I was a pro couponer. I had a well organized binder, thought about nothing but how to save money on food, and drove my facebook friends crazy with posts.
Unfortunately, life got crazy and I didn't have the time to focus on saving our household any money once I went back to school and started working full time. Luckily we could afford to not coupon.
The following I typed up while in the heat of things, and years later, are still good tips.
-Couponing Basics Part 1-
Do I go out and buy truck loads of products that I can not possibly use before they expire? No. Do I take a $500 bill and drop it to 0? NO. But that would be nice.
If I wasn't just a house hold of two, had 5 computers, and plenty of time I could probably just like the gals in Extreme Couponing on TLC.
But I don't.
So I won't.
And I'll spend that time doing other things.
What I do is rational, fun, and when I have the time.
My best record is getting $55 dollars worth of food, about 30 products, for free with coupons. I had to use 3 computers to get the coupons, a few weeks of news papers,and spent all of my free time a few days before to make sure I had everything right.
Why 3 computers?
- Well couponing sites only allow you to print off 2 coupons per computer.
I get most of my coupons via Sunday news papers. I check couponing websites to see what coupons are coming out in the Sunday paper (yes these crazy people actually have sources that tell them whats coming out a few days ahead) and I decide from that how many to get.
When Camron was unemployed I would buy 3-5 news papers a week. The $6-$10 dollars I was spending on them was worth it when I turned the coupons around and saved up to $20-$30 in groceries.
I only bought what was on sale, what was necessary, and nothing else. Times were tough so we couldn't splurge on items like meat, cheese, or a lot of dairy. I remember getting peeved with him a few times because he would drink a gallon of milk in a few days. The man loves mild and milk is pricey when you don't have a lot to spend!
Sales ads become your favorite magazine.
I would get so excited for wednesdays so I could get a free copy of the news paper from my work and go through the ads. I would match up what coupons I had to what was on sale. Now there are tons of websites that can do this for you. And honestly that is easiest. Flipping back and forth between pages trying to find that coupon you think you saw in this one booklet of coupons you had from that month, you can't quite remember which, that might match up to this sale or that is exhausting. Time consuming. And simply a huge head ache.
- Go to where the sales are best.
Most of the time I shop at walmart. They really do have the cheapest prices over all, but not always per item. So If you are looking to get the best price on your total at check out, go to walmart. Other wise you can do what I used to do and get only what was the cheapest at each store if walmart doesn't have that item. Other wise..
- Walmart does Price match. Bring in the ad and show the cashier as you are ringing up your items and they will price match it. Just make sure that it is the exact item in the ad.
Next time I'll give links for sites you can find printable coupons, coupon match ups, and a few items to look out for!