Money Saving Mondays: Coupon Game

Tip of the Week: Maximize your coupons by learning to play the grocery/drugstore game.

I’m not just talking about clipping coupons and using them when convenient. I’m talking about serious couponing here! You’ve got to learn to play the game of combining rock-bottom sales with coupons, and it takes some organization. If you’ve got time to watch t.v., you’ve got time to save money by clipping coupons and filing them. There are many good blogging sites that will do it all for you and tell you how to maximize your deal (listed below). Here’s the coupon system I use to stay organized.

Here’s what I do each week:
1. Buy a Sunday paper with coupons. I buy a Houston Chronicle for $2 because it has the most coupons in our area.
2. Print coupons for free off (they reload at the beginning of every month)
3. Clip everything, even if you wouldn’t normally buy the product.
4. File the coupons according to category and expiration dates.
5. Read the blogs and sales papers to find the best deals.
6. Go to the store with a set amount of cash and only spend what you have. (I have a $10 budget each week for CVS.)

A couple of pointers:
- You can ‘stack’ coupons. This means you can combine a manufacturer’s coupon (mc) with a store coupon. You can’t use more than one manufacturer coupon per item.
- If an item is Buy One Get One Free, you can use two manufacturer coupons for the 2 items.
- If you shop with a Kroger card you can load coupons onto your card. In this case you actually CAN use more than one mc per item. For example, I have a paper coupon for chips and one loaded onto my card and both will work. If you have the same coupon off two different sites, the store will choose which one it wants to use. The sites:
Bringing Hope
Proctor and Gamble
Upromise (earn money towards college)
- Check to see which stores double coupons. Kroger triples coupons up to $.35 and doubles up to $.50. So, you could have a Kroger coupon, mc coupon that triples, and one loaded on your Kroger card and use them all.
- The ‘All You’ Magazine that’s found at Wal-Mart is filled with coupons. You’ll pay $2.50 per issue, but you can often find subscription deals through blog sites for 2 years for $18.

There are so many myths when it comes it couponing that people don’t take advantage of coupons and sales. It’s amazing how much money I save by combining sales with coupons. One of the biggest myths I hear is to buy generic because it’s always cheaper, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. A lot of times I can buy brand name items for dirt cheap or even free. If I absolutely need an item and the coupon doesn’t beat the price of the generic product then I will buy generic. Another myth is don’t use coupons for items you wouldn’t normally buy. I use to believe this myth until I realized that sometimes those items are ‘money-makers’, meaning you can combine them with sales and have overage to buy something else. For example, you have a $5 coupon for something that is on sale for $2…buy the item along with something you need. If you won’t ever use it, donate it.

The two main stores I shop at are CVS and Kroger. Walgreens can have good deals, but CVS is usually better when it comes to deals. I could go into great detail here on how to shop at CVS, but I’ll refer you to some great sites for that.

A final tip is to read, read, read and start slow. It takes a few months to learn the systems and how to coupon effectively. You may spend a little more money at first learning how to do it, but can save up to 80% on your grocery bill each month.

I love to save our family money by getting great deals. One thing it’s allowed us to do is entertain more and not be worried about how much it’s going to cost. It also helps with living on one income…I count it as a service to my family. Happy Couponing and email me with any questions!

Best Referral Readings and Blogs:
Couponing 101
Couponing for Newbies (explains a lot of lingo)
CVS 101
Stockpiling 101
Coupon College
Thrifty Mama

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