• Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tips

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    Supermarkets lure us in with coupons and sales, but once we’re inside…POW!…they hit us with the old one-two for a checkout aisle KO. Ultimately, it pays to keep your mental dukes up when you’re in the ring, but first you have to know the rules.

    Here are nine tricks supermarkets like to spring on consumers to encourage overspending, along with ways you can overcome them.

    1. Something smells really good.
    The bombardment starts as soon as the front door swings open. Those mouth-watering smells emanate from the nearby bakery or deli, enticing you to buy the more expensive prepared foods.

    The rule, as you’ve often heard, is to never shop on an empty stomach.

    2. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
    Ever notice how the things you need most frequently are the furthest away from the door? That’s intentional; supermarkets guide you through aisles of the most attractive foods, hoping you’ll give in to impulse buys.

    If you only need one item, it’s actually cheaper in the long run to shop at a small market where you’ll be less tempted to buy unneeded items.

    3. End caps aren’t your friend.
    End caps are the shelving units at the end of each aisle, where supermarkets place “sale” items that aren’t always that cheap. They’re counting on our preference to avoid heading down an aisle, so we’ll just grab an end-cap item that seems reasonably priced.

    Don’t give in; wait until you can comparison shop midst the appropriate aisle.

    4. Bend and stretch your way to better prices.
    Manufacturers pay big bucks for prime real estate, usually at adult eye level or, in the case of products marketed specifically to children, on the lower shelves. These corporations shell out extra cash because they know we’re more likely to buy something we can see easily.

    Before you grab the first item you see, take a moment to scan the entire shelf and make sure you’re truly getting a good deal.

    5. Losing with loss leaders.
    There’s a reason supermarkets advertise such cheap prices on milk, bread and other basics. These under-priced items are known as loss leaders because the supermarket is willing to take a loss to bait you into the store, where they’ll make up the difference with more purchases.

    There’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of loss leaders; just don’t let it rule which store you shop and what you buy.

    6. BOGO can be a no-go.
    Deals that offer “seven for $5.50″ are designed to confuse shoppers who aren’t quick with the mental calculator. The same trick applies to the now popular 10 for $10 game making the supermarket rounds.

    Bulk buying can be cost effective, but there are a number of variables to consider. You can fool grocery stores at their own game by checking the unit price for competing products and selecting the one that truly offers the best deal.

    7. Expensive eye candy.
    Product packaging is usually mind-bogglingly bright, featuring plenty of yellows and reds because these colors attract our eyes. Between this visual whirl and the bright store lights, grocery shopping can lead to migraines.

    Buying generic brands is one of many ways to combat escalating food prices. Before grabbing the first item that attracts your eyes, look for less-gaudy house brands and compare unit prices.

    8. Super sized can equal undervalue.
    Bigger isn’t always better, particularly when a manufacturer increases package size while hitting the contents with a shrink ray. This practice has become particularly popular in recent years since you’re not really expected to check whether a box or can is full.

    Give it a shake or visually compare product contents.

    9. The checkout stand is a supermarket’s last chance.
    The checkout aisle is akin to its own mini mart, featuring all kinds of impulse buys. Supermarkets know we’re a captive audience, so they squeeze in everything and anything that might grab your attention and add to the final bill.

    Distract yourself by reviewing your grocery list, a tangible reminder that everything you need is already in your cart.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer: Day 10!

    Did you miss Day One-Nine? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days!

    Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!


    Wow, can you believe we have reached the last day of our series? This means after today’s lesson you will officially be an EXTREME COUPONER! So what is the last day’s contents, what could be so important to earn the last day’s spot, what could be the last step in making you an extreme couponer?

    Learning to save money WITHOUT coupons!

    That’s right, sometimes you are not going to have coupons. Also, there are other things that you can do to save your family money everyday! Here are a few tips from ESM on how to save other than coupons.

    Consigning- This is really an important way to save in our house. I am a huge advocate of consigning our child’s clothes & our own, shopping consignment sales & local thrift stores before buying something new. If you have never been one to consign your clothes, you are missing out on a great way to recoup your money. Lots of our budget is spent clothing your family, many clothes go unworn or barely used. Be sure to find a consignment shop or sale in your area and get involved, you will be very pleased.

