I know.. you haven't heard much from me (oh wait - I said that at the beginning of my last post, huh). OK, I'll just get to it. I know I have a lot of catching you up to do... I know I've been slack. I know I have lots going on. I know you're probably wondering (maybe) what I've been up to. So... here's part of it.

I love coupons. I love being a frugal nut. I love coming home from the store and recalling item by item what I paid for things when they are a deal, and lamenting over paying too much for something - and Steve my endearing, amazing, and patient husband takes it all in. He listens half-cheerfully but always supportive. He thinks I'm nuts a good bit of the time - but I know he's grateful. I admit it. It's kinda like hunting for girls who have no desire to pick up a shotgun and go out after some buck or sweet Bambi drinking at a gentle brook. But getting a great deal?? Yeah - you name it! I'm in!!! I love it.

When I lived in Atlanta, I spent a great deal of time shopping at Kroger. I miss Kroger. But they doubled my coupons. No questions - they doubled any and every coupon I used, up to the value of 50 cents I think. They loved it. When I moved here to Oregon I was bummed - no regular double coupons. Seriously. Then...it seemed as though the coupon selection in the Sunday paper wasn't the same - smaller in fact, much smaller.

Then I was re-inspired. Chele (my coupon bud and dear friend) told me one of the girls from her small group was a coupon crazy lady (smile) and was going to talk to her group and anyone else who wanted to come hear about how she coupons and where she finds the deals. So...sure, I'll go. Disillusioned I'll check it out. I'm never going back. There's no reason. You will find deals if you look for them. So... here are a few tips -

Step 1: Buy the Sunday paper - or get someone you know to pass on their coupons to you. (I used to be able to swipe them from my parents when I lived in the ATL - I miss them, and their coupons!) Dollar Tree is a great place to get the Sunday paper btw. It's also not unusual for me to get 2-4 copies of the paper. I know that sounds nuts, but it'll make sense in a moment.

or... Step 1A: Go to Coupons.com, redplum.com and smartsource.com to select and print the coupons you'd like! Yes, you can print coupons from online. YOu can typically print 2 copies of each coupon... so easy. Also - some grocery stores allow you to store your coupons on your frequent shopper card (although I haven't done this yet).

Step 2: cut out the coupons. Seems simple enough. You actually have to cut them in order to use them. When I buy more than 1 copy of the paper, I stack like pages so that I can cut 2-4 pages at a time, vs. 1 coupon at a time from 1 page at a time (does that make sense...I hope so...just in case --- I take all the outside covers and stack them together, then cut the coupons from that page, and so on). Why would I want more than 1 coupon for something? Great question. Let's say cereal is on sale for 3/$6. Then I have $1 coupons off a box of cereal. Then I have 3 Albertson's double coupons (they can typically have in the paper 3 coupons good for a double of your coupon up to $1). OK, so following - 3 for $6 cereals - minus 3 $1 off coupons takes us to $3. But...if I add Albertson's double...guess what??? FREE CEREAL!!! WOO!HOO!! And yes, this is totally do-able and possible.

Step 3: I alphabetize my coupons by brand name and put them in an organizer. It kinda looks like a bill organizer (although you'll probably see another post about moving all my coupons to a notebook in baseball card style pages for easy access... ) Anyway - so organize the coupons with what works best for you.

Step 4: I have a a few blogs to check that are in my top sites mac spaces. This makes couponing easy for me...because this great gals go through the stores/ads and tell you the great deals to play - it makes it a lot easier, especially just starting out - so check out... frugallivingnw.com; moneysavingmom.com;thebargainjargon.com. I watch for FREE and overage deals. I watch for places where I can get a gift card back for certain purchases. Or rebate checks (Rite-Aid rebates are SOOOOO easy!)

Step 5: Make a list!! I know...seriously? Yes - going in "blind" without a plan could have you spending more $$$ than you want or need to. So I have typically have multiple lists (yeah, I've gotten to where I could make quick visits to Albertsons, Safeway, Target, Fred Meyer & Rite Aid). The reason I have my list (and take it) is sometimes stores have unadvertised sales, or close-outs at their stores that can be better than the advertised deal I'm thinking of utilizing. so...I can cross it off the list and get it for the better deal.

Step 6: Get shopping. Enjoy it! Be prepared for people to stop you and ask you how you do this. Be super super super overly kind to the check-out people. Learn their names.

What I still want to learn??? I'm still looking for the best way to get real deals on meat. That's the biggest way I haven't been able to save on a more consistent basis. Yes, I watch for sales... but... I haven't seen anything here that is great. So... does anyone know of a great meat market in Salem or a great place for good meat at a great price?? I'd love to hear.

I know this is sort of couponing by way of firehose --- a spew so to speak... but... don't get overwhelmed. Just enjoy it!! I'd be glad to help ya' out if you want to talk it through...or come over sometime and clip coupons and chat about it... I know...some of you think I'm nuts. Some of you are thinking - way cool - but no way. Some of you are ready to go to the nut house with me. I've gotten enough free or nearly free stuff to be hooked for life. So... yeah. Come join the fun.


Bex said...

Whoa this is intense, but cool. It's like a secret society or something. So cool.

I'll admit, I'd love to save some much needed money when I go pick up grocery items but my life just does not call for one more "thing". I'll start baby steps by checking out the websites you mention (I heard there are also these kinds of websites for restaurants, too) and then wait for the "crazy lady" stuff until I either graduate or work part-time!

Oh and I noticed you never mentioned Winco...do they have coupons and stuff?

Still, I love your step by step how-to! Genius!

Michelle said...

Most honestly --- never done Winco. Never even walked in the doors. (I know...peeps across Oregon are passing out!) But...from what I hear, I can get better deals from doing these things...but do they have good deals on Meat?? Might be worth a trip on occasion! =) And yes...baby steps... definitely baby steps. OH - Restaurants --- I'll have to post about that - restaurants.com does gift certificates at cheaper prices - don't know about the Salem restaurants as much though... you know... =)

kyalamode said...

Winco has a GREAT meat and fish selection for very reasonable prices! And their staff are super knowledgeable (even know Scott as he approaches now). They will cut whatever we want, and always tells us what just arrived the same day (if freshness is a big deal to you... like fish). Also, we buy bulk at Costco, then come home and cut or seperate into individual freezer bags (and you can wrap in freezer paper if you know you won't use it in the next month or so to maintain freshness). ALSO, great tip, instead of buying individual steaks, buy a big ol' chunk of beef (roast or whatever) and cut your own steaks. We recently bought a rib roast for $16 and got 6 ribeye steaks out of it. (And big steaks... not weenie ones.) You just gotta learn how to trim it up - super easy. So we got each ribeye (probably between 12 and 16 oz each) for $2.67 a piece, as opposed to the $10 or so they charge already cut. Booya! You can do the same with fish... But a whole fish and fillet it yourself. (Just gotta have a great fillet knife.)

Anonymous said...

I'm just so glad you are blogging again...yay!!! You are awesome friend! ~Jennifer

alishmali said...

woohoo!! I'm glad i'm learning the way of the coupon from you and Chele :)


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