Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How I got into couponing

I started couponing when I was pregnant with Elizabeth.  I discovered how expensive diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, etc. are for babies early on and wanted to save some money.  Once I began couponing for baby stuff, I started couponing for our groceries, clothes, restaurants, and pretty much anything else I can.

Below are the steps I took (and still use) for couponing:

We started by subscribing to the Sunday paper to get coupons. 

My bestie, Stacy, introduced me to a website, Southern Savers.   Southern Savers matches up coupons with grocery store ads (and a ton of other stores).  This fabulous website does all the work for you.  I just click on the store where I want to shop and see which coupons match up with the weekly specials.

In addition to coupons from the Sunday paper, I print coupons from COUPONS.COM.  I use this website to get duplicate coupons or coupons for things not in the newspaper.

One of the best gifts Ben ever gave me was a wireless printer for printing coupons.  You can see a couple of options here.  I have the Brother Wireless printer and it paid for itself in about 2 months.

Once I have cut all of my coupons for the week, I put them into my coupon binder.
The coupon binder is the single best way to keep, organize, and use your coupons.
I keep mine inside a tote bag that stays in my car.  When I go shopping, I just grab the tote and take it with me into the store.

My binder is divided up in sections according to the grocery store layout- like refrigerated items, frozen items, pharmacy, baby, breakfast, snacks, produce, etc.

(not my binder, this is an imagine from google, but my binder does look like this)

On Sundays, Ben and I make our grocery list, look in the pantry and freezer, and then match up our coupons with the store deals.  We plan our meals out for the week on Sunday before we go shopping.  This way- we know what is for dinner, we are only buying what we need, and we can eat from food already in the house/items on sale.

So... those are the steps I take for couponing.  But... the two questions I get the most are:
(1) How long does your coupon process take?
(2) How much are you really saving?

So... here are your answers :)

(1) I spend 60-90 minutes/week cutting coupons, sorting them into the binder, and making a shopping list.  Using Southern Savers cuts down on the planning part because I just look at list on the website to find the best coupon deals.
The cutting and sorting into the binder takes the most time.  Some people save all the inserts and just cut the coupons they need each week.  I like having the binder full. :)

(2) So... I tried, I really tried in 2015 to track all of my savings using the Southern Savers, Savings Tracker.  I only managed to track about 7 1/2 months of savings from Harris Teeter.  But... in that time- I saved $2000 at Harris Teeter.  So, I imagine our total savings for the year on groceries was around $3500. 

That's just on groceries!  $3500!!!

That doesn't count any other store.  And I use coupons everywhere!  Target, Bath & Body Works, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Old Navy, Macy's, Loft, Staples, Toys R Us, CVS, even Victoria Secret, and Total Wine just to name a few.  :)

So- that's how I started couponing, the process I use to coupon, how long it takes me, and how much we have saved.

Couponing is not for everyone, but if you are thinking of trying it, then try it for 30 days.  See how much you save.  :)

Happy Tuesday y'all!

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