It’s time for the thrill of the coupon! I’m not talking about getting $.25 of here and $.75 off there. I’m talking HUGE savings, my friends.
First off, some couponing lingo to help you understand this post a little better…
- BOGO: Buy One, Get One Free
- $.50/1: $.50 off one item
- $.50/3: $.50 off three items
- MFR: Manufacturer Coupon
- IP: Internet Printable Coupon
- eCoupon: found online, but loaded to a card (for example, Kroger Plus Card)
I live in Georgia, and the stores that I do most of my shopping are Target, Kroger, Publix, and Wal-Mart. I do most of my grocery shopping at Kroger because I like to take advantage of their fuel point system. For those of you not familiar with Kroger Fuel Points, for every 100 fuel points earned (typically $1 spent=1 fuel point), you get $.10 off per gallon. For those of you with prescriptions, take them to Kroger! You earn 50 Kroger Fuel Points for each prescription, EVERY TIME! You can save your fuel points until you’ve accumulated a more hefty discount if you’d like (up to $1.00 off/gallon). Kroger Fuel Points can be redeemed at Kroger Gas Stations and participating Shell Gas Stations. All you need to redeem them is your Kroger Plus Card. Plus, even if you don’t have enough fuel points to earn a discount, using your plus card always gets you at least $.03-$.05 off/gallon. Hey, every penny counts!
I definitely do not consider myself to be a couponing expert, but have felt a lot more confident about my shopping trips lately because of the big bucks I’ve been saving. I mean, look at this!
Tip #1 Take advantage of shopping at stores that double your MFR coupons. After some research, I discovered that both Kroger and Publix double MFR coupons up to $.50 (some stores may vary by state) and also accept a store or eCoupon in addition to the MFR. That means if I want to buy Old Spice Body Wash that is $2.99 and I have a $.50 off MFR coupon plus a $.25 off eCoupon (already loaded to my Kroger Plus Card) then I would get a total of $1.25 off of a $2.99 body wash, making my purchase $1.74.
Tip #2 Look for BOGO deals. Let’s pretend that Kroger just happens to be running a BOGO deal on that same Old Spice Body Wash that is $2.99. I can now use two $.50 MFR coupons plus my eCoupon giving me a total of $2.25 off (because remember, Kroger doubles my MFR coupons!) So that gives me TWO Old Spice Body Washes for only $.74! Publix is really good about BOGO deals too. Check the store ads for the items on sale and at BOGO each week!
Tip #3 Devote some time to clipping coupons from the Sunday paper each week and studying some websites devoted to helping us common folk interpret coupons and sales. My favorite coupon site is this one here. I also like to go to this website every week to upload eCoupons to my Kroger Plus Card. This one is good for IP coupons. So is this one. And this one. And this one. Moral of the story…there are a TON of websites out there to help you figure out how to save big bucks. Do yourself a favor and get familiar with them, now! Your wallet and your husband 🙂 will thank you!
Tip #4 You do not need 20 boxes of cereal that you don’t eat just because they are BOGO and you have a ton of coupons for them. Don’t clip coupons and definitely don’t use coupons for items that you do not use! That’s just a silly waste of money! If you are compelled to just clip all coupons or you maybe have a coupon for something that you really don’t need, go find the item in the store and leave it there for someone who really does need it. I do that all the time (not sure how the employees feel about that, but I think it’s the nice thing to do). I also do this if I realize that a coupon that I have is about to expire in a day or two and I really don’t need the item before that time.
Tip #5 Actually look through the store ads for the stores that you shop at every single week. From week to week different stores run different sales. A lot of stores, like Publix and Wal-Mart for example will even price match if you bring in the competitor’s ad. Publix even takes it a step further by honoring competitor coupons too! In most states, the ad schedule is:
- Sunday: Target and Kroger
- Monday: Wal-Mart
- Tuesday: Publix
Tip #6 Stay organized and bring your coupons with you every time you leave the house! Your coupons are doing you no good sitting on your kitchen counter while you’re at the store. I keep all of my coupons in a hard plastic, index card box with alphabetical dividers. I purchased the box and the dividers at Wal-Mart for less than $3.00. I’ve tried several methods including a coupon binder with plastic page protectors that I just did not like using and a canvas coupon file system from Target, but it only had 5 sections and it was difficult to keep track of my coupons. So far, my index card box has been the best organizer for me, but everyone is different! Each Sunday, after I clip my coupons, I simply go through each letter, file new coupons, and purge expired ones. I also use this box to keep major store coupons like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Babies R Us, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.
Tip #7 If you have the time, and I highly suggest you make the time, sit down with your coupons and write out a meal plan and a grocery list for the week. I typically shop every week, especially for items we use a lot (milk, baby food, produce), and maybe once every three weeks I make a big shopping trip. If I have a coupon or I know the store is running a sale on an item I make note of that on my list and I put that coupon aside (to make for an easier check out). If I prepare a list ahead of time that usually means that I’ve put aside all of the MFR, IP, and store coupons that I plan to hand over to the cashier. I can put those at the front of my coupon box and just hand over the stack when I’m checking out. This helps check out run a lot smoother and also helps to avoid mean stares from customers behind you that are thinking, “oh no, crazy coupon lady is in front of me.”
That’s pretty much all I’ve got for ya! Again, I by no means consider myself to be a couponing expert. I’ve simply been feeling pretty good about my total savings lately after shopping and thought I’d share the love. I’ve even had a few cashiers comment on how much I’m saving, which makes me feel pretty good too. Please let me know if this has helped you out at all!
What about you? What’s the most you’ve saved with coupons and sales lately? If you have any tips or tricks, please share!