Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Start Clipping Coupons

Raise your hand if you love to shop, (my hand is up).  Raise your hand if you love to save money, (whoap, there it goes again).  Raise your hand if you are a bargain shopper and typically try to buy items only on sale or clearance (again, that arm flew up).  Well, then maybe you too should consider couponing.  I know for myself, I have always been very timid about this activity as it just seemed so overwhelming.  Despite my non-biological sister KK being a coupon queen, I just couldn't get on board.

As a mostly stay at home mom who loves to shop (I now count grocery shopping as an exciting opportunity to spend), I still wanted to make smart choices.  I am good at price comparing, have no problem going generic (on most things) and looking for deals, but I knew I could be doing more. I reached out to KK and she was THRILLED to share her wisdom with me!

Thank you A Very Vera World for the great pic of Happy Snails!
My personal coupon guru dove into the information I needed to help me get started.  First, decide where I was shopping.  She shops at three stores to maximize her dollar: Target, Safeway (Vons for me) and Costco.  I decided to stick with the same stores to really follow her guidelines and make it as easy as possible on myself.

Once you have narrowed down the stores, it is time to get organized.  If you don't already, start taking inventory what you need  for your weekly shopping list.  I typically just go to the store when I need a few things, often buy what I don't need and just shoot from my hip.  No more, no more. 

I needed to spend some time creating a list so I could cross check my three stores looking for the best deal.  Now,  if you are a meal planner, then this will be an easy addition to your planning activities.  If you are not a meal planner (like myself), but can whip up meals on demand, then you will continue to have all the items you need in your pantry (for much cheaper) to feed your family.

KK's deal searching starts with the weekly ads from each store (monthly for Costco) and the Sunday paper's coupon section.

She then settles down with the coupon section of the paper, her scissors ready to clip and of course her favorite cup of coffee. First step, she suggests grabbing all the manufacturer coupons you will use, for example, Mission tortillas .  Clip 'em out and check the expiration dates, if it is not on sale at your three stores, save for next time; always strive to double dip! 

With the Sunday paper coupons clipped and ready for cross checking, grab your weekly ads.  Now it is time to see...

A) What's on sale 
B) What you have a coupon for 
C) Where you can double dip, giving the most savings.

With the list done, the coupons clipped, the list cross checked, now we get to shop! Well almost....KK's got some couponing advice for each store...

  • Sign up for Target Red Card (debit).  There are no fees attached (ever) and only requires a blank check and ID to open.  The card will link to your bank account and cash will be deducted when you shop at Target. Why do this you ask?  Well because you will earn 5% off of ALL purchases, even the ones that are already on sale or clearance. May not seem like a lot, but it will quickly add up if you are at Target as much as I am.
  • Download the Cartwheel App.  This app will have thousands of items on sale, anywhere from 5-50% off.  The coupons found here can be combined with any other Target and/or manufacturers coupons.  KK's Favorite Feature - Doing a weekly ad double dip - a list of all cartwheel coupons that are also on sale in the store. This app can always be used with no exceptions.
  • Download the Target App.  These mobile coupons change every two weeks and can offer savings from $10-$25.  KK's Favorite Feature: The App can check the availability of items in store based on your location. Just scan or search for an item and it will tell you which store is closest and has what you want.   
  • Check out  The site will have printable coupons which are totally separate from the target app.  Choose what you'll use and print before your shopping trip. 
The Target ads can be found in the Sunday paper, emailed to you if you have a Red Card or found online.
  • Get a club card.  If you don't have one already, then sign up.
  • Always check your weekly ads.  Keep an eye on what is on sale and what coupons are featured (watch for clip it or click it).  If you clip it, just cut it out to bring it into the store.  If you choose to click it, go to (or their family brands), create or log into your account and go to the coupons page.  Then, click the coupons you want to use and when you check out by entering your rewards number, the coupons will automatically upload.   Since it is so easy, you might as well just go to the site weekly and click all the coupons.  That way, you are ready for anything even if you don't use them.
  • Don't forget the manufacturer coupons from your Sunday paper.   If you have a manufacturer coupon and the item is featured on sale in the it!  If the items isn't on sale at the store, save the coupon.  If you absolutely need an item to get through the week or for a recipe, of course break down and get it.  Otherwise, hold onto that coupon until it goes on sale
  • Buy on sale.  If you are like me and only buy what is on sale or boasts a deal, you are half way there.  Now, just use that coupon too and save even more!

  • Bulk isn't always better.   Many people feel bulk is better and in many cases it is.  But, just know what you are getting.  For example, Kirkland brand paper towels and toilet paper are unbeatable for their price and quality.  But that doesn't always apply.  
  • Pay attention to prices.  Research what your go-to buys are at Costco and buy more than you may need when they are featured in your  monthly coupon book. If you know you go through items quickly (cheese, bananas, organic bread), then Costco is the way to go (over Vons/Target).
  • Don't over-buy.  Shopping at Costco for groceries is a commitment.  You are going to need to eat that spinach every day or it will go bad.  There is nothing worse than having to throw away Costco purchased items; you might as well just throw away money. 
With KK's tips stored away, I am ready to create my list and get my hands on some ads and the Sunday paper this weekend.  Who wants to give couponing a try with me?  Let's start by following her advice and see where we are next week...where are all my money saving Thriving Wives?!

Strive to Thrive, 

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