Ok, so has anyone seen the new TLC show Extreme Couponing?
I’ve seen just bits and clips of it, but loved the idea of spending a minimal amount of money and getting a whopping amount of stuff for free. Who wouldn’t love that? Well, food DOES costs money and while you can’t get it all for free, there are ways to reduce your weekly shopping bill.
Last week, the organization I work for sponsored a coupon workshop featuring Jenny from Southern Savers.
Jenny manages an amazing website that allows you to see all the deals from your local grocery and drug stores and shows you how to save money on your grocery-shopping budget by using coupons. She provides links to several printable coupon sites such as redplum, smart source, etc. There are several tutorials on her site as well on how to get started with couponing and how to find the best deals at your store. Jenny does the work for you and the best part of it all. It’s free. So, she does the dirty work and we can sit back and reap the saving benefits.
There are people who have been couponing for years. It’s not new but it’s new to me. I’ve never cared to take the time to clip coupons each week or look for the better deals. I preferred to walk in a store, buy whatever I wanted or needed at the time, and pay the amount listed. Well, times are a changing and this girl is learning to clip and print coupons or as I like to call them, “coopins” (with a fake Minnesota accent.) I don’t know why I like to call them that… but I’m weird like that sometimes.
This workshop was a Godsend because I really wanted to make a go at “coopining” but didn’t know where to start. I looked on several websites and read several articles and tutorials, but couponing can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, obviously, I was overwhelmed. Jenny broke it down for us over the course of 3 hours and while I still don’t know what I’m doing, I’m going to start giving it a try in the weeks to come. My mom attended the workshop with me as well, so we are going to make a go at it together.
I’m not going to repeat everything she shared with us, because I want to encourage you to go check out her website of awesomeness or sign up for one of her workshops. BUT I will share a few tips that really stuck with me or caught my attention enough to write them down separate from our handbook.
1. Buy items only when they are on sale at their rock bottom price (stores cycle items on sale every 6 -8weeks. So, stock up on sale items that you need and will hold you over until the next 6 -8weeks and those items go on sale again.)
2. Use “Coopins” on those rock bottom prices to get an even better price or better yet… free!
3. Plan your meals by what is on sale for the week.
4. Go through your weekly store ad and scope out the deals and see what you would want and then look for coupons on those items.
5. Drugstores are your friend. CVS will become my new best friend.
6. If you want the best deals, you can’t have brand loyalty (sorry but there are some brands I won’t buy generic or switch. Heinz ketchup is one of them. I’m a Heinz girl through and through. My grandfather, dad, and uncle worked there and no other ketchup can compare to that of Heinz.)
7. Pasta should always be free! There are more items that “should” be free after coupons, but you need to check out her site to learn more. Southern Savers
8. Find a grocery store that doubles coupons (In our area, Publix is the grocery store known to have the best deals and allows you to double coupons.)
*** On a side note, let me just say how much I love Publix. I’m not going to go on and on about childhood memories… shopping trips with my mom, sister, brother, or grandparents… the free cookies, Florida, beach, and turning 16 and offering to go to the store so I could have an excuse to just drive on my OWN…. No, I won’t go there, but let’s just say Publix is nostalgic for me. Again, weird, I know. How can a grocery store be nostalgic but it just is. So when my small southern Alabama town decided to build one last year, I was at the Grand Opening enjoying all the freebies and B1G1 that I could handle.
Where to Find Coupons
1. Newspapers (You may not want to get the small town Sunday paper. In my area, we would want to shoot for the Atlanta Journal or the Birmingham News.)(Unless you have a super huge family, you only need two papers. You don’t want to become known as the newspaper hoarder lady do you? )
2. Only need a Sunday paper
3. Check out the 3 inserts in the Sunday paper (this is why you want to get a big area newspaper so you can get all 3) a. Smart source b. Red plum c. Procter and Gamble
4. All You magazine
5. Saving Star eCoupons (the first time you register, you want to make sure have all savings cards from stores such as CVS, Kroger, Winn Dixie, etc.)
6. Neighbors, friends, or co-workers… rummage through the trash… wait, don’t do that. People will talk.
Once you have your grocery or drug store ads, choose the coupons you know you would use and figure out which store you can get the most bang for your buck/coupon and let the savings begin! For instance, I needed milk last night. Ran out and Bugaboo was crying for more. I knew that CVS had a deal going on where you could get milk for $3.69 but earn a $1.00 in their extra care bucks back so really final price would be $2.69.. Well, I already had $3.00ecb, so I was able to use my earned “free money” to pay for the milk. I owed $.99 but got back $1.00ecb to use towards a future purchase. I got the milk free pretty much. Jenny recommended starting small to not overwhelm yourself at the store, and I was pleased with my first attempt, especially, since I HAD to have the milk anyway.
I’m excited to begin a new frugal me this month but I just hope that I can stick with it. After hearing that Jenny feeds her family of five on $50 bucks a week, I am more determined than ever to give “coopining” a shot. It would be great if in a couple of months, we were able to start saving a couple hundred bucks a month. I know it will be challenging at first, especially to plan meals around what is on sale or taking the time to search for coupons. I just got in the habit of planning meals out for the week and then going to the store to buy just what I need. Now, I will need to be more creative and work with what is on sale, but I know it can be done. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Quick Question: Do you guys have a favorite grocery store? Would you drive an extra ten minutes out of your way just to get to it? Also, what are some of your brand loyalties that you have? Heinz is pretty much my only true loyalty that I can think of right now. I’m curious about yours though. Oh, and one more… do any of you guys “Coopin?” Please share any success stories or if it is working out for you. I would love to hear.
Disclaimer: This is in no way, shape, or form the complete guide to couponing and would highly recommend to someone interested in couponing to go to southern Savers website or another resource as your guide. I am just giving out some highlights. I could never explain the whole process. I still don’t know the whole process. Oh, and Jenny from Southern Savers has no idea who I am. Well, she did answer a few of my questions I asked at the workshop… I mean, if she happened to read this and wanted to compensate me for the free advertising, then, hey, who am I to stop her. But I don’t have that kind of luck, so no worries.
On yet another side note. I wanted to apologize for slacking on the blog page. It has been a hit or miss lately and I want to get better at it. More for myself than anything. I’ve realized that I need structure. I am a person who needs boundaries and deadlines to succeed. Now that I’ve realized that about myself , I will be posting more of my weekly goals on here, because I need, no, want, that accountability. When I first started this blog, I posted a couple of my weekly goals, but then I didn’t want to bore you guys with it each week. But I did so much better and stuck to my goals when I knew I would give a quick weekly report on them. June is back to basics month for me.
My goals for the rest of the week:
1. Get up 45 minutes earlier each day to walk before getting ready for work and getting Bugaboo ready for daycare.
2. Drink 8 glasses of H2O each day. (Sad that I have to make that a goal, but I have been drinking way too much diet soda lately and not enough water. I am starting to notice that my knees hurt more and other bones. So, I need to cut back on the diet soda and drink more water.)
3. Finish editing wedding photos!
4. Be content with the things that I have.
Hope everyone had a great weekend. Had a much-needed relaxing weekend at the lake. It was perfect. Bugs enjoyed his first boat ride and swim in the lake! He did not like wearing his life jacket but once we got over that tantrum, he did great!
Wedding photos tomorrow! Have a great day!