Monday, April 9, 2012

Got Coupons?

Want to save a little moo-lah on your photo printing?  Snapfish has a deal good through April 16, 2012 - order 365 prints for just $15!!!  (coupon code: CELEBRATE365 at checkout).  Don't need that many photos?  How about 100 prints for just $5?  (coupon code: CELEBRATE100)  Both coupons include shipping!!  Can't beat that!

I just love coupons!  In fact, I've saved hundreds of dollars already this year just by clipping coupons.  I 've only been "couponing" since last summer, but I've already become a dedicated coupon shopper!  Now, I'm sure I won't be featured on any "Extreme Couponing" shows, but my last grocery shopping trip cost $48 for $126 in products.  That's a savings of $78!!!!  And, yes, I bought milk, meat and veggies; we don't eat a lot of processed or ready to serve meals.

I always thought that people who clipped coupons were wasting their time for just a few cents off on a product, or that I would have to buy products that my family doesn't usually buy.  While this is sometimes true, I've found that it's not generally the rule. 

This all started when my good friend asked me to attend a workshop with her one evening.  The speaker was a writer and blogger from our local newspaper.  She talked all about coupons for 2 hours!  I was very skeptical.  But, I promised my friend that I'd try it and see how things went.

The first thing that I did was to order the Sunday edition of our paper.  I called the circulation desk and was able to subscribe for just $1 a week.  I already saved $1.50 off the cover price! 

Then I set up a binder with categories to have a place to organize my clipped coupons.  I used some scrapbook paper to make the dividers, and then put several baseball card protectors in each category.  As I clipped coupons, I put the coupons into the card pockets.

In my area, we have several supermarkets that double the face value of coupons up to 99 cents.  Some supermarkets even TRIPLE the face value of coupons for short periods of time, or they double coupons up to $1.99.  I learned which products to buy at the stores with double/triple coupons, and which items were less expensive at the stores that don't double coupons. 

I kept track of prices for things that we use frequently - soap, shampoo, canned goods, paper products, boxed items and frozen foods.  When I see coupons for these items, I clip them.  When these items go on sale in our supermarkets, I stock up.  Eventually, ALL of the items that we frequently buy will go on sale.  They just aren't on sale all at the same time.  So, it does take awhile to see real savings happen; the sale cycle is usually about every 2-3 months, the same kind of product will go on sale.  So, I buy enough canned diced tomatoes to last for 2-3 months while they're on sale so that I don't have to pay full price for them when I need them for a recipe.

I also signed up for e-mail coupon programs for each grocery store where I shop.  You know those little keytags?  Each week, the store sends out emails with special pricing for e-mail customers that are tied to those keytags.  All I had to do was sign up online and I instantly received a special sale price on items that I'd have bought anyway.  Milk was $1 off last week with my keytag!

The biggest trick that I learned was to SIT DOWN and MAKE A SHOPPING LIST using the store flyers and the store coupon emails.  As I shop the sales at each store, I can pair up coupons that I have in my binder with store specials.  Last week, for example, the store had frozen veggies on a Buy One Get One Free sale.  I had a $1 off coupon for each.  The frozen veggies cost me NOTHING.  Salad dressing?  Same thing!!

I just love a bargain!!  I figure, the more money I save on the things that we NEED to buy, the more money I have for the things that we WANT to buy.  Like scrapbook paper and stamps!!


Joanne said...

This is very interesting. Here in Canada you can't get the same saving but there are coupons and they are good to us.
The great savings for the pictures are really incredible. Not sure how it would work for me as I am Canadian

Courtney said...

Thanks for the snapfish code!

Grocery University has a great audio book about saving money with and without coupons. She really breaks down how to maximize your grocery budget, and a lot of it would probably work in Canada. I bought it on sale, so you may want to watch, I'm sure it will go on sale again.

PS: I am not affiliated with her, nor do I make any money off it, I just really liked her down to earth manner, and some of her tips I hadn't heard anywhere else.

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