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Retail Therapy *Couponing Basics*



If you’re a stay at home mom like me, 9 times out of 10 you know that income is hard to come by. If you are a woman PERIOD, you know we are all about finding good bargains and saving our ends.
Well ladies, my fellow bargain hunters, this post is dedicated to YOU! Time to get some RETAIL THERAPY!

Making money is a big issue these days but how about we turn our focus towards how to SAVE the money we have. Grocery shopping, or “making groceries” as I say, being from New Orleans, ain’t cheap!

A few years ago I was ADDICTED to couponing. Now that I look back, when I first started the process, it appeared that I had become a newspaper hoarder (lol). I saved newspapers for weeks and when it came time to clip those coupons I needed for a shopping trip, it made an even greater mess.

Overtime, though, I got the hang of organizing those coupons by food type. I used photo albums, sandwich bags, I even made my own envelopes using printer paper with the category labeled on the front. Talk about thrifty, eh?!

Well, RIGHT NOW, I’m going to give you 4 basic steps that will help your couponing endeavors. Whether you are new to couponing, looking to get started, or have been around the supermarket a time or two, these steps will help you save big and maximize your dollar power during shopping trips.


#1. Collect!
Sunday papers are $2 in stores but, who wants to pay that while trying to save money?! Collect as many Sunday newspapers as you can to get those coupon inserts inside. You can do this by walking around your neighborhood and asking your neighbors for theirs if they receive them, asking family and friends for theirs, and “curb lurking” for any that may be thrown in recycle bins. You want to strive to get at least four papers a week. Another good source for coupons is the internet. Coupons.comsmartsource.com, and redplum.com offer manufacturer coupons that are printable. Visit brand websites to see if they have printable coupons up for grabs too.

#2. Organize!
This part is the not fun AT ALL. But you know who it would be fun to? That’s right, YOUR KIDS! What kid doesn’t like to cut and match? Gather your kids all those newspaper inserts, and printable coupons. Start cutting! Once you’ve done that, organize the coupons by food type. For example, put all the beverage coupons together, all the cereal coupons together, all the deodorant coupons together, so on and so forth. You can even take your organizing skills to the next level by later organizing them by coupon type: store or manufacturer. A store coupon can only be used at a particular store where as a manufacturer coupon can be used anywhere that brand is in stock as long as the store accepts coupons. Make sure to get something to keep all of these coupons stored away in so you can access them when you need without having to shuffle through them all. My favorite organizing method is using a binder and ziplock bags. You can punch three holes on the bottom of the bags to line up with the binder rings and stick the coupons in the ziplock side! Making an index page and labeling the bags would be a great way to locate the category you need fast. 

#3. Match!
Now this part is a bit tedious but it is the most important part aside from getting the coupons. Gather all those store circulars that you love to shop at and go from section to section. Match the coupons you have with the store sales and write down how much the final price of each item will be *pre tax*. I know you are wondering about using both store and manufacturer coupons at the same time. This is called stacking. You will see how this works in a bit.
I personally LOVE using The Krazy Coupon Lady as a matching tool. I don’t have to manually match sales. I just go to their site, click on the store I want to shop at, and follow the match-ups for the week provided. Another good way to match and save even more is using cash back apps like Ibotta or Checkout51. After you match, calculate how much your total shopping trip should cost.


#4. Budget!
Once you’ve done your matching and have a round about cost of the whole trip, add a few extra dollars for taxes and hiccups. You want to keep in mind that sometimes trips don’t always go according to plan. Account for things in your trip you absolutely need. You may have the coupons for them but for some reason the coupon doesn’t work or there isn’t enough of them to fulfill your coupon. You can’t wait to get this because you need it so just pay the sale or regular price. It’s gonna suck but it beats not having it at all. I like to add to my budget just to get things I know I don’t have coupons for. Another issue you may run into while couponing is store policy. Before heading out on your trip, I urge you to print out the store’s coupon policy just incase an associate doesn’t understand the process or an override needs to be made.
So, now that you have the 4 steps, here’s a quick example of how it works! 

Let’s say the weekly circular for CVS advertises Pampers baby diapers for $7.49 as the sale price (regular $9.99). There is also an extra buck opportunity for this sale (in store rebate)  where if you buy $15 worth of Pampers products, you get back 5 extra bucks to spend on anything else in the store. You throw two packs in your cart and head to the register. The cashier rings you up and your total before the coupons are applied is $14.98 *pre tax*. When you matched your coupons at home, you found that you have two manufacturer coupons for $0.50 off any Pampers product AND you also have a CVS store coupon that takes $3 off of any baby item when you spend $15 or more (CVS coupons can be obtained via an online rewards account or using a rewards card at the red kiosk in-store). She first applies your CVS coupon to your total and it drops down to $.11.98 *pre tax*. Next, she applies your manufacturer coupons to your total. Both coupons together equals $1 so now your total drops down to $10.98 *pre tax*. You pay the $10.98 plus sales tax. The receipt then prints and has your 5 extra bucks (in-store rebate) on the bottom because you spent close enough to $15 to trigger the rebate threshold!! YOU JUST SCORED 2 PACKS OF PAMPERS DIAPERS FOR $5.98 *pre tax*!!!!!!!!! That's $2.99 for each pack. ($14.98-$3= $11.98-$1= $10.98-5 cash back rebate (extra bucks)= $5.98/2= $2.99)


Ladies, couponing is a GREAT WAY to save money. And getting in store cash back deals can help you buy other items in the store SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND MORE CASH! 

I hope this post was beneficial for you as Sunday approaches us!

Happy shopping!!

Peace & Love, 

Lindsey

Comments

Anonymous said…
Very helpful, Thank you!!