    Clearance- The clearance section is in almost every store you shop, you just may not know it. A simple rule of thumb to find these sections is usually they are located in the back of the store, that way you have to travel through all of the full priced items to get to the clearance. Don’t forget you can use coupons on clearance items at most stores, so take advantage!

    Price comparing- This is a no-brainer but when you are shopping without coupons be sure to compare prices of the items you are buying. Look at the price and the size and determine what is the best deal.

    Limit Shopping Trips- One couponer once said, “I stopped couponing because it was costing me an arm and a leg!” In this case, she was doing the “deals” every day of the week, and shopping that much will definitely blow your budget. Make ONE TRIP a week to your stores and do your couponing. Try and limit it to one trip each week, otherwise you will find yourself in the same position as mentioned above.

    Saving while Eating out- Of course eating in is always the best choice, but sometimes you have to take a break and enjoy a family meal out. How do you save when you don’t have a coupon for the restaurant?

    • Drinks- Order water. It is as simple as that. You will save yourself upwards of $12 for a family of four just by ordering water instead of soda.
    • Skip the appetizer- Most restaurants offer bread or salad anyways, or you can choose an entree that offers a side salad.
    • Kids meals- Wow, this is where restaurants can hike your bill. Be sure to pay attention to how expensive these are, most of the time it will blow your mind. I always choose for my daughter to share with me, most of the time mine has too much food anyways.

    These are just some of my suggestions on saving money other than using coupons, however articles are posted every week here on EasternShoreMom.com on how to become more frugal.

    I have truly enjoyed writing this series, I hope it has helped some of you along your couponing journey. Be sure to revisit each lesson, I have also added a EXTREME COUPONING tab to the top of ESM so you can refer back to these often.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 9

    April 28, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Did you miss Day One-Eight? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days!

    Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    So all is well with couponing, but what happens when the store has ran out of the item you are trying to buy? Especially with so many new couponers on the scene, stores are sure to run out of an item before you can buy it, what then?

    Get a Rain Check

    This is such an important lesson when becoming an extreme couponer. You WILL find an item that a store is out of or doesn’t have enough of all the time. It becomes frustrating when you have spent time preparing a trip and the store is out of the item. Don’t get discouraged, take it in stride and GET A RAIN CHECK!

    What is a rain check? This is a slip of paper you can get from a manager or the customer service desk that will ensure you get the sale price of this item when it comes back in stock. Usually rain checks will have an expiration date of 30 days from the time it is written.

    Tips for using rain checks

    • While shopping, if you see an item is out write it down on your list. This way you don’t forget to get your rain check before you leave.
    • GET YOUR RAIN CHECKS BEFORE YOU CHECKOUT. I have waiting before & I always forget because I am so focused on checking out, then walk out of the store without getting them.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for multiples of the same item, if you need to purchase 4 ask for the rain check to say “4″
    • My coupon is about to expire! Be sure to tell the customer service or manager that you have a coupon for this item that is going to expire. Usually my stores will jot a note down to allow me to use that coupon, even though it is expired, when I return. .

    Most all stores offer rain checks, but be sure to go to your local store and ask if they offer these services. Also, don’t lose them. Keep them with the rest of your coupons in a special section so you know where they are when you need to use them.

    Tomorrow will be the LAST LESSON in the How to Become an Extreme Couponer series, that means you all will graduate and be able to call yourselves EXTREME COUPONERS! So be sure to tune in tomorrow, the last lesson is one you won’t want to miss.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 8

    April 27, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Did you miss Day One-Seven? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer!Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days!

    Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    The last day of our series we took it pretty easy, and went over where to find online local deals & daily deal sites. Since it was a Friday I didn’t want to burry you guys with information over the weekend. Well, your break is over! We are kicking off this week’s lessons with a good one for Day 8, how to organize your store trips. This is the point of the lesson where you have already learned how to use the coupons, now let’s figure out how to make it easy while using them.

