There are some great links to some great "couponing" sites that I use daily; and I'll show you how I organize and save as well, I like to keep it EASY. Check out the WELCOME spot to your right to get started

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gaining Information and Tips

Couponing Blogs - Use Them to save Sanity! - I have added some more links to the left here with some more GREAT couponing blogs. Some are from around here which helps, others are around the country so some things they offer don't apply because they don't have stores we do, but the Internet is universal so that isn't a big deal. These gals give you:
  • Crazy Alert - These ARE the crazies
  • Tons of ideas
  • Deal scenario's at every store possible - What they bought and what coupons they used etc.
  • What to buy where; each week
  • Price comparisons
  • These point you to where the coupons are on the web and what's coming in your newspaper that week
  • They share deals around town
  • Coupon codes
  • Promotions
  • They show you what they bought and for how much OOP
    (out of pocket)
  • Basically - They do all the hard work for you :)
  • My favorite is Krazy Coupon Lady
Website Reader -
Where I got confused is HOW the heck do I find time to check these websites every day?
And if I don't, what if I miss out on a GREAT deal?
My answer is curb the parinoia and save time with:
Real-Time Google Reader for your favorite sites.
  • You add all the websites you frequent and you view them all from one page! I have my favorite family/friends blogs, my coupon blogs, my favorite recipe blogs and Tips blogs loaded up to view here. (I follow 31 total daily)
  • This page will show you any and all new posts from every site you put on here, you can view them from there or click on the post and it will take you to the site itself
  • I scan through all the sites in minutes instead of's a lifesaver!
  • It's free and you can use your Yahoo! account as your Google ID too, so you just sign up with a Google ID and the site is free.
  • You mark items as "read" so you know you've seen them
  • You can "Star" items that will then save the link in your starred folder so you can go back to view these anytime.
  • You can share items with friends
CRAZY alert - this is my idea, haven't seen it on any couponer blogs as of yet - I'm the CRAZY one!

Next up? Getting Organized...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Set Up and Organization

Once you have your coupons you'll need a spot in your house for organization. You'll need to spread out!
There are two methods for organizing your coupons that I know of, there's the 3 ring binder method (shown in this link from Krazy) using baseball card holders for coupons....which I am not opposed to and may eventually have to go to some day soon..... I'll give you the pros and con's later, but for now this plastic coupon file works great for me....

We'll talk about grocery coupons first:
I have divided the sections by isle and/or food type for my specifications.

I'm using two of these divided coupon organizers for grocery coupons - 4X6. And a larger one for other types of coupons. 8X10. So three total.

There are 13 categories in each file, I got these at Office Max for $2.99 each. I needed two for all 26 categories. I leave one slot empty in front of each file for a purpose I'll explain later.

Here are my categories:
1 Dairy - Eggs/Butter/Sour Cream/Yogurt
2 Drinks -Drink Mixes/Juice
3 Frozen Treats
4 Frozen Meals & Sides - Frozen dough/Pizza/Veggies
5 Refrigerated Deli - Pudding cups/Cheese/Deli Meat/Cookies/Canned Dough
6 Produce
7 Bread
8 Baking Isle
9 Meats
10 Breakfast Items
11 Snacks - Cookies/Chips/Fruit Snacks/Popcorn
12 Cleaning Products - Dishes/Cleansers/Swiffers
13 Paper Products - Ziplocks/TP/Paper towels/Plastic ware
14 Pet Food/Supplies
15 Home goods - Lightbulbs/Batteries/Office Supplies
16 Condiments - Ketchup/Sauces/Salad Dressing mix
17 Boxed and Canned Food - Meal Prep items/Pasta
Personal Care -
18 Skin Care - Soap/Face Cleanser/Lotion/Sun Block/repellent
19 Tooth care
20 Hair Care - Shampoo/products/accessories
21 Make-up -Nail Polish/Remover/accessories
22 Shaving and Deodorant/Shaving Cream
23 Medications - Rx/First Aide/Vitamins
24 Feminine Products
Empty spot #1 and #2

Now, this is how I divide a ton of coupons at once. I do this once a week from all my collected and printed coupons.

To organize these babies I take all my IP's from the week and cut them out, I clip all the coupons from the Sunday paper by overlapping any duplicate coupons and cutting them out at one time. Then I lay out my printed category papers on my table and start sorting!

This is my trusty assistant.....he looks confused, don't worry, it's his only his first time, he gets better.....

