I received the email below from one of my Mommy friends, and I am excited she asked! I have always loved a good sale or savings, but I became a real coupon junkie when I became a SAHM. I found myself in the same place my friend is in, I went from making a full-time salary to suddenly a full-time, non-paying mommy job! Since I wasn’t contributing with a paycheck, I started using coupons like it was my job. So, here is my friend’s email and my answers to her questions…
Ok, first off…what an amazing job you are doing with Suburban Mom! I love reading all of your posts. How do you find the time to do all of this research and writing? I wish I had your time management skills!!!
Now, the reason for this message… I need more info. about coupons. It’s time I start trying to save our family some money. I figure I’m not making money, so I might as well do what I can to save. I have no idea where to start. Can you put together something on your blog…
1. Where do you go to find all of your coupons?
2. How do you organize them (by store? by item?)
3. What do you use to organize your coupons?
I am all about organization, so I need some serious details to do my new project right 🙂
Thanks. Look forward to seeing you soon.
First, to her question about how I find the time… I am a computer junkie and I love it! My motivation is when I get comments and emails from people who like what I write and save money themselves, so keep on encouraging me, and I will keep writing 🙂
Now to coupons — this is an overview of what I do. There are tons of ways to do this, but this works for me.
The first thing you have to know is the coupon policy of the store you are shopping at. In our area, there are 3 major grocery stores Publix, Winn-Dixie and Albertsons — my fav is Publix. Publix takes manufacture coupons, store coupons and competitor coupons. Plus, it’s own store coupons it takes even after they expire… Important to know…
1) Where do I find my coupons? Best place to start, the Sunday paper — Red Plum and PG Saver are the best! If you have never clipped coupons, you have to start there. Clip ONLY coupons for things you will use. Saving money with a coupon does you no good if the item will sit in your pantry until you breakdown and throw it away 🙂
The second place is online, there are TONS of coupon sites out there including manufacture sites. I could overload you with online places to look, but for now I will tell you to start with the paper and TheSuburbanMom. In my last grocery store trip, I saved $68 and change! I’ll continue to teach you new places to find the best deals, but you don’t need all the info at once.
Third, Albertons and Winn Dixie often run $5 off $50 coupons in the Wednesday paper. Since Publix takes competitor coupons, I collect these to use on my regular trips to Publix.
2) How do I organize my coupons? I find it best to organize by category. Here are my categories: Food, Medicine, House, Face, Body, Baby and Retail.
3) What do I use to store them? I have an expanding organizer. It it like the one pictured below (from Office Depot), but I found mine in the $1 spot at Target. Get something cheap and small that you can throw in your bag.
How to plan: Before I go to the store, I go through my coupons and pull out everything I need to get that day. But I also bring my coupon organizer to the store with me in case something comes up. There are people who plan every purchase before hand and spend only pennies for $100 of groceries (for real). But my family is specific about what we like to eat, so I plan my my list and then use coupons for things I need vs using my coupons to build my list. I could save more if I did it the other way, but we wouldn’t get exactly what we want. That said, if something we eat is on special and I have a coupon I stock up!
Ok, so that is a very basic overview of how to start. Once you get started, you will discover a whole world of coupons and savings (and if you are like me, it will become addicting to see how much you can save!). I will pass along other (more advanced stratgies) later, but this will get you started. See how much you can save on Sunday!!!0