    Organizing Your Trips

    Being successful at organizing your trips is going to make a HUGE difference in your couponing. It will be the deciding factor of if this is a burden for you or a hobby. Couponing is a hobby for me, it is fun & exciting, much thanks to the way I organize my trips:

    {Before You Leave}

    1. Clip ALL your coupons
    2. Organize coupons by which items you are buying, group same category coupons together. Then put them all inside an envelope to carry with you.
    3. Make a LIST of all the items you are purchasing, along with the amount of the coupon you have that goes with that item. This will help you while in the store know what your final price is. You can also make a list online using your grocery store’s website. Many of them have a “make a list” option when you view their weekly ad.
    4. At the bottom of you list, TOTAL THE AMOUNT OF COUPONS YOU HAVE. That way, when you check out when you see the total after coupons you can make sure enough was taken off the pre-coupon total.

    {In the Store}

    1. When in the store, be sure to PICK UP THE STORE AD right when you walk in. This will help you while you shop and ensure you are getting the correct sale items. Sometimes specific ounces of items are on sale and you want to make sure you are grabbing the right one.
    2. Be sure to look out for coupons within the store, also ask the customer service desk if they have any coupon books that are behind the counter.
    3. When buying an item, make sure there isn’t a “bonus” option. For instance a bottle of Shout with a FREE color catcher attached or a box of pasta with a Peelie coupon on the front that you can buy instead of just getting the plain item.

    {Checking Out}

    1. Pick a lane that doesn’t have a lot of people in it, preferably. If someone gets in line behind you, let them know before they start setting out their items on the belt that you have coupons, A LOT OF COUPONS. That way if they are in a hurry they can move to another line.
    2. Watch the screen as the items are ringing up to make sure prices are coming up correctly. Computer make mistake so you need to watch them.

    {Applying Coupons}

    1. Hand over your coupons to the cashier in a special way to make sure nothing is missed:
      1. $$/$$ off coupons
      2. FREE Product Coupons (be sure to write down the price of the item so you can help the cashier with these)
      3. Store Coupons
      4. Manufacturer Coupons
    2. Be sure to watch the screen as the coupons are being applied. If your store doubles, you want to make sure your coupons are doubling properly.  Sometimes coupons will ring up wrong and if you are paying attention you will catch it and they can fix it easily.

    If you follow these steps to organizing your trips, this should make it less of a headache and more of a passion. Couponing shouldn’t feel like work, it should feel like a game (a very fun, money saving game). I am sure there will be steps that you improve to make it your own, and that is great! Find out ways that makes couponing fit into your schedule & life instead of altering your routine to fit in couponing. Give it a few weeks and a few trips, but when you find your groove it will come natural and you will enjoy it!

    Do you have a way you organize your trips that is different from above? Help the new comers and share in the comment section below!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 7

    Did you miss Day One-Six? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days! Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    So days 1-6 we focused pretty much on how to coupon on your grocery & drugstore items. We hit the first 6 days pretty hard, so since it is Friday today’s lesson is going to be a little lighter. Here are some places online that with just a simple sign-up can save you BIG TIME!

    Daily Deal Sites

    These are sites that have specific sections with local deals for the area you live closest to. You can find all sorts of deals here like half-off gift certificates to restaurants, stores, services (like oil changes, car wash, etc.), or events. They also have nationwide deals like for Redbox, Fandango Movie Tickets, Bath & Body Works, etc.  Here are my favorite daily deal sites that you can click & sign up for, you WANT to sign up for these I promise:

    Groupon- When you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you get $10 in Groupon bucks to spend.

    My Favorite Deal: 5 Blockbuster Blue Box Rentals for $2

    Living Social- Get $5 in deal bucks when you are a new sign up. When you refer a friend you get $5 in deal bucks (no purchase necessary). Also, if you buy a deal & you share it with three of your friends who purchase it as well you will get your deal FREE!

    My Favorite Deal: $25 Amazon.com Gift Card for $10

    Family Finds- When you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you get $10 in Family Find bucks to spend.

    My Favorite Deal: $5 Starbucks Gift Card for $1

    Plum District- When you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you get $10 in Plum District bucks to spend.

    My Favorite Deal: Refer 5 friends and get a FREE $20 Target Gift Card (no purchase necessary)

    Those are the daily deal sites I recommend you SIGN UP FOR NOW. They will email you with the deals of the day, if you see one you are interested in be sure to buy it quickly because they go fast!

