Thursday, February 2, 2012

How I Save Money with Coupons

The other day, I made my weekly trip to the grocery store. I wasn't feeling well, so I just made a quick trip for things on my list. As I was leaving the store, I checked my receipt and noticed that I had spent $26, but I had saved $27. I love when I can save more than I spend!

I must be one of those extreme couponers, right? Wrong! While I do use coupons, I am by no means, extreme. I only have a small accordion file for my coupons. I only clip coupons for items I normally buy or items I want to try.

I am however a coupon hunter. I will track down coupons for products I buy in an effort to save money. For me, this is fun. I love being able to get great deals on our everyday groceries.

I realize that not everybody finds this fun or has the time to hunt, so I thought I'd share with you some of my couponing resources to make it a little easier for other to find great deals.

First of all, we don't get the newspaper. My mom does and she does save the coupon inserts for me, but she goes through them first, so I'm not guaranteed to get the good ones. Most of the coupons I use, I print at home.

Here are my favorite websites to print coupons:
Most coupon sites change coupons on the first of the month, so I make sure to check them on that day. My biggest tip for these sites is to use different zip codes. You can often find different coupons and sometime different amounts. For example, my mom and I live in the same town, but we have different zip codes. My zip code has a great Kraft cheese coupon on, but her zip code does not have it. I try zip codes from around the country. It takes some time, but the rewards are often worth it.

And now you can print coupons right here! Just click on the Coupons tab at the top of the blog to start saving money!

A note about Target - They accept both Target coupons and manufacturers coupons, so you can sometime use 2 coupons on 1 item. They also offer mobile coupons that they text to you. These can also be combined with manufacturers coupons.

I also follow several coupon websites in my Google Reader. They give me a heads-up whenever there are new coupons and find coupons at various other places around the web. They save me some time from hunting in unexpected places. Another thing I love about these websites is that they take the ads and match up coupons for me. That also saves me time.

My three favorite websites are:

Living Rich With Coupons

This site also has a coupon database. I can simply type in something specific that I want a coupon for and the database tells me if there are coupons and where to find them.

Surviving the Stores

Great site for Target deals

Facebook is also a great way to get coupons. I "like" brands that I regularly buy and they often have coupons just for their Facebook fans. I often share great deals and coupons on the Argyle Love Facebook page, so don't forget to Like it!  I also sign up for e-mails from brands and often get links to coupons that way.

P&G has a great website where I can request samples and coupons. I get lots of great deals from them.

I also subscribe to All You Magazine and Kraft Food & Family Magazine. All You comes every month and has lots of coupons inside. Kraft Food & Family comes 4 times a year and often has great Kraft brand coupons inside.

I do most of our grocery shopping at Meijer, a regional chain of stores. The double coupons up to 50 cents, which greatly helps. They also offer a program where I can clip coupons online and then enter my cell phone number at checkout and those coupons are applied. Since those are considered store coupons, I can combine them with manufacturers coupons and get twice the savings!

Our local grocery store offers a Text Club. They text me a deal every Monday and they are often great deals that I actually use.

And sometimes I get lucky and find coupons right in the store. Sometimes there are coupon machines near an item and sometimes I even find coupons attached to the items.

So how do I maximize my coupons to save the most money? I only buy things when they are on sale. I plan on meals with things we have on hand or what's on sale that week.  I very rarely buy anything that's not on sale at the store. If I do it's because it's something we need and for some reason, don't have extra in our pantry.

I do stock up on things when they are on sale, but we don't have a room full of stockpiles. We have a small pantry cabinet where I store extras. I buy meat when it is on sale and freeze it until I want to use it. We do have a freezer in our basement, but we don't currently use it. Once we start going to Sam's Club again, we may use it more.

I hope this helps you save money and get excited about coupons. If you have any money saving tips or questions, please leave a comment!

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