I SPANKED the whole couponing thing the other day! Oh yes, yours truly went to Walmart, purchased $200 worth of personal care items and payed...wait for it.....23 DOLLARS!!! Wanna know how I did it? Well here is what I did!
First and foremost is coupon collection. This is obviously the most important aspect of couponing. I get mine from a couple of different sources. The easiest source is online. There are LOTS of site that offer coupons. My favorite are;
The next source is from Sunday newspapers. Depending upon how much you plan to get, you can purchase Sunday papers which always have inserts with lots of coupons. In those your gonna find inserts from Smart Source, Red Plum and usually once a month, P&G Brand.
Another good source is friends and family. Not many people use coupons. Ask your friends and family if you can have the inserts from their papers!
Finally (though this is NOT for everyone), there is good ole fashioned dumpster diving! Now, I am not suggesting that you climb into the first trash bin you see. This is finding your local recycling center and picking through its contents in search of inserts. I have found that the best times to do this is early Monday morning (a lot of the leftovers from businesses make their way to dumpsters at this time), and anytime Tuesday or Wednesday. Make sure that you check the dates on the inserts, otherwise your just making more work for yourselves.
Okay, so now you have your coupons. My next move is to check the coupon databases. These match-up store sales with available coupons. This is an AWESOME tool for couponers, as it takes out a lot of the guess work. My favorite site for this is coupondivas.com....couponmom.com offers match-ups as well.
So now you have your coupons and you know which ones can be used at which stores for the week. Here is where things get tricky! If you know of a store that doubles the value of your coupons...that may be the spot to shop for you. Not a lot of stores in Michigan and Illinois do this though. There are a number of them in Indiana and of course throughout the nation...so you'll just have to do the research and find out which stores near you offer this. What I do, since I don't have any store that double coupons, is shop at Walmart. Walmart accepts an unlimited amount of coupons and they also price match items, including personal care and grocery items.
Here is where you make your plan. You need to figure out what is on sale, where it is on sale, if you have the coupons for it and how many you have and what your total cost is going to be. Not every sale item is going to be AWESOME or free, keep that in mind! Also, remember that if your going to do this, you cannot be product loyal. That means that if you ONLY use "ALL" laundry detergent, know that most items only go on sale a few times a year, so you may want to consider broadening your product horizons.
So that's pretty much it. This will get you to the store. Once you get there, make sure that you pay very close attention that what you put in your cart matches your coupons. Do the math as you go along too so there are no surprises at the register. Pay VERY close attention at the register! Make sure items are scanning at the correct price and that all your coupons scan for the correct value.
Whew....tough stuff huh? It pay off though. This is what I got for $23 bucks!
Here are a couple of examples of the deals I found!!
Select Tresemme shampoos and conditioners were on sale at Kroger for $2.33. These are normally priced at $4.48 at Walmart. I had coupons that offered $3 off any two. So after price matching and coupons, I payed $.83 per bottle!! Yes, that is awesome.
Select Gillette men and women shave creams were on sale at Kroger for $.99 a can. They are normally priced $1.98 at Walmart. I had coupons that offered $.55 off of any one. So after price matching and coupons, I payed only $.44 per can!!
You can do this people!!! It doesn't matter how well off you are or aren't. EVERYONE should save money if they can! Couponing takes a lot of times and energy, but it pays off in the end. Try it, see if you don't end up just as hooked as I am!