Friday, July 27, 2012

Is It Worth It?

I love to coupon. It's a total thrill to get something free just by clipping a few coupons and paying attention to ads. I hear people say all the time..."I don't have time for that" or "It's too complicated." And it can seem that way if you watch the stupid TLC Extreme Couponing show. Those nuts spend what seems like 40 hours a week just figuring out how to get things for free...and some of them have made it MUCH harder on the rest of us because they use their coupons unethically or against the rules.

But, it's not nearly as hard as it seems. 

I took two years off of my intense couponing after Marshal was born. It was too much for me to try to figure out the ads and coupon and keep my sanity. But now that he's a little older I've dived back in...though still not to the level I was before. 

It can be SO tempting to buy something because you have a's like having money to apply towards a product. Throwing away coupons used to be SOOOO hard for me...I felt like I was throwing money away.

The key, in my opinion, to successfully couponing...

  1. Only buy what you and your family NEED or will use in the future. In other words, if you have no need for 50 bottles of ketchup, even though they are a bargain deal at $0.10 each...don't waste your money or your cupboard space. If your family goes through a lot of ketchup then obvious that would be a great deal.

    It can be tempting to buy something when it's on sale and you have a coupon but unless it will get used it's not a's a waste of money.
  2. Only stock up for what you KNOW you will use before the expiration date.
    This may seem like a big "duh", but I learned the hard way...I had stocked up on cereal because it was a steal and hubby was eating it like crazy. Then he stopped eating it...he does that to me sometimes and it drives me nutty since I can eat the same thing for six months in a row. So, the cereal sat in the garage for a month or so ... then the mice found it. NOT good. We had some fat mice.
  3. Clip coupons AND Print Them Out
    Did you know you can print coupons? There are coupons for nearly everything out there. Sure, there might not be Coconut Milk coupons out every single week, but even organic food companies put out coupons. Organic Valley generally has printable coupons as does Silk Soy milk.

    Printable coupons on the big sites (like the link on my blog) reset each month with new coupons, but they also sneak new ones in throughout the month too.
  4. Review the Ads each Week
    It does NOT take very long to scan the grocery ads each week. Seriously. Less than 10 minutes once you know what you're looking for. Not only that, you'll start to see the patterns of when things are on sale and can know when it's time to stock up. Peanut Butter will start going on sale soon...since school is starting. Hot dogs and soda go on sale during the summer. There's a pattern.

    By matching up the ads with your coupons, you maximize your savings.
  5. Join a website like HotCouponWorld
    It can be overwhelming if you jump right in, but once you've done a few trips with your coupons I recommend joining a coupon website. HotCouponWorld is where I belong and I love it (if you sign up, let them know "castocreations" sent you!). The gals who run it are very ethical ... On this site you can watch for great deals, freebies, printable coupons, and even trade coupons with other people around the country. This is a wonderful way to "recycle" the coupons you won't use ... one person's junk coupon is another person's free grocreries.
What tips do you have for couponing? It's almost a science, but it's a lot less complicated than science class!

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