Friday, December 6, 2013

Start Coupon Shopping With These Great Basic Tips

I know this is not a new topic, but I thought I would share some tips I have learned through trial and error when it comes to grocery shopping.

First the subject of using coupons:
  • Clip coupons for items you would normally use and/or are for items you would really love to try!
  •  Keep your coupons organized! Get a ready made Coupon Organizer or make your own.
                  -To make your own, simply buy a check organizer at any stationary store and place
                    dividers according to food categories
                - I use a ton of coupons, so mine are kept in a binder. A standard 3 ring binder works great, but a zippered one is best.
  • Keep in mind most grocery stores will Double your coupons provided the face value is .99 or less
  • Weed out old coupons weekly. You don't want to get "caught" trying to use an expired coupon!
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT always cheaper to use a coupon!
What? Not always cheaper to use a coupon?
That leads us to part two - Grocery Store circulars;
  • Do not throw them away!
  • Compare prices if you have more than one in your area.
  • Keep a list as you are going through the circular. Write down the bargains at each store. Mark with a "C" those you also have a coupon for!
  • Plan your week's menus around this circular.
Sounds like a ton of work, doesn't it? At first it really can be! But as you get to know your store's sales habits (yes most do offer sales on items in cycles), it gets a bit easier. My nearest grocery store has a fantastic sale on Deli cheese once a month. We buy a month's worth at that time.
I mentioned a list before. This is vital! You should keep a master list at all times. This master list will have the items you need to purchase every week, such as milk on it. Then another list posted on the fridge is a great idea. Jot down items you are running low on. When you are going through your circulars you can transfer these items along with the great sale items onto one list you will bring with you to the store.
For help with lists, there are many websites that feature free printable grocery lists and blank menus.
My last tip for today- Reduced and Generic items........
Reduced for Quick Sale-
  •  I will buy many items here. Bakery items such as rolls and bagels can be frozen until used.
  •  Also some veggies and fruit can be a great deal, if you will use them quickly, bake with them, or can freeze them
  • Meats can be a great deal too. I recently found boneless, skinless chicken breast for about1.19/lb. I bought 4 packages and promptly froze them.
Generic Items
Some will scoff at the idea of this, I know. However, do you take generic prescriptions? Of course you do-when you can! Because you trust this is the same medication as the major brand, right? Same with food. Actually some generics are even better. There is a store brand of Raisin Bran I buy that has twice as many Raisins as any major brand.
A great many times a generic product will actually cost LESS than a major brand when using a doubled coupon for that brand name.
As proof to this way of shopping, when we bought our house I had a major shopping to do. Three people and we needed everything down to salt! I bought enough groceries for a week and a half, all pantry staples, 2 24 pack rolls of toilet tissue, garbage bags (6 boxes) , 9 rolls of Paper Towels, and cleaning supplies, as well as all those condiments for under $100.00!
Give it a try! Other than a little bit of time, what have you got to lose?

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