Thursday, October 1, 2009
The coupon way
I received quite a few questions about my coupon tactics. First let me state that I am not an expert. I don't clear the shelves of my local CVS and my groceries don't equal five dollars. I recently cut our grocery budget from 100 to 65 dollars a week. Of course this is a loose interpretation because sometimes I run back if we run out of milk or bananas thus making it more then 65. One of my goals is to stick directly to the budget but more on that later.
My Wednesday Ritual
Here is my strategy for grocery shopping. Every Wednesday the paper comes with the grocery ads. I only look at two ads, Albertsons and Publix. First I look at Albertsons' ad. Albertons publishes about 6 in store coupons a week. These are for things such as buy one pack of pork chops get 2 free, buy one london broil get 2 free etc. The one coupon I look for in the Albertson's ad is the 5 dollars off fifty dollars or more. The coupon is only good Thurs-Sunday (sometimes Friday-Sunday). I clip these and then move on to the Publix ad.
Since Publix is the closest grocery store to me I only shop there (I also shop at CVS and hope to incorporate Aldis soon). There is a Superwalmart about 10 minutes from me but I try to avoid it. Publix will accept competitors coupons (this varies by store so ask). Mine honors Albertsons so I apply any of the Albertson ad coupons I find to the sales in Publix ads. I go through the ad and circle everything I might want/need. Then I make a list. I split things up into dry, dairy, frozen, breads, beverages (usually only beer and wine..I stopped buying soda and brew Iced Tea instead), produce, baby, household etc. Once I organize my list I go through all of my coupons. If I don't have a coupon for the item I cross it off. Rarely do I buy things now that I don't have a coupon for in addition to being on sale. Then I make sure I don't already have the item. I then sit on the list for a day and make sure I really need the items I have listed or if I just wrote the item down because they are on sale.
FOR MARYLAND/VA/DC PEOPLE
If I lived in Maryland I would probably compare Giant and Safeway ads. Check to see which stores double coupons. Stores in Florida do not double coupons. I wish they did! Also check out they have ads for foodlion, cvs and target. Foodlion has printable coupons that you can use.
Where do I find coupons/deals?
Sunday Paper- My mom saves her coupons for me and we have the Sunday paper delivered.IF the coupons are really good I will buy 1 or 2 additional papers. My MIL is also going to start mailing me her coupons. I will discuss the benefits of multiple coupons in a later blog.
I heart Publix This site compiles all the ad specials each week. She then matches each sale item to every possible coupon. This includes online coupons. All you have to do is click the link and print out the coupon. She also links the target coupons. If you print these out you can use them at Publix. In addition she runs another site I heart saving money On this site you can find sections for CVS, Krogers, Food lion, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart.
Money Saving Mom - Sign up for her emails!! She sends out 1-3 a week with easy links to online coupons and free offers. She also discusses her $45 a week shopping trips. These are very informative and fun emails.
Target Coupon Generator -this is the most amazing thing ever. It lists all the coupons Target has. You simply fill in the number you need of each coupon and print! This site also has a living database of all the prices at Walmart. You can see if an item is actually cheaper at your store or there. I could spend hours on this site. There is a ton of useful information.
Organic Coupons and shopping I just found this site in the process of writing this blog. I don't know much about it however, it seems to offer info on the major health food stores.
I started organizing my coupons by product (ie. dairy, dry, frozen, vegetables etc) but that did not work for me. Then I progressed to a small index card box. I bought alphabet dividers and arranged my coupons alphabetically by product. This works great except now I have too many coupons. My current system is two large index card boxes. One is for food items and the other is for household, personal items, baby and pet supplies. This has kept me even more organized.
Some people prefer a binder system. If you look through the sites i provided or Google coupon organizing I'm sure you will find what works best for you.
These sites should guide you in trimming your grocery bill. I will post again on this topic to discuss how to use your coupons, mistakes I have made,what my future money saving goals are. Happy shopping!