Anyway, for anyone else reading this that may ever be interested in this...let me give you the highlights on my methods to my madness...
- Clip coupons and organize them to the best of your ability - whatever works for you. I clip them as I receive the inserts throughout the week and then file them in my new notebook.
- Go online to your favorite stores prior to going to the store to see what's on special. This allows you the ability to match up the specials to your coupons as well as see who has the best prices on certain items.
- Menu plan. Coordinate your menu for the week based on what you can get on sale and what you have coupons for.
- Make a list. Don't go in to the store blind. Know what you want. If you have coupons for things that you did not see in the sale paper you browsed on line, that's ok. You can deviate from the list in moderation, especially if you come across an unforeseen deal that you can't pass up.
- Item 4 will be hard if you aren't organized. I have a new binder where I have all my coupons grouped. Each page is in order by where these items are located in the store. Items that are usually on the same aisle are also contained on the same page. (See pic below...i'm so proud of this thing...don't worry, I'll get to the awesomeness of my coupon book momentarily)
- Have plenty of time on your hands to make your trip to the store because I can promise you that you are NOT the only couponer out looking for the same deals because they all have the same coupons as you. Also, it never fails when you are on a coupon mission that is the day that every annoying indecisive moron comes shopping and gets in your way, runs you over with their cart numerous times, and wants to have a twenty minute conversation with their neighbors cousin's nephews' girlfriends Mom right in front of the items you want to grab. True story.
- Understand the coupon policies of ALL your favorite stores so you aren't caught off guard when your coupons don't ring up like you think they should.
- Try to have a budget in mind for what you want to spend.
- Make sure you have loyalty cards for ALL major grocery stores - these plus your coupons will amount to great savings for you.
- Stay connected to get the 411 on when super doubles events are so you can double your $1-$2 off coupons for even MORE savings. These events are limited to usually only one week a month or every other month and you never really quite know when it's coming. I have the WRAL app on my iPhone and they have a section called SmartShopper where info is posted on great area deals, coupon events etc. This has been very helpful in planning because the work is done for me.
Oh yeah, here's my new coupon book...it has clear business card holder sheets where you can slide in your coupons. I then used peel and stick labels to categorize each holder and then put it in order by section of the store...for example, frozen foods, toiletries, cleaning & household products etc. In some cases I broke it down even further in to subcategories. Whatever works for you. Trust me, a book like this is a life saver and a life changer!
Since this post has already gotten kind of long I will do a separate entry on today's shopping trip.
Stay tuned.... & most importantly