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Saturday Savings – Playing the Game

While I did technically shop earlier this week, 90% of it was for items for Thanksgiving. I decided that was boring stuff to mention, especially considering there weren’t many “deals” involved. Instead I’m going to show you my new method of couponing and also throw some general tips out there for those of you who are looking into getting into the savings game.

I used to clip all of my coupons and file them in a little accordion organizer. I liked this method because I was constantly looking through my coupons, so I had a pretty good idea what I had. Plus, I liked being able to carry all of my coupons with me to the store for those random occasions there would be something awesome in the clearance section or an unadvertised special.

Early this past summer life got crazy and I got behind in my clipping, so I decided to give the clipless way a shot again. I had tried this probably a year ago and hated it, but I was so far behind in my clipping I just couldn’t muster up the energy to clip the coupons from 12 plus inserts.

Know what? I love couponing this way now! Sure, there are times I wish I had my coupons with me, but for the most part it hasn’t bummed me out too much. Now, instead of keeping my little file in my purse, I keep this pile in a cupboard…

The inserts are organized by company that put them out (SmartSource, Red Plum, etc) and then by date of their release. Every once in a while (like every few months) I go through and weed out the fliers that all the coupons have expired in. If there’s a flier that will expire within a month or so, I write the expiration date on the front of the insert of the coupon(s) that expire last. Clear as mud?

With all kinds of sites offering coupon databases, this really has become an easy way to clip coupons. For example, after I make my list, I log onto the Coupon Tracker and just do searches for various coupons. If there is a coupon available (whether printed or internet), the database tells me where to find it. This way, I’m just clipping and bringing the coupons with me that I’ll actually need.

Random Coupon Tips

  • Subscribe to your Sunday paper. Often you can get it delivered to your house cheaper than you can pick it up in the store!
  • Sign up for mailing lists. While it will generate more “junk mail” at your house and probably more “junk e-mail” in your inbox, it will also give you a slew of high-value coupons!
  • If there’s a store in your area that doubles coupons, use it! I used to roll my eyes at .25 or .40 off coupons, but now that I know I can get those doubled at Hen House, the coupons don’t seem so stingy.
  • Just because an item is on sale and you have a coupon, does not mean you should use said coupon! Often times, it’s worth it to hang on to the coupon until the item is on an even better sale. This is where having a price list of your own or subscribing to a service like The Grocery Game (which I use) comes in handy. Not only will you be able to put together your weekly lists faster, but you’ll know you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
  • A Price List can be time consuming to put together (I made one for organic and all natural foods), but it is well worth it. All you need to know is the non-sale price of each item on your list, then as you follow the sales update your spreadsheet with the lowest sale price you’ve seen.
  • Learn how to roll CVS Extra Care Bucks and Walgreen’s Register Rewards into future trips, and get stuff for free. Last week Jackson and I robbed CVS when I bought 2 boxes of cereal (Special K and Raisin Bran Crunch), shampoo and shaving cream and paid $0 and earned another $2 in ECB’s! Money Saving Mom has some great tutorials on working the system at CVS and Walgreen’s (Note: her Walgreen’s post is a bit outdated, as Walgreen’s does now require a card, but the principles she posts are the same).

Happy saving!

  • November 27, 2010 - 10:43 am

    Jessica - Great tips! I use this method too and it is so much better than clipping and filing.ReplyCancel

  • November 27, 2010 - 12:48 pm

    Stephanie - This is what I have started to do too since I dont have a paper anymore and get handfuls of coupon fliers when I go to my family on the weekends. Another good place to look for coupon tracking is http://www.coupontom.com/ 🙂 I have enjoyed seeing a good sale and going there and finding the coupons for it!ReplyCancel

  • December 1, 2010 - 2:12 pm

    Brenda B. - Huh, never thought of saving the entire insert! I too like having the coupons in my purse for the random occasion I’m out and need something. Hmmm, wonder if I’d like doing this….ReplyCancel

  • December 1, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    Katie Mooneyham - I think I do a bit of both. I keep the inserts in a file by date and name, but I also have a small photo album that stays in my purse. I got it at the dollar store for a dollar. I keep coupons for the things I regularly buy like pullups and several others in it. I don’t go through the inserts looking to fill my photo album, but as I go through grocery gaming, I go ahead and pull them out. It’s been the perfect way to bridge the gap between clipped and clipless and keeps me from feeling naked without my coupons!ReplyCancel

    • December 1, 2010 - 5:56 pm

      Helen - I love this idea, Katie! Thank you for sharing; I do believe I’ll have to copy you 😉ReplyCancel

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