Money Saving (Non)Mom

Monday, April 5, 2010

So, are you a "couponer"? I am trying to be, but I'm not very good at it. I put Money Saving Mom in my Google Reader recently, though, and it's great! You don't have to be a mom to benefit from the many deals she posts daily. For instance, because of her, I got a full-size bottle of Aveeno Stress Relief lotion in the mail today for free:












Also because of her, I got a 20.2 fluid oz bottle of Olay Quench Body Lotion for $0.86 cents (normally $7.79 at Target!). You can take advantage of this deal by clicking here! Just purchase the lotion and mail the receipt along with the rebate form. You only pay for tax and a stamp. Nice, right?

And finally (again, because of her), I got three sticks of Degree men's deodorant tonight for $0.66 -- $0.22 cents each (normally $1.97 each at Target!). I was extremely excited about that deal.

Now, my entire trip wasn't made up of those kinds of deals. But I managed to use some kind of coupon on almost everything I bought, and I feel great about that. I spent $47.88 and saved $15.50. Nice! A lot of my coupons came from a "Flip, Clip, and Save" Target coupon book that came in the mail recently. I'm not sure how I got on their mailing list (I heard you get those booklets if you're a Target credit- or check-card holder, but I'm neither), but I'll take it!

My biggest problem right now is figuring out how to organize my coupons. Something I have learned is that you have to keep the coupon circulars and organize them by date. MSM often references past circulars. Before, when I would coupon, I would just glance through that week's circulars, clip the coupons I thought I might use, and recycle the rest. Now I realize the error of my ways. For instance, I might recycle a coupon for Hall's cough drops because we don't need cough drops right now. But if I save the coupon and MSM points out that they're on sale for $0.99 at Walgreen's this week and that coupon is for $1, I just got a free bag of cough drops! I might not have paid $1 for them, but I'll take them if they're free!

But I'm wondering if I should keep the coupons with the circular like that, or cut them out and organize them by category in some kind of binder... like cleaning supplies, toiletries, food, etc...? The good thing about organizing them by date is that if MSM or other coupon websites reference the circular date, they're easy to find. The bad thing is that if you're not using them to get an amazing deal and just want some $ off your bill, it's hard to know what you have.

I'm also learning that if you want to coupon really well, you have to be willing to try new brands and not be brand-specific in what you're willing to use/buy. This is the hardest thing for me. I typically latch on to a brand and am happy if I can find a coupon for a few cents off every now and then. But tonight I branched out and bought All detergent at Target instead of Cheer. It was on sale for $8.49, and I had a Target coupon for $1.50 off. That's $6.99 for 64 loads when Cheer was $9.99. I know that's not an amazing deal, but it's $3 cheaper than what I was prepared to pay for laundry detergent... and all because I was willing to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.

Do you have any couponing stories or tips (or triumphs)? I'd love to hear them if you do! In the meantime I'm trying to figure out what to do with lots of circulars that I haven't dated. Whoops. Is there any way to figure out the date of the Sunday paper they were in, or should I just grab the coupons I want, recycle the rest, and start fresh next week??

Discuss. :)

6 comments:

Kelly Irene said...

I am so bad at this as well. I need as much help as possible. I know for me that if the coupons are not cut out and extremely easily accessible, there is no hope that they will ever be used. I usually find coupon stashes 6 months after they have all expired! Let me know if you think of anything good (I'm thinking of making an organizer so I'll be more likely to use it!)

J. Grant Dys said...

You should talk to Jennie sometime. She's amazing at this stuff. She follows something called, "Terri's List" (google it). A small fee to join, but it matches Kroger's stock with available coupons, or something like that. All I know is that Jennie routinely saves 48-60% at Kroger everytime we go. It's awesome to see the bill ring up to like $150 and, 10 minutes after the cashier rings up the coupons, it's like $85.

Amanda said...

I was part of a coupon club in Naples, and it does take discipline and a lot of time, as well as a lot of learning and mistakes. My two super couponing friends use the binder method with their coupons, and I use a recipe/index card box. Check out Iheartcvs.com. You can get lots of free stuff from there and always make sure you save those mfr. coupons to stack with store coupons-a super plus of shopping at Target.

Good luck and happy couponing!

James said...

Lots of people just date the circulars and file them away until you need something from them- i prefer to clip the coupons and put them in a binder in baseball card holders (so i can see exactly what I have). I know it takes a little more time but that way I can take my binder to the store (like one of those crazy coupon ladies) and then if i see something i wasn't planning on buying on sale, then i can look to see if i have a coupon to put with it! I clip EVERYTHING (except like dogfood or something I am POSITIVE i would not use if it was free) and save it until it expires. Recently I have also been buying 2 papers- this way if there is a really great deal you can get it twice (like steamfresh veggies!). Also if there is something you like and can get on sale with a coupon, then you can stock up in case its awhile before its on sale again! I went to this couponing thing and i think i still have the notes on it if you want them. Want to come over on Sat. and I can give you a quick tutorial?

-Rebekah

April said...

Beth, you should check out the couponizer! It is amazing and has totally revolutionized my coupon piles, shopping lists, and grocery trips! It's super easy to use and comes in a great carry case. It is definitely worth the $19! Check it out at http://www.thecouponizer.com/. I think they might be currently backordered, so I found mine on ebay.

I love your blog, by the way! Hope you're doing well :)

-April S.

Hannah W. said...

Beth. . .the krazycouponlady.com website has a pdf organizer that you can print out and put in a notebook. You are then able to arrange your coupons by category. I love it and it was free! Krazycouponlady.com and hip2save.com are two great coupon sites I like to read. Sounds like you are doing great already!

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