Sunday, February 6, 2011

Where do I find coupons?

In the age of the Internet, I am still bombarded by this question.  Unfortunately, there is no real easy answer, other than, Coupons are Everywhere.  I am constantly on the lookout for coupons.  Below is a sampling of places to be on the lookout for coupons:

Subscribe or buy your local Sunday paper.  There are normally coupons in the paper each week.

Ask your friends and family members who do not coupon to save theirs for you.  Consider putting together a coupon swap with friends who like to coupon.  Saves you time and money, and what better way to get together for social time?

The Internet.,,, are just a few that you can print coupons from.  Check manufacturers websites, most usually have links to coupons for their products.  Most grocery and discount stores today offer printable coupons.

The grocery store.  Every time I visit my stores, I check the kiosk by the front doors.  More often than not, there are normally store coupons and manufacturers coupons.  Be on the look out for special displays set-up throughout the store.  Sometimes the manufacturers have recipe booklets that contain coupons.  As you walk down the aisles, look for those little, blinking machines that contain coupons.  Grab a couple to put in your binder if it's for something you might purchase later.

Magazines.  How many times have you reading whatever magazine you happen to subscribe to and run across a coupon? This happens to me all the time.  Check out a magazine called "All You".  It is a magazine of monthly coupons.  So far, I have only found it sold at Walmart, but you can also get a subscription through pretty cheaply.  I have also found coupons in the Parade magazine that comes with our Sunday paper. 

E-coupons.  Do you have a shoppers reward card for any of your local stores?  If you do, chances are they have some type of e program on their website.  For instance, Kroger has a link to download e coupons to your Kroger plus card.  You pull up the available coupons, click save to card and your done.  Your coupon will automatically print out on your receipt when you Purchase that item using your reward card.  Even sweeter, you can combine the e coupon with a paper coupon, yes you read that right, TWO coupons for one item! How awesome is that?

These are just a few ideas that come to mind. If you have any other ideas, please comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Couponing!

Life Lessons for Children & Teens..

The other day while shopping at my local Publix store with my five year old, she very innocently asked, "Mom, can we buy those animal crackers"?  The price of said crackers was $2.99.  So, I told her no, we cannot buy those today.  To which she responded, "Because it's not on sale and you don't have a coupon"?  Now, to be honest I laughed at that, but upon reflection later, I realized some life lessons that I am teaching my children about the value of a dollar and how to save money. 

I believe that when our children see the time, effort and money that goes into taking care of a family, they begin to realize the value of a dollar and how important it is to save as much money as possible.  We live in a give me society where very few are willing to wait, and save the money before purchasing something they want.  We go in the store, see something we really want and purchase it using a credit card and decide we'll worry about paying for it later.  This can be a very dangerous thing to be teaching our children.  Growing up, I remember being told, unless it's your birthday or Christmas, your not getting that shiny, new toy you want.  Save your money and then you can buy it.  Whatever happened to these type of values? Is it any wonder that the average American today has $10K in credit debt??  We are all guilty of this, myself included.

I believe, in addition to saving money on groceries and household products, I am teaching my children valuable lessons that I hope they will take with them into adulthood.  My oldest will be off to college in a year, and I hope the lessons I have instilled in her will stay with her as she faces the world on her own. 

Who would have thought that saving money using coupons could do so much good??

Happy Couponing! :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Drug Stores, Are they worth the trouble?

Lately, I have been asked if it is worth my time to scour the drug store ads to look for the best deals on medicines, paper products, household cleaners, etc.  In the past, I have always been a big fan of the CVS extra care program.  I used to feel like I was saving a ton of money on the household things I needed.  Now, that I have a a good bit of medicines, etc on my shelf, is it really worth it?

I would have to say a resounding YES! Any time you save money, your saving money, right?  Just like any other retail store, everything eventually goes on sale.  At least twice a year the drug stores will have big sales on medications, and the manufacturers will lots of coupons for those medicines.  I don't know about you, but there is nothing worse than having a child with a 101 fever and realizing you have no childrens ibuprofen in the house.  I like to go through my medications twice a year, throw out expired items and replace with the things we use on a normal basis.

One secret I have learned to drug stores is, go in after each season to find FANTASTIC deals on seasonal merchandise. I cannot tell you all the great buys I have found after Christmas and Summer.  They mark merchandise down so cheap, you can get things literally for pennies!  You might have to search and visit the store often, but you'd be surprised by what you can find and how cheaply you can get it!  One other tip, befriend the employees!  They will help you find great deals, and tell you when specific items will be marked down.

