Ha! Gotcha didn't I? Now, you know that Miss MoneyPenny is never going to be done with couponing. This is simply the last of the basics of couponing. There is all kinds of online couponing out there, but at this time, I just don't have time to get into it. I've taken a look at it, and at the very least, have added ecoupons to my Safeway and QFC card. Just go to their websites and check off the coupons that you will use. Nothing will happen if you don't use them. They just expire and go away. When you go to the store and buy those items, they should come off of your bill. I think this is pretty neat but Miss MoneyPenny can never remember what ecoupons she has put on her card. I will look further on their sites and see if there is something that can be printed off and let you know.
Now, back to bricks and mortar. I bet you were wondering how you were going to organize all those coupon inserts that you have been amassing. There are mainly two very different methods out there. You could just cut out every coupon that you find. There are people who actually do this. They buy those baseball card albums and put their coupons where you would put the cards. The good thing about this is that you can buy extra pages as your collection ebbs and flows. You can take it with you whenever you go shopping and never miss an unadvertised deal. I've actually seen people do this. It makes me crazy just thinking about it.
I think that CouponMom has the best system. All that you do is write the date on each insert. Example: for SmartSource inserts, you would write 7/24 S. For RedPlum, write 7/24 R. What that tells you, is the date that you received that particular insert, and which one it is. The way I organize my inserts is in a monthly file folder. This month is July, last month June, etc. I keep four months worth in my file cabinet. As I start a new month, I recycle the oldest one. Most coupons have a limited shelf life and I have yet to need one that I just recycled.
This is the best part and is pure genius as far as I'm concerned. You look at your sale flyer and write up your grocery list. Then you go to CouponMom and click on the coupon database. You do have to register but it is totally free and she never sends you spam. Anyway, you then click on your state and then enter the item that you are hoping has a coupon. Example: you enter Olay Bodywash. If there is a coupon or coupons for this it will tell you whether it is in RedPlum, SmartSource or Proctor & Gamble, or an online coupon which you can click on and print off. It will also tell you how much it is for and when it expires and how many you need to buy to use the coupon. Say it says 7/24 R. You go to your July folder and depending on how many you want to buy, you grab your RedPlum inserts for July 24 and cut those out. Get it? You only have to cut out coupons for what you actually need. Genius!
I have a small coupon holder that I carry in my purse for the odd coupon that I come across, such as restaurant coupons and Catalinas. When I get ready to shop, I gather and organize my coupons for each store and put them in the front of my little, purple holder. On my list, I indicate whether the item is on sale and if it is, the sale price. I put a "Q" beside it, noting how many I'm going to buy. Then I go shopping.
On my last post, I noted that I had shopped at QFC this week. I saved 47%, which is certainly not "extreme couponing" but instead of spending almost $50, I spent $25.39 and only used one coupon. Today at Target, I used five coupons and spent $12.90. I also got a Catalina for $3 off Zyrtec which I really go through this time of year.
What I want you to come away with here is, you have to go shopping, so be smart about it. I spend about an hour or less getting ready for my weekly shopping, whether it is Safeway, Costco, Macy's or wherever. Since I live on a limited amount of money, I want to pay rock bottom prices for as many things as I can, so that I will have money for the things that I really care about. You just can't get a deal on a couple of nights at the Hot Springs. Believe me, I tried everything with that nice reservation lady. Senior discount? No, sorry. AAA? No. AARP? No. I've come every year for the last 20 years? No. It is still worth every penny.