August 6, 2012

How To: Create a Couponing System


I must admit I feel like quite the coupon fiend.

When I went grocery shopping with coupons two weeks ago, I got enough food within our budget to eat on for two whole weeks! I stretched the $58 I spent on groceries far!

While I didn't buy groceries last week, I did clip coupons for free school supplies. Seeing as I have no current need for school supplies, we donated the free items [three glue sticks and two really nice pens] to a local school teacher.

Now that I've been buying newspapers and collecting coupons for a little over a month, I needed a system to organize my coupons. The stack of circulars on my dining table was growing and getting out of hand.

My weapon of choice for organizing my tower of coupons? A file folder system.
My coupon filing system!
I gave each coupon circular its own tab. So, in my file folder, I have individual tabs for: SmartSource, RedPlum and P&G. You'll find SmartSource and RedPlum on a weekly basis while P&G comes out monthly.

In the Sunday paper, some stores like Publix and Target will put out store coupons. I made another individual tab for store coupons.

My next tab is labeled "Other." This tab is for coupon circulars that don't come out regularly. For example, in last Sunday's paper, General Mills put out a coupon circular for their items. It now lies in the "Other" tab.

Lastly, I have a "Restaurant" tab. I have coupons for meals at various restaurants like Red Lobster and Shane's Rib Shack stowed in this section. Let me tell you, these coupons are date night gold! Nothing like getting one nice meal and the other free. With these coupons, you can actually afford to go to a movie with the money you save on food.

Every Sunday night, I sit down and write the date at the top of every coupon circular I get. Next, I draft my weekly menu/grocery list around what is on sale this coming week. Personally, I use CouponMom.com which can break down deals based on the percentage that you save. Also personally, I don't get a deal that will save me less than 50 percent.

When I find a deal that I like, I write down the specific name of the product, what store to get it at, what the coupon value is and what circular I can find it in. Once my list is complete, I go through the circulars and clip out the coupons I need.

Of course, sometimes there is a deal for an item that I need like milk or dog food for Bentley, our Yorkie. At this point, I go through ALL my circulars again looking for these specific items. Last night, I was able to find a $1 off coupon for Iams dog food. While it might not make much of a dent on a $12 bag of dog food, it's still a dollar off something I'd have to pay full price for anyway.

What were my results this week? Here is my receipt.

Coupons and all, I spent exactly $40. However, I purchased $62.91 worth of food. My total savings as you can see above was $22.91.

The deals I am most proud of? I got two jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce for $1.38, a can of Gillette shaving gel for $1 and two Colgate toothbrushes for $1.58.

Happy Couponing!
Miranda
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