Monday, July 2, 2012

Grocery Groove part 2

My tips on saving you money at the grocery store with

This next section... well you either love 'em or you hate 'em. I've found that I can actually save money by using coupons, as long as I do it right. First of all couponing does take extra time and like in part 1, planning. I've seen this crazy show on TLC called Extreme Couponing and seriously those people are a little out of control. I applaud them for getting a truck load of stuff for a dollar but how much time and energy did they put into it. In my mind couponing shouldn't be a part time (or even full time) job. I have a job and it is to take care of my family. I don't devote days or even hours trying to get rock bottom prices. I just use coupons to get good deals on things I would buy even if I didn't have a coupon for it.

Clip from the Sunday paper. Most newspapers come out with several manufacturer coupon flyers in the Sunday paper. If you subscribe then great you are already saving money. If you don't one of my favorite tricks is buying a copy at The Dollar Tree for yup $1. See you've already saved half the cost. You can get them from your neighbors or friends who don't coupon. Maybe even your mother-in-law will give you hers. You won't necessarily use most of the coupons, but usually they are high value and you can find a few to use that make spending that dollar totally worth it.

Print off the Internet. There are several great coupon sites out there that group manufacturer coupons by different catagories and are user friendly. You might have to download a coupon printer application to your computer once but other than that it is quick to find exactly what coupon you want and you don't have to waste time going through what you don't want. Places like Target have a section on their website where you can print store coupons and when you stack them with manufacturer coupons it's saving double. Also companies now are creating facebook pages and websites where you can print coupons for their products, especially if they are new. Also if you hit the back button on your computer after the coupon has printed, you can print another coupon. That's right, you are legally able to print two copies of a coupon from one computer. (so those of you with two or more computers in your household get printing like crazy)

Load virtual coupons. Virtual coupons? Yes. These are coupons from sites like where you upload your store card information and they automatically load coupons directly to your card. Easy Peasy.

Add e-coupons to your loyalty card. I shop primarily at Fred Meyer so every so often I log onto their website and can load up to 150 coupons directly onto my rewards card. I don't have to clip anything and I don't have to remember to hand them to the cashier at check out. If I know at some point I will probably buy a product I will load it to my card and watch the savings add up. Another awesome bonus with store? They can be stacked with manufacturer coupons to double the savings. For example, I saw Chrystal Lite To Go Packets on sale the other day for $1.60. I wasn't planning on buying this item during my trip but because I had all of my coupons with me I was able to actually get this for free. By combining a $1 off coupon I got in the mail with a free sample and with a $.75 off coupon that was on my card I actually made fifteen cents and got a free product. Whoohoo!

Keep them organized and handy. I use a check file to keep my coupons somewhat organized. I am definitely not the best person to give advice on this but at least they are all in one place. I have my separated into about 5 categories. Food, Non-food, coupons that I want to use that expire soon, Fred Meyer store coupons and baby. Well the baby one is actually gone now because I bought everything he needed so I guess I have 4 categories. Other people group them completely differently but I guess I don't use them enough to have more than one place for food etc. On certain websites they describe using the giant binder method which really works well for some people.

Now you know how to find them but actually using them is the hard part. You have to keep them organized. You have to remember to use them. You have to make sure they aren't expired. You have to make sure that they are for the right product type, size and quantity. You also have to know your store's coupon policy. Basically you just have to find out what works for you.

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