Couponing | Back Home Again: Couponing

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Couponing

I've been couponing long before Extreme Couponing came out and ruined it for the rest of us, since I was in grad school close to 10 years ago. While I don't get $800 worth of groceries for $10, I do usually get almost everything I buy with a coupon for at least 50% off. However, I also buy things that don't have coupons to fuel my baby clothes shopping addiction so it may look like I didn't really save that much, which in fact I was able to buy those extra things because I did save by couponing.

I mainly coupon at two stores, Target and CVS, and sometimes my local grocery if I can get a decent deal. I just feel that it's much easier to concentrate on a few stores rather than a whole bunch and wind up wasting gas driving all over the place to get that good deal. I also only stockpile toiletries, detergent and diapers. I personally think having 25 boxes of cereal is a form of hoarding and I definitely don't need any more of that in my life than there already is! My favorite site I use is www.couponmom.com because she has put almost all of the various coupon sites I use in one place, plus she has already calculated the deals for each weekly ad, as well as the next week's. In essence, she has already done the work for me! Some other sites I like are stretchingabuckblog.com and totallytarget.com. But, there are plenty of couponing sites out there - a quick search on Google will bring them up. I have a list of other coupon sites on my sidebar under Money Savers. I also utilize Facebook and individual product websites for coupons as well. I don't really use a lot of coupons from the newspaper because the ones we get here aren't the greatest. However, every time I'm out of town on a Sunday, I make sure to pick up a paper where I'm at (or steal borrow from friends/relatives that don't use them). A lot of people keep their coupons in a binder that they take with them to the store, but I keep mine in a coupon accordion file I found in the dollar spot at Target. I have it organized into frozen, cold, dry goods, pets, household, toiletries and baby. I do my research before I go, make a list of what I need and mark which coupons I need on said list and only bring those coupons. Then I'm not tempted to buy things that I don't necessarily need at that time. Additionally, I almost always have one or both of my kids with me and there's no way they will be entertained that long!

At CVS, I try to only buy things that give me extra bucks, which I can use on future purchases for an even better deal. You get 2% of your purchases back in eb every quarter as well. I also take advantage of the coupon machine found near the registers and store coupon emails that I then have transferred to my CVS card. The key to the coupon machine is to scan your card more than once because you will keep getting coupons until it tells you there are no more offers that day. Now, the overall key to CVS is how you give the cashier your coupons. Start with your extra care (CVS) card which they will usually ask for. It will take the sale prices and any coupons you've uploaded off first. Then, give the cashier your paper coupons, starting with the CVS ones on top of your manufacturer's. Finally, another thing I do is use my green bag tag. It costs $1 to get for your reusable bags, but you get $1 off every 4 uses and you can use it as much as you'd like. This way I save money and help the environment!

At Target, in addition to the various websites for coupons that I've mentioned, Target has their own printable and mobile coupons I use all the time that you can get/sign up for at www.target.com. I also use their catalinas (coupons that print at the register) but you have to look at them closely because some are actually considered manufacturer's and not Target coupons so you can't stack them. Just an FYI - if you have a baby, get Target Baby mobile coupons, they are worth it! If you are a Target addict shop there a lot like I do, then it's worth it to get their Target debit card that gives you an extra 5% off plus free shipping at target.com. I take advantage of their gift card deals on things we will use because I then use those gift cards on future purchases. I also use reusable bags. You only save $0.05 a bag, but anything helps and to me it's more about the environmental impact than saving money.

Other ways I save are by having a subscription to All You magazine, which easily pays for itself in one issue with the coupons I get. I also get the All You Daily Sample email to get free samples. Something I've recently started using thanks to my sister-in-law, Megan, is the iBotta app for iPhone or Android. I love this thing! You fill out a poll or do a Facebook/Twitter share and you get money back into your Paypal account on your purchases. I've been using it going on three months now and have received almost $40 back that's going towards my landscaping fund.
What I bought using iBotta from a recent Target excursion. Everything was already on sale/temporary price cut or I had a coupon or both. Several things I got money back!
Whew! That was a little longer than I meant it to be!. Congratulations if you made it this far! What are some of your money saving tips!

2 comments:

  1. I wish we did the couponing thing here. I'm incredibly jealous.

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  2. I'm currently a cereal hoarder! :) Can't help it - they were only $0.47 at Schnucks & they don't go bad until next year!! Haha I'm also a toothpaste/body wash/shampoo hoarder! My closet upstairs looks like a store & I love it. Wouldn't have it any other way - but its not like I'm buying shelves to put my stuff, lol. Couponing is AWESOME! <3

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