I mentioned yesterday that I went to a coupon class last night. I felt more like I had attended some kind of coupon cult meeting. I think I was completely brainwashed. I had no idea people could save so much money using coupons! It was unbelievable. Two of my friends from church led the class, and they practically get paid to shop at places like Walgreens and Giant Eagle! It inspired me, but was very overwhelming at the same time.
I learned a lot, but decided to take it one baby step at a time. My first baby step is going to be to check Walgreens' or Giant Eagle's coupons this week (or next week), and just cut out a few. I want to start a file system and see if I can save at least a few dollars this/next week. I am definitely not quite ready to do all of the strategizing and create the intense game plans that my friends who led the class do. Still, I figure if I start somewhere, maybe I'll be up to that level in a couple of years if I keep at it!
They recommend beginning with a little miniature expanding file folder like this:
And then working your way up to something like this (they both have giant coupon binders like this filled with baseball card inserts. I'm telling you, they are hardcore! :-P)
I learned so much new information! It felt like I was about to have a brain-overload. For example, I had no idea that those little coupons that print out with a purchase at the grocery store are called "catalinas." I had no idea that you could use both a store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon on the same item. I didn't know that my favorite grocery store, Giant Eagle, doubles coupons. And I definitely didn't know that you could basically get paid to shop at stores like Walgreens if you work the system right. If you have not looked into this, as I had not, there is really a whole new world out there! It takes a lot of planning and thought, but you can really save probably hundreds of dollars every month. Or at least every couple of months. It is like a game, and you have to have a strategy, which is why I think some people find it so utterly addicting!
My only concern about this whole thing is that I'm afraid I'll be tempted to buy lots of things that I don't really need because of the fact that I LOVE finding deals. I am going to try to only use coupons on things that I need, and would have bought anyway. Unless it is completely free, or I get paid to buy it!
If you are like me, and have never used a coupon in your life, here are a couple of great blogs that the girls mentioned over and over last night: Money Saving Mom and Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring. There is a lot of information on coupon collecting there, and they also list lots of sales that are paired up with coupons for some unbelievable deals. Be careful, though. I can already feel myself getting sucked in. I think it's going to be addicting once I get going and hit my first great deal and feel that high!
I will try to keep updating about my couponing adventures. I can't wait until Saturday to get the paper with all the coupons!