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Grocery Geek Presents: Catching Up on Coupons

So last week I told you that I was going to try to squeak through two weeks without a big grocery trip. I didn’t think I could do it. But, the flu hit a few of us midweek and so that made it really easy. Who wants to go out when your head is spinning and you feel a little nauseated? Yeah, good times.

Instead, I cleaned out our school room/office, another good time, and found all sorts of stray coupons and coupon inserts that needed to be clipped.

Be Prepared for Good Deals

If you missed my couponing adventures series, you’ll probably want to go back and catch up. It’s a detailed explanation of how I go about finding, sorting, and matching coupons to sales so that I can save money on groceries every month. Coupons are not necessarily for everyone, but they can help.

Used to be that I shopped everywhere each week with coupons clutched tightly in hand. I was highly motivated to get out of debt. And couponing helped us get through a rough time and without losing our shirts. I still rely on coupons to help us save a substantial amount of money each month.

I’ve found that as family life gets fuller, I don’t have the time or the energy to make the rounds to all 8 stores that I might otherwise shop each week: CVS, Walgreens, Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons, Costco, Walmart, Target. I do end up at each of those stores at least once every six weeks, some more often than others depending on our family’s needs and the store sales.

And if I’ve got my coupons ready and organized, then I can just go when the window of opportunity opens. More times than not, though, I leave my couponing to the last minute. Not super wise.

Catch up on coupons!

Here’s what I do to catch up when my couponing habits have lagged.

  1. Go through coupon file and pull the expired coupons. I’ve been sending mine to AnnMarie, a military mom living overseas. US military commissaries overseas accept expired coupons within a 6 month time frame, so this is a great way to help fellow moms who may not have weekly access to a US paper. I met AnnMarie here at LifeasMOM, but if you don’t know a military family overseas, find one through Coupons for Troops.
  2. Browse the selection of printable coupons at Coupons.com. I make a habit about once a week to scroll through what printable coupons are available and print those that I’m sure we’ll use. In the past, I’ve printed everything that I would possibly dream of buying, especially if it was free or close to. As I healthify our diet, that number is shrinking a tad.
  3. Tear inserts apart and collate “like” pages. Since I buy 2-3 papers on the weeks that I buy the paper, I don’t want to cut the same coupon three times. I stack the pages, cut wide margins and hope for the best while cutting three at a time.
  4. Clip and file as you go through your stack. I find that it is much easier to clip and file rather than my old method of clip, clip, clip, sort, sort, sort, and then file. This way interruptions don’t mess up my progress. I just pick up where I left off.

How are coupons working out for you?

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Comments

  1. Its working out so well that our ten year old daughter is now involved, she has figured out how much free candy and gum she can get, so we got her a container to use and she gets to clicp the candy and toys coupons and then enjoys shopping with me while I use all my coupons and now her four year old brother knows he can at least get free M&M’s every week.

  2. And you are SO SWEET to send them! :)

    Because we are living overseas, we do not have access to all the weekly amazing deals/sales you see back in the States – so all those coupons ya’ll lovingly cut and file? Can STILL be USED by a Military Families overseas!

    Thanks for all these coupon links FishMama!
    I’m going to go read now! :)

  3. If you have a chance, check out my steal last week—with coupons.

  4. I hope you family is back to 100%! I always dream about being organized enough to go to 8 stores in a week, but like you, it is not possible in the season of life I am in. With 2 little boys that keep me super busy I barely make it to 2 stores a week. So I have let my coupons slide. Thanks for the reminder on how to keep them organzied so they are there when I am able to use them! Great point.

  5. Courtney says:

    How can I sign up for the Coupons for the troops program?

  6. I’ve just recently gotten back into couponing. I am still amazed by the women who can ‘buy’ $60 worth of stuff but only pay $4. While my wallet would love me to do that I don’t ever see it happening. I was pleased that this week I had $40 in coupons and saved 12% of my bill and last week between BOGO sales at Publix and coupons I saved 50% of my bill. I’m pleased with the outcome, even if my overall grocery bill still needs to be trimmed, and I guess that’s what really matter.

  7. I’m so far behind on my coupons–I usually do the clip,clip,clip, sort,sort,sort, file,file,file method and it can seem overwhelming if I’m very much behind. I may give your clip-sort-file method a try and see how it works out.

    I agree that having them always done and organized makes those quick and easy trips here and there much better, instead of waiting and gearing up for one major hit on 5 different stores. I still do that at times, but much prefer those little trips here and there.

  8. I have the hardest time finding good coupons. I will definetly go back read your past blogs about this topic. I would especially LOVE to find more coupons for diapers. We have two in diapers and until I potty train the just 2 year old, we spend at least $25 weekly.

    Also would you ever consider blogging about how you “healthified your family diet”? I am very interested!

  9. This is perfect timing. I have stacks of coupons from the last 3 weeks that haven’t been touched. I’ve just been too busy with other stuff. When I finish VBS this week, getting my coupons in order is climbing near the top of the priority list.

  10. If I don’t get online with a site like http://www.afullcup.com and spend an hour or so preparing for a shopping trip, I don’t get the best deals. Hard-core couponing isn’t for the faint-of-heart! I love the thrill though. :-)

  11. Oh, I forgot to add: I only clip coupons from magazines and ones I print off the Internet. The ones in my inserts I leave intact until I need them. If you use the coupon database at http://www.afullcup.com it will tell you where to find the coupon (which insert, or where you can print it, etc). I just write the date on my insert on the upper left corner, then stack them in chronological order. Then when I want a particular coupon I just grab the insert it’s in, find it in the pages, then cut it out. I usually have three copies of each one, so then I know where it is in the insert and it’s easy to find it in the other two copies.

  12. Awesome! I save about $40/week on groceries alone. It’s easy to do, and I’m not even that organized. I admit that sometimes I feel lazy or forget my stash, but one week of spending more makes me get back on track!

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