Researching. Storing. Shopping. Calls in advance to check stock. Clipping, filing and organizing coupons.
I started couponing in 2013, the old fashioned way. Buying newspapers, clipping coupons, checking websites for deal tips and purging hundreds of unused coupons each month.
By 2014, I had a ''coupon angel''. Someone who had access to the coupon inserts that were thrown away at the hotel he worked in. He would bring me 30-50 of each insert each week. Whoa!! Way too many to handle, I was always trying to give them away.
As a Muslim with dietary restrictions, most items that have a coupon out are not useful for my family. So I'm wasting money to buy whole papers and losing time trying to keep it all organized.
My 2015 Routine:
1. I picked 2 stores to focus on. Kroger and CVS. They are convenient and over the years, I have had the fewest problems couponing there. Between the two stores I can find most things that my family needs and Kroger gives me fuel points to save on gas. I have filled up twice this month and based on my points I got 40 cents and 20 cents off each gallon.
2. I have the reward cards for both stores. Both are registered online with my email address so I can be notified of special coupons and deals. Also, I can load digital coupons onto my Kroger card from the app or my computer. I load anything that we buy, even if occasionally, so that the coupon is there if I need it and it just expires if I don't.
3. I go online to sale preview sites like www.forthemommas.com, www.krazycouponlady.com and www.krogercrazy.com. About 3-4 days before the next sale, I can browse the upcoming circular for items I'd like and what coupon match ups there are.
4. Then, if possible I print the coupons from the linked sites they send you to. Or for paper coupons I use www.thecouponclippers.com. I takes just 2-3 days for me to get coupons to my house from Florida. They have been reliable and affordable. Or I ask my local coupon friends for the coupons if they aren't using them.
On average, I save 30-45% on my weekly groceries and I have a pretty strict $100-120 a week budget for my family of 3. The budget is for food (we're home all day, so all meals for seven days), toiletries, paper goods, EVERYTHING. Anything I buy at CVS is through sales and ''rolling Extra Care Bucks'' so I pay less than a buck on many items.
I grocery shop once per week. And limit myself to one EXTREME COUPONING deal a week.
Tom's toothpaste is almost $6 at CVS and about $4-$5 at Kroger. It is certified Kosher and Halal. I worked this Extra Care Bucks (ECB) deal at CVS Sunday 1/18/15.
Transaction 1: Sale price 2/$6. Used $4 ECB. Paid $2 and got $3 ECB back. Made $1!!
Transaction 2 (on 2nd CVS card): Sale price 2/$6. Used $1 off toothpaste coupon that printed from the store kiosk. Paid $5 and got $3 ECB back.
Transaction 3 (at a 2nd CVS store, because my store only had 4 boxes): Sale price 2/$6. Used $3 ECB. Paid $3.
Transaction 4: Sale price 2/$6. Used $3 ECB. Paid $3.
Bottom line: Paid $13 out of pocket. Still have $6 ECB. Basically $7 for 8 toothpastes or .87 cents each. Saved 86% off CVS Regular price.
That's how I'm doing it in 2015.
Also, I felt vindicated for abandoning my old coupon strategy by this video. It's got some great tips from the Krazy Coupon Ladies.