    Once you sign up for those, here are some sites to bookmark to help you save some major-moolah:

    RetailMeNot.com- Before you ever shop online CHECK HERE FIRST. This is a huge reader-compiled list of coupon codes for any & every store. I even check here before I order a pizza, really.

    Restaurant.com- Here you can find discounted restaurant deals for your area. Also, look for deals in the areas you vacation in. This will be a great way to save money on the family vacation. Restaurant.com always has some sort of coupon code, lots of times even up to 80% off making a $25 gift card just $2!

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone knowing that you are quickly on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer. Be sure to share with your family & friends over the Sunday brunch your new found coupon excitement & invite them to join you on EasternShoreMom.com. We will continue on Monday with day eight of our Extreme Couponer series.

    Enjoy your families & have a blessed Easter weekend!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 6

    Did you miss Day One-Five? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days! Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    We are half way through our series, can you believe it? Four more days and you will be considered an EXTREME COUPONER! We have gone from the very basics of “What is a Coupon” all the way to how to shop your favorite stores successfully with coupons. So it is only natural that our next step will be…

    Building A Stockpile

    The stockpile is every couponers trophy. This is what you call your stash of items that you are purchasing at the store. We learned on day one that you will want to have multimples of one coupon so you can stock up when you get an  item super cheap or free. As you do this you are building your STOCKPILE! Each person’s stockpile is going to be different sizes & have different products. It may seem like a pretty simple process, todays lesson, but there are several things you need to know when you are starting to build.

    Photo Courtesy of Google

    Sales Cycle- Every 8-10 weeks the sale will cycle & you will see the same item or similar item go on sale. Therefore, you know what items to be on the look out for coupons for because it went on sale several weeks ago and should be coming up soon. With this being said…

    Don’t Go Overboard- Before you start your stockpile, evaluate your family size and how much food you go through. We are a family of 3 and I usually buy 4 of an item when I get a good deal. This gives me just enough of the item to tide me over until the item goes on sale again. How do I know how much my family needs? Don’t stress about this. It may take you a few cycles to get the right number of items that fits your family. Watch expiration dates on items & donate the extra food if you buy too much.

    Storing your Stockpile- Go ahead and prepare your garage to store your…. JUST KIDDING! There is no need for that amount of space, unless maybe you are the Dougar Family (19 Kids and Counting). For my family, our stockpile fits in our pantry and an upstairs linen closet (for items like toiletries, paper products, etc.). Please do not feel like you need to convert an extra bedroom or basement to a mini-grocery store. Because of the sale cycles, there is really no need to have that many of something in your home.

    Organizing Tips:

    1. Store by Expiration Date- Put the product that is going to expire first up front, then duplicates of that item behind it in order of expiration.
    2. Break Down Boxes- Cereal goes fast around here, so when I buy it I am usually getting 4-6 if it is a really good deal. However, all of those boxes would not fit in my pantry. Instead, I take the bags out of the box and with a sharpie write on the bag what kind it is.
    3. Maximize Freezer Space- This one is tricky. We do not have room in our home for an extra freezer, so I am operating on just the one within my fridge. Try rearranging the shelves inside to give yourself more space, also use the door space. When you are putting meat into bags to freeze, release all the air and squish the meat so it lays flat as possible.
    4. Storing Toiletries- Inside our toiletries closet I used empty diaper wipe pails to store things like free sample, floss & toothbrushes, lip balm & cosmetics, medicine & other smaller items. These items can get lost in that closet, which I found out quickly, so storing them this way with labels on the outside helps me find them quickly.

    Have you started your stockpile & have tips for those just starting out? Be sure to comment below with your ideas or and questions you have!

    I am absolutely loving this series, aren’t you? Join me tomorrow for Day 7, which will be completely different than days 1-6. We will be learning how to save on things OTHER THAN groceries!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 5

    April 18, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Did you miss Day One ,Two, Three, or Four? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days! Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    Congratulations! If you have read through days 1-4, you are past the “beginner” stage of couponing & graduating to a higher level- experienced couponer. You know know where to find coupons, how to organize them, plus when to use them. Now what you have to learn is how to shop each store. We are going to start in the places where you can snag your FREE deodorant, FREE toothpaste, FREE shampoo, FREE toothbrushes, etc. which is at your local drugstores!

