I recently cut down my weekly budget on food and necessities and started buying the Sunday paper to get coupons. I am trying to save money on toiletries and basic necessities (shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste etc) I do try to make many things myself, such as cleaners, and use cloth instead of paper towels. But...I am a little overwhelmed with couponing. I have CVS, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. I was wondering if any one store is better than the other ones when using coupons? I buy food at Aldi and I do buy a lot of things at the Dollar Tree as well but I am trying to see if using coupons is "worth it". I only use coupons for toiletries and such, I do not buy many food items with coupons . Maybe coffee or yogurt are the only food items I used coupons for. But I am trying to maximize my coupons and would like to learn from other Mamas who have been using coupons for awhile. Is any one store better than others and any other tips I could use when being a new couponer? Thank you so much!!!
i , , mom to DS 7 and DD 4 and a wife to DH for 13 years vegan,
I only cut coupons for things/brand that I use. I only go to 2 stores unless I see a super sale that I have a coupon for.
Jan & Sept are a big coupon months. I will buy 2 or more Sunday papers if their are a lot of coupons that I use.
typing with one hand. sorry for mistakes
I second the recommendation to follow websites that match coupon deals for you. I know for sure that CVS (iheartcvs.com), Walgreens (iheartwags.com), and Target (totallytarget.com) are good places to look. I'm sure Walmart has a site too, I just don't really shop there. I like these sites because they will tell you what coupons are available, and if there's a printable coupon it links right to it so I don't have to try to hunt one down.
The main thing with the drugstores is keeping up with the deals. I tend to only shop at CVS occasionally, and they give out ExtraCare bucks (basically money off your next purchase) but they do expire. If I don't shop there weekly/every other week I can forget about them and lose that money. Also, CVS emails me every Thursday with a 25% off coupon if I shop Thurs-Sunday, so that can help your savings. And check their website for CVS coupons, typically you can stack a manufacturer coupon and store coupon for maximum savings.
Target can be good to coupon at because you can "triple stack" coupons. You can use a manufacturing coupon, Target coupon, and Target Cartwheel coupon on a single item.
My main advice is to not get sucked into a "great deal" if it's not a product your family uses.
Jen - 29, part-time LDRP RN and Birth Consultant. DH - 33. Married since 2006. 3/09. DD 2010. Expecting a surprise new one in May 2014!
I coupon like crazy, so I've got some good suggestions. :-)
1. Buy your paper at Dollar Tree - it will only cost $1 for the Sunday edition (most Sunday editions cost $1.50 - $2.00 each elsewhere).
2. Check out the coupon insert previews for the week to determine if you should buy a paper at all, and how many. I personally like Klip2Save. They post their coupon previews 2-3 days before the upcoming Sunday, so you can plan ahead. If you won't recoup your dollar in the coupons you plan to use, don't bother buying it that week. Alternatively, if it's a great coupon week, you can plan to buy multiple copies. Dollar Tree will let you buy up to 3 papers in a single transaction.
3. Dollar Tree and Target are the best stores to coupon at. Selection at Dollar Tree varies, so it's worth checking out multiple locations if they're in proximity to you. They just started taking coupons recently, so sometimes the cashiers don't understand how it works. I have three Dollar Trees that I frequent, and one of them is excellent, while another is such a pain I don't bother trying to use a coupon there anymore.
4. Target is fantastic for couponing. They allow you to "stack" coupons, which means you can use one manufacturer coupon plus one Target coupon per item. You can also stack the Cartwheel discount with the coupons. Target also has incredible clearance, especially after holidays and events (like back to school). You can always stack your coupons on top of clearance or sale prices to maximize your savings. Target coupon mailers are notoriously hard to come by and highly coveted, so print Target coupons from their website, and be sure to sign up for their mobile coupons (text OFFER to 827-438). They have standard ones that are sent our nearly every Saturday, plus special extra coupons you can get by texting a word to the Target number.
5. You can print coupons online from coupons.com. You can print each coupon twice from a computer. If you have two computers in your house, that means you can get four copies of a given coupon, because the print limit is tracked by IP address. Or you can print two at home and two at work, for example.
6. As another poster mentioned, the website Totally Target is great for the Target deals, and she posts weekly ad and coupon match ups each week, doing the work of figuring out the deals for you. A few other sites that are good for match ups and posting deals are For The Mommas and Living Rich With Coupons.
7. If you have a compatible smart phone, check out Ibotta, Shopkick and Checkout 51.
8. Start with less than three stores to coupon at, and skip the drugstores as a beginner. Rolling reward points and bucks is a complicated game. My three stores are Target, Dollar Tree and Woodmans (our local grocer). Any more than that and it's just to overwhelming.
9. Temper your expectations. You're probably not going to save a couple hundred dollars the first time you head out with coupons. But if you ask me, any money you save is worth something. You didn't pay full price for that item! I average anywhere from $10-$30 worth of savings on most of my trips, and that's done a lot to help our budget overall.
10. To really make the most of your coupons, you need to combine them with sales and clearance. You want to buy stuff at it's lowest possible price point. To do this, you'll need to start stockpiling. This can seem like a scary overwhelming concept at first, but start small. If you find a rock bottom price on shampoo, buy 3-4 instead of one. Now you've got a supply to last you several months and you can take that item off of your shopping list for awhile, until it goes on sale again. You don't have to buy case lots and have a basement to stockpile. Toiletries are a great "gateway" to stockpiling, since they don't really expire (or have really long expiration dates) and don't take up too much room to store in a well-organized linen closet.
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