Ok, now you have your coupons clipped, filed, and sorted into appropriate categories so now it’s time to get ready to shop! Before you step into the store, though, you need to make a plan. I love plans, I plan everything. I don’t like to just wonder what’s going to happen, I need to know know! Same goes with my shopping, especially for things like food and target trips. It’s much easier to stay on budget with a plan! My planning begins at the beginning of the month with my supper meal plan. I use a cute blank calendar from The Project Girl and I plan my suppers out for the month. I take into account what’s typically on sale and what I have in my stockpile when planning. One of the benefits of having a husband who isn’t home most nights for supper is that I don’t have to cook meat, which is quite expensive, every night. I only plan for about three “meat” meals a week, and typically stick with chicken or lean ground beef since it’s cheaper. I’ll buy steak, my husband’s fav, maybe once or twice a month…if he’s lucky!! The kids and I aren’t big meat eaters, so it works for us. We always do breakfast for dinner at least once a week, different pastas a few nights and usually a soup/sandwich combo as well. This helps to keep weekly food costs down. I like planning our suppers so when I make my list, I can look up each recipe and check on any ingredients I don’t have on hand and add them to my list.
I shop every Wednesday for food and usually Monday for Target. I don’t go to target EVERY week, but come on, you know I WANT to 😉 Why those days? Because that’s the first day of my store’s sale cycles. Fry’s and Safeway’s sales run Wednesday through Tues and Target begins its new sales on Monday. Mass friends, you’ll have to check for yourself because I’m not sure. Check your weekly sales flyer, it will be at the bottom. The reason I like to shop at the first day of the sale is for more inventory!! Us couponers know the deals and if you don’t get on it, your store may be out of stock. Before I shop, I make my list at home. I start by writing down the things we are out of, obviously, then I check my recipes for the week to see if there are any weird ingredients I don’t have on hand. I’m sure those of you know know me well know where I get my recipes from 😉 Then I start looking for my deals….
This is the part where it’s nice to know where to look. I follow certain coupon blogs that list the deals and coupon match ups by store. If you are in T-Town or Phx, I LOVE the centsable shoppin. She is based in Phoenix and lists the local deals by store. The krazy coupon ladies are pretty good too, but i find their prices vary some since they post them nationally. I love to gossip is based out of Maine and I see her listing sales for Shaw’s. These sites will list the sales and tell you which coupons are available for match up with. If you take anything away from this post its this: ALWAYS TRY TO MATCH A COUPON WITH A SALE. My family knows that I will not buy junk, ie. chips, cookies, ice cream, fruit snacks unless they are on sale AND I have a coupon. I just won’t do it!!
Here’s where it comes in handy to have your coupons organized. Find your deal, match it with your coupon and add it to your stack. Simple, right?? Well, mostly 🙂 I am sooooooo lucky to have my Fry’s match all manufacture coupons to $1, it’s amazing and awesome. This way, all coupons that are less than $1, like “save 40 cents/$1” now becomes $1/1, whics is how you get free stuff 🙂 For example, that hand soap, hefty baggies and GUM tooth brushes were all 10/$10, making them $1 each. Since the coupons I had were $.35/1 for the soap, $.55/1 for the baggies and same for the tooth brushes, fry’s rounded up my coupons to $1 each, making them all FREE! Yippie! It’s ridiculously easy to get toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, deodorant, and certain foods, like condiments, free. I won’t pay for these types of items. Why would I? Because I know they will be free soon, and I have a nice stock of them, so I am not forced to spend money on them. Yes, I realize that one cannot survive on floss and mustard, but not having to spend money on these and other items saves money monthly. The trick to saving money is building a stockpile of items. I will go further into this in another post, but essentially having items on hand bought super cheap or free, helps to defer your costs. I have a substantial stock of all health and beauty products, including shampoo and conditioner, cleaning products, tp and paper towels, baby wipes, vinegar (which I use for cleaning), and certain canned and boxed foods, like dry pastas, cereals, and certain snacks. I have more than I listed but I will go into it further later. In order to build a good stock, you need more than 4 coupons. If you pay attention, you can know when a good sale is going to happen and order some coupons for that item. My couponing buddy, Kim, and I just fairly recently started doing this and it’s great! We both got 20+ vinegars and 20+ packages for toilet paper free recently since we ordered the coupons!! This is a great way of getting a lot of a particular item you use a lot, like toilet paper! We have 5 bums in this house…that’s a lot of TP! Target will also match their coupons with a manufacture one, called a “stack”. I will go into this more tomorrow, but this is the best way to save at target. So, find the sites you feel good about and “like” them on facebook so you can get a heads up on what’s happening. “Like” a few since some tend to figure out smoking deals before others.
Ok, I think that’s good for today…tomorrow I have a free couponing class (yippie!) I am going to, hopefully I can learn a few new tricks to pass along to you all. Tomorrow night, I will post about actually shopping with your glorious q’s!!
Check out the other posts in this series: