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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Art of Couponing

Couponing is an art. Some people take it to the extreme, others could care less about saving $.50. What I am here to tell you is that you can use coupons to your advantage, save a ton of money, and you do not have to spend your life clipping little slips of paper and rushing around to 10 different stores a week.
Where do I get my coupons?

I first start out by clipping almost all the coupons out of Sunday's paper. (Some may disagree, but I do not see the need to buy five Sunday papers - I am fine with only one.) I also print coupons from coupons.com and subscribe to Money Saving Mom to see what high value coupons are floating around on the internet. And lest you think all coupons are only for processed food, think again! Try out these organic coupons to find some healthier options. All these sources give me so many coupons, that I found a need to create a filing system. I use a small accordion file and have labeled each tag as a different category. This makes it so much easier to flip through when I am searching sales fliers or looking at my grocery list.

How do I use my coupons?

There is a myth that coupons are more hassle than they are worth and you do not actually save money when you use them. This is only true if you are using coupons incorrectly - e.g. buying a brand name item that you do not normally buy just because you have a coupon for it. That is not the type of couponing I am talking about. The goal is to use your coupons in conjunction with sale items found in your weekly fliers. It takes a little bit of digging, but if you are willing to go through all your fliers and compare them to your coupons, you can find some pretty sweet deals!

For example:
  • As long as you do not have a staunch preference in shampoos and conditioners, you can maintain a pretty good stash for almost nothing. I used to be a Garnier girl, but I have now tried Pantene Pro-V, Aussie, and Dove hair products. A few weeks ago, I found an Aussie shampoo bottle at CVS for free! The shampoo was originally $2.99 with $2.99 back in Extra Bucks (These are sort of like gift cards that you can use on your next purchase.) Plus, I had a $.99 off coupon which made my deal even sweeter! I actually made money off the shampoo! 
I do not get everything for free, but if you look hard enough, you can create your own money-saving scenarios and develop your own stockpile of every day items.

When are coupons not worth it?

If I am running to six or seven different stores a week just to cash in on some good deals, then couponing is not worth it to me. I make a list of all the stores that are running special sales on items I am interested in and note if I have a coupon for that item or not. Then I choose maybe two or three stores that have the best deals on the things I need and visit those. I do not want to spend all my free time couponing!

I also do not find coupons that are "$.50 off three" items to be worth my time. I end up spending more money buying multiples of the item, just to use the coupon! I tend to look for high-value coupons, such as $1.00 or $2.00 off one product. They are rare, but they do come around!

I hope this helps those of you who are new to coupons and desire to save money on your groceries! Feel free to comment or email me with any questions you may have. I think you will find couponing fun and very rewarding!


Bethany said...

Hey Kalyn!

It's Bethany B. we went to CCA together sometime ago. I have been following your blog for a little bit now and this post was awesome!!!! I am getting married in a year and am wondering how in the world will I save money! I will admit that I am a tad afraid of coupons but it sounds like as soon as you get organized it is well worth it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Kelli said...

Very nice post. I will definitely be looking for more coupons. I remember my mother and I always cutting them out when I was little. But when I got married and moved away, found that coupons are harder and harder to find these days...But..will be looking harder...thanks!

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