As I've shared, in the last month I've saved around $75 just in coupons. Now, I'm not one to use a coupon just because I have it. I'm not brand loyal, store loyal or just plain loyal because that's the way "it's always been done".
Over the years (almost 25 now) I've tried the coupon thing many times and always came up a flop--giving up quickly because it wasn't worth the time and effort. Then last year, when God convicted me of my messy spending, I quite literally stumbled upon the website Money Saving Mom (http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ )--maybe some day I'll learn how to do that little linky thing and not have to type out the address--anyone willing to teach me???---This brilliant lady's name is Crystal and she showed me a whole new world and way of using my coupons. I'm still a student, but I think I've at least made it to a high school level now! You must, you must check out her site and learn how to use CVS and Walgreens. These stores have amazing programs that save you literally hundreds of dollars a year and she can teach you how. I'll share my CVS and Walgreens stories in later posts.
When you are using coupons, it is very important in this day and time to know each store's policy....and believe me they vary across the board. For example...in our area... Foodworld and Winn Dixie double coupons everyday. However, Foodworld doesn't accept internet coupons unless they are from Foodworld's website. Winn Dixie will accept them with a barcode(I don't think I've seen a coupon without barcodes!?). Fred's doubles their coupons on Saturday only and do not accept internet coupons. Dollar General accepts manufacturer and internet coupons.
Wal Mart....well, let me share a story...when I first started being serious about this coupon thing, I would cut out my coupons from the Sunday paper and print off the ones from the internet that were useful to me. The first time I did this, no problem. The second time I did this, I half expected the police to pull up at any minute and haul me to the pokey...seriously. The cashier and CSM got so ugly and hateful with me that it was quite embarrassing. Well, I hate confrontation so I let them have their way, took my internet coupons back home with me, spent way too much, tucked tail and slinked off. After 2 weeks, it was shopping day again and I gathered up all the courage I could muster and headed back to Wal Mart. This time it was the same scenario, only on steroids! This time the CSM went so far as to accuse me of photocopying my coupons even though I plainly showed her the numbers above the barcodes were different. I mean come on! I'm no techno-genius here, but even I know that if you photocopy something, it looks exactly the same as the original!! See, most sites will allow you to print at least 2 of each coupon. The main reason for that being that maybe something malfunctioned when you tried the first time, so I always print my allotment especially if it's something I use regularly or is on sale. By the time I left Wal Mart on this particular day though, I was irate!! I am not a thief or a liar and I....ummm...kind-of,sort-of let them know that. I didn't use potty mouth, but I'm pretty sure that my Jesus wasn't too proud of His daughter at that moment (yes, He and I have since cleared that mess up..).
Anyway, when I got back to my house, I sat right down at this old computer and got on Wal Marts website, clicked contact us and slammed out (no pecking here!) an e-mail to them letting them know what store, what location, how I was treated and by the way send me your coupon policy so I don't have to worry about going to jail when I try to save 50¢!! Within 48 hours I had received a phone call from the manager of our local Wal Mart, but we were at church so I missed it. On our answering machine though, he was apologizing profusely and wanting to talk with me. Nope. Not going to happen. Tried that, almost got kicked out of the store. Within 24 hours of that, I got an e-mail from corporate apologizing and listing in detail their coupon policy. I saved that on my computer and printed one out that now stays in my wallet. I'd like to tell you that I can now go to Wal Mart and no one questions my internet coupons..I can't..but, when they mention something about not being sure if they can take my internet coupons, I casually mention that inside my wallet is a letter from corporate telling me..."yes they can"!! Ahhh, sweet, sweet victory.....sorry....
Back to using coupons....most coupons in the Sunday paper have a life of 3 months, save Proctor and Gamble which issue new ones each month. So don't feel you have to use those coupons the week they come out. Watch your sales flyers and match those coupons up with the sales for the biggest savings. Ask friends, family and neighbors to save their coupons for you. You would be amazed at the people who just throw that money out...and for me..now...throwing out coupons is like setting fire to your paycheck.
There are so many ways to organize your coupons and I believe I've tried them all. I've tried the little wallet coupon organizers, I've tried cutting out my coupons and putting them in baseball card sleeves in a binder. I've tried separating them in envelopes but here is what I've decided works for me: I write the date on the outside of the coupon flyers so I know what week they came out and as I make out my grocery list I flip through these flyers, cutting out the coupons I am going to be using. I also get on the internet and print out the coupons I need and then I paper clip them to the sales flyer of the store I'm going to be using them in. For me, this works best. I can pretty well remember what coupons I've seen in the flyers so it's not a problem to find them. The only downside of this is that when I have to make a run to town for something and I see something on clearance or sale, I usually don't have my coupons with me to take advantage of the moment....still thinking how to make that work for me.
Some coupon sites you can use to print coupons are:
There are so many more out there and as I remember and come across them I'll share them with you. Until then..