A Squishy Saturday + Coupons + Hauls
I still have friends that dismiss coupons as rubbish. Literally. They recycle inserts or strew valuable coupons here and there as if they’re gum wrappers but I’m a huge advocate of using them. Confession #287, I’m a recovering extreme couponer. At one point in time, I was that crazy lady with cabinets overflowing with non perishables that eventually connived its way into an entire downstairs closet. I’ve since weened myself off because honestly, nobody in my family even drinks sun drop! You know that high you get from bounding breathlessly through the front door with morbidly obese sacks of stuff that you either got at rock bottom prices or practically free? It’s a high like no other and it’s addictive but I’ve since learned that just like cheesecake, moderation is the key so I’ve become wiser and now only semi-hoard things that I know will be put to use, but forever I’ll be a couponer. No doubt about that. There’s still a gleeful cheerleader in me that shakes her pom-poms when the clerk circles my total savings and wishes me a great rest of the day.
What to do: sign up for every grocery stores email notifications/newsletters. They will typically tailor a relevant list of groceries that are currently on sale having analyzed your past purchases via loyalty cards and send you an email. This way, you can gather the appropriate coupons or have a point of reference when comparing one stores sales with another. Similarly, it helps to study circulars of different stores (or websites). Be informed of each stores policies, it seems that revisions are ongoing (but some stores will even accept expired coupons, price match, or offer rain checks). It may also help to download their apps and “like” them on Facebook. Sometimes, certain sales are only divulged there. Figure out an organizational system that works best for you. You can organize your coupons alphabetically/by aisle/etc.
Where to go: Don’t waste gas for one or two things. Only go to the stores where you can get the most for less. You could also jot down where what is the best price. For example, I know that bulk spices are the most affordable at such and such. You’re not always going to save at the bulk wholesale warehouses. Look at the price per weight.
When to go: Be on top of sale dates. The most extreme couponers will clear the shelves. I don’t mean that figuratively. The later you go, the less luck you may have. It also helps to write down special “super double coupon” or “triple coupon days.” If you’re super serious, you could consider going in at midnight to beat the crowds and be one of the firsts in line, armed with an arsenal of organized coupons and a mental note (or you can obtain an aisle-by-aisle list of products from the manager) of where everything is. (I’m super crazy in that I’ve committed to memory the layout/placement of products of my favorite stores). The best time to buy something is when it’s a). on sale b). you have a store coupon + manufacturers coupon (some stores accept competitor coupons, even expired ones). c). it’s “double” or “triple” coupon day, often making your final bill FREE. It also doesn’t hurt to scan the clearance aisle. You can use a coupon for those as well, after all. B1G1 are cool because you can use 2 coupons and if you happen to have a B1G1 coupon, both end up being (there’s that word again) FREE.
How to get Coupons: Sunday inserts are the best. In my town, I believe you can have just the Sunday paper delivered to you. You can also just get the inserts on Amazon/Ebay. Some people even have luck on Craigslist. There are also several online resources available at your fingertips. Look into investing in a printer. There are several printable coupons. The more computers you have, the better (there are limits to prints). There may even be a smart phone app! If you’re super lucky, some stores will reward you by mailing out “$5 or $10 off your entire purchase.” Those are great.
I hope this helps.
Squishy Monster ^.~