So, where's a good place to start, and what's a good idea to do when starting out with coupons?
I've also heard good things about pinchingyourpennies.com
Here is my system:
1) Make a menu with breakfast ideas, lunch ideas, snack ideas, and dinners for each night. Our breakfasts and lunches are pretty standard -- cereal, eggs, sandwiches, leftovers. I just want to make sure we have stuff so that we can't complain there is nothing to eat for any particular meal and be tempted to go out. Dinners I plan a specific meal for each night.
2) Write down any missing ingredients for any of the above meals. This includes fresh produce and dairy. Many of my dinner items I already have stocked due to stockpiling (rice, meat that has been frozen, etc).
3) Go through the grocery ads for the stores I'm willing to shop at this week. I'll always go to Acme and Giant as they are within minutes of our house, but other stores I'll only go if there is a really great sale. For example, this week Superfresh is tripling coupons, so I'll go. From the ads, I'll list anything that is on sale that I'd use before it expires.
4) I then match up coupons with items on sale and decide if it is worth stockpiling. For example, shampoo on sale with a coupon for $2.00 isn't that great for me. Shampoo on sale with a coupon for .50 is worth stockpiling. I also match the things I need from my list, but if there is no coupon, I just put down to buy it where it is on sale the cheapest. If it is not on sale anywhere, I just buy it from the store that generally has lower prices. I find what coupons are available in the database at hotcouponworld.com
5) I get my papers with the coupons from the Dollar Tree. Our Sunday paper is $1.75, here I can get it for $1.00. If I have a bit of lead time (about a week) and something is on sale for super super cheap with a coupon, I order coupons online. I like thecouponclippers.com, but I know others have had luck with Ebay.
This sounds like it takes forever, but really it only takes me about 1 hour to plan my list and go through ads and another 1/2 hour to match coupons. Previous to coupons we were spending b/t 100-125/week on groceries. Now I spend 50-75. 1.5 hours is totally worth $50 to me!
|I want to be a coupon queen - how to start?|
I do stacking - mostly at Walgreens. I look through the monthly rebate book, and check out all the free stuff or all the stuff that offers a $5 or $10 rebate on something like shampoo, and then search for coupons on those brands. I buy the rebate items using the coupons and then submit for the rebates on the full price.
I'm looking at this hot coupon world and it looks interesting. I may start hanging out here :
Just be aware that a lot of coupons are (or around here they are) for pretty junky food: prepared stuff that you could make more cheaply at home (salad dressing, etc.) I find I can serve frugal meals without coupons very easily.
This is exactly what I've observed. Many of the coupons in my paper are for items I can't buy anyway. You know, we have food allergies over here. If I could get my veggies and soy milk or soy based sour cream for cheap I'd be a happy camper! I can't find coupons for Tofutti items often enough
Whole Foods also has baskets of Mambo Sprout coupons at their customer service desk here- maybe if you have one, you'll see the same thing.
I buy natural coupons on ebay sometimes, but it has to be worth it after shipping and the price of the coupons. Calculate how many of something you'll need to buy to cover your cost for coupons and shipping before you bid.
mom to one glorious sweetpea born 10/18/2007.
I also DO eat a lot of stuff like frozen veggies, yogurt, milk, bisquick, pancake mixes, syrup, peanut butter, jam, frozen waffles, cereal, marinades, bbq sauce, salsa, sour cream, bread, pasta, pasta sauces, and more that I get for close to free by couponing the right way. I then use my savings to buy lots of yummy produce, meats, and other whole foods. Most grocery stores have "deals" where you can earn "Catalinas" which are store coupons for whatever you want. This month at Vons/Safeway/Randalls they are doing a buy $30 of certain products and you get $10. And lucky me...this month's deal is about "healthy living" so all of the organics are on sale. I bought $160 worth of stuff last week for $80 and I'm set for the week right now with spending just $22 for my family of 4. I'll probably go back to stockpile some free or close to free items ( popcorn, cereal, Tava ) though. I am just learning, but I am seeing that there is free or close to free things to be had...and it's not all junk.
Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10
To the OP, definately check out hotcouponworld.com. It is a message board, and about the 4th section down on the main board is called "completely new to couponing...start here" or something to that effect. That is your starting point. There is a thread in there called couponing 101...read it...but don't get overwhelmed. If you have any questions, come back here and ask the couponers here rather than just give up because there is so much info over there. The trick to being a couponer as opposed to someone who uses coupons is a stockpile. That is also something they'll talk about in that thread. Good luck!
Catholic homeschooling mom of 5 - a teenager, a kindergartener, twin boys and a tiny princess. Follow the Adventures!
Lindsey- SAHM to Skylar (7-12-01), Leah (10-29-04), id twin boys Addison and Riley (6-17-08, born at 25w4d), and Terran (5-29-11, born at 28 weeks)
I mostly bid on coupons for non-food stuff that I can stock up on. And today, CVS had the shampoo on sale for buy one get one free so it was a super deal!
Can you tell I am super psyched about the deal I got today!
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