Helpful Hints!Take a look at my first few posts for some great hints, and for explainations of how some of the stores I shop at work.
RR-register rewards from Walgreens (coupons you get back for a purchase)
wyb- when you buy
ECB- Extra care bucks- CVS- coupons you get back for a purchase
catalina- prints at stores. Coupons triggered by buying items to be used later Also called CATS
oyno- on your next order
oop- out of pocket..the amount it will cost before you leave the store
IP- printable internet coupons
BOGO- Buy one get one. Sometimes I use BOGOF
UPs- coupons you get from Rite Aid on your receipt for certain purchases.
*a work in progress*
First things first...you need coupons and a way to organize them. You can get coupons from online sources, such as coupons.com, redplum.com, smartsource.com, etc. I have a button to link you to coupon.com on this page.
You can also get coupons from newspapers (be sure to ask friends and family for extras!), blinkie machines in the store, and even peelies on the products. You can also get coupons at checkout from the printer machine called "catalinas" or "cats". You can order them from ebay or clipping services. There is a "coupon clippers" button on the page as well. You can also write the companies (email) of products you use most often. Compliment them. Tell them what you like about their products. They will often send you coupons. Get on their mailing lists. (which reminds me...you will want to set up an email for your couponing...for your email lists, freebies, etc. Be sure to check it often for coupons. When you sign up for freebies...and you should because they will often send coupons with your samples, use that email)
If you have a store such as Kroger with a loyalty card, check and see if they have your store listed at Shortcuts.com or Cellfire.com where you can have your coupons loaded straight to your shopper card.
Now that you have the coupons, let's ORGANIZE!!! There are 2 ways you can do this...binder or box. I personally have a box. It's my preference. I have a Rubbermaid box that was designed to hold some sort of file system and snaps closed. I got it at a yard sale so I can't even tell you what it was actually made for. I then made dividers from heavy cardstock and used tabs to divide them that I could write on.
You can also use a 3 ring binder, but if you do, consider one that zips closed. Buy pages that are made for baseball cards and load them up. You can label them for easy organization.
Your dividers or labels should be what makes sense to YOU. For instance, I have:
Freebies: where I put all of my FREE coupons
misc. (here I put household items like Command strips, batteries, etc)
These make sense to ME. Yours can and may be different. You can add more, take some away..whatever you need. After you have them labeled, cut and sort your coupons. It's always BEST to have them in order of expiration...newer ones in back, older ones in front. I am not good at that though, so mine wind up just popped in there.
ONCE A MONTH you need to go through and throw out the expired ones. I recommend picking a slow night in your household to clip and add. If you stay on top of it, it won't pile up. I usually get a lot of inserts, so I never clip more than 5 or 6 of a certain coupon, and I have a small bin in a closet that I add the extra inserts to so that if I see a really good deal coming up, I can find them and clip extras.
Best times for sales: (it doesn't mean it won't be on sale some other times, but these are the really good stock up sale times)
JANUARY: Low-fat or low-carb items, including frozen meals, granola bars, diet soda. Super Bowl favorites, such as frozen appetizers, chips, dips, sodas and beer. Boxed teas and soup.
FEBRUARY: Canned foods, including soups, fruits and vegetables. Medicines , cold remedies and vitamins.
MARCH: Peanut butter and other peanut products. Frozen meals, vegetables and fruits.
APRIL: Soy products, like milk, burgers, tofu and bars. Hams (Easter).
MAY: Memorial Day staples, such as barbecue foods (soda, chips, condiments, buns, grilling spices and salad dressings), as well as paper goods, like plates, napkins and cups. Post-Mother’s Day: kitchen appliances, like toasters, microwaves, food processors and mixers.
JUNE: Cheese, milk, cream, yogurt and other dairy products. Ice cream, including bars, sandwiches and cones.
JULY: Hot dogs, frozen hamburger patties and ground meat for the Fourth of July, as well as condiments and other barbecue staples. School supplies.
AUGUST: Back-to-school lunch items, like juice boxes, granola bars, canned fruit and other snacks. Sunscreen and lotions. Tissues.
SEPTEMBER: Breakfast foods, including hot and cold cereals, oatmeal, frozen breakfast pastries, frozen breakfast sandwiches and pancake mix. Labor Day staples like barbecue and party foods.
OCTOBER: Wine. Pasta and frozen pizza. Pet food, grooming supplies and toys.
NOVEMBER: Thanksgiving foods: turkey, stuffing mix, soups, cranberries, canned veggies and yams. Baking goods, including flour, baking soda, sugar, cake mixes, frosting, pie crusts and frozen pies.
DECEMBER: Champagne. Disposable containers, foil, wax paper and plastic wrap.