Monday, January 07, 2008

Resoution #9... save my family more money by using coupons, CVS, and smarter shopping skills. We will be working harder at sticking to our budget. Money Saving Mom has really helped me to get a handle on how CVS works and ways to think through deals to get the best deal possible. I'm definitely not a pro and I'm still not planning on running to 3 different grocery stores a week (I simply don't have the time or energy) BUT I know I can do better.

Any suggestions for organizing coupons? This is one of my biggest problems. I've read a few ideas but they aren't realistic for me - I don't have a box full. :) I need a practical way to organize them so I know what I have and can use them effectively. It takes me forever to sort them and prepare for a shopping trip and then if I find a deal that I think I also have a coupon for...well, don't even get me started on how long it would take me to sort so it just doesn't happen.

We have vacation, conference, and preparing for a 3rd child (we haven't started the process yet, but hope to) among other things we hope for our family this year and this is one way I think I can help us increase our savings. So, all ideas are welcome for helping me save! I'm not so new to bargain shopping but I'm pretty new to food savings (at least consistent food savings). :) One of my other reasons for wanting to save is that we like good quality, some gourmet ingredients/food and I would still like to buy them; so, I especially want to cut back on the expenses of things that don't matter. Well anyway if you made it through that rambling post - congatulations. :)


Monica said...

Check out Frugal Florida Mama blog. She's doing a step by step program to get your coupons organized. I haven't decided if I will take the plunge yet or not. We'll see.

Hope you are feeling better.

Catherine said...

I have a coupon holder that is like a little accordion file folder (about the size of a checkbook). I have the little file sections labeled by type and some are subdivided with index card markers. So for example I have pocket sections for lotion, shampoo/conditioner, cleaning products, laundry, batteries, baby products, frozen vegetables, canned goods, dairy, etc etc etc.

Having a small sized holder really helps me because I can bring it with me, and having it subdivided so many times helps me in a store if I see a deal on something I might have a coupon for. It's lots easier to pull out a few coupons for makeup than a whole folder of "personal care" or some bigger category, you know?

I think I got the little file folder at Walmart, it was about $2.

Mob said...

I agree with Catherines comment, I used to have a little wallet sized coupon holder. If I went shopping without children it was easier for me to stay on track. When my daughter would come with me she would always talk me into stuff we didn't need. Also, cutting out "extras" like Starbucks, downsize on the DISH channels and not buying stuff on the internet (which was an addiction) has helped. I'm not a manicure/pedicure person but if I was those would have to go to.

Ambrose Family said...

I use coupons, but I have so many now they're overwhelming. I'm thinking of downsizing again to a wallet sized accordian folder, like recommended above. I was trying to do a large box, cutting out every coupon possible, instead of just the things I actually normally buy (in case I could get something for free). It's too much for me.

I'm impressed you're doing the CVS thing, I'm scared to start that. I've looked at Crystal's suggestions, and I still feel intimidated. Care to share your hints for starting out?

Steve said...

Initially I sort through and only keep the ones for things I normally buy (this helps prevent buying extras because they are such a great deal). Each week before I head out to shop I sort through the coupons and pull out only ones that are on my list for that week. I then put them in order according to how I shop and the store is set up (condiments first, soups/sugar & spices next aisle, etc.) It took me quite awhile the first couple of trips but now its to a system. As I come to the item on my list I pull out the coupon and put it in a pocket, that way when I get to the register all the coupons for my groceries are together in that pocket.
I like the wallet size holder idea as well. I need to get myself a couple of those. Maybe use one for all your coupons and then use another for the coupons needed for that week.
Also a side note-there have been a couple times I didn't bring a coupon with me thinking I didn't need it and it turns out I could've really used it. Maybe have all your coupons on hand just in case but pull out the ones you know you will use ahead of time.
Alright, i'm done rambling. Hope this helps and is not just all out confusing.

Heather L. said...

How do you get coupons in the first place? i'm assuming it must be from the Sunday paper -- are there any other sources?

Alaina said...

Yes, we get the daily paper but the coupons are only in the Sunday paper. I think you can subscribe to just the Sunday paper for very little a month. I don't know any other source for the coupons other than printing the ones listed on moneysavingmom. Hope that helps!

Kevin & Amy said...

I'm with you Alaina. Coupons are a royal pain. Maybe after doing it for a while it becomes second nature to clip, sort, organize, take out the old ones, access them quickly in the store while shopping, give the to the cashier without dropping them all over the floor (which is what happened to me last time), etc., etc. But for me right now, it's a ton of extra work.

I have the same mini-organizer that Catherine mentioned. I was so happy to put labels on the folders and get coupons in each compartment. Now, all the coupons I so carefully clipped, sorted, and organized, are probably all outdated and therefore useless to me.

As you can tell, I'm not a big coupon enthusiast. :) How much do you save per trip anyway? $5?

I haven't totally given up on coupons yet. But I'm thinking about it.