This section is going to be all about coupons. Where to get them, how to use them, how to organize them, and just tips and tricks in general.
First of all, THIS is my go-to site for coupon deals and weekly store match-ups. Collin is WONDERFUL. And this site has saved me SO much time.
I don’t print coupons ahead of time, because of her site. I did for some time, but I found that I would end up throwing a lot of them out, because they expired before I had used them. It’s frustrating when you are already a penny pincher to have to throw out paper and computer ink that hasn’t been used.
The main coupon database website I go to is HERE. This might be something new to a lot of you out there. With hip2save’s website, she gives you links to where you can find the coupons needed, or she will tell you where to find them in your circulars. But pennypinchinmom’s coupon database is phenomenal for finding coupons on other items, not on your weekly store match-up shopping list.
coupons.com is the main website used.
Some tips on coupons.com:
- sign up. It’s free. And although it seems like a pain, I’ll tell you this: IF you sign up, you can change the zip code. Most people don’t realize that different zip codes have different coupons, or maybe the same coupons, but just HIGHER values. The one I use the most is in Texas, 77477. If you’re going by hip2save’s site, she will tell you where to find certain coupons, if needed.
- You can print 2 coupons, PER DEVICE. If you have a wifi printer, this is great. If there is a good deal, I will often print from my computer, C’s iPad, my cell phone, his cell phone, and his work cell phone. coupons.com is an app you can get, so GET IT! I don’t often do this, but if I need to stock up on something and there is a sale, I do.
- Don’t print a bunch of coupons that you’re not sure you will use. Only print what you need this week.
- On the other hand, print what you KNOW you will use within the next 2 months. Each month, coupons disappear from the site and then new ones appear. But the coupons from the previous month aren’t necessarily expired yet. If there is something you KNOW you will use, print it.
- They will print 3 coupons on 1 sheet of paper. It’s better to pick coupons in multiples of 3, because if not you’ll waste paper.
Some people have coupon binders. I do, but I really don’t use it a whole lot. And in fact, although I use it sometimes, I often forget about it, until I can’t find a coupon that I KNOW I have somewhere.
I store coupons in a big box with file folders. And label each with the dates they are from. I got my box from Target, and it is super, because it has a fancy top that opens up, where I can store scissors, pens, paper clips (a necessity for clipping a massive stack of coupons together), and a calculator (good for figuring out your deals). I also keep in scrap paper and printer paper in my box.
The coupon circulars themselves are labeled as well. Often on hip2save’s site she will refer to a coupon in the “2/16 RP”. This means it is from the February 16th paper and is in the Red Plum section. ‘SS’ is Smart Source and ‘PG’ is the Proctor and Gamble brands.
P&G typically puts out there new circulars once a month and normally early in the month. When they put there’s out, the other companies often put out more coupons and bigger circulars than normal as well. It’s good to ‘stock up’ on these circulars when this happens. Our local paper is pretty stingy on coupons, but the next county over is CHOCK-FULL of good coupons. When we have a ‘good coupon week’ I will go to our local gas station and buy 4-5 newspapers, just for the coupons. The rest of the weeks, I typically just use my one home delivered paper.
If you have friends and family who don’t use their coupons, it’s ok to ask them to save them for you! My mom and my grandma save them and give them to me weekly now, because they know my obsessive habit.
When I am getting my list together (usually on a Saturday night or Sunday morning), it’s a mess in our spare bedroom. I use the bed to lay everything out and my desk is right beside the bed, where I can keep the computer going in the coupon search.
My ‘trips’ are normally on a Sunday afternoon, childless. I could take A with, and have before, but C lets me have some ‘mom’ time to myself. If for some reason he isn’t around, I take A with. She’s such a good baby that it isn’t hard at all to have her with me. BUT, if you have kids that are not into the shopping thing, I would suggest you leave them home. Or at least leave them home the first few times. You need to ‘get in your groove’ so to speak. And it CAN be stressful the first few times. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll figure out how you want to do things and will be able to be organized enough that it won’t be near as hard.
In terms of organization AT the store? It’s hard. I always get a cart. I don’t care if you’re getting 3 things, getting a cart is helpful, because you can lay out your coupons and list on the child’s seat in the cart (when I take A with, she gets a free ride in the ErgoBaby).
This is only my way of doing this. But know that my setup doesn’t always work for everyone else. You won’t necessarily know what will work for you until you get into it. And then when you do, you’ll figure out your ‘style’ so to speak.
Stay tuned for more ideas!