If you want the file I use to print out these organizer sheets just email me and I'll forward it to you. I don't know how to post something like that yet.
When I have all my piles sorted I take one category at a time; lets say "dairy"and sort that dairy pile by expiration date (earliest expired in front) and then add them to my already organized dairy coupons from the weeks before and sort all of them by expiration date again.
This is kind of a pain, but necessary. When you make up your grocery list, you'll be able to find these coupons relatively quickly when categorized.

After doing this for 3 months now worry I started to worry that I'd outgrow my two coupon holders but after using them and having to take expired ones out, the numbers stay about the same so no biggy
Crazy alert -the binder method is for the Crazies they use HUGE 81/2X11X6 inch thick binders with baseball card holders for coupons......and I think that will take up WAY more room in my life and my shopping cart and take me way more time to organize and cost me a ton to get going.....
Right now I can fit these baby's in my purse.....So I'm happy with my current method. If/when I go to a Crazier method I'll let you know....
Mission Accomplished......Manufacturer Coupons Organized
Sad Story - Keep an eye on your coupon holders! After a month of collecting coupons I had one file like the one above. I was in Albertson's one day, I turned my back to focus on some items and turned back to my cart and SOMEONE STOLE MY COUPON FILE! No joke. they left my purse, stole the coupons! ARGH, that was like $650 worth of coupons in there. I was heartbroken. The store clerks all helped me keep a lookout for the perp. But no luck. So I had to start OVER! I blogged about my plight in a comment section of Krazy coupon lady and one kind stranger emailed me and offered to send me some coupons! I couldn't believe it! And she did! She sent me like 1/2 a pound of great coupons too. I thought that was so kind and sweet. Gave me faith in humanity again and everything...... Well....after buying some coupons, being given a ton by this amazing blogger from Massachusetts (Bless you! Queenbuv3!).....and after clipping and printing: I'm double what I had before. Moral of the story is; watch those coupons. They're not after purses anymore.
Now for the rest.....Dining out, Activities, Services/other stores, Grocery Specific Coupons & Weekly Ads -
Ok, Here's how I organize all of the other types of coupons...nothing fancy, but necessary..

Dining out coupons - I collect these from the mailers, from online sources and email promotions. They go in the "Dining" slot. We don't dine out without a coupon! We use the Happening's Book for these is a link for free ebook with tips on using the Happenings Books. I have three BTW.
Things to do/Activity coupons - for whatever there is to do around town.

Services/ other store's coupons - For clothing/craft stores, household and car services etc...
This week - mailers and store Ads - I switch out the old and add the new every Tuesday when the new mailers hit my box.
Grocery Store (specific) coupons - This is where I gather the Catilina coupons (the register coupons the print out with your receipt - CAT's) I put these together with binder clips specific to each store and take that store's coupons with me every time I go. HINT: Walmart is the only place that accepts other store coupons. Sorry for the sideways pic. I cant turn it, it's uploading sideways! UGH.

Receipts - I save these baby's to motivate me and see how I'm doing! I also keep them to help me with a running budget - How much did I spend/How much did I save? Etc...
Other file folder Categories in review......
1 Dining
2 Activities
3 Clothing/Services
4 This Week - Store Adds/Mailers
5 Grocery Store Specific Coupons
6 - Receipts/Coupon Table Organizer Sheets
Got it? Now....Lets Prepare to Shop!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Preparing To Shop

I rely on a lot of these couponer blogs to the left to show me the best deals at the best stores. I use Pinching Your Pennies' PYP Weekly Shopping List from there you'll be linked to your favorite store's list from

You can see the sale dates, what items are on sale, and how great a deal that price really is (compared to that person's past deals or past experience with other stores.)

They use the 5 star system, they tell you the item, the price,
whether or not it's a good, great, or AMAZING deal.
AND they tell you where you can find a coupon for that item
if one was available in the last few months.
Oh, yeah! I love these lists!! Too good to be true, right?

I'm also searching my other favorite blogs daily
so I can decide where I'd like to go based on my list
and where the best deals are for the majority of my list items.
I will go to the stores' websites and check things out that way too.
They always have their weekly ads posted there
if you don't get them in the mail or if they get "tossed" accidentally. Some have online shopping lists you can click on items and add to a personalized list and print out.
I've used Walgreen's and Dicks'
Albertson's has one that estimates your cost as well as you add items
Each store usually has their ad available to grab when you go there too.

