August 9, 2012

Couponing revisited

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If there is one thing I know for sure about couponing, is that it takes up so much time.  I love doing it, I promise, but the time it takes me to shop or even organize to shop is agonizing sometimes!  I can't just run out to the store, I have to sit and clip and plan and get a list and have a way to organize the coupons while I am out.  To be honest, since April or so, I've kinda let it go by the wayside, only half hearted-ly doing the whole clip, shop, save thing. I loathe myself every time I check out at a store and don't have a coupon to save with, when I know there are SO many coupons out there to be had and saved with!

So, I am on a journey to re-create my process.  I need to make it easier, less complicated, so that I use coupons.  We need to save money, and there are so many savings to be had when it comes to groceries, household stuff, clothes, school supplies, shopping online...everything!  This will probably be a long process since I am just not sure what works and what doesn't.  It's been a process actually, and here is what I've learned so far:

1.  Information is overwhelming!  There are a lot of coupon websites out there.  I need to weed down the sites that I look at for savings.  Not to limit myself, but to make my process easier.  Here are a few sites that I know I want to stick with because I've tried them and like them and know how they work.  I'd ideally like to have maybe 10 sites that are my go to sites, so I need to research some more!

My Coupon Website Arsenal:

Krazy Coupon Lady - These ladies are always posting their trips and freebies and brag trips and it's inspiring as well as informative. 

Couponing to Disney - Since I am a huge Disney fan, I love the Disney twist on this.  She saves and puts her actual savings into a fund for their trip!  She posts all the normal coupon stuff, but also lots of Disney and kid-friendly savings as well.

Deal Seeking Mom - this is a super site, you can find every printable coupon from her database.  I love this one a lot around the holidays, TONS of postings on gifts!  This site has a lot to look through, it's very comprehensive.

Frugal Girls - Another one I love around the holidays, always posting great deals everyday though!

Coupon Chief - this is one of those cool sites where promo codes are posted.  This is for online shopping and savings, which is something I do a lot.  How many times do you shop on Old Navy or Amazon or Best Buy online and think, "I wonder if there is a random promo code for this store?"  I do it all the time.  I used to just search "promo code for..." in Google but after finding Coupon Chief, I decided I liked it better than the others (codes can be finicky or old on some of those other sites)  It's my go to promo code place.  Just search for the store you are looking for in their database, or browse their options, there are TONS!  It's awesome when I can save an unexpected 10% or get free shipping on an online order, this site is great for that kind of savings.  This is going to be great around Christmas too!

Living Rich with Coupons - I like this one a lot because her store list is extensive.  I usually shop at ShopRite and Wegmans and she always has the weekly deals up for both.  

2.  I need a system that works!  I've tried the binder, you can see all about that here, but that didn't seem to work for me after all.  Live and learn.  I know some swear by it, but I found that I was clipping so many coupons, sorting them, only to throw them all away after 6 weeks.  One thing I know for sure is that I can't clip everything anymore.  There are only certain things we buy, and just because I have a coupon doesn't mean I'll buy it.  Sometimes it might, but most of the time I won't.  I need to decide on what to clip and what to toss or give away, and stick with it.  I like to be frugal and stockpile, but I don't want to be wasteful either.

3.  Keeping things online makes things less messy.  With the invention of great sites like Cellfire, the aforementioned Coupon Chief, Shoprite coupons, and Safeway's new Just for U coupons, the process CAN be less paper-take-over-your-house mess.   I love how I can save without clipping a thing.  Cellfire and Safeway coupons you can just load right onto your loyalty card and when you buy the item, the savings comes off automatically at the register.  Genius!

So, my goal is to try a few new organizing, clipping, storing, using strategies over the next few weeks and I'll let you know what works for me.  It is definitely one of those whatever-works-best-for-you situations.  Maybe you love the binder?  Maybe you do everything online?  Maybe you don't care?  LOL.   Couponing is something I do not want to give up, I love saving money way too much, but I have to make it WORK for me.  I'll let you know how that goes;)