Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Peek in My Coupon Binder and My Categories

I thought I would share my coupon binder for anyone looking to get serious about couponing. I wish I knew about this when I became a stay-at-home mom! It is saving my family so much. It is a part time job for me right now but it is totally worth it! I plan on bumping my family grocery budget down by $50 per pay period in a month.

Above is the binder I recently moved up to after my other binder was getting too full. Also, you really want a zipper binder to keep from losing your coupons if the binder get's dropped. This binder was purchased at Walmart for $10 in the Office/Supply section.

Weekly, I make my stop at the Dollar Tree after church and pick up the Sunday paper for $1.00 each. I pick up one paper per family member. You may think that's a little crazy but when you have 5 coupons for Cheetos and you can snag them for $0.29, you'll thank me! We're not talking about the small lunch Cheetos either. Yes, I bought 5 bags of Cheetos at Safeway for $0.29/bag and my girlies were thrilled!!!

At the front of my binder is the Stock-up Prices that I got here at Fistful of Coupns and here at Faithful Provisions. The Faithful Provisions is an 11 page pdf file and very detailed. Stock-up Prices is the price you pay to stock-up your pantry and freezer. This list also includes the sale price they are willing to pay for items. Example: A good sale price for cookies is $1.25 but the stock-up price is $0.99. That way when you are making your list, you can make sure it is the best deal for your family or you may decide to wait until the price is lower.

These are the categories that I have in my binder. I have added to them since I started and you will want to modify it for your family. I no longer have Babies at home so if you do, then you will want a section for that.

*Condiments/Sauces (includes your BBQ sauce, mayo, salsa, marinades, etc.)
*Packaged/Canned Goods (includes pasta, bread, boxed mixes like Zatarain's, etc.)
*Baking (Includes sugar, chocolate chips, cake mixes, etc.)
*Snacks/Candy (Includes chips, granola bars, gum, crackers, etc.)
*Dairy (Includes milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc.)
*Meats (Includes meats from deli and meat dept. - frozen meats like chicken nuggets are filed in the next section - frozen foods)
*Frozen Foods (Includes meats, icecream, rolls, prepared frozen meals, etc.)
*Personal/Razors/Deoderant (I have all three of these together and plan to break them down when I get more dividers! Personal includes feminine products, etc.)
*Oral Care/Make-up (I also have these combined but plan to break them down when I get more dividers. Oral Care includes toothpastes, whiteners, dental floss, etc. I keep all cleansers, etc. in the Make-up sections as well as nailpolish, lipstick, etc.)
*Hair Care
*Body/Lotion/Soaps (Body includes body washes. Soaps includes hand soaps, soap systems, etc.)
*Cleaning Supplies (Includes your toilet and glass cleaners, dish soap, etc. I also include sprays and candles here.)
*Paper Goods (Includes toilet paper, ziploc containers and bags, kleenex, paper towels, etc.)
*Office Supplies/Misc. (Includes light bulbs, batteries, pets, bug sprays, etc.)
*Kids/Toys (Includes coupons like The Littlest Pet Shop you can snag here! Click on the link and select Toys on the left side to see and print the BOGO coupon and score them free at Toys R Us this week since they are on sale Buy One Get One!)

I use the baseball card holders for my coupons. You can find these at Target and Walmart by the registers and trading cards. I have three packs of them now but you can start out by buying 1-2 to get going. They are around $5 for about 30 sheets. This way you can flip through all your coupons and see what you have. A little more time consuming than some of the other couponing methods out there but I won't miss things by having them all filed and visible.

A couple of tips:

1) To make clipping those coupons easier, grab all your coupon packs from the newspapers you buy (ex. SmartSource) and open up and lay out the like pages on your kitchen table or living room floor. Grab a stack that are the same and snip them leaving a bit of a border so you don't cut off the expiration date, etc. This way you are not clipping coupons from 5 of the same SmartSources. Really speeds up your clipping!

2) Only print computer coupons that you know you will use. Otherwise, you are wasting your ink. Lots of times, the newsletters/emails I receive will say to print the latest coupons and in the beginning I did. Now, I've learned that you can usually print the coupons that you need when the product is on sale.

3) See a newspaper coupon that is not a product you use/want...keep it! I am not a contact lense wearer but yesterday, I bought contact solution and profitted $1.26! They paid me to buy the product and I'll pass it along to a family member if they can use it or to my local food bank. How did I do that? The product was on sale for $7.99 and after I paid, I received a Register Reward for $8 for a future shopping trip. I used a $2.00 off coupon so after paying for the product plus the taxes, I profitted $1.26 - Wahoo! You may be thinking, it's only $1.26 but I could buy 4 bags of those $0.29 Cheetos with that money! That is what couponers call a Money Maker or MM.

