Hi Alicia S! Hi Britney! I hope this is helpful. This one is for you guys!
Ok, so lots of people have been asking me about my coupon deals. More specifically, the following questions have come up A LOT:
1- Where do I get my coupons?
2- How do you match coupons with sales?
3- How do you remember to use them before they expire?
4- How do you know who doubles coupons?
5- Where in the heck did you get your super cool, one of a kind, fashion diva coupon binder? (Ok, maybe without all the adjectives)
But before I get into answering THOSE questions, I thought I’d answer one that no one has asked, but I’m sure people wonder: Why do I even coupon?
I clip and use coupons simply because it’s what works for our family. Let me preface this by stating emphatically that I am not a lifelong couponer. I am a lifelong money spender. Who now has two children. That eat a lot. And we all know that kids ain’t cheap. For us, the time has come to “buckle down”. As our kids get older, things tend to get more expensive. I don’t want a credit card balance. I don’t want a car note forever. I don’t want a mortgage for 30 years. I don’t want to retire and depend on governmental assistance. I don’t want my children to know “financial irresponsibility”. No. I want to live debt free. I want to take nice vacations. I want to live in financial freedom. I want to be able to give freely and abundantly without having to think “Will this hurt my budget?”
Simply put, couponing for me means saving money. It means that instead of spending $150 at WalMart this week, I may only spend $125 while purchasing the same items I normally would have. Now to some, a $25 savings wouldn’t make you scream and shout and that’s cool. But for me, it means infinite possibilities. That $25 could pay a little extra on a bill. It could treat the family to a matinee movie at $5 a pop AND leave some for popcorn! It could pay for a babysitter. It could go into my kids’ savings or it could even go to the lady in front of me that appears to be down on her luck. Endless possibilities, is what I’m saying.
Sure it takes a little work, but it’s fun. Really, it is and the benefits I reap FAR outweigh the time I put into it. Nothing is more exciting to me that to walk out of a store with free yogurt or $0.25 shampoo. Now, I know that some of you that probably rolling your eyes at me right about now and exclaiming, “That Christy- she is utterly ridiculous, but wow she has amazing skin!” and that’s okay. Again, I say it’s what works for me and my family. I like purchasing stuff for cheap. Plus, it’s cool to see our little stockpile growing. At present we have no less than 20 toothpastes and deodorants. We have about 20 bottles of shampoos and conditioners. We have 5 extra boxes of tampons. We have about 10 bottles of body wash. We own more hair “detangler” than I’ve ever seen. We have cat food, but no cats. We have a closet full of intended birthday gifts and Christmas presents. We currently own 28 packs of diapers. We have more rice and canned food and dried beans than we will ever eat. We could clean the entire continental US of A with the amount of cleaning supplies we own.
Sound crazy? A little. Is it practical? Yes. Was it cheap? ABSOLUTELY.
Now you’re probably thinking “What will she ever do with all that stuff?” Answer: use it or give it away. Shelters are always in need of things. Make shoeboxes of toiletries to send on mission trips. Donate toys to the Salvation Army. Give it to your neighbor down the street. Just recently, Yazoo City, MS was struck by an F3 tornado that left the city’s residents in major need of assistance. My husband, MP, and some guys from our church are planning a cleanup trip to Yazoo City. I’d love to help, but with two small children that’s almost impossible so guess what I’ll be sending with them? The answer is: our stockpile of dried goods, tampons, canned food, toys, cleaning products, toiletry items, cat food, and diapers. Now although it is a good bit of stuff, it’s certainly not enough to benefit everyone in need. However, it will certainly help someone and I can almost guarantee that that “someone” who benefits from the time I spend couponing won’t care at all that I only spent $0.25 on that shampoo. Truth.
Now- onto your questions:
I’m going to try to address these questions one post at a time, but forgive me as my thoughts tend to ramble. Like, a lot.
1~ Where do I get my coupons?
This is going to be a really long answer and I apologize now for it. I actually have several places I scavenge coupons from.
