Monday, August 22, 2011

Couponing Summer Review

It's been awhile since I've written about couponing, so I thought I would share an update today and some advice that I've found to be true.

The month of June was when I really began couponing again. That month since I was just starting out, I was using coupons like crazy, and stocked up on just about anything you could imagine. And since it was such a big month for stocking up on things, we landed right on our budget for that month.

In July, I decided to take another approach: since I had already stocked up so much in June, it was my goal to try to only buy things from the meat, produce, bread, and dairy aisles. Just perishable things that I couldn't buy with a coupon. And this was the best idea I could have ever had. Because when you use coupons, it becomes a little addicting, and there is the temptation there to buy tons of stuff that you don't really need simply because you get a little thrill out of the bargain you receive. In July I pretty much stuck to my goal. I didn't even have to think about buying things like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, feminine products, most non-perishable food items, or even a single cleaning product. And that month we came in under budget by $222!!

This month I've gone back to couponing again. However, I haven't gone quite as crazy stocking up on things as I did in June. I'm getting better at knowing which coupons I'll actually use. And also at not buying things JUST because I have a coupon for it. So this month I've continued to build my stockpile, and I'm still $200 under budget with just a week-and-a-half left in the month.

And honestly? It really doesn't take that much time. I'd say all that extra time spent clipping and organizing coupons, and reading the sale ads has been well worth it for the extra hundreds of dollars we've saved in just a few months!

So here's a breakdown of what has worked for us:

~Alternate between using coupons/stocking up one month, and taking a couponing break and using your stockpile the next month. This is how I've saved the most money

~Don't get sucked in by the thrill of finding a good deal. Only use coupons for things you would have bought anyway.

~Try to find your thrill by being way under budget. Not by looking at how much you saved at each individual shopping trip. Because it sounds weird, but you almost get the tendency to buy more, so your savings look bigger when you're at the grocery store.

~Some of your more expensive grocery stores will double coupons up to a certain amount (like Giant Eagle in my area). Because of this and their great sales, I save a lot more money there than I would at someplace like Walmart.

~Shop at a wide variety of places. My main grocery store is Giant Eagle, but I like to shop at Aldi's, Marcs, and even Family Dollar too. I really watch the sale ads, and just shop wherever I can get things the cheapest! And I usually hit up Walgreens because they have amazing sales, coupons, and register rewards (free money for shopping there, basically). A couple of weeks ago I bought $28 worth of stuff at Walgreens for $7! That's probably a personal best for me :-) I really love Walgreens. (Shout out to JC!!)

~Put the word out that you're a couponer. You probably have lots of friends and family who get the newspaper, but just end up throwing the coupons away. They would be happy to give them to you instead!

~Stock up on seasonal items. I've been really focusing on buying a lot of things like barbecue sauce, steak sauce, salad dressings, iced tea bags, etc. There are usually great deals for those types of things during the summer, but you'd probably have to pay full price in the winter. I am pretty confident that my stockpile for these things will last me all winter! And most of them were bought at $1 or less. I'm sure pretty soon things like soups and hot cocoa will start going on sale since the season's about to change. Keep your eye out for those types of things, because they'll only be on sale at certain times of the year.

I think that's enough for one day. What couponing advice do you have to share??

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips! My friend has gotten into couponing and I'm dying for her to teach me the ropes.

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  2. Thank you for the tips, I needed that. I am at work right now but when I get home I am going to take some notes with what you have written. I have been wanting to start couponing - living on your own is expensive.

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  3. My advice is to be extremely organized. It makes your couponing trips so much easier when your coupons are easily viewable and you know exactly what you're getting when you go in. I did an impromptu trip to Walgreen's and had coupons everywhere. My binder fell and stuff went flying. That did not make for a pleasant trip!

    Your advice about finding the thrill at being under budget instead of savings on individual trips is great. You're right. I find my thrill in the trip, mostly because we don't save much on groceries since we don't eat processed food.

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  4. You inspired me to be better about coupons now I never shop without them!

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  5. Great tips. Thanks.
    www.rebeccabany.com

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