Hey guys! I’m glad everyone liked Part 1 of the Coupon Craziness Series. If you missed it, you’ll definitely want to read about getting started, which includes finding couponing blogs and getting coupons.
Today’s installment is all about coupon organization and deciding where to shop.
Now that you’re buying Sunday papers, saving coupons you get in packages and free samples, and printing coupons, the big question is how to organize them. After all, no one wants stacks of papers and coupon inserts floating around, and if you’re like me and every other female, your purse is a giant black hole and you cannot find anything you put in it when you really need it.
The method to your organization madness must work for you- and if it works for you, it’s the right method. I have a lot of friends who use coupon binders and cut every coupon out and place it in there- I don’t do this. The time I spend cutting all those coupons (some of which I know I won’t use) is not worth saving slightly more money. If I miss out on a deal or two, I’m fine with that- there’s more to life than couponing. Time is money- but my time is honestly more valuable.
I organize my Sunday paper coupons in an expanding file folder. Each section of the folder is one week of Sunday coupon inserts, uncut. I write the dates on the fronts of the books and stick them in the folder. That’s it. I clean out the folder each month, and I have enough slots to keep 3 months worth of coupons. That’s all I keep, because that’s about as long as most coupons last (it’s important to remember, they do expire!).
Sometimes coupons do last more than 3 months, but like I said, I’m not losing my sanity and a lot of time just to keep from missing a deal. I suppose if I wanted to keep inserts after three months, you could move them out of the expanding file folder and into a drawer.
I check my Google Reader every day for new posts in the couponing blogs I follow, but the main day I check is Tuesday. That’s because my local grocery store sales begin on Wednesday, and the weekly ad/coupon matchups are posted on Tuesday. Since the blogs I follow tell which coupons match up to the sales in the ad, I wait until the night before the sale begins to clip anything. Then I paperclip my coupons together with my list and head to the store the next day.
But… my town has multiple grocery stores. So which one do I head to? That depends…
Where to Shop
Growing up, I lived in a small town with two grocery stores. When you needed groceries, you didn’t have much of a choice- you had to hit up one of those stores, or drive 30 minutes and risk your dairy/frozen/meat products possibly thawing out or going bad if you took too long getting home.
If you only have or two options of where to shop (or if none of your local stores double), you can still make couponing work- any amount of money saved is money saved. But, if you have multiple stores in your town, do some research to find the best one for shopping and couponing.
I’m not one of those who hits up every store to get every deal. I do 75% of my shopping at one store- Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter once had a reputation for being the “expensive” store in town, the store where women wore makeup and pearls to buy groceries (Hmm- I wear pearls to the track… and 5Ks with the hubs).
But, since Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents every day, it’s now known as the couponer’s paradise of my town! If you have a local store that doubles coupons, go for the store that doubles! Doubling means if you use a coupon for 75 cents off, you really get the doubled value ($1.50) off.
The store may not be where you usually shop, but you don’t have to ONLY shop there. You can just make one trip a week for the coupon deals. I just like Harris Teeter and tend to buy most things there- they have great customer service and a kickin’ produce and meat department to go along with the double coupons. I visit Aldi maybe twice a month for very cheap produce, since I eat 2-3 pieces of fruit every day. And of course, if I need something ASAP for baking or cooking, I just go to the nearest store. I’m not driving out of my way to go to a store I like or use a coupon.
Some stores that don’t double also have store coupons that you can use with manufacturer’s coupons (which are the coupons that come in your Sunday inserts and most printables). I know Whole Foods has coupon books in their store, and you can use those coupons as well as printables or insert coupons, so you can sometimes use two coupons on an item. This is called stacking coupons, and Target allows it as well.
With that said, every store has a different policy. Harris Teeter doubles 20 coupons of 99 cents or less every day with your store loyalty card. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to use more than 20 coupons, so I’m good there.
Don’t bend or break the rules! I’ve seen ladies bring their husbands to shop with them (I guess the husband had a card himself, so he got another 20 items super cheap with doubled coupons) or even their kids. Don’t go cray-cray like the ladies on TLC and call 8 friends to do separate transactions for you. That makes couponers look like hoarders and keeps other shoppers from getting items they may want or need.
Q1.) For you ladies, what do you normally lose in your purse? I know I lose my phone a lot in mine, probably because it’s a small phone and just gets buried under things!
Q2.) How many store loyalty cards do you have on your keychain? Six here. I took a lot of them off this past weekend because I was tired of carrying around a heavy keychain.
Q3.) Do you buy bags or big packages of fruits or veggies or single pieces? I definitely buy huge bags of apples since I eat one every day, and lately I’ve been buying big containers of kiwis. I don’t buy as many bananas or strawberries though- just don’t eat them fast enough. I only buy a single piece if it’s something I’m going to eat right then.
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