The Today Show featured some time saving tips from Extreme Couponing on TLC.
Even though most of us are not full time couponers, we can learn a few tips and tricks to stretch our dollars and save time with some “coupon strategies.”
Try these time and money-saving ideas one by one. See which ones work best for you and keep chipping away at that grocery bill. I will help you! A casual coupon clipper can save a thousand dollars a year. An organized one can save so much more.
Here are several ways to save money on groceries. You may want to bookmark this post so you can try these money-saving tips one at a time. It does takesome time initially, but if you can get in and out of the store quicker, you will save more money.
1. Learn the coupon policies at the stores that you shop at. Do they double or triple coupons? Do they accept competitors coupons? Can you combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon? Do they have a rain check policy? Is there a limit to how many coupons that you can use in one transaction? If there coupon policy is found on their website, print it out and always have it with you in case you encounter someone who does not know the store policy. Trust me, this happens often.
2. Get a map of the layout of the grocery store. Make a master list of your grocery items organized by aisle on your computer in a word document. Don’t write a new list each time you shop. Update your word document and add items to it as needed.
3. Find an organizing system for your coupons that works for you. I use one envelope for each aisle of the store and put the matching coupons in that envelope. Some people prefer a binder or a coupon holder.
If your kids are old enough, put them in charge of clipping and organizing the coupons. Split the savings with them and call it their allowance. Think of all the lessons you can incorporate by including them in the meal planning, price comparing, and the money-stretching needed to run a household.
4. Use the FREE Coupon Database at the top of my website. Just type in the name of the item or brand you need such as “Yoplait” and you will see all the current Yoplait coupons and where to find them. If they are in a Sunday supplement, the database will tell you which one like “SS” for Smart Source or “RP” for Red Plum and the date. Do not throw away your circulars until the coupons have expired. If the coupon you need is printable, you can print it right from my site. This is such a time and money-saver.
5. Preview the Sunday coupons. You don’t have to wait for Sunday to see the coupons in the paper. Subscribe for free to a site called the Sunday Coupon Preview. You can match up your list and your coupons ahead of time and get in and out of the store quickly. The more preparation you can do, the more money you can save and the less time it will take you in the grocery store.
5. Make a meal plan for the week based upon what is going to be on sale. If you will do just this step, you will save money! Plan one or two nights to cook once and eat twice. Cook a chicken or a roast and make two meals out of it. Pasta dishes are excellent dollar stretchers.
6. Shop from your pantry Plan one or two meals a week and make a meal with just the items you have in your pantry.
7. Stockpile the non-perishable items that you will use for the next 3 months. Typically items in the grocery store go on sale every 3 months. When you see a great deal, get your coupons and buy 3 months worth of toothpaste, deodorant, pasta, etc. You can keep a running list of what you have in your stockpile on your master list. Note the price you paid on your master list so you can refer back to it.
Once you take the time to do this, it will become routine and you will save money. If you end up with more than you need, or your family gives it a “thumbs down,” donate it to the food pantry.
8. Try, if at all possible, to leave the kids at home. You are trying to save money and you need to have your wits about you.
9. Start small. Often times, readers tell me that they just don’t have the time for all that clipping and sorting. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. Choose just a few items to start with and always clip those coupons. Perhaps start with cleaning supples, or paper goods, or health care products. If you have a child in diapers, then you need diaper coupons. Ask friends and family to clip diaper coupons for you. You can never have enough diaper coupons. Donate or give away the ones you don’t need. I like to leave them next to the diapers in the store to bless someone.
10. Keep your coupons in the car with you. Once you have your system, you can use any waiting time you have to organize your coupons, purge the old ones, and clip new ones. If you find yourself at the store for just a few items, you can have your coupons with you.
Here are some resources that I use to help me to save more money on groceries. I welcome your comments and suggestions!
BOGO Fetcher – Buy One Get One Free- this site tracks all the BOGO deals in your area, by zip code. Buy one and donate one to the local food pantry.
Coupons.com – free printable coupons on my site. On the HOME PAGE, look for the free printable grocery coupons. You can access these any time. The coupons are uploaded constantly, so check back often. There are over 100 of them so at the website, on the left side, use the SORT feature to display the ones you want. They print out 3 to a page.
The first time you access them, you have to download a printer driver, (easy, just follow steps) to print out the UPC codes needed for redemption.
Have your non-perishable items delivered for free. Try Alice.com free delivery, great prices, automatic e-coupons. A great source for your household items like cleaning products, toiletries and pantry items. Introductory offer, get $10 off your first order of $50. Alice.com will keep track for you and give you the $10 when you spend $50. Simply create a free account and save time and gas! they also have electronic coupons that you can click and apply right to your order.
Coupons with no clipping – e-coupons that load automatically to your grocery store card. Swipe the card at check-out and the coupons come off your bill! Watch my interview with CBS in Houston explaining these e-coupons, (it takes a minute to load.) If you hate clipping and organizing coupons, this is the site for you!
Upromise- An easy way to save for college at the grocery store. Sign up for a free Upromise account and when you swipe your card at check-out, the savings get deposited into the college savings account of your choice. Be sure and also use their e-coupons, they load automatically to your store affinity card. Right now there are about $50.00 in e-coupons on their site.
My favorite site for freebies - use to stockpile items, send care packages, try new items, make emergency kits or donate items to your local food pantry. MySavings.com- all the freebies, free product samples, trial sizes, free food giveaways are organized on this site. Here are a few of my recent freebies: Taster’s Choice Coffee, Viva Paper Towels, Alterna Shampoo, Twinings Green Tea, Rachel Ray Dog Food, Mr Clean Extra-Power Eraser and more. Register at the top of the website and choose the freebies that you want!
Start an edible kitchen garden - read about the easiest plants to grow.
Find coupons for organic, gluten, natural and healthy food here.
Find grocery stores with senior citizen discounts here.
SavingStar - is a new eCoupon service that’s totally paperless – so there’s nothing to clip or print. Get over 30 eCoupons worth over $50! Enter your zip code at the site to see if your store participates. There are over 24,000 stores that are partnering with SavingStar.
Click Here to give this site a try! I love it. Your coupon savings are kept in a separate account for you like a little “slush fund.”
Wow, that’s not too extreme is it? It is a subject that I feel passionate about but you won’t see me dumpster diving for coupons. I try my best and strive to save money at every opportunity, but I’m busy, just like you! I don’t have hours and hours to devote to extreme coupon shopping.
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