Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Marvelous World of Coupons

I love coupons. I am thrilled when I open my mail and discover a coupon for a free container of Coffeemate or $2 off a jug of Tide. Sunday mornings after church, it's so gratifying to sit down with a pile of coupons and the sale flier for Meijer and unveil all of the great deals I will get that week. I wasn't always a coupon expert, but after eleven years of dedicated coupon usage, I have mastered the art of saving money by using coupons.
I get most of my coupons from the Sunday paper that my father-in-law saves for me. The inserts contain coupons for just about everything from Spaghetti-Os to laundry detergent. Coupons can also be found inside dog food bags, on the backs of cereal boxes, and on the front of products in the store (they usually say "Save $.55 NOW"). When the cashier hands you your receipt, there are often coupons with it called Catalina coupons. Catalina coupons often are for "$2 off your next purchase," which are wonderful because you can use them to buy anything in the store.
I have recently begun collecting coupons from online sources. By signing up for free stuff and coupons, I have had tons of coupons mailed to me. I Google "free stuff," and am overwhelmed with offers. I also visit a web site called Meijer Mealbox that contains store coupons ( Store coupons are great because you can combine them with manufacturer's coupons for extra savings. Walgreen's sale ads and in-store coupon books are another place to find store coupons. I have gotten free bottles of shampoo, deodorant, and Glade air fresheners this way.
After clipping the coupons for things that I typically buy, I file them in an index card file. This file contained tabbed dividers, which I labeled with categories such as: Breakfast Food, Pantry Items, Frozen Foods, Beverages, Snacks, Laundry, Cleaning, Paper Products, Shampoo/Soap, Deodorant/Razors, Make-Up/Medicine, Pet Products, Meat/Dairy, and THIS WEEK.
I then take the store flyers for stores that I frequent and make a list of things that are on sale that I plan to buy. I like Meijer because they double manufacturer's coupons up to $.55 (making $.50 coupons really $1 off). Then, I match up the coupons to the items on my list, marking each with a star and how many I will buy. If a coupon reads "Save $1 on Two," then I want to be sure that I remember to buy two of that product. (I am careful when using coupons that read "Save $.55 on Three" because the savings are then only around $0.18) I then take the coupons that I plan to use and file them in my coupon box under the THIS WEEK tab.
Not only do I use coupons at the grocery store. I use them where ever I shop: auto repairs, hair cuts, restaurants, clothing stores, etc. I save my family thousands of dollars each year by combining coupons with sale prices and store coupons with manufacturer's coupons whenever possible.

1 comment:

Tonya said...

I used to do coupons, too. I got out of it and would love to do it again. I even used to do a Coupon Swap at my church. I got together all my coupons and put them in a box with category tags. That way people could find what they needed easier. My unused coupons could bless someone and someone could bless me. It is great for moms who need diapers and baby food. Everyone in your church has the same not everyone is going to need the same coupons!