First, check out online sites. Most of my coupons come from online sources such as redplum.com and coupons.com. I recommend investing in a laser printer if you don’t already own one as I often find the BEST coupons online. Just Google “printable coupons” –you never know what cool sites you’ll find. I’ve also found that several retailers offer printable coupons on their sites as well, such as Target.com, WalGreens, CVS Pharmacy, and even Kroger. And remember; just because the coupon printed from the Target website has a “Target” emblem on it, it DOES NOT necessarily mean you have to use it at Target. If it states “Manufacturers Coupon” at the top then you can use it anywhere. Now if it states “Target Coupon” or “Redeemable only at Target”, then you must use it at Target or whatever the specified store may be.
Secondly, I get the Sunday paper. Truthfully, I actually get a couple of Sunday papers. Like, every Sunday of the month, every month of the year, possibly for every year remaining of my life. I once heard that the rule of thumb of hardcore couponers is getting one paper per each family member. The more papers, the more coupons! Well, we are a family of four, but I manage with two-three Sunday papers.
Also, don’t discard junk email! EMBRACE IT. I highly recommend setting up a “junk” email account and registering on manufacturer’s websites. You’ll be amazed at how many coupons and/or FREE sample offers you’ll receive via email from Johnson & Johnson, Pillsbury, General Mills, Yoplait, Huggies, etc. Google your favorite product and I would almost bet you'll find a coupon for it. Oh, and lots of products actually come with coupons on them- they may be “peelies” on the outside of the box or even hidden on the inside of the box. Just check it before you throw it away.
And finally, if you shop Kroger you have GOT to check out www.cellfire.com. It is life-changing. Seriously. You actually upload your coupons onto your Kroger card for automatic savings at the register. Plus you can still use a manufacturer’s coupon along with it. Go one step further and add a Kroger specific coupon for that same product and you will save even more!
Example: Fiber One Yogurt $2.99
*Cellfire coupon for $1/1
*Manu coupon for $.50/1 (Kroger actually doubles coupons up to $0.60, so a $0.60 coupon = $1.20 off!)
*Kroger coupon for $1/1 (I registered on Kroger’s website)
TOTAL: FREE YOGURT!
I almost forgot one of my most favorites: the All*You magazine sold only at WalMart. You can purchase this magazine $2.99 or subscribe to it for $2.49 an issue (and save about $6.00 per year), but in it comes tons of great coupons. In fact, the new May 2010 issue included $91.84 worth of coupons! In the post below you’ll see my great deal on Rimmel lipsticks and that $3 off coupon I used was in the May All*You! That $3.00 coupon paid for the magazine itself.
Some of my favorite sites I visit regularly are:
www.Hip2Save.com This is possibly the BEST site ever, sent to me by Hannah. I will never be able to thank her enough, but thanks Hannah! I miss you.
http://dealightfulsavings.blogspot.com Thanks for sending me this one, Chrissie! There are tons of good deals for pharmacies especially!
www.KingdomFirstmom.com This one is super cool. I don’t personally know the author; however, I would love to meet her. From what I can tell based on her site she appears to be a strong Christian mom “balancing faith, family, and frugality”- much like most of us! Each week she posts $5 Challenges for both CVS and Walgreen’s. The object is to take $5 out of pocket (OOP) and buy as much stuff as you can while earning and “rolling” the “Extra Care Bucks” you earn. She does a good job explaining all of this so I highly recommend checking this site.*
*Coincidentally, I check the site today and she has a post regarding The Keurig. If any of you know me at all you would know that this is a sign from God that she and I are destined to become lifelong friends as coffee is the glue that forever binds us.
www.cellfire.com This is the site I mentioned previously that allows you to upload your Kroger coupons directly to your card. And you can combine actual manufacturers’ coupons in addition to the cellfire coupon! Sweet!
http://usillypickle.blogspot.com Ok, so I cheated. This is actually my site, but I’d very much like to promote it so help a sista out, would you? This blog really is a little bit of everything. Sometimes I write about what God’s doing in my life, sometimes it’s about my husband and kids, and sometimes it’s about great coupon deals I’ve scored. In truth, I can foresee a lot of coupon posts and links to sweet deals in the near future. So check back, is what I’m saying. And tell all your friends that errybody is doin’ it!
Now that I’ve developed carpal tunnel from writing this, I’ll post tomorrow (or later today) and attempt to answer question #2. I fear that it too may be a long CTS inducing entry, but I do it because I’m a giver. You're welcome.