Saturday, June 20, 2009

Simple Couponing – For the Faint of Heart

I am a fan of couponing. I figure if you can save a buck or two, you should. If you can save money on groceries you’ll have more funds for shoes, right? ( – I’ll be coming to you soon…)

However, I’m definitely into “couponing-lite.” I am in awe of those bargain-divas who can get $200.00 worth of groceries for $20.00 and I am well aware of the effort they put in to score these awesome deals. Well… I don’t really have the gumption or the prowess to do this type of mega-couponing, so I keep it simple. I am also a non-confrontational wimp and don’t have the guts to stand up to bossy cashiers (those who do the CVS and WAGS deals know what I’m talking about.)

Here are my simple couponing tips:

1) Organize!

I know this is a no-brainer, but here is the method that works for me. I have a handy-dandy expandable accordion style coupon organizer. I label the little folders with basic categories: dairy items, canned goods, condiments and dressings, snacks, cereal, toiletries, medicines, cleaners/laundry and baby items.

Every Sunday I go through the inserts and cut out coupons for items that I know our family use. I toss the rest – I can’t deal with clutter – it hurts my brain. I then file them away in my organizer.

2) Keep an eye on store deals and circulars.

This is pretty simple and I’ve found it’s the most time effective way to save money on your grocery bill. Stock up on basics – utilize your freezer –plan your meals around the specials. I admit, I am not hard-core on this one – I pick the grocery store I use most and make one big trip once a week. For me, the simpler the better and one stop shopping works for me and my house.

I also like to use website that combine coupons with store deals. My favorite is You have to pay a small subscription fee, but I feel it’s worth it for a lazy couponer like me!

3)Visit the websites of your favorite products:

I’ve found this is the best way to get coupons for things like organic/natural foods, your favorite toiletries and cleaning products. Most will have a direct link to either a printable coupon or a way to request one. You can always send a complimentary e-mail; you might score a sweet coupon or sample.

4)Never pay retail for these items (the coupons are way too easy to come by):

  • Toiletries: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, toilet paper and big brand cosmetics.
  • Cleaning items (if you use name brand), if you prefer even cheaper and more natural products check out Anissa’s tips in the post below.
  • Cereal: these coupons are especially fab when combined with store specials!
  • Baby items: if you don’t see your favorite brands listed in circulars, these are extremely easy to obtain with a visit to a website or a complimentary e-mail.
  • Big brand OTC medications: if you aren’t big on the generics you can almost always find a coupon for Tylenol, Advil, Claritin, etc.
So there are a few of my “lazy couponer” tips. Even with my lack of attention to coupon detail– I always manage to save about 30-40% off my grocery bill.

I would love to hear about your favorite simple couponing tips!

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Anissa said...

Thanks for all the tips. I've really tried to get into couponing this past year and have had such a hard time with it. I just can't find coupons for the stuff I buy and if I do find them, the generic brand at the store is almost always cheaper. The one exception to that is cold cereal.

I followed the advice of some couponing tip websites and made a spreadsheet of all my staple food items and then tracked their high and low price points at my favorite grocery store. I have a pretty solid idea now of what prices are their rock bottom prices on items. When I see it hit that price now, I try and stock up. I was also able to use this info to determine if Costco had better deals on certain non-parishable items too, like canned foods, baking ingredients, crackers, toiletries, etc. Most of the time they did.
I'd love to hear any tips anyone out there has on finding more coupons.

Katie said...

I'm glad you posted this. I always get intimidated by the mega-bargainers and think that if I can't do it that way, it's not worth doing it at all. So it's nice to hear a different perspective.