    How to Shop Drugstores

    CVS

    Coupons they accept: Manufacturer Coupons & CVS coupons

    Incentive to shop: Extra Care Bucks (CVS store value card needed)

    When you first start shopping CVS you will want to go here or in the store to sign up for your CVS card. This card is what will let you shop CVS & earn Extra Care Bucks as you shop. What products give you ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks)? Outlined in the weekly ad found online or in the store are the items that will give you ECB’s when you purchase them. ECB’s are good on YOUR NEXT shopping trip, but you can also ask the cashier if you can do “multiple transactions” and use them after you check out with the items that you are purchasing that give you ECB’s. They will appear at the bottom of your receipt after you pay.

    Tips to Shopping:

    • Be sure to look at the “limits” in the weekly ad on how many of an item you can buy at the sale price
    • Scan your CVS card at the “Coupon Center” found in each store to score CVS coupons. You can do this once per day.
    • Watch the expiration dates on your ECB’s, they expire quickly so be sure to use them. They are like CASH!

    Walgreens

    Coupons they accept: Manufacturer Coupons & Walgreens coupons

    Incentive to shop: Register Rewards (no store value card needed)

    Walgreens store coupons can be found online and also in the store. In the store you can find them in the monthly coupon booklet (by the ads) and special coupon booklets found around the store like in the pharmacy section. The monthly coupon book coupons are good ALL MONTH LONG, meaning you DO NOT have to clip these coupons to use them. You can simply show the coupon to the cashier and they will deduct the coupon from your total, applying it to ALL THE ITEMS IN YOUR CART that qualify for the coupon.

    For example:

    Buy 2 Huggies Wipes $3
    - $2/1 Walgreens Coupon Book Coupon (will deduct $4 since you are buying two)
    = $2/2

    Shopping Walgreens is the trickiest of all. When you go in to shop Walgreens, GRAB AN AD at the front of the store because most likely the prices will not be labeled in the store. Walgreens wants to make it a little difficult for you to save big, like you can at Walgreens. There are “coupons” scattered through the Walgreens weekly ad, however these are NOT COUPONS they are just the prices of the item that week. You will need to show these “coupons” at checkout to get the sale price. Fancy, huh? While it does make Walgreens difficult to shop, it is by far some of the best deals & the most fun!

    Also in the weekly ad will be the items that are spitting out Register Rewards that week. Register Rewards are MANUFACTURERS COUPONS, meaning the barcode begins with a “5″ and they come directly from the manufacturer. They are good “on your next purchase” but if you ask the cashier if you can do multiple transactions you can use them to pay for items after you checkout with the item that gives RR’s. Since a Register Rewards is a MANUFACTURER COUPON, here is where you can run into trouble at Walgreens:

    INCORRECT TRANSACTION:

    Visine $3.50
    - $2 PRINTABLE
    - $1 Register Rewards (I have these left over from last week)
    = CANNOT DO THIS because the Walgreens register will not allow you to use two MANUFACTURER coupons on ONE ITEM even if one of them is at Register Reward. In this case you will need to add a “filler item” in other words an item that does not have a coupon to use with it.

    CORRECT TRANSACTION:

    Visine $3.50
    - $2 PRINTABLE

    Goody Ouchless Bands $3
    - $1 Register Rewards (I have these left over from last week)

    = $3.50
    + Earn $3 in Register Rewards (These came from the Goody ouchless bands, this week they are priced $3 but you get $3 back in Register Rewards so they are FREE!)

    Tips to Shopping:

    • There is a limit of one Register RewardsTM (RR) printed per offer per customer per transaction.
    • Customers redeeming a Register RewardsTM against the same offer may not receive another RR.
    • The number of manufacturer coupons, including Register RewardsTM manufacturer coupons, may not exceed the number of items in the transaction. The total value of the coupons may not exceed the value of the transaction
    • Print the Walgreens Coupon Policy

    Have you followed me through the whole post? I hope so, and if you are a little confused re-read through it. If you would like more help there is a Couponing 101 class coming up on May 7th, registration is open but spots are limited. If you want some one on one help, a coupon class with ESM just might be the ticket! Stay tuned as we continue our series of How to Become a Couponer in 10 Days.

