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??