How I Coupon: Update

Ten months ago I first wrote a post on my couponing process and how I coupon. I used to clip coupons every Sunday and file them away by type/product, but I have since changed my ways. I still wouldn’t call myself an extreme couponer by any means. I mostly stick to the produce, meats, and dairy sections of the store which we all know coupons are few and far between on those items, but we all need staples. I buy canned tomatoes when they are on sale along with rice, beans, snacks and frozen foods. These are always best to buy with coupons and on sale. I try to anticipate my needs, but since I cook such a wide variety of foods there are always items that I’m going to be buying without coupons or sales. I figure if I get about 75% of the items in a recipe on sale then I’m doing pretty well.

When making my grocery list every week I check the meat sales first. This is the most expensive part of the meal so I always consult both the store ad and my freezer stock to see what type of recipes I should be looking for. Once I have narrowed down what types of meats we are going to eat that week I start to look at recipes while surveying my pantry, fridge, and freezer for what ingredients I have that match up to recipes I want to make. Most coupon and deal websites will distinguish what they think are the best deals in the ad with a star, check mark, or some other symbol. I rely on the experts to know if it is a good price and I also look for recipes that use these super sale ingredients. I make all my lists in Google Drive so I am able to access them on any of my devices. I put them together on my computer and pull my list up on my phone when I get to the store. I always try to put my ingredients in the order I would get them in the store to make it easy on myself, but occasionally I will stop at a different store and get all kinds of confused.

Since starting this blog I have stopped clipping coupons. Instead I keep a large file folder and have about 15-20 sub folders inside. Each Sunday I take all the ads without even looking through them and stick them in a new folder labeled with that day’s date. It isn’t until the end of the week that I clip my coupons. While going through and making my list for the week I will make a note next to items that will be in my coupon folder. For example (SS 9/19/12) tells me I will find the coupon for that item in the September 19th Smart Source. After about 5-6 months all coupons should be expired from your inserts and you can begin to recycle them.

A typical shopping week in my house looks like this

Sunday:

  • File coupon inserts in a folder labeled with the date

Tuesday:

  • Come up with meals based on sales
  • Make list while consulting ad and make note of coupon match up
  • Print any coupons that are online

Wednesday:

  • Check the unadvertised deals and add any to my list that I may want/need

Thursday or Friday:

  • Before going to the store grab my coupon file and clip the coupons that match my list
  • I also go into coupon database and check to see if there are any coupons for items not on sale (i.e. if I need 2 cans of tomato sauce I will search for coupons and clip those) Once I get to the store I will check to see if it is cheaper to buy the name brand with the coupon or just buy generic.

My two favorite couponing and deal sites are Southern Savers and Addicted to Saving, but there are tons more out there. Use whichever one works best for you. Both of the ones I suggested come out with the Publix ad in advance. A typical ad will start on Wednesday or Thursday depending on your area (FL is Thurs). These ladies both will have the ad up by Tuesday which is when I make my list for the upcoming ad. They will then post an unadvertised deals post on Wednesday were I update my list if necessary. Usually I do my grocery shopping on Friday.

Although it sounds like quite the process it is really the quickest method that I have tried. What methods have you tried? What works best for you?

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