It is 1:43 a.m. I am seated on the floor of my office, laptop on a stool, and I have surrounded myself with printable coupons, newspaper coupons, I am scouring my email, Gmail, RSS feeds and bookmarked sites for coupons and advertised deals. Ooohh, and non-advertised deals. Oh man … my eyes are blurry, my throat is dry, but I just need to make sure I have everything sorted and organized and mapped out for my shopping trip tomorrow.
I have recently entered the world of couponing (cringe – I loathe that word – I hope it doesn’t win a spot in the dictionary because it doesn’t exactly dance off the tongue). And true to my nature I am not just going to dabble in … couponing…. (shivers) – I am going to dive in head-first and sprint to the finish. I bought a big binder – on clearance, of course – got the baseball card holders to separate the coupons, only to abandon those for the much more useful plastic currency holders, and have spent countless hours clipping, printing, cutting and sorting coupons.
In my head, cutting coupons always made me think of that scene from Mr. Mom where they play poker with grocery coupons – sadly, it’s nothing like that. After two months of cutting coupons I have cut my grocery bill in half, so it must be working right?
Using coupons does work, but with the caveat that you better know what you are doing. There are different coupon policies for different stores, and even within different states – did you know that the state of Florida doesn’t double coupons (figures, since this is where I live)?
To truly use coupons the way the pros do doesn’t mean just waltzing into your local grocery or big box store with five or six coupons and expecting to get your normal cart-full of groceries for a family of six, but for $100 less than usual; it means to have every shopping trip planned to the penny, and bringing a detailed list along with your sorted manufacturer and store coupons. Now, I am a black and white thinker by nature – all or nothing – go big or go home – but it doesn’t have to be that way (I am told this applies to all areas of life, but I am still skeptical).
This series will show you that an Untrained Housewife approach to using coupons is possible. I’ll share what’s working for me – use what works for you and if it doesn’t, then just go back to lining your cat litter pans with the Sunday coupons.
Stay tuned for my advice on outsourcing, stockpiling, price lists and store strategies!!