Monday, June 8, 2009

Saving Money Using Coupons and other Smart Strategies

A question I get often is "How do you save using coupons?". There are many great websites out there that explain it, so I'll point you to them.

http://www.couponmom.com/ - FREE website with a tutorial on how to use coupons. Check out the grocery deals from stores in your area and she tells you which coupons to use with the sale. Links to printable coupons.* I especially love their "Grocery Coupon Database". It saves me from clipping coupons until I actually need them. You keep the coupons in the books they come in and then do a search for the ones you need to clip for your shopping trip right before you go. Love that.

http://www.hotcouponworld.com/ - Great to find where to get coupons for items you want to purchase.

http://www.retailmenot.com/ - Love this for finding coupon codes for websites.

I like all you magazine. Chock full of coupons and so far nice articles.

Try out http://www.angelfoodministries.com/ Restaurant quality food at a discount price. You get a box of food that lasts a family of 4 a week for $30. Income doesn't matter here. Meat quality has vastly improved from a year ago. The Grill Box is my favorite. The meat deals are usually the best. From time to time we get something in our regular box we don't eat. We just pass it on to someone that does.

Go to the website of a brand you want a coupon on. Sign up for their newsletters. Sometimes they have a printable one right on the website. For example: great coupons come from Pampers and Huggies. Sign up there to get monthly coupons in your mailbox and diaper samples.

I signed up with my local paper to get the Sunday paper delivered. It is cheaper and more convenient than purchasing it every week. On holiday weekends there will be no coupons, so you lose out there. But still worth it.

Check out CVS. They give you "Extra Bucks" when you buy certain items that are on sale. The "Extra Bucks" are used like regular money to purchase what you want at a later date. If you purchase the item on sale and use a coupon, you can really do great there. Then I use the "Extra Bucks" the next week to purchase items on sale and get more "Extra Bucks". Stick with purchasing only what's on sale here. "Regularly priced" items are usually overpriced.

Basically it comes down to not using your coupon until the item is on sale. Usually this is a week or two after the coupon comes out. Then you stock up on the item to take you through until it is on sale again.

I'm not a "coupon queen" by any stretch of the imagination and I don't spend hours trying to find the best price on everything. I don't have time for this. Don't obsess here. If you make it hard, you will give up and not use this free money. I do the best I can without spending exorbitant amounts of time and I do pretty well. Those little coupons add up. If you like, you can actually transfer the amount you saved from each grocery trip into a savings account to save up for a vacation. This is the incentive for my boys to help me with coupons. I usually hand them a coupon and then they have to find the correct item in the correct size. It's a great learning tool for them. They have to read the fine print. I then tell them the total amount I saved on this grocery trip with their help. They are always very impressed with the amount.

*a word of warning about the printable coupons websites. Read carefully. Yours truly got trapped in a part of the website that had me answering questions after question thinking this is what I had to do to get the coupon. You don't. If you get there, get out.

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