Sometimes, I am really surprised by people who refuse to use coupons. I really don't understand it. I grew up with a dad who used coupons, and baby, if there wasn't a coupon, you weren't getting it!
When my husband and I first married, we were POOR. I mean POOR, eat a can of peas for dinner poor. Sometimes, we had the strangest combinations for dinner because that's all of the food we had in the house. When we did go shopping, I used coupons, but even then, I was kind of lax about it. I really didn't understand what I was doing, and I still bought a ton of store brands. Believe me, I still by store brands if it's the best deal, but sometimes, it's really not.
So, right before my third (and final) child was born, I was matching ads at Walmart, etc, and I started using the internet a lot more. I started realizing all I was missing. Double coupons, mega sales, coupon match ups, etc. I dove in head first, and I started saving SO MUCH money!!!
The first thing I realized is that I could use coupons on all sorts of things, and I could get things FREE! I could get things cheaper than I ever imagined. I hardly ever pay for toothpaste, razors, toothbrushes, bodywashes, etc. If I do, it's very little. I pay minimal amounts, if anything, for shampoo, stylers, etc. I often get free food! I've gotten free and cheap dog food, and when I had cats, cat food. Why would anyone not want that? I mean, that frees up more money for other things!
I started utilizing a rebate program Walgreens had back then. You bought things, even with coupons, and they sent you money back. If you had it put on a WG gift card, you got 10% more back. When they switched over to Register Rewards, it was a learning curve, but I was able to tackle it quickly. I still don't think I like it BETTER because with the gift card, there was no expiration dates to worry about and no "will it roll?" questions. But, it is what it is, and you learn to deal with it.
I started buying less groceries at Walmart, and spent less time trying to match ads (I will still price match if I need to, though). Krogers offers double coupons up to .50 every day, and if I watched for mega sales, etc, I could maximize my savings.
Now, I shop at Kroger, Walmart, Food Lion, and Walgreens mostly. Food Lion doesn't double (although I still hold out hope!) but they do run really good sales and the one in our area has EXCELLENT meat that they mark down often! I buy marked down meats. If you eat them right away or freeze them right away, there is no problem.
Kroger I am starting to have issues with because they only take 3 of the same coupons per order, and they are getting super strict on the internet coupons. Like now, they will only take them for 75% of the cost of the item. What if the item is on sale? Markdown? Some companies put out coupons in lieu of free ones. Like if xxx salsa is normally $2, they will give out $2 coupons occasionally as prizes in instant wins or various other things. That bothers me. Unfortunately, so many people have abused printables, it's hard to tell real from fake sometimes.
I load coupons to my Kroger card, and my Food Lion card every chance I get. Joining FL's text program gets coupons texted to your phone occasionally. If you want them, text back and they will load it. Krogers had loadable coupons on their site, and they also have some at Cellfire and Shortcuts. P&G has also restarted their loadable coupon site.
I can't imagine any reason not to utilize everything out there. Does it take some time? Sure. Some weeks, more than others, but it's worth it when you start to see all of the savings.
What do I recommend you do to get started? Some of this is a repeat to some of you who have been with me a long time. However, sometimes people don't read back and are overwhelmed.
1) get a free email account for coupons, freebies, surveys, etc. Anything you sign up for, use this account, and check it regularly
2) get a coupon box or binder. Make your categories how YOU prefer them and what is easiest for you. Divide them by groups, how your store is laid out...whatever is easiest
3) print coupons. Sites like coupons.com often has great coupons to use.
4) get coupons from everywhere you can. You can get extra papers, get coupons from friends and family, find coupons in stores, in food packages, write companies, order them from ebay, or even clipping services.
5) watch for deals. Deals rotate. It's usually a 12 week rotation on most things. Stockpile enough to get you through 3 months if you find a fantastic deal.
6) don't be brand loyal. For some things, it's ok. For instance, I only use Kraft macaroni if I don't make it from scratch. I've tried others, don't really like them. For the most part, though, I will try any brand at least once.
7) don't be afraid of mark downs and clearance. I buy milk that is close to expiring if I know I will use it. I will even freeze it. I buy marked down meats, etc.
8) don't buy something JUST because you have a coupon. It may not be the best deal. Remember you are in this to SAVE money.
9) know who will let you use store coupons with manufacturer's coupons, or loadables with paper. Target and Walgreens both let you use store and manufacturer's on the same product. Kroger lets you use paper with the loadables.
Walmart's coupon policy
Walgreen's coupon policy
Target's coupon policy
Food Lion's coupon policy
I am always available for questions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great shopping day!
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