Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Questions, questions...

I have had a lot of people asking me a lot of questions lately, most having to do with "how" and "why" I use coupons. I thought I'd write a quick post to hopefully answer some of those questions.

Question #1: "Why do you use coupons?"

This is by far the question I get asked the most. The answer is simple: I use coupons to help us save enough money that I don't have to go back to work. I worked part-time from around the time L was one to right before Z was born (about 2 years). I really enjoyed my job, but felt that it was time for me to spend my time at home, especially since L was going to be in preschool this year. I don't remember exactly how, but back in September I stumbled across a website that showed me people that had taken couponing to a whole new level...I was completely unaware of how easy it was to get everyday items for cheap, nevermind absolutely FREE! I was hooked immediately.

Question #2: "How much do you save?"

This is a harder question, as I haven't been good at keeping track of my actual savings. I'm trying to do that this month and can't wait to get to the end of the month to see what the percentage saved is. However, I do have my Quicken numbers to prove that I'm saving...BIG TIME. In March of 2009, we spent $516 on Groceries. In March of this year, we spent $256. I have been able to cut it in half by being so much more aware of sales and planning meals around what I have in my house and what I can get for cheap in a particular week.

Question #3: "Where do you find the time?"

As time has gone by, I have become a lot faster at finding my deals. Preperation is key for me. I ALWAYS make a list before I go to the store, and rarely stray from it. This is what a typical list looks like:

I always write down how many of a product I'm wanting to buy, the name, and the price if I know it. Then I write down my coupon value and what the total will be after the coupon is applied. I also write down if I should be getting a gift card or Catalina back for purchasing certain items. I put my coupons in the same order they appear on my list and attach them with a paperclip. I probably spend about 30 minutes per day compiling my lists and printing coupons. I ALWAYS buy the Sunday paper and cut the coupons, usually while hubby and I are watching t.v. or a movie. I try to do most of my prep time when my kids are sleeping or at school.

Question #4: "Where do you find your information?"

I love to visit and read all sorts of blogs, but I have a list of "go-to" websites for if I'm preparing for shopping at a particular store. Here they are:

Meijer - Bargains to Bounty

Target - Totally Target

Jewel & Dominicks - Mashup Mom

I'm also a big fan of Money Saving Mom and Couponing to Disney.

I look forward to Tuesdays when the weekly grocery ads come in the mail. If for some reason they don't show up in my mailbox, I read them online.

Okay...so that didn't end up being a "quick post", but I hope it provided you with some answers. Please comment if you have any other questions and I'll be more than happy to answer!!

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