So the Government is still shutdown and people are curious as to how to stretch a dollar. Even before recent government shenanigans, you were probably curious as to how to save while shopping. Well thankfully I’m here to give you some guidance. Now I am not proclaiming to be the “Guru” of Couponing. HOWEVER, I know a thing or two about bargain hunting and using the coupon system. I’ve been pretty intense with coupons since early this year because I am what you call a “make-up junkie”. But because I love testing new cosmetic products frequently, it was also cutting into my wallet and that’s not a good look. So I started watching old episodes of Extreme Couponing on Netflix and took notes. What makes me different from the people of Extreme Couponing is that I purchase a lot of beauty products and I eat healthy and minimally processed foods. With that in mind, I had to use the same strategy but with different products, which can be tricky at times. Now that you have the backstory, let’s get into how to SAVE.
1. Organize– You have to be organized. I don’t necessarily have a coupon binder yet (still bargain hunting) but I use my kitchen drawer to organize coupons. Every week I look through them to see what I have and what I need to throw away. In order to take advantage of all the savings (free money), you have to develop your own system. The whole art of couponing is just being extremely organized so that you can get in and out of a store with no problem and no embarrassing moments.
2. Patience– The tips I share will not transform you into the characters you see on Extreme Couponing next week. So get that out of your head! Be patient with yourself because it takes time to understand each store and the sale cycles. To be honest, I do not desire to exactly like the Extreme Couponers and have an unnecessary amount of products stashed in my apartment. I hate clutter and I’m a young single female with no kids. I have a stash but it’s not over the top.
|Show from TLC. Image Source: Google|
3. Planning– I know this sounds a bit like organizing but it’s not the same. Usually Friday night or Saturday morning I have a shopping list that I’ve been putting together throughout the week for shopping. I look over the list, print it out to carry with me, organize my coupons based on each store, and now I’m ready to roll. In your planning you should also know how much you plan on spending for each shopping trip. We will get more in depth next blog post on how to plan around stores for coupons but that’s very important.
4. Store Operations– I would encourage you to really get to know your favorite stores. Get to know the managers and employees you see when shopping. They can hip you to the game on when fresh foods are shipped, best days and time of day to shop for well-stocked items, days of markdown/clearance, and other useful tips unique to their store. Plus, if you ever needed questions answered on your coupons you can give the manager a call. Look around your store for days where you can find extra savings. For example, my local Whole Foods have “Deal Days” on every Friday. On “Deal Days” things are marked down for select items in the store. The managers and employees can also hip you to store policy with coupons, which could spare you from embarrassing moments. Lastly, know the prices for all your stores. You should automatically know between your favorite stores what item would be cheaper. For example, I know Ulta will carry the Revlon products at a cheaper price than CVS. I also know that Rite Aid carries products a few cents cheaper than CVS. I usually shop CVS anyway if I already have coupons that would lead to more savings and more Extrabucks. Yes, I calculate (Extrabucks, prices, and coupons) to determine which place would allow me to save more.
5. Sales Cycle– While you’re getting to know your store a little better, also get to know the sale cycles for your favorite store. For example, CVS and other drugstores usually have Revlon products on a BOGO 50% off. Don’t believe me? Next week check around different drugstores as well as Ulta and Target and I would guarantee you that Revlon is on a BOGO sale. For groceries, produce that are in season you will find usually on sale compared to produce that are out of season. The reason why is because they are overstocked on those items and the strategy is to quickly get the products out of inventory before they spoil. This is also true for seafood.
|Source: Google Images|
6. Follow Other Coupon Sites – In your beginning stage I would also encourage you to follow other crazy couponers. Here are some sites I visit to get extra tips on couponing. Nouveau cheap and The Krazy Coupon Lady.
Hope you enjoyed the first part of the coupon series. Next I’ll share where I get my coupons and how I actually shop. I think this will be a great introduction before you dive into my organized craziness of coupon goodness. J
Until Next Time – Peace & Blessings