Coupons can be overwhelming and time consuming. Maybe you want to use them, but you feel you don’t have time? Do you wish you had a simple system for using them? I can relate. Using coupons in any form is not easy when you are a working mom. There are simple ways to set yourself up for success so that you can save money when you shop without being overwhelmed. Here is how I do it.
Streamline your paper coupon storage.
Store all large coupons such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Joann’s in your car. First, I always scratch out our name and address and then put them in a folder the driver side door of the car. If you use more than one car, then stash a few coupons in each car. Don’t forget to go through them every so often and recycle the expired ones. Remember, Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons have expiration dates, but they will still take them even after they are expired!
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For small coupons, I keep them in a little plastic organizer.
I have enough room in my purse that I simply slip the organizer in the side pocket. If you cannot stash it in your purse, then I suggest choosing a place in your car or home where you will remember it. Keep the organization simple. I use five categories in my organizer: Food, Paper/Cleaners, Toiletries, Store Coupons and Restaurant Coupons.
Food-All food product coupons
Paper/Cleaners-All paper and cleaning product coupons
Toiletries-shaving gel, toothpaste, tampon coupons, etc.
Store Coupons-Bath and Body, Kohl’s, Hallmark, Carter’s coupons, etc.
Restaurant-All restaurant coupons
Clip and file coupons immediately.Read about Simple Ways to Manage Daily Mail Clutter here. Once every month or two while you are cleaning out your purse, purge expired coupons.
When it is time to go to the grocery store, grab your list, pull out the coupons you need and go. If you don’t have a chance to pull coupons before you go, this simple system will allow you find the coupons you need while at the store. It only takes a minute or two.
Remember, store your paper coupons in places that will allow you to have them when you need them.
Use Grocery and Discount Store App Digital Coupons
Digital coupons have to be one of the best inventions ever. No paper clipping, no remembering expiration dates and best of all if your husband remembers to use the store cards when he shops, you can make him coupon too!
The most difficult part of digital coupons is remembering to take a few minutes every now and then to load them onto the card. This is a great task to do while you are waiting somewhere. Once you have downloaded the store app to your phone, log in and you are ready to go. If there are specific items you know you want coupons for, it is pretty easy to search the app.
Use Discount Codes
I never shop online anymore without first taking a few minutes to see if there is a coupon code for that retailer. Nine times out of ten there is one. My first place to stop and look for coupon codes is RetailMeNot.com or their smart phone app. My sister alerted me to this site a few years ago and I never shop online or in store without checking it. Another good site to check is DealHack.com. Many stores such as Kohl’s and Michael’s also have their own apps with coupons that can be scanned from your smart phone. If you cannot find a code for a store you may have success Googling the store name and the word coupon. Another trick I have found is successful to get coupons is to sign up for the emails of stores you frequent or like their Facebook page.
Never Shop at These Stores Without a Coupon or Coupon Code
I know I never shop at these stores without coupons. Do you have any to add to the list?
- Bed, Bath, and Beyond
- Hobby Lobby
Ask for Discounts
Many stores or companies have discounts, especially for people who work in the public sector such as policemen, firemen, teachers and those who currently serve in the military or are veterans. Don’t forget students and seniors are also eligible for discounts! Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Know Money Saving Basics
You may not want to coupon like crazy, but it does not hurt to keep some of these extreme couponing strategies in mind when you shop.
- Know your prices. If you shop at more than one store, you should be familiar with prices on items you buy often like bread or milk. I know that our local grocery store sells our favorite loaf of bread for $3.29, the discount grocery store for $2.89, and Target sells it for $2.69 and often has a 20% off coupon on their Cartwheel App. Most of the time I buy our bread at Target unless our local grocer has it on sale for $1.99. It may seem like a small difference, but it adds up. If I were to buy 4 loaves of bread from the local grocer at full price for $3.29 that would cost me $13.16. If I buy the same 4 loaves for $1.99 it costs me $7.96. The difference is $5.20. If I only buy the bread at Target with the Cartwheel coupon I still save $4.52 compared to our local grocer.
- Know that you can stack coupons. Many times you can use a Manufacturer’s coupon and Target coupon together. There are many stores that work this way.
- Understand sales tactics. Just because the ad says 10 for $10.00 does not always mean that you have to buy 10 to get the discount. It usually means that the item only costs a dollar.
- Take advantage of sales such as Buy 5 and save $5.
- Start to know the sales cycles for stores you frequent. Stock up on items when they are at their lowest price. Be sure you buy enough to carry you through to the next sale cycle (if the item is not perishable).
Saving money every time you shop does not have to be difficult, but it does take some preparation and planning. Are there strategies you use that I missed? Please share in the comments!