Being Frugal Part 1 – Coupons

February 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm Leave a comment

I have always been a deal-finder, clearance-rack, bargain-hunting shopper.  It’s in my blood.  Lately I seem to hear the words frugal, budget, and bargains more often than not.  It’s the economy and people realizing that they need to take a step back and really analyse their finances, and I think that’s awesome.  It makes being frugal more accepted.

I grew up with a mom who had a coupon for everything.  “Hey, Mom?  I wanted to try this new shampoo, can I throw it in the cart?”  Mom: “Well it just so happens I have a dollar off coupon, sure throw it in.”  Seriously, she had a coupon for EVERYTHING!  My sister and I used to get so excited to see the total on the cash register screen, and then have it drop by 20 to as much as 60, 70, 80 bucks and be amazed at what my mom ended up paying.  It was a game for her, and she was good at it…still is.

When I became a wife and had a household of my own to keep, I decided to get into couponing.  It’s not easy, but it’s not hard either.  I just takes a little bit of know-how and some clipping time and you’ll be on your way to saving hundreds in no time.

Here are my suggestions for someone just starting out:

1.  Coupons are found in the Sunday newspapers, and sometimes are delivered to your mailbox.  There are several different coupon circulurs, but the most common are RedPlum, SmartSource, P&G, and sometimes a General Mills insert.  You can also find them online.  Try coupons.com.

2.  You can make it easy on yourself by having a Sunday newspaper subscription.  What I have found is that my local Dollar Tree carries the Sunday paper for 1 dollar!

3.  Buy more than one paper.  You will really find that you are able to save more when you have multiple coupons.  It doesn’t seem worth it to cut and clip to save 25 cents on a can of beans – but it you have 4-5 of those 25 cent coupons and combine it with a sale, you can save lots.

4.  Come up with a way to get organized.  I have a coupon file that fits in my purse.  I got it in the Target Dollar section a couple of years ago, but any sort of small file system will work.  Label the sections – toiletries, paper goods, canned food, frozen, etc…then when it comes time to clip – you have a place to put the coupons and it’s quick.

5.  Check out couponmom.com.  She’s got local store deals and tells you what coupons to stack, and it’s free.  There are also a couple of websites where you pay a subscription fee.  Your biggest savings will come when you stack a store coupon or sale with a manufacturers coupon.  Most drug stores also have rebate coupons that you can put towards your next purchase.  For instance, today I went to Walgreens and bought a Gillette Fusion razor and Fusion shave gel.  The razor was originally 12.99 and the get was 4.29.  The razor was on sale for 8.99 and there was an in ad coupon for the gel for 1.99.  I had a manufacturers coupon for $4 off the razor and $1 off the gel.  I also had a $6 register rewards good towards my next purchase.  My total was .99 before tax!  It really does pay to do a little bit of research before you buy!

Overall, if you’re interested in getting your grocery bill down and being able to purchase things you don’t think you can afford, give couponing a try!

Leave me a comment if you have any specific questions about couponing or a personal success story!  I’d love to hear from you!

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