    If you would like to try your hand at a few of these drug stores check out this week’s deals here.

    Do you coupon already? Give our newbies some advice in the comments below!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 4

    April 14, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Did you miss Day One ,Two, or Three? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days! Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    You have been collecting coupons left & right, plus organizing them with the method you picked from yesterday but when do you use these suckers? This is HOW & WHEN you become an Extreme Couponer. Unlike the other couponers out there that simply clip the coupons that they have for the items on their list this week, you have strategy. A plan for when you are going to use what coupon & where.

    One of my favorite songs says it best…

    Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

    First you are going to have to break a habit that many of us develop, shopping what you “need” instead of what is on sale. Instead, you are going to be shopping what is on sale. You are going to have to let go of two things:

    1. Being Brand Loyal- Being Frugal & Brand Loyal does not go together. There are some things you can hold your ground to, but for the most part try to have an open mind. When you start couponing, you will realize everything you are buying for near-to-nothing is brand name, no store brand stuff. The brands will sometimes vary though, so be open to trying new things!
    2. Making a List AFTER Planning the Menu- Most of us plan our grocery trip after deciding what we are cooking that week. Instead you will want to do it backwards, find out what is in the sale ad that week then plan your menu!

    You see, you are no longer just shopping with coupons for the items you “need”. You are buying what is on sale, plus using coupons on top of those items to save the maximum amount of money possible! You are becoming an Extreme Couponer!

    Now that we have conquered those obstacles you will be happy to know, your work is OVER! You don’t have to do anything else from this point on because there are TONS of websites that do all the rest of the work for you like:

    • Tell you what is on sale
    • Show you the coupons that go with that item
    • Give you the final price you will pay in the store

    For example, this is what a “matchup” will look like:

    Tide Detergent $4.99 <sale item and price on sale
    - $4/1  3/16 SS <$4 off 1 item coupon from the March 16th paper, Smart Source coupon insert
    = $.99 <Final price you pay out of pocket

    How cool is that? If you are looking for some of these sites I will point you directly to them right here on EasternShoreMom.com under the STORE DEALS tab. Using these sites & the methods above will ensure you are using your coupons at the perfect time & strategically shopping your way to success!

    Do you coupon already? Give our newbies some advice in the comments below!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 3

    April 13, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    Now that we know what the different types of coupons are & where to find them, now how do I use them? This is the part where most people get lost. The get the fact that they NEED to use coupons, but they don’t understand how to use them.

    Organization

    When you start couponing you will realize the amount of coupons you are collecting is MASSIVE. Not only are you printing coupons, but you probably want at least TWO SETS OF INSERTS FROM THE SUNDAY PAPER. This will start to add up!

    You can’t use your coupons if they are sitting in a stack on the desk, in your purse, or still on the printer. You simply will not know which coupons you have if this is your method of organization! Instead, you need to find a way to organize your coupons to where you can use them effectively. Here are the three methods of organization:

    The Check File Method- This is the timeless way to organize. You can find a check file almost anywhere, I find them all the time in the dollar section at Target or at Dollar Tree. You can organize your coupons in these by category or alphabetically. This is a very simple way to organize!

    Downfall: You have to clean it out a lot and pull expired coupons. Also it is hard to see which coupons are inside.

    Photo Courtesy of Google


    The Binder Method- This one is very common. You take a binder that closes (preferably ZIPS CLOSED so you don’t lose coupons) and use baseball card holders to organize your coupons. Again, You can organize by category or alphabetically. With this method it is very simple to see which coupons you have to use!

    Downfall: The binder is very large and hard to carry with you. Also, you have to clean it out a lot and pull expired coupons.

    Pendaflex 20862 Portable Letter Size Hanging File Box, 13-7/8w x 10-3/4d x 10-1/4, Steel Gray

    The File Box Method- This one is the simplest of all. You take a file box (like the one here) and put the WHOLE INSERT inside the file box using hanging files. Be sure to put the date on the tab of the file so you know which date the insert is coming from. You can use a COUPON DATABASE to search for the coupons you are looking for and find them in your box by date then clip them. This saves tons of time on clipping. Also, if you are using deal sites to find what is on sale then you can use their matchups (which we will talk about on Day 4) to find the coupons you need for the sale.

