Forgive me for not posting much in the last week. It’s been a really frantic two weeks at work with a major project that I finished up today that was interrupted by a busy weekend. I got a lot of things done around the house and have a few things to post on but I wanted to stick with my Tightwad Tuesdays. So, here we go, just 2 days late.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’d post this week. And I’ll be honest as to why. Our business has slowed way down and it scares the crap out of me, but I know we’ll be provided for. Hunter and I are approaching things cautiously and I’m trying to stay positive that we’ll get through this. If not, it wasn’t meant to be and we’ll move on to find out what “meant to be” is, right? When he closes a door, he opens a window.
So, Tightwad Tuesday this week is going to be about couponing. Fun stuff. There are a billion coupon sites out there and a billion ways to do it. I don’t have any record breaking amounts of money saved but I have cut over $30 off of a single bill before so I’m pretty proud of that.
The first thing I’ve learned is DO NOT CLIP COUPONS. Seriously. Just go and buy the paper and then write the date on the front of each of the coupon circulars. That’s it. And file them in your own little way. For me, it’s a used manila envelope from work that’s been taped on all sides. Or two of those at this point. Recycling, right?
Then I to the Taylor Town Preview. It’s a website where all of the coupons in each circular are listed. There are three “standard” circulars: Smart Source (SS), Red Plum (RP), and Proctor and Gamble (PG). Not every circular is in each paper and some coupons are regional so it may not be 100% but it’s handy. Tip for you there! (Oh and according to the Thrifty Mama (www.thethriftymama.com), the Red Plum is being eliminated. Go to her site to find the link and see if your paper will continue to carry it.) I copy and paste the list each week into a Word document and print it out. Then I file it with my coupons. This has saved me soooooo much time. It lets me look at a list and find the coupons that match up with sales and then just pull those circulars and cut them out! No more flipping through circulars, getting frustrated and throwing them away! It’s fantastic. (Big thanks go out to Mrs. Michelle for that tip!)
But WAIT! We’re not done!
Next, I hit a few other websites. Hot Coupon World, iheartcvs, Saving Your Cents, The Thrifty Mama, and Southern Savers are a few of my favorites. I still don’t know how to link to sites in the fancy way so just google them. I promise to learn soon. These sites have coupon match ups to the sales each week! Let me warn you though: Hot Coupon World moves FAST. And they’re a little scary to me. I usually just copy their lists and run. I like the Thrifty Mama best and Saving Your Cents since I have an Ingles really close. See if you can find any local blogs that do this for you. Anyway, I copy and paste those lists into another Word document and then I can delete out the stuff I don’t want. And Presto! I have a mini grocery list to start from and I know which circulars to pull to clip coupons.
There are Internet (printable) coupons out there and I like to use them, but I have a hard time getting every store to take them. So, I’m much more skittish about using them unless they have the company name on them. Just my experience so take it for what you will. I never count on them; that way, if they don’t work, oh well, and if they do, bonus.
I also write down the other stuff I need and then look back at my Taylor Town list and see if there are any coupons that I can use.
This system has really started to work for me. I save at least $10 on each trip so at least $40 a month, if not more. I am trying to work on a $70/wk budget, including diapers, pet food, household stuff and any CVS trips I make (another post later on). It does take a little time but honestly, it’s maybe 30-40 minutes each week. And I weeks I do great, I look at it as I made “$X” for that amount of time!
You should probably also know that I buy things on sale and “stockpile” them. For me, it makes sense. I’m not afraid of the world ending tonight. I simply HATE to go to the store. Hate it. Hate shopping. Hate being in confined spaces. So, stockpiling makes my life easier. Besides, have you ever tried “running into the store for a quick trip” with a 3 year old and a 19 month old??? Quick trips don’t exist.
Last thing. I have learned to take advantage of double coupons! Match those bad boys up! Kroger doubles coupons up to 0.50 (no limit at this point) and I’ve never had a hard time using an Internet coupon. CVS takes Internet coupons usually with no problem. Ingles, however, has a more complicated policy of only doubling 3 coupons (up to 0.50) per $10 and they have never liked any of my Internet coupons enough to take them. So, I have to pay a lot more attention to my order and really make “the system” work for me. Kroger is just easier but it’s 20 minutes further away.
OK, overwhelmed? I was too! But I worked up to it slowly. I buy 1 paper every week and if coupons are left over from my work’s copy, I get those. Other than those, that’s it for me. I don’t go digging in trash cans for coupons or anything like that. I also can’t get a major metro paper in my area. I usually get most of the coupons though.
So, give it a try. You can do it! There is a plethora of information out there on couponing. Just find the sites that you like and then use them to get you started. I always say that I’d never do all this if I had to come up with it by myself!
Buy your first paper on Sunday. Give ‘er a whirl. And let me know how it goes!
Anyone try baking bread last week?