Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Coupons are a girl's best friend!

Ok, fair warning: this post, and probably the next few, will be about couponing.  So if you are uninterested in saving money, then skip these ones! Now I didn't always coupon.  Before kids, I was a "shop only at Clinique" and a "new designer bag every season" type of gal...but oh, how times have changed.  When Abby was first born, I started using coupons to save $1 or $2 on diapers or whatever and I thought I was awesome when my receipt would say I saved $15!  Wow!  That was like 3 starbucks!  How exciting!  Then came Jacob and then came Hannah and then came the decision for me to stay home.  Now I never made an amazing salary teaching, but it was more than I make now which is basically zero, besides the little money I get from tutoring a few times a week.  When I was going to stay home, my full-time job became to take care of the kids, run the household and save money.  David makes the money and I try hard not to spend it all ;) I am not going to get into budgeting and stuff, I'm not always the best at that myself.  I will, however, give some serious tips on getting starting couponing and a few tricks I've learned.  People always ask me to teach them what I know, so I will do my best.
Please be aware that I consider myself a semi-pro when it comes to couponing.  I know a few people that are better than me but many more that I could kick their butts.  This is not like that show "Extreme Couponing".  I actually hate that show.  It's not very realistic when it comes to everyday shopping.  Essentially those people are getting 100 of four or five items, so it's easy to save that way!  I have done transactions where I've saved 100%, but not on my weekly shopping trips, where I am buying cheese, milk and produce.  I am going to do a series of posts on couponing, the first one being on finding your coupons!
**First tip:  you cannot save big money buy using 4-5 coupons.  It just doesn't happen.  Any savings is good, but you need more coupons to save more, obviously.  I save an average of 60% when I shop, sometimes more, sometimes less.  I start by getting some coupons!  I order four papers a week delivered.  I get 2 AZ daily Stars and 2 AZ republics.  Different papers can carry different coupons so check them out before you order them. The Republic is the Phoenix paper and usually has much better coupons, but I still get the daily star too because some coupons are regional so it's good to have a variety.  I ordered my paper's on a special of $1 a week, so I pay around $16 a month in papers.  You can always get more from the store, but be sure to check the paper because some people are thieves and steal the inserts!
**Other places to get coupons: facebook, redplum, smartsource,,,, and all have printable coupons.  Usually you can print two of each per computer from the internet. Print in black and white to save money on ink, if you can. 
**Ordering coupons:  Know of a great deal coming up??  (I'll teach you to find a the great deals in another post) There are different coupon clipping services you can order from.  I like couponsbydede or Ebay.  Usually there is a small fee, like 8 cents a coupon, and you buy them in lots of 10-20, depending on the site.  This is a great way to build your stockpile (which we'll get into on another post). You can also order whole inserts and no papers from these sites.
**Other places to get q's: friends, family, neighbors that don't use their coupons.  My mom used to always print me coupons and mail them to me :) Miss that!!  Have a coupon buddy that you can trade with...maybe you need baby coupons and she needs dog ones??  Trade! You can email companies and comment on their products, usually you will get coupons in the mail.  Us pro's call this "coupons for compliments".  You could complain, but I don't like to be a jerk, so I only compliment.  Sign up for your stores loyalty cards, usually you will get coupons in the mail, if you shop enough.  There are also coupons on the products.  We call these "peelies", when they are actually ON the product, "blinkies" the little machines that are in the store or "hangies", the little hang tags. My kids are great at finding all these for me!!  I may be forgetting other ways, but you get the gist.
Ok, now you have all your post: how to organize them!  I was going to put both on one, but I have been at the computer for longer than I am allowed and my house looks like a Thomas the Train factory exploded.  I must go tend to the little ones...stay tuned for pics of my binder!!!!!


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