products, making it free.  If I have a $2.00 coupon for that product and use it for that purchase, I actually make $2.00 on that transaction.

This is a lot of work, but it will definitely pay off if you dedicate a couple of hours each week to cutting and sorting your coupons, and studying the weekly ads.

I'd love it if you share your success stories with me or any methods you currently use that I haven't thought of.  

Get out there and save some money!!!

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