HINT: This is where you need to be careful.
If you're couponing because you want to save on your weekly needs
(like me for now until hubbie is employed again)
then you will have to work off a list of NEEDS.
Don't get pulled into wanting to buy stuff just because it's a a great deal.
UNLESS you have the money to cover it.
Great deals you "splurged" on aren't so great if you couldn't afford it in the first place.
This is a mistake a lot of first timers make.
But if you're looking to stock up on items and find bargains
you will look at stores differently and maybe go more often to different stores too.

I always choose one store based on the ad that week
Get the store's mailer,
Print the PYP bargains for that store
Make my grocery list
Gather the coupons that match the items on my list
For example: This week it's Albertson's:
Here's my schedule for the week so you see when I fit it all in.....

All week:
Check couponer blogs, print out IP's, read up on the weekly stores and deals,
gather mailers and store adds from the Sunday paper.

Sunday -
Clip all coupons from the Sunday papers, mailers and IP's.
Then I organize all of them in all three files.
I will also pull out expired or close to expired coupons this day too.
I keep my soon to expire coupons in one of my extra slots in the orginizer.
So if I can I can use them asap.

Monday -
Make up my grocery list

Print out the PYP lists for 2-3 stores
Gather my blogger tips I printed for that week
Choose the store I want to go to based on my research
Get that store's ad and start circling deals from my list and/or any items I can afford to stock up on

Tuesday -
I find all the manufacturer coupons and store coupons available for the items on my list out of my files. -
I place those manufacturer coupons that I KNOW I'm going to use in the front of one small grocery file folder. (empty slot #1)
Then I go through the big folder and get out the Albertson's only coupons from the "Stores" slot.... Don't forget those Doublers or $$ off your next order CAT's or Register Rewards etc....
I put the Store only coupons, my PYP list, and the store add in this clear zipper envelope folder:
I still take my two grocery coupon files in case there's a deal I didn't know about that I can't pass up in the store.

So, I'm ready! I have:
  1. My folder (above) with the store add, store coupons, mfgr coupons & grocery list
  2. My two small coupon files
I pack this all in my big purse and off I go.

At the store:
As I place items in my cart I find that item's coupon(s) and place them in a new spot (empty slot #2)
I do this so I can just grab all the coupons for all the items in my cart and hand them all to the cashier when I'm ready to check out. Easy Peasy!

Then I head out shopping on an evening at 830 or 9. I always go late so I can spend some time in the isles and I'll not feel rushed by crowds or feel guilty that I'm taking too much time at the register. It's better for the cashiers that way too. (Be careful, I find that on the day before the new ad begins the stores are sometimes out of stock of some sale items from that week's bargains, you can get a raincheck if they're out of an item, but some restrictions apply, or to avoid this just shop earlier in the week)
I usually go to the same couple of cashiers, they really get into it with me and get excited for me, it's fun. Its a good idea to find a couple of good cashiers to return to. Some are better/nicer at helping you than others if you know what I mean.
Give the cashier your coupon's at the end of your transaction so you can see the total without coupons, then the total AFTER coupons. It's a blast to see the prices drop with each coupon.
I sometimes bring my hubbie with me for emotional support and sometimes have him do his own transactions with some doublers (usually they limit you to 3 per transaction) so that helps us. More transactions equal more Catilina coupnos at the end of your orders too. :)

Here is a transaction I'm most proud of so far! I got these from a great sale, then I added some manufacturer coupons for the items, then added my doublers. I got all of this stuff that normally would have cost me $64.......


Check it out!! $2.77 before tax!
15 items for less than what one box of cereal costs normally.

This is an example of great list planning and the items are things my family uses every day!
I had to show off a little, but normally I do save 50-75 off my grocery bill and it's a ton of fun a a huge deal to be rewarded so well at the end with all that money saved! It's not hard. I figured it out! Remember, I'm not a "Crazy" i try to keep it to one shopping trip a week, one list, and one great transaction. Email me or call me if you have any questions. If you want to watch me prep for a trip or if you want to join me on a trip, I'm happy to help you anytime!
Now you have all the tools you need from coupon collecting, to organization, research, preparation and shopping hints. You're ready to go!
Up next....more transactions, Internet ideas, and tips......

About Me

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Utah, United States
I love to cook, it's how I de-stress; most people don't understand it but they love to taste test! I turn on some great tunes, and get to baking. Here's my family blog, come see what we're up to at I'm also big into couponing and can help you save a lot of money here: Thanks for visiting my little corner of the Web :)