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Friday, September 28, 2007

a day in the life of a coupon-er

I have learned a LOT about couponing since I began back in June. I thought I'd share a typical day of "finding deals" as well as some tips for anyone who'd like to get started. I learn something new EVERY day, so I'll be sure to share new stuff as I learn.

Today was a "deal day" for me. On Fridays (Asah's day off) I try and sneak a few hours to myself to strictly focus on great bargains. This involves planning out what deals I want to do where and then going out and making them happen. Here's what today looked like:

Stop #1: Walgreens

-Oatmeal Deal

3 oatmeals @ $1.00 each = $3.00
Tax .15
Coupons (3 $1 off) (3.00)
Total .15

This didnt go off "without a hitch". Great deals usually never do, even though what you are doing is completely honest and legitimate. Cashier called the manager over, and after scrutizing they "let me use the coupons". *Note: Coupons are put out by manufacturers and stores. The particular coupons I had were manufacturer coupons, meaning the store is reimbursed Full coupon price plus 8 cents just for taking my coupons. So dont give in if they say "we cant take these". Ask why. I also keep a copy of each stores coupon policy printed out and in my binder so if there are questions I can pull it out.

Stop #2: CVS

Great day at CVS!

Here's what I got--

2 All Small and Mighty (on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free): $5.79
5 Propel Fitness Water (on sale 5/$5): $5.00
4 Quaker Oatmeal (on sale 2/$5): $10.00
CVS Brand Diapers 8.99
CVS Antibacterial Wipes 1.49

Total before coupons/discounts $31.27

Coupons Used:
2 $1 off All Small and Mighty (2.00)
5 .50 off Any Propel (2.50)
$2.50 off any $10 CVS Purchase (2.50)
$4 off of $20 purchase at CVS (4.00)
$3 Extracare bucks from last week (3.00)

Total Paid $17.27

Extracare bucks that printed $5.00
Coupon that printed $2.50 off $10 purchase

Stop #3: Walmart

1 Huggies Cleanteam Wipes $1.64
$1 off coupon (1.00)
Total Paid .64

FAQ's:

Where do you get your coupons?
Two Places:
1. The Sunday Paper (I buy one each Sunday and clip coupons on Sunday nights after Jordan is in bed)
2. The Internet
Master List of Internet Coupons: http://www.couponsinc.com/corp/source/cp_clientlist.asp
Also, if you like a product, go to their website. You just may find a coupon or can sign up for coupons to be emailed to you.

I don't have time to go to 10 different stores. How do you have time to do this?
This is a new hobby for me. I usually spend time clipping coupons/finding deals while Jordan is napping or at night. I like to save money and this is my "downtime". If I just swing by one place a day with my coupons and deal already planned out, it only takes 5-10 minutes, and Jordan enjoys getting out of the house each day.

Where can I find store ads?
You can view your local store ads to find out what's on sale at:
shoplocal.com

How do you organize your coupons?

I have a binder:




I organize by category, these are the ones I have so far:
Health and Beauty
Cleaning Products
Baby
Foods

You can do as many or as few categories as you like. I go through and remove expired coupons weekly.
The pages are baseball card binder sheets.
I also have the clear sheet protectors with each stores coupon policy printed out.

TIPS:
I always make out our weekly grocery list, then grab my coupon binder and see if there are coupons for the items I plan to purchase. I don't buy something just because I have a coupon. You WILL end up spending more that way!

Take your binder with you. You may find something on clearance or a great deal you didn't know about, and you just may have a coupon for it making it an even better deal!

Find out which stores double coupons and when. The only place that doubles here is Freds, and only on Saturdays. BUT I can get GREAT deals on cleaning products, etc at Freds if I wait until Saturdays.

I hope this gigantic post helped anyone who wants to get into couponing. It is SO fun! Asah likes to see how much I spent/saved each week.

5 Comments:

Blogger Mallory & Amy Gabriel said...

great post, tara. Thanks for all your money-saving tips. Have you ever bought diaper or formula coupons on ebay? what's your advice on that?

9/28/2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

i am totally impressed and apparently too lazy or disorganized to even attempt such a strategy.

10/01/2007 10:01 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Thanks! You really know how to turn an idea into practical reality.

10/01/2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger Funky Cold Medinas said...

I have attempted and am attempting the coupon thing, but never in my life could I be binder organized. What motivation! But, thanks for the internet site. I will definitely be checking that out.

10/02/2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger Joni said...

The binder is awesome, I"m definitely working towards that! You're my hero!

Joni :)

10/04/2007 9:13 AM  

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