So yeah I’m a couponer :-/….Don’t judge me cuz I’m awesome lol but seriously I’ve been couponing for a little over a year now and I gotta say it’s pretty legit. It all started when the hubby was watching “extreme couponing” (of course) and was like, “hey babe, you should totally do that, you’d be amazing at it.” to which I replied, “well obviously i’d be amazing at it but no, those people are freaks.” After some thought though I decided, wtf, why not just try it out? So I did and at first it was way too time consuming and difficult to keep up with so I modified my strategy and now I have a picture perfect method. My original “stock pile” as couponers call it was ginormous. Too ginormous actually so I started bringing all of it to a church that a lot of my good friends go to. They put up a sign, “Jenni’s 99cent Store” lol and people would take what they need, putting a dollar in a little jar to help cover my costs so I could buy more shiz. Sooooo then I had no stock pile because I enjoyed giving my stuff away so much that it was all gone and then I got kinda tied up with the holiday season so couponing got put on the back burner. A few weeks ago I started up again, this is my pile thus far, not bad ;-D Anyways I’ll share my weekly method real quick in case anyone is interested in trying couponing out:
So typically on Friday or Saturday I go to this website: http://www.couponmom.com/. I very occasionally go for the grocery store deals because what’s cheap or free is stuff I don’t really eat. I always check out the drugstore deals and more specifically I look at CVS, Walgreens, and Target. I’ve just found these places work best for me and have what I like to use. I look at Coupon Mom’s lists, isolate all of the deals that come out to $1 or less, then print out the list. I then go back to the list online and see if I need to print out any coupons because sometimes the deals require a printed coupon, this is especially true of target deals. I then flip through all of my coupon booklets from previous weeks to find the coupons I need for this week’s sale. I clip all of the newspaper and printed coupons. Sunday morning, when the new paper comes, I also pull out any coupons I need for the sales and clip them. Now I usually try to tackle the coupon run that Sunday because this is the first day of all of the drugstore sales. If you wait too long, many sale items are already cleaned off the shelves from other couponers, like me haha, so it’s best to get in there quick and get what’s on your list.
For CVS you’ll need a CVS card. Deals that give CVS rewards pretty much always have limits so you may only be able to purchase one or two of the same item to get the rewards back. Rewards are like store credit and can be used for future purchases. I’ve found they typically expire about a month from when they’re printed.
Walgreens is a little different. They do not have a customer card but instead offer rewards per transaction. This means that you can get reward money back as many times as you want but if you have 20 coupons, you’re going to have to do 20 separate transactions. Also, if you get reward money back (which is actually a manufacturer’s coupon) from a particular sale item, you cannot use that same coupon towards that same item in a separate transaction. This means if the schick razor was on sale for $5.99 and you received a $5 rewards print out, you cannot use that $5 reward on another schick razor that is on sale for $5.99 that same week, even if it’s in another transaction. If they repeat the same exact sale the next week, you can use the rewards cash because the new week resets all of the sales. UPDATE: Important to mention, can’t believe I forgot! Because rewards print outs are equal to manufacturer coupons, they require 1 item per reward coupon during checkout. This means that if you are in the checkout line with 5 items, 5 coupons for each item, and 3 rewards print outs your number of coupons technically outnumbers your number of items because TECHNICALLY you have 8 coupons. This means you need to grab 3 extra knick-knacks like little 33 cent caramels or 25 cent pencils. Sometimes you can find these little cheapy items around the store. If you don’t have one item per coupon/reward, you will not be able to use the reward so this is very important! Rewards usually expire about two weeks from when they’re printed. Hopefully this makes sense! I had to learn all of this the hard way so it’s good to pass along the information!
Now Target is awesome because they accept a target coupon as well as a manufacturer’s coupon. Many target coupons can be printed off of their website here: http://coupons.target.com/. Some also come in the mail and some can be found in the newspaper with all of the other ads and coupons. Target is easy because you don’t have to bother with rewards. Sometimes they will have sales where if you buy a certain item you receive a free $5 gift card which is awesome because it’s not complicated at all. It’s $5, it doesn’t expire, and it can be used towards any item for any purchase.
So there’s the low down. Couponing can be very intimidating at first. I was so confused when I started but now I’ve got a sort of rhythm and system down that works really well for me. If you’re wondering where to start, sign up for a newspaper like Orange County Register or LA Times. I personally receive the LA Times and was able to get a deal where it only costs me $10 a year for the Sunday paper only service. I subscribe to 3 copies so every sunday I get 3 copies of every coupon. It’s good to have at least have two copies since many deals are “buy 2 for $5” and whatnot. Good luck couponing! :-D