Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coupons Cut Costs

Two years ago, my sister convinced me to try couponing.  She had been using them successfully for a while and I had come up with every excuse in the book to not jump on board.  It would take too much time.  It would be a pain.  "You can't possibly get tighter with groceries than I am and I bet it won't change my bills that much.  It is all junk food and things I never use."  Yes, I said it all. But the bald fact was, she was getting some great deals! We had just barely survived a round of unemployment, and I needed new tactics.  So I tried it out, and I am a believer!

It does take time.  But my husband (who loves trivial facts) came up with a number from some place that the average coupon cutter makes/saves $84 per hour of time invested.  I know for our family we saved $4000 the first year off of grocery and household items.  I have been impressed with how much it has helped! 

I do not profess to be a guru at this.  I am still called a junior penny pincher on the web site I use for couponing, so I will just link you up with the pros. But, I will give you a run down on the basics.  The first idea is to only use a coupon if the item is already discounted for a sale.  This gives you the biggest savings.  The second idea is the power of multiple coupons.  I don't just get one Sunday paper with coupons, I get four.  Then I stack my coupons with like pages together and staple through the coupon before I clip it.  Now when shampoo goes on sale, I can get four of them at the sale price with a coupon instead of one.  Four papers seems to be a good number for the number of people we have in our house.  It allows me to have a stock on hand, but not a ridiculous one.  My neighbor has 5 people in her house and she uses two sets of coupons.

There are two camps (probably more, actually) in the coupon world, one is the clippers, and the other is the filers.  The clippers cut the coupons and file them in a binder or coupon organizer for carrying with them into the store.  The filers only clip the coupons each week that they are going to use for the week.  When the coupon inserts come, they mark the date on the front and file it in a folder. They use the Internet to track the coupons and match them to the sales.  It will all be revealed by the experts, but I am putting in a plug for clipping.  So often I am at the store and find an unadvertised special.  Because I am a clipper with a binder, all my coupons are with me, and because I clipped and sorted them, I am familiar with them.  I can take advantage of any unadvertised or clearance merchandise and many times it comes home for free!

One note to the junk food/things I don't use concern: I was wrong.  If you use toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, cleaning products in your home, etc., etc. you will use coupons.  I had only focused on the food coupons, but I have been really impressed with the way it has helped on the non-food grocery items around here!  OK, here is the magic.  There are alot of coupons sites out there.  This one is Free (my favorite price).  It is extremely useful locally and they have links for other states (see the state forums), but search around if you are not from the intermountain west, there are probably sites like this in your area too.  Coupons have become a big deal lately! There is sure to be something!  Read the thread for newbies.  You won't be sorry!

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If you are visiting, welcome! I am in the process of a Vulcan Mind Meld with my computer to put all of my right hand recipes for feeding my family on here as fast as possible. Please come back often and stay awhile. There are so many exciting things to come!

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