The Lazy Way to Coupon!
I have a confession to make….I am a lazy couponer! When I first started using coupons, I clipped every coupon in sight and hunted every deal I could find. I quickly got burned out and started realizing I was spending WAY too much time on it.
Not too mention I used to buy 20 of things were we only needed 2 or 3 to last us a year. I ended up giving away a ton of stuff and spending way too much time shopping. After about a year of tweaking, I have now developed a method that is a lot more streamlined and efficient!
There are only three of us, so we don’t need a whole lot of stuff. I just buy what we need and can use. No more over stockpiling for us. When I shop I buy enough to last us 3-6 months when it goes on sale. We don’t need 15 jars of peanut butter even if they are only $.20 a jar, when 2 jars will last us 6 months. I got really sick of finding expired food in my pantry! Sales run in cycles so I usually buy enough to last us until the next sale comes along, 3 – 6 months worth is usually good a number.
The trick is to always have a few backups so your not paying full price when you run out. That is where all your grocery money goes. Spending $4 for a jar of peanut butter is ridiculous when you can catch it on sale under $1.00 quite often.
Here is my lazy way to shop using coupons…
First I don’t clip coupons, actually I don’t even buy that many papers. What I do is get one to two papers per week (I used to get 10-20) and then stick them in the
file cabinet and mark the dates on them drawer in the living room and then grab them when I need them…lol. Of course if you need to feed more people and purchase more items, you will require a few more papers. Total time about 2 minutes a week!
Then when I am ready to go shopping I check the weekly deals available and gather the coupons I need. The key is to find a few websites that do matchups for your stores. Try my Blog Finder or the Grocery Gathering to find blogs that cover your stores.
Then I go to my inserts and cut the ones I need. Then review the lists online and print the other ones I need. If you need items and it isn’t on sale, check for coupons. You can use my COUPON DATABASE to find out what coupons are available.
The biggest way I save is to keep an eye out for really good coupons throughout the week. Print them when you can find them or sign up for free item coupons if possible. You gotta grab the great coupons when you can get them. That is it! Total time about 20 minutes!
Also emailing companies using my COMPANIES TO CONTACT list is a great way to get super great coupons or coupons for free items. Total time about 20 minutes – but this is fun time and I am already doing it for the blog!
All of the great coupons I print throughout the week and get in the mail go into my coupon organizer. I don’t put any clipped coupons in there unless I happen to spot a great one that I am sure I was going to use. This keeps my organizer neat and requires me to clean it out less often. Total time to keep clean about 5 minutes!
While in the stores I stick to my lists as much as possible. This way I am less tempted to purchase additional items and therefor save more money. Also while I do take my organizer I normally have all my coupons in an envelope with a list written on the envelope with the coupons to use. If I find an item on the way that I have a coupon for, I grab it out of my organizer and then stick it in the envelope. That way I have all my coupons ready to go when I get to the cashier. That way I spend very little extra time in the store matching coupons up, I already have them ready!
Here’s the catch – for that one hour of work a week I save an average $100 a week. My normal monthly grocery budget is about $150 – $200 and we eat very well and even splurge on occasion. Now don’t you think you could spend an hour a week to save $400 a month?
A few tips….
- Free item coupons are great to help you reach higher limits to use $/$ coupons (like $5 off $30). If you have a $5 off $30 coupon but only need a few items, pick up items you have free coupons for and then you can get the stuff you need either free or super cheap!
- Know if your store accepts competitor coupons, most Publix stores do. If so than watch for $/$ coupons to use that is an easy automatic savings. I have used Winn Dixie, Walgreens, Food Lion, Sav A Lot, Family Dollar, Kmart, and several other stores at Publix before.
- If your store does accept competitor coupons, find out if they will accept CVS & Walgreens. If so you can use your extra ECB or RR to save even more. You can use these in conjunction with a $/$ coupon!
- Use overage and instant savings (like the $/$ coupons, RR, and ECB) to purchase your meat. Meat is tricky to save on, so this is a great way to reduce that cost.
- Great $/$ coupons are why I do smaller trips. Normally these are $5 off $50 of $5 off $30. Keep your trip as close to those as possible….i.e. try spending right at $50 and you can maxmize your savings. These are actually pretty easy to find once you start watching for them.
- Know your stores correct price policy. Publix will actually give you the item FREE if it rings up wrong, so watch the pricing when it rings up and make sure to catch those mistakes. I have gotten a TON of items free just by doing this one simple thing.
- Watch for in store deals, a lot of times you will see peelies or blinkies that make something an amazing deal. I am always scanning for them. For example: Publix had Kraft shredded cheese 3/$5 a few weeks ago and I found $3/2 blinkies right in front of them. I grabbed about 10 packs (we like cheese) for only $.16 each!!!! You gotta grab the great deals when you see them.
- Grab in-store coupons (blinkies & peelies) when you see them if they are on items you will need to purchase later. Sometimes they will take those down when a great sale is up so if you have already grabbed them you have them when it goes on sale!
In case you don’t know….
Blinkies are the little machines on the shelves that dispense coupons.
Peelies are the tearpads on the shelves.
ECB are Extra Care Bucks that you get at CVS.
RR are Register Rewareds that you get at Walgreens.