4) Keep in mind that you pay the tax on those free items so make sure it's an item you need or that you'll use. Those free deoderants and lotions are not really free when you consider the tax but they are really inexpensive.

Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions. Good luck!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Celebrate Good Times...Wahoo!!!

Alright guys & gals! I am celebrating and wanted to share a couple of things with you as an encouragement that you too can do this!!

#1 - Walgreens Deals

On Saturday, I purchased the above products from Walgreens for a total of $5.29!! Wanna know how...I stacked coupons and used Walgreens ad coupons. The Tide detergent was $5.99 normally so I paid less than that for everything. I also had 3 Register Rewards from past sales. My purchase would have cost me $27.90!! It truly does pay to clip those coupons & get your grocery list in order. My #1 secret...sign up for those newsletter of the gals I've mentioned in other posts and start clipping and organizing those coupons. They know what they are doing! I've been at this for a month and if I can do it, so can you. FYI..those seed packets were 3/$1 and were added as fillers so I could use my Register Rewards. They are cheap and we can use them in the yard.

#2 - Freebies in the mail today!!

I was working at my daughters school today and came home with a headache so finding this Taster's Choice coffee in the mail was very refreshing. You gotta love coffee and a good nights rest!! Although, my hubby may not need the Breathe Right strips anymore (click on the link and get your free sample!). He's lost nearly 30 pounds since January 1! Way to go Babe!!! I'm so proud of him.

#3 - Got an email from Faithful Provisions & guess what...I won!!! Yippee!!

I entered a drawing for a "Blue Avocado Starter Kit" at Faithful Provisions for Mother's Day and won! I received an email and my package will be in the mail soon. I'll post some pics when I receive it. Yahoo!! I'll be sporting some cool bags at the grocery store. Too cute!! Best of all...FREE!!!! Thanks Faithful Provisions!

4 - Not so good news...last week my youngest came home with what appeared to be the flu and was home for 4 days and today my other girlies came home sick with similar symptoms. To make matters worse...and I'm in serious denial and hoping I'm just coming down from the coffee high from earlier...I think I'm getting sick too! So, off to bed as soon as this is posted.

Make sure you are getting your rest and taking your vitamins! Best of luck on your couponing adventures! Isn't it fun!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doing the Happy Dance!

Because my girls are Hannah Montana fans, let's start with the Happy Dance from Hannah and her friends...

Why are we doing the happy dance? Because in about 3 weeks times, I have been searching on Swagbucks and now have enough points to get a free $5 gift card!! Three weeks!! Can you believe it!?! While I'm compiling my coupon shopping for the week, I occasionally do searches on Swagbucks. I find that several times a day, you are awarded 10-18 points for a simple search. Keep in mind that I have seen more winnings in the mornings and evenings and it does not pay when you do search after search.

Have you joined Swagbucks yet?! If not, now is a great time to do so! Why? Well, thru Friday, May 7th, it is my understanding that new members can score 50 Swagbucks when they sign up. All you need to do is go here and use the Swag Code: SWAGNATION5 (case sensitive).

Even if you are already a member, you still have a great chance of earning lots of Swagbucks this week! You see, this week ONLY they are doubling the amount of Swagbucks you are awarded throughout the day via searches– which means you have a greater chance of earning more Swagbucks this week then you normally would, so get to searching!

Also, starting today, Swagbucks will be introducing a new daily poll feature that will allow you to earn Swagbucks every day simply by answering their daily polls. …And don’t forget that you can still earn daily Swagbucks by heading to the “Special Offers” section. Just go to the Swagbucks homepage, click on “Ways to Earn” in the top left, then click on “Special Offers” and then click on the “View Our No Obligation Offers And WIN Swag Bucks” on the right.

Once you get to this page, it will state, “Welcome to Swagbucks Special Offers. Sign up for the free money-saving offers you like, feel free to skip the rest, and find a special swag code reward at the end.” Skip ALL the offers by clicking the skip button or the See Next Offer button beneath the advertisement. Finally after about 4 to 7 pages you’ll be awarded with 2 Swagbucks (possibly more)!
It really doesn't get any easier than this! You literally have the opportunity to get free cards for spending on gifts for others!! I'm sold! Happy Searching!