Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Couponing, some tips and tricks to keeping it real.

For readers that moved over from Mom's Spot earlier this year, some of this will be repetitive. We recently received the book, Couponing Made Simple by Christi the Coupon Coach, to review as part of the Molly Crew, so I decided to incorporate things from the book as well as some lessons I've learned over the years.

Unionvale Home
Christi talks about her system of real couponing in this 133 page paperback book. The book retails for $18.00 and if full of examples and ideas for saving money at the grocery store.

While I agree with a lot of the concepts in the book, I feel like her methods are a little extreme for new couponers.  Keeping it real, I don't buy the paper, if I do I only purchase 1 Sunday paper. I receive at least 1 or 2 copies of the coupons for my parents' weekly paper and a friend. I have a coupon binder that I put my coupons in by product type (cereal, dairy, beverages, produce, meat, frozen, health and beauty,etc...)

I do match to store ads including online deals through locations like Safeway, Albertsons,  and Roth's , so that I can stack deals. I also will take weekly ads with me in my binder so that I can have stores with matching programs match ad prices. For instance, Walmart will price match, if you have your print ad with you, they will also take competitors Catalina coupons. Which is a nice feature to save money.

Something I found in the book that really bothered me as a store blogger for a couple of grocery chains, if you purchase something buy 1 get 1 free , most stores do not allow you to use a $$ off 2 to stack. (example: recently Ken's salad dressing was B1G1 free, I had multiple $1.00 off coupons, but was limited to only using the $1.00 off on the bottles of dressing I had purchased ,not the free ones.)
I am all for printing internet coupons, but please remember you are limited to 2 per household. I have seen often people figure  out a way to print 3 ,4, or even 5 internet deals and redeem them.  Stores are often limited to the number of coupons they can redeem with the manufacturer, if they receive more than that, they have to absorb the cost.

If you don't use it or need it don't buy it. The only exception I use to that rule is, if I can pick up a really amazing deal on something the local food bank can use, this is especially good for things like beans, pasta, rice, and canned vegetables. I will try and bless them.

Now, with all that said, honestly I have been having better savings by shopping at our local Grocery Outlet store where they do not accept coupons. The one piece of advice I can pass on, now your target price for items. For me, an example is Nalley's chili, which my boys and husband love, my target price is $.86 per  can. If I can find it at that price, I purchase at least two cases. I will purchase it at $.99 if we are out and the boys have requested it for a meal, but will only pick up 2 cans.

Another tip that I always try and share, don't be afraid of the clearance aisle for meats, especially if you are going to cook it that evening. I have picked up amazing cuts of beef for as much as 50% off, then I stack a store deal with it to save even more.
If you are new to couponing, this books gives some good tips, but what she considers real couponing falls under what I call extreme couponing. If you would like to see what the rest of the crew thought, be sure to check out their reviews by clicking on the button below.


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