    Downfall: You really cannot do any sort of clearance shopping with this method, because you don’t have any coupons on your person. Instead they are all inside the file box.

    You can mix this method with one from above (like the check file) and clip one insert & file one insert (if you are getting two sets each week) then also put your printed coupons inside your check file. Mix & match and find a method that works for you!

    It doesn’t matter which one you choose, JUST PICK ONE! Right now, ready-set-PICK. Got one? Ok, now go and get the supplies to do it and get on the ball with organizing. The sooner the better, even if you haven’t started collecting coupons yet having your line of organization before you start is putting you ahead of the game.

    Did you miss Day One & Two? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days!

    Do you coupon already? Give our newbies some advice in the comments below!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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    Aubrey

    How to Become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days: Day 2

    April 12, 2011 by  
    Filed under become an Extreme Couponer

    Will this series teach you how to save money on your every day shopping? Yes!

    Will you learn the right way to coupon? Yes!

    Is it easy & non-time consuming? Yes!

    Will I learn to save the MAXIMUM AMOUNT I can when shopping? Yes!

    Have a question? Be sure to “LIKE” EasternShoreMom.com on Facebook and ask away!

    Day Two: Finding Coupons Online

    When you are just starting out couponing you are going to feel behind in the fact that you don’t have as large of a “coupon collection” than others that have been doing this for a little while. A good  place to find coupons when you are just starting out is ONLINE! There are many different places online that you can print coupons, but before we do let’s establish some ground rules:

    Print in BLACK & WHITE- There is no need to print these coupons in color, so go ahead and change your printer settings on your computer to black & white. If you have Windows go to START, then DEVICES & PRINTERS, & select your printer and RIGHT CLICK. Under PRINTING PREFERENCES you will find the option to print in black and white. Also, when it comes time to get new ink try places like Walgreens that refill your cartridge for around $10!

    Don’t Print Every Coupon You Find- I know it may seem absolutely necessary to print that $.35/1 coupon right away but don’t. When you print these coupons without knowing when you are going to use them, there is a good chance you will just be wasting ink. Wait until you know you are about to buy that item then print it, not only does the coupon usually expire 1 month after you print it but there also may be a better coupon for that same product somewhere.

    You Absolutely CANNOT Copy Coupons- I will repeat myself again, You Absolutely CANNOT Copy Coupons! Do not print a coupon & try to take it to a copy machine and make copies. You will get caught, this is illegal, just don’t do it!

    So now that we have the ground rules down, where can we find said coupons?

    Facebook! That’s right, Facebook has become a major source of high value printable coupons. The manufacturer’s have realized that they can connect with their customers through Facebook by putting coupons on the page. This rewards those fans that “LIKE” their page by giving them a coupon. If you don’t have a Facebook page, I suggest creating one even if it is a fake account just so you can take advantage of these offers. Be sure to LIKE EasternShoreMom.com as well so you get the alerts when I find a HOT Facebook coupon!

    Online coupon sites like Coupons.com, SmartSource.com, RedPlum.com! These sites are going to have pages & pages of manufacturer’s coupons for you to thumb through. Remember our rule though, don’t print every coupon from these sites. Pick the ones out that are HIGH VALUE or for PRODUCTS YOU ARE ABOUT TO PURCHASE, we will also tell you right here on EasternShoreMom.com when there is a HOT coupon you want to print right away. Otherwise, leave the small value coupons on the internet until you are ready to use them.

    Store websites like Target, Walgreens, & CVS! Each of these stores have a coupon section that offer manufacturer coupons & store coupons. These are a great place to find amazing coupons, especially on Target.

    Your Favorite Brand’s Website! Be sure to check your favorite item’s website before making a purchase. Lots of times there are coupons sitting out there just waiting on their brand-loyal fans to find them.

    There are many other places online to find coupons like AllYou.com, Right@Home, & CookingWithKraft.com.

    Did you miss Day One? Be sure to go back and review so you are following along. With each lesson all of you are on your way to becoming an Extreme Couponer! Be sure to join me right here on EasternShoreMom.com while we learn How to become an Extreme Couponer in 10 Days!

    Do you coupon already? Give our newbies some advice in the comments below!

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

    Pin It


    Aubrey

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