Jun 7, 2010

Easy Coupon-ing (Carole)

I've meant to share this easy way to coupon for quite awhile, but somehow other topics kept stealing my attention.  So here we go!

There are some wonderful websites out there that bring the world of coupons right to your door.  These are not crazy buy-coupons-on-Ebay sites.  (And isn't that illegal anyway??)  These are websites that keep track of what coupons are showing up in your mailbox and in your local Sunday newspaper and telling you when to use them at your local grocery stores for maximum savings.

Bless the men and women who scour the sale fliers and match up the weekly specials with your saved coupons.

I learned this easy system from my good friend Johanna.  She's a genius.

She suggests, to get the most bang for your buck:
1.  Sign up for as many local Sunday newspapers as there are people living in your home.  Remove from each paper the Super Shopper  (SS) ad section.  Write on the front of each SS the date with a large marker.  File these by month (June altogether, July altogether. . .)

2.  Remove the Red Plum (RP) ads that come in your mailbox usually on Tuesday.  Also mark these with the date with a large marker and file them with the SSs.  You can use a file drawer with hanging folders, or any other method that works easily for you that separates these 2 kinds of fliers by month.

Now just ignore all these collected fliers, until the website tells you to go find one of them.  They may sit filed away and un-used for a few weeks.

Now comes the fun part.

Go to the website The Obsessive Shopper.   Wednesday is the best day, because that's when the new deals come out for grocery stores.  This site is set up for Arizona, Idaho, Eastern Washington state, Las Vegas, Northern & Southern California and Utah stores.  The stores listed are the major grocery stores in those areas.  There is a National section too, for those of you who do not live in the above mentioned areas, but it only lists coupons and sales at Wal-Mart.  Not terrible, but not great.  So sorry.  I bet there are other websites out there for your corner of the globe that do this same thing, and you and I can continue trying to find them!!  Let us know if you locate such a site and we'll spread the word.

Now back to The Obsessive Shopper.

1.  Click on your location
2.  From the "Select Your Store" drop down menu, pick a store.
3.  Always begin by selecting the "Start" button at the top.
             *This will shade all the rows in the list gray; any rows shaded gray will NOT print.
4.  To automatically select only 4&5 star items (the best "stock up" items) click on the red star in the top left corner of the list.  This will pre-select all 4&5 star items, turning their rows white
            *When you find an item you want to put on your list, click directly on the row and the shading will return back to white.  All white rows WILL print.
5.  Be sure to click on the top row (where all the descriptions are) so it turns white and also prints (including any other row that includes specific information about a promo).
6.  When you are done, click on the "Shrink" button at the top of the screen.  This will "hide" any gray rows from your printer.  If you want to go back to the complete list, click "Un-Shrink" to have all rows return.
7.  When you are done, click "Print Now" at the top of the screen.
8.  After you print your list, go back and link to all your printable coupons to print (usually you can only print 2 copies of printable coupons from any one computer -- but if you have more than one computer in your house, you can print 2 from each computer)
9.  Now, looking at your printed list, go to your filed-away fliers and clip the suggested coupons (SS = Smart Shopper & RP = Red Plum) by the dates listed.

Most items in a store go on sale in a 7 - 15 week cycle.  The key of coupon-ing is to save the coupon until the item goes on sale.  This is what this system helps you with.  Best case scenario is to buy enough of the sale item to last until the product goes on sale again in a few weeks or month.  That's why you want multiple copies of the newspaper.  With the same reasoning, see if your neighbors or relatives will give you their unwanted copies of Red Plumb.

Give yourself time to walk through this system slowly.  The first time seems confusing, but it will become very, very simple in no time at all.  You'll be whizzing through in less than 10 minutes by the 2nd time.  Get out there and SAVE!



Mary said...

Yay! A post that has me saying, "hey, I do that!" and now I feel all frugal. :) I met Shauntell (the obsessive shopper) through a friend over a year ago. She came and did an enrichment activity about couponing one night and I was sold. It's so easy and such a great way to save!

Carly said...

I guess my main setback is that I don't want to subscribe to the paper, and specifically the Sunday paper. But I guess that's me just being obstinate!

It does sound pretty easy though. Thanks for the tips! If I ever decide to start... I know I'll come back to this post.

The Liddells said...

I've looked at The Obessive Shopper before, but unfortunately I live in TX, so my state isn't on there. :( Luckily there are other options!

I'm just starting to do couponing (if that's a word) but my sister and her husband are pro. They use a site called The Grocery Game (www.thegrocerygame.com), but it costs I think like $5/month per store list you want to look up for your state. I wasn't to keen on the idea of spending $5/month so they found a different website for me to try. I haven't done a whole lot with it, but it is www.couponmom.com. You have to sign up to access the lists, but it's a free membership. I believe it has all 50 states, but not positive. Hope that helps some people.

Carole said...

Carly Jane, you should know that I too DETEST taking the paper. So I refuse to do that part of The Obsessive Shopper, but even without the Sunday paper, you can see what is on sale at your local grocery store with this website (plus the star ranking tells you if it is REALLY a good deal). So I only save the Red Plumbs and watch the other sales. Still saves me lots of money every month!

Definitely looking at TOS every Wednesday or whenever I can get to it before going shopping. Saves me having to walk down every aisle and checking all the tags on the shelves.

Emily Kate said...

I only use RP and printable coupons. My mom sends me her Sunday SS coupons every couple of weeks too. I found I didn't use the SS coupons enough to justify paying for the paper. I miss out on a killer deal here and there but for the most part I can get what I'm looking for with RP coupons and printable coupons.