Thursday, April 10, 2014

How I Coupon

I go by my father-in-law's guiding coupon principle:  it's only a good coupon bargain if you were going to buy that item anyway.
Ergo, I clip coupons for things I am likely to buy.  I am not brand-loyal to mass-produced things because there's rarely a locally-produced alternative, so I just try to get the best bargain.  We try to eat local food, and there aren't usually coupons for that.

The only sorting I do is keeping food and non-food coupons separate.  I keep my time on coupons to a minimum.  Most of the coupons I clip actually expire before I use them, but sometimes I hit a big deal with coupons, so I don't mind clipping and keeping them just in case.

Every day on the school walk, we pass a national chain drugstore on the way.  It's very convenient, although I do use a small local pharmacy (also 2 blocks away) when we have prescriptions.   So I watch the store circular and match up coupons to its store sales for toiletries.

For example, recently there was a sale on Tom's items at 2 for $8 and then you got a $2 store gift certificate. I had a $2 coupon for Tom's. I bought a deodorant and two bars of soap for $6, minus the store gift certificate, which brings it to a $2 deodorant and two $1 bars of soap.

I also bought Tresemme 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and hairspray, a brand I have never used.  I bought it because there was a sale, a coupon, and a store gift certificate, bringing my total cost to $1.

To put it simply, I paid $4.54 for a Tom's deodorant, 2 bars of Tom's soap, Tresemme shampoo/conditioner, and Tresemme hairspray. I think that's a great deal!

The store gift certificates, totaling $5 from both purchases, will be used to buy things that don't go on sale very often.

Most stores have their weekly sale flyer/circular online.  However, I also get the "guts" (as my dad says) of the Sunday newspaper from my parents.  They aren't interested in the coupons and circulars, and I'm not interested in the so-called "news."  We've had this arrangement for several years now.

Talk to me about how you coupon, please.


Zoë said...

Here's how I do it:

If I happen to see a coupon for something that I would normally buy, I'll clip it and try to remember to use it. Otherwise, count me out of the couponing game. It makes me twitch just thinking about it!

Julian said...

I try to clip only coupons ill use. Im not brand loyal except on yogurt. I also look thru the sales ads for Walgreen, and use the coupons I have for toiletries that might be on sale.
I do not have the genius to clip coupons like the people on tv. Lol . I do stock up if there's a super sale.

Rozy Lass said...

We don't take a daily (or Sunday) paper anymore so the only coupons I use are the store coupons that come in local flyers. I did coupons about like you do. I only cut out those for things I regularly buy. I save money in many other ways.

Anonymous said...

I'm about the same with coupons, I clip what I'm pretty sure I'll buy and then try to remember to use them. My daughter has 2 children of her own (16 and 11) but is also a foster parent and has 2 littles right now. I try to clip coupons that I think she could use for the babies and pass them along. If she doesn't, then the only waste is a couple minutes of my time.

What I've been trying to remember to do is save the rest of the coupons in an envelope and pass them along to the local food bank. The food bank can either use them when purchasing supplies or pass them along to clients. Again, a couple of minutes of time is all it takes. Oh - and a good memory to use or distribute - but that's another story!
Chris S in Canada

momma-lana said...

Our Sunday paper doubled in price a few years ago so I stopped buying it and I have not missed those coupons. My coupons come entirely from online printables. If I see a good coupon for something that we regularly use I print it. I don't cut them out unless I find a sale to match them and use them which is actually quite often. I turn the paper and print on the back side if the coupon(s) on the front expire before I can use them. I do not play the drugstore game because we use only natural personal care products that are mostly mail order. Since we are empty nesters I have to guard against overbuying even if something is free since I don't want to waste food. We do what we can local but I keep a very good stockpile of what I do buy at the grocery store so that I rarely pay full price for any of those things.

jenny_o said...

I clip coupons only for the things we use, too, and do not buy until I'm almost out of the current lot, so sometimes the coupons expire before I need that thing.

Where we live, the sales on most things seem to follow a cycle - every six weeks, maybe? I'm guessing - but often enough that I can often wait and buy things like toiletries and OTC meds on sale. As for food items, I try to buy whatever meat is on sale abd plan around it, since it's the most expensive part of a meal.

Our grocery chain has a points rewards program, and in exchange for our registration information, they track purchases and send coupons or offer points based on what we typically buy. There is a catch, though. Often you have to buy two or three of the item, or it's a bulk size that costs a lot. The points are redeemable at the register, and it's easy to figure out how much they're worth, so I always do the calculation to see if it's worth buying more of something - that we'll use eventually - to get those points. Usually it's not - imagine that :) But sometimes it is, so it's worth the quick math.

Shauna said...

When I was little, it seemed my Mom & Grandma (& other ladies) used lots of coupons. They were everywhere, including clear bins at grocery stores for trading/take or leave some. Now they don't seem to be as common. I come across some, and clip the ones I think I'll use. Used combined with a sale, one can get a great deal. I still write good old fashioned letters in the mail to both my Mom & Gma, and they both live in a city and seem to acquire more than me. So, if they see ones they think I may use, myself having a young family, they clip them and pop them in the envelope the next time they are sending a letter. I use the odd one, and recycle the rest usually.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Margo, I coupon each grocery shoppihng day.. I buy the Sunday paper, most weeks. But, I only cut out coupons that I think we will use. I also get a lot of my coupons on line. I also comp ad , at my local wal mart.. Over all with coupons and comp adding.. I save about 35-40 percent.. I also, do the chain pharmacy for their sale items. I have a pantry and I stock up on what's on sale..
enjoyed the post..

Margo said...

Judy, what is comp ad?

Where do you all get your coupons online?

AmyK said...

Same here as far as only using coupons for things I was planning on buying. I will never forget my mother's wisdom when grocery shopping and I would see some snack or sweet cereal on sale (and same idea applies to a coupon) and I would say "look, Mom, it's on sale, we'll save $___." And she would say, "I know how we can save even more: by not buying it." I really disliked that response as a kid, but I hear her saying that to me when I shop now. :)

Samantha said...

I'm bad. I almost never coupon, unless coupon codes online count.