Oh, I do get excited about more things than this, but it's always so fun to linger over the Sunday paper, ads and coupon inserts ("inserts") with a LATTE and a rerun of Law & Order or CSI on! If only that were every Sunday- in most cases the ads are piled on the counter and the paper goes out to recycle! And perhaps I might have already previewed all of the above on the net, but regardless a girl can dream.....
What happens to those coupons once I've pursued them? The get filled in my SaveALatte$ Bin for a rainy day. Seriously, I'm not an extreme couponer, but I love to save a buck so I had to find an easy way to organize my priceless coupons. It wasn't by clipping and filing a huge binder full- I tried that route and as portable as it was, it was just a nightmare for me to keep up to date. I got a few kudos on trips with those but the thumb calluses from the scissors and hours that it took just wasn't worth the time/ money effort for my family. If it works for you- awesome; it just didn't for me. You could go the envelope route; or the binder route or a hybrid of the two, but so far, what I've done is a "no clip" system and have filed them in a very large plastic storage file/crate organized by date and source. I also print out a quick list of what (supposedly! as each insert varies with coupons and savings) is in each folder and staple it on. It's very low maintenance and user friendly. Not so much portable, but if in doubt, then I'll throw the whole thing in my trunk if I feel like a shopping trip will be unusually fruitful.
So what to do now? When I get ready to go shopping to one of my favorite stores (CVS/Walgreens/Target/Safeway) then I'll pull up one of my favorite on-line sources to tell me what's the best of savings for that store. If you think that I do this all on my own, then you are super crazy! I certainly don't have the time to complete all of the 'match-ups' (that's what you get when there is an item on sale with a particular valid coupon) so I just let my favorite sites do that for me. There are tons of them out there including hundreds of fellow mom-blogs. I am quite particular to a few because they work for my $avings $tyle:
http://www.totallytarget.com/ (The store is self explanatory!)
http://www.southernsavers.com/ (I love this site because I can actually pull up a printable list to take with me- and I use this for CVS and Walgreens)
http://thekrazycouponlady.com:8080/category/safeway/ (Safeway is my favorite Northern California grocery store)
I then build my list and refer to their match-ups and then clip them out of my files or in many cases even "printable" coupons. Those coupons then go into a "portable" file (a blue poly expandable envelope) to take to the store along with my list. (I also store any 'clipped' coupons in this little file.) The list helps me to stay on track to save time and money. Note that the list is made based upon what I need for that particular week's meal ideas and what needs to be restocked. If there is a score of a deal on something that we regularly use, like pasta or cereal, then I'll stock up but my goal isn't to purchase enough stock for a fall-out shelter, just what we'll consume. Then off we go to the store to save! I really should track how much I save over the course of the year, but just knowing that by combining the store deals with coupons, I'm keeping more money in my pocket for my Lattes is priceless!
Here's a quick overview of coupon terms from a prior post that I did in 2009 on coupon terms:
• Manufacturer’s- these are the ones found in newspaper inserts, but also in magazines, from “blinkies” on the store shelves, and now, on the Internet, printed either from a manufacturer’s website or a merchant’s website.
• Store coupons- these are found in store circulars or on the stores’ websites. The good news about these is that they can be used in conjunction (“stacked”) with a manufacturer’s coupon to increase your savings.
• BOGO- these are “Buy One, Get One” coupons where you either get something free or at a drastically reduced price. (You can also use up to FIVE coupons on a BOGO purchase- one for the BOGO and then two manufacturer’s coupons for each item. If there is a matching store coupon- even better!)
• WYB- these are “When You Buy…., You Get….” Coupons. A popular one that most everyone sees is like a save $10 off your $30 purchase at Bath & Body Works.
• $$ Off- simply stated, they are a $ off a certain amount of purchase, mostly connected to a certain store. We religiously use the $5/ off $15 purchase at CVS! They usually print from Catalinas at checkout, or in the case of CVS, they have a special printer when you walk in the store when you scan your frequent buyers card.
• Store Member- when you sign up for a free rewards program, your prices are usually the lower price in advertised sales. (We have CVS and Safeway… and at free obviously worth the weight in gold!)
• Rebates/ Checks- Rebates are usually something that you receive after the fact, but are worth looking into as they are higher dollar amounts.
I hope that you find this helpful and can save a latte money with coupons. And also, don't be afraid of what people think- it's YOUR money! ( :