Do you buy Pepsi or Coke products? In my house, we love Diet Coke.  CVS, Walgreen's and Rite Aid all put these products on great sales from time to time.  Last week I was able to purchase 5 12-packs of Diet Coke for only $2/12-pack.  The cheapest I have found it in months!

For more info and ideas check out the following websites:

Look for future blog posts on how save money using the Extra Care program at CVS!

Happy Shopping! :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

"So your one of those coupon people"?

I get this question from strangers in the store on a weekly basis, like I have a disease.  If you coupon, you know what I mean.  The person behind you at the check out register who is huffing and puffing because the cashier is having to scan your coupons.  Or we have the people who see me in the store with my binder and look at me like I am from outer space.  Eventually they ask me what the binder is for and then I get the inevitable statement "So your one of those coupon people".  How do you handle situations like these, especially when some are downright rude to you? I normally try to either ignore them or smile sweetly and say, "I cant believe how much money I have saved today".  To be honest, I can understand that to some they just do not understand why we do what we do.  However, with the current economy in the tank, I am seeing more and more people with their coupons, trying to scout out great deals, just like I am. 

It does not help that we have shows like TLC's Extreme Couponing, showcasing people who are basically hoarders.  So it is understandable why we sometimes get the bad attitudes from people that we do.  I am doing what I do to take care of my family and stay on a strict budget, so if you want to label me "one of those coupon people" go ahead, I wear the title proudly! :-)

Happy Couponing Friends!

So I'm organized, What Next?

Besides organization, one of key rules to couponing is to know your prices. Over time, you will become more aware of what is considered to be a "good" price for the items you normally buy. Some websites encourage you to make a list of your most used items and go to your local grocery store and write down the price. Personally, I don't have time for that. I have found over time, you begin to learn what each store normally charges and

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So where do I begin?

This is usually one of the first questions I am asked by friends, family, and even strangers in the store. My first advice is to get yourself organized. You need to create a system that saves you time and works best for you. What works for me may not work for you, so you may have to figure this out by trial and error. I have stored my coupons in several different ways, but I believe the current system I have in place is the best.

I bought a zippered three-ring binder from my local Walmart store. I use baseball card holders to store each coupon and have tabs labeled for different parts of the store. For example, I have a tab labeled produce, etc. I carry this binder with me every time I go to the grocery store, Target, Walmart or any other store where I may have coupons for. If I come across something on sale that I want/need I can easily look to see if I have a coupon for that item. It also makes it easy to look for expiration dates. I go through my coupons on a weekly basis and throw out any expired coupons, or you can send it to your local military base. I have been told they will give these to servicemen and women who are allowed to use expired coupons in their commissary.

The second most important thing to know is your local stores coupon policy. If you are unsure what their policies are, check out their website. Most regional stores have their policies on-line. This is very important. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to correct (nicely) a cashier and call a manager to get my coupon approved. So know their policy before entering the store. Some stores like Publix will allow you to use a store coupon and a manufacturers coupons for one item. They will also sometimes accept a competitors coupon, but check with your store for specific information on this.

The third most asked question I am asked is, "Where do you find coupons"? Now, you might think this is a no-brainer, but actually it's a very good question. I have learned from so many sources of new ways to find coupons. First, buy your local Sunday paper. If it is a particularly good coupon week, buy more than one paper. You will make up the cost of the paper in your coupons. Before purchasing the paper, look through it and make sure the coupons are there. I have had this happen to me and know of several others who have bought papers and someone has taken the coupons out. So check before purchasing! Coupons are all over the place, the Internet is your best friend! Please remember before printing, make sure you are on a reputable website., are a few that come to mind. You can also find coupons on the manufacturers website and your local stores website. If the manufacturer does not offer a coupon on the website, call or email them. If you call and tell them how great their product is and ask for coupons, chances are they will mail you some.

Fourth, Be Prepared! Make sure you have a list and a plan before setting foot in the store. Dont be tempted by all the delicious convenience foods you walk by. Have your list and coupons in hand and stick to it. You will be amazed when you look at your receipt and see all the money you saved!

Week 1

Welcome to my first installment of the Secrets of the Coupon Pro.  My journey with couponing began about a year ago when I needed to cut back on what my family was spending.  I am a stay at home mom to three wonderful daughters, and a busy husband.  Today with the help of various Internet websites and a few tricks that I have learned from friends and on my own, I save on average 75% of my total household groceries, cleaning supplies and paper products.  I look forward to sharing my tips with you and hearing from all of you with your ideas.  I have set this up to be a collaborative effort to help us all save time and money during these difficult economic times.