I am on a new mission to save money on groceries and household items. I have heard about "Extreme Couponing" but never really paid much attention to it. After a friend told me she had started couponing I decided to google it. I found many videos on youtube of people who reduce their grocery bills by 80% and more. There are lots of people willing to share their tips and ideas for free to help a sista out! Many of these people share a good portion of their overflow goods with local food banks- which I think is really cool.
Recently, I had thought about getting a seasonal part-time job over the summer. But that would mean leaving the kids home and trying to work around our already planned summer vacations, etc. When I saw these videos and how much money these people are saving I thought to myself that this could be like a part-time job in and of itself!
There are extreme couponers, who clear the shelves and go completely crazy stocking up on 50+ bottles of mustard, carts full of candy bars, and spending 30+ hours looking for coupons. I do not intend to go to that extreme. My goal is to save as much money as I can by using coupons, planning out my weekly meals and shopping trips by what's on sale and still eating healthy. Time to get back to the Dave Ramsey plan!!
I have spent the past two days scouring the internet trying to learn as much as I can, trying to figure out how it's done! It seemed so confusing to me at first. But now I'm starting to formulate a game plan and I'm excited!
Here are a few things I've learned:
First, I visited the couponmom.com. This woman is amazing. She started out by trying to fill her local food bank back up for as little money as possible. Once she realized how easy it was she began applying it to her own life and then sharing it with others, trying to help as many people as she can save money. Anyways, for FREE she has listed store sales and coupons to be used with the sales by date. These are coupons that come out in the Sunday newspaper inserts (Smart Source & Redplum) plus some that can be printed online- she gives you the link for those. The goal is to use coupons on top of sales along with store rewards points AND sometimes stacking manufacturers coupons WITH store coupons for the same item, resulting in paying very little if not getting the item completely free. Just visit her website and you can pull up the stores and drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, etc) in your area.
The second thing I learned, to save time, is not to cut out the coupons right away. Just get an organizer and file the actual whole inserts from the newspaper by date. Then each Sunday, when the sales start, visit her website, print the list of sales & coupons to be used- and just cut out the coupons you need for that shopping trip (she tells you what date the coupon came out in the inserts). It shouldn't take any more than 30 min.
The Coupon Mom also has listed out each store's coupon policies (whether they double coupons, accept printed coupons, etc) already for you. I found that the closest stores to me that double coupons up to .99 are Giant and Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle also allows you to load coupons from their website directly to your customer reward card. I can also get gas rewards for shopping there. Double bonus! Although they are generally more expensive than what I'm used to paying (I normally grocery shop at Walmart) the plan will be to only get what's on sale combined with coupons.
Did you know there is a new app for the Smartphone that allows you to download just the barcode for a specific item on sale, rather than carrying a coupon? It can then be scanned directly from your phone at the register! Cool, huh? Wish I had one! :)
CVS is another place to get good deals (as weird as that sounds, since they are overpriced). Again, you have to use coupons on top of sales to get a good deal. Once you start shopping there you will start to earn Extra Care Bucks that can be used towards your next purchase. You can also use CVS's in-ad store coupons combined with manufacturers coupons.
Hopefully in the next 6 months to a year I'll have a nice little stockpile to post a picture of. I am also looking forward to getting the kids get involved, learning hands-on practical math, along with learning how to save money. They are already excited and asking me how much I saved after grocery trips :)