Monday, April 25, 2011

Money Saving Monday - Crazy About Coupons!

So last Monday I mentioned that a great way to save money is by using coupons effectively.  (Notice the key word here is EFFECTIVELY!)  You're not going to save money by clipping coupons, taking them to Walmart, and buying Kraft marshmallows or French's mustard because the generic Great Value brand will still probably be cheaper. 

The way you can save LOTS of money is combining a sale with coupons and money back promotions.  Here's a quick example of how this can work...


  • Smith's (Kroger) had Ronzoni pasta on sale for 99 cents a box.
  • These boxes of pasta were included in their "Buy 10, Save $5" promotion (meaning if you bought 10 participating items, $5 would automatically be deducted from your total).  That brought the cost per box down to 49 cents.
  • I had several coupons for $1 off 2 boxes of Ronzoni pasta, which meant I got lots of pasta for FREE!

There are lots of blogs out there that will walk you through how to get these kind of deals each week.  Some of my favorites are UtahDealDiva.com, PassionatePennyPincher.com, and MoneySavingMom.com

Here are my tips for getting started with coupons:


5 Steps to Getting Started with Couponing


1.      Start collecting coupons! 


·         There are tons of FREE coupons you can print online, and you can even earn points towards gift cards for printing and redeeming coupons.  Sign up for a Swagbucks account then go here to print coupons and earn 10 points for every coupon you redeem.  (For every 450 points you earn, you can get a $5 amazon.com gift card!)  Also, sign up for an account at mypoints.com and print more coupons here.  For every 10 coupons you print and redeem in a month, you’ll earn 25 points.

·         If you live along the Wasatch Front, sign up to have a free set of coupons and weekly circulars delivered to your door at MoneyBagUtah.com

·         Load coupons to your store loyalty card at Kroger.com, shortcuts.com, and pgesaver.com

·         Keep an eye out when you’re shopping… you can often find coupons on grocery store displays for free.

·         If you’re willing to pay for coupons, you can always buy the Sunday paper.  Watch for flyers from the newspaper corporations for special deals.  I was able to get 2 copies of the weekend edition of the paper for around $28 per year each.  It went up to close to $50 when I renewed this year, but even spending 50 cents to a dollar per issue of the Sunday paper is worth it if you’re serious about couponing.

2.      Get organized! 


There are many methods to organizing coupons.  Some people recommend the clipless method, which I think is great when you’re starting out.  If you don’t have too many coupons, a plastic accordion file will probably work great.  Once you accumulate a lot of coupons though, you’ll probably want to consider a coupon box (similar to what I use) or coupon binder.


3.      Create a budget and stick to it! 

Using a calculator and paying with cash are great ways to make sure you stick to your budget.  Take it from the Utah Deal Diva… “It’s very easy to jump into couponing and spend $100 MORE each month than you normally do! Resist the urge to go to the store 4 times a week! I actually suggest you use cash to pay for your groceries for at least a few months. When the money’s gone- you’re done! I pass up sales all the time. If it’s on sale for a great price once, trust me- it WILL happen again!”


4.      Use GrocerySmarts.com! 


This site takes most of the work out of planning your shopping trip by listing weekly sales by store, showing which coupons to combine with the sale (along with links to print many of the coupons), and ranks how good of a deal it is.


5.      Subscribe to couponing blogs! 

Learn from the pros and be the first to hear about special coupons, freebies, and other amazing deals.   I already mentioned a few of my favorites above, and I plan on posting a list of all my favorite blogs and websites next week... so stay tuned!

6 comments:

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