Thursday, October 09, 2008

Coupons, Coupons

After about a year of either little or no couponing, I've decided it's time to get back into it. With rising costs, it has become harder to squeeze everything on my grocery list into the budget. I worked hard at couponing and bargain hunting last spring and summer. Then when I started doing full-time childcare, it just seemed to take too much time when the only time for grocery shopping ended up being in the evenings when I was extra tired and the marked down items were already taken. I've still used a few coupons each trip and of course, my eye is trained to spot the best deal from a mile away.:-) But still it seems that I could possibly do better with adding more coupons into the mix again.

I was buying 3 Sunday papers each week for the coupons but I let that go by the wayside about 2 months ago. I plan to start buying the papers again as well as checking with some friends who get the Sunday papers to see if they use their coupons. Following my sister's advice, I cut the coupons together in stacks. This saves time in cutting and organizing!

I've found that using a binder to organize my coupons is the best for me. I use baseball card sheets and most coupons fit well into those. Some have to be folded to fit but that doesn't bother me. It's so easy to see at a glance what I have rather than shuffling through envelopes. I was using a regular notebook binder until I could find a zippered one. I found one at a yard sale for 25 cents! So now I just need to transfer everything into it. What I like about the zippered binder is that I can keep a small pair of scissors, multiple sales fliers and pens inside and they won't fly out.

We don't eat many processed foods. A lot of the coupons seem to be for more processed food items. I plan to go ahead and buy these items if they are really inexpensive. Some things will be good for stocking our pantry and others I will donate. I'll keep my eyes open for good coupons for organics and meats and produce. There are a few out there; since I have used them before! Money Saving Mom is an invaluable resource for all kinds of grocery coupons and deals. I still want to eat relatively healthy(as we do now) but still be a good steward of what God has given us. I cook with a lot of less expensive ingredients such as beans, rice, pasta, frozen veggies, canned tomatoes, etc. I plan to continue with that and add some coupon savings in order to add to the pantry.

I also want to get back into going to CVS and Walgreens regularly. Lately, I've been hitting CVS about once a month and Walgreens less than that. I was getting tired of Walgreens as they often were out of whatever sale items I had gone in for. I've noticed lately that they are better stocked and there are also three Walgreens stores in the area now instead of only one. By going to CVS even just once a month, I would get the free(after ECB's) items which would often be donated. By being more intentional, hopefully, I can get the free items plus get personal care items that we regularly use at a better price by watching the sales.

With gas prices as high as they are, I really have no intention of driving all over creation to save a few cents. So I'm going to see how I can do with the couponing by just going twice a month like usual (choosing two or three stores with the best deals) and then making a CVS and Walgreens run on a weekly basis if the sales are particularly good. CVS and Walgreens are conveniently located a block away from each other and only 5 minutes from my house. Another option is going to CVS on the way home from church on Sunday since there is one on the way.

I've already scoured the sales ads and have come up with a tentative game plan for this weekend's grocery trip. I'll keep you posted on how it goes and what works for me!

I'm excited to get back into the coupon game!

1 comment:

gail said...

hey maryann--
good luck on your coupon shopping. i tend not to buy those things that coupons are offered for. like you i try to cook healthy foods. i wish we had a cvs around here. we do have walgreens, but haven't really gotton into shopping there.

i have found my grocery budget being stretched too! i am looking for ways to stretch the $$