So if you haven’t heard, we’ve been couponing out here. It’s been crazy, but it’s been awesome! I was so inspired after reading the book Extreme Couponing by Joni Meyer-Crothers. She approaches couponing from the perspective of a ministry: “Sharing and Saving for Christ”. For anyone who viewed coupoing as I did like a hoarding habit, I urge you to see it in a new light:a way to be able to give back!
I’ve only been doing it for about 6 weeks now, but here are just a few tips that I learned so far:
- 1. Start small. Clip a couple coupons for products you like then hold on to them until you see that product go on sale. That’s the key. Holding onto them. You want to pay the lowest possible price for that item and it is possible, it just takes time. HERE is a link to a list of sale cycles (what goes on sale when) it really helps! And THIS is a link of stock up prices…meaning what is the absolute cheapest you should be able to get that item for. It took me about 4 weeks to see the value in holding onto those coupons, and resisting just using them because I had them. It really paid off, though! Last week I bought Pantene Pro-V Shampoo (the regular size) for only 50 cents a bottle! It was a Walgreens deal for 2/$6, but I had accumulated $5 per 2 bottles in coupons, which made the sale 2/$1…My best trip so far!
- 2.If you can get even one item free a week, that is one more item that you had! And even if coupons are for items you don’t use, if you know how to get it for free..then get it and donate it! Couponing can really be a great way to give back. I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be able to give a full bag of groceries away every week…I know it is all because of couponing! And because of Joni’s website that inspired me: www.freetastesgood.com
- 3. Read this book: Extreme Couponing. Get it out from the library and just give it a shot.
- 4. Get organized. I bought a 3 ring binder on clearance at Wal-Mart for $2.00, then I filled it with one hundred currency holders that I found on Amazon. Then I bring the whole binder in with me to every store, because you never know what unannounced sales you’ll stumble upon. Last week, I went into Walgreens for diapers and instead walked out with some awesome Garnier stylers for only $2! They were retailing at $9.99! (note: at the end of every aisle in Walgreens are the markdown items!)
- 5. Follow this blog : www.freetastesgood.com. Joni is an “extreme giver” and that’s what drew me to this couponing craze, you don’t have to hoard it….you can SHARE it! “Pass the blessing on!” On this blog, Joni makes couponing very simple and matter of fact, showing you exactly what to purchase and how to get items for free or ridiculously cheap!
- 6.Make a list for what items you use the most, that way you have an idea what you want to watch the flyers for and “stock up” on. For us, that list includes: shampoo, diapers, wipes, soap (hand & dish), deodorant, toilet paper, paper towels, and cereal. It has only taken us 5 weeks to build up a stock pile on all of those items but one!
- 7.Switch your stores. I have to agree with Joni’s tip: the best deals are going to be in stores you’d least expect. My coupons actually do better at the more expensive store in town, but that’s because they have better sales! And I get the most for my money at Walgreens. Last week our trip totaled $96.20 in merchandise and I only paid $23 out of pocket. This was for stock up items like Pampers baby wipes, contact solution, toothpaste, shampoo and cereal! Nothing extraneous!
- 8. Give it a good 8 weeks. That was our goal. To try out the couponing thing (the right way: holding onto coupons, following the blog) for a good 8 weeks and if we didn’t see an improvement or difference by then we’d forget about it. Set small goals. Remember though, the first 3 weeks are the toughest…I nearly gave up and then that Walgreens trip in week 4 was a major success!
- 9. Share your success and " pass on the blessing!”