Times are tough all over, the news tells us that the economy is recovering, but as a middle-class American family we don’t see it. This past summer my wife lost her job and with it, our second income. We had to seriously look at our budget to see where we could save a few bucks. Like many other families, food is a large part of our budget. It’s hard enough just trying to get food and supplies for the week, let alone put away stuff for prep. I needed to find a way that I could buy groceries for the week as well as items for our short term food supply.
Not long after, we were invited to a BBQ at a friends house. While noticing the really nice ribs they had prepared, I had to ask how they managed financially since they made less than us. Our friend proceeded to tell us that her and her boyfriend struggled for a long time so they started couponing to make ends meet. What really surprised me is when she told me that the ribs we were eating were pretty much free. Needless to say, I didn’t need much convincing after that. My OCD kicked in and for the next several weeks I was determined to master the art of couponing.
This article is pretty long. I suggest bookmarking it so you have it as a reference! Don’t forget to share it with a friend.
If you ask 10 couponers how they work their magic, you will probably get 11 different answers. This article is about how I did it and the results that I got. After 6 months of trial and error, we have achieved our food storage goals without changing our budget. I strongly suggest you use our experience as a guideline and develop a saving strategy that work for your family.
- Join several couponing groups on Facebook! Social media is an excellent source for finding hot deals.
- Get a binder and plastic inserts for your coupons. The least expensive inserts I found were on Amazon. Walmart was twice as expensive.
- Set up a new Gmail account just for couponing! Trust me, you will get hundreds of emails a day and you do not want all this going to your regular email address.
- Download these apps for your phone! You will be surprised the extra money you get back.
- Ibotta – I use this app a lot. Scan your register receipt when you get home and redeem points for cash.
- Favado – I use this app to find the best price for an item. For example, I can search the price for chicken breast and it will tell me who has it on sale. Pretty cool.
- Checkout51 – Works just like Ibotta. I don’t use this one as much, but you can try it.
- Coupons – Used to print coupons from my phone
- Use a new browser for all your couponing activities. I normally use FireFox for all my regular browsing but I didn’t want to load up my bookmarks with couponing sites. I also didn’t want all the browser add-ons that come with couponing slowing down my regular browser. I downloaded Google Chrome and I use that solely for couponing. *NOTE: Take advantage of the form auto-complete, this will come in handy.
- Set your printer to print in Black & White! Couponing uses a lot of ink.
I don’t use many couponing sites, mainly because I can’t keep up with them all. Here is a list of the ones that I use.
- CouponDivas.com – I like this site because it gives me weekly matchups for the stores near me. Saves me the trouble of looking through all the circulars and matching deals up.
- TheKrazyCouponLady.com – Awesome site, sign up for their emails. This is where I find a lot of the FREEBIES.
There only a few main sites that offer printable coupons themselves. You will have to download toolbars and stuff. This is why I suggested using a different browser.
There are also hundreds of band name websites like PGeveryday.com. These sites usually have links to their Facebook and Twitter pages where you can get offers.
As far as clipping coupons from newspapers, I really don’t do it. I purchase my coupons from a coupon clipping service, it just makes sense to me. You can find clipping services everywhere. Ask people in the Facebook groups who they use.
My Weekly Process – How it Works
As I mentioned earlier in the article, there was a lot of trial and error. This is the weekly process I go through, I find it simple and time-saving. The first few weeks that I started, I found myself spending 2 hours at the grocery store, today I’m in and out in 30 minutes.
- Wednesday is when all the new circulars and sales start. I will search all the match-up websites to see what deals are near me. I make a shopping list of all the items I want to buy and the coupons that I need. Sometimes you can just print the coupons, other times you may have to purchase them from a coupon clipping service.
- Order any coupons you need from the clipping service. Please make sure that you do this early, you want to make sure you get them in the mail before the sale or coupon expires!
- Sunday morning is my shopping day. I usually get all the coupons I ordered in the mail by Saturday. Sunday mornings are usually stocked up from the evening before and people like to sleep late.
That’s it. After 6 months of careful planning, my wife and I were able to build a 3-month food supply without making a dent in our budget. It took a lot of work and some weeks, I did make mistakes. The secret is to keep it up and learn as much as you can from others. Join groups, talk with friends, networking is the key to success. Good Luck and Share this with frugal friends!