Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coupon Closet's Shopping List

This week I also learned how to use Coupon Closet's Shopping List. It is really such a time saver and useful tool to have while you are in the store. Go to for a tutorial. It is seriously worth your time!

Walgreens Register Rewards

So I learned a little something new this week...Walgreens Register Rewards expire fairly quickly. Mine had an expiration of about two weeks after I received them. Unfortunately I did not notice the quick expiration until the day after they expired! So if you get register rewards, pay close attention to the expiration date so you don't forfeit your savings please!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Much Time Am I Spending

So, I just noticed that I had a question about the time I am spending couponing. Sorry Candice that it has taken me so long to answer! I never received an e-mail letting me know there was a comment!
Now that I have a system down, I probably spend about 2-3 hours a week cutting coupons, looking for coupons, getting shopping lists prepared, and putting the coupons in my binder. The amount of time I spend going to the store varies by the quality of the sales that week. This week I did not feel there were any sales worth attending, but on a really good sales week I may spend another 3 hours spread out through the week going to the stores. That time estimate includes traveling to/from each store. So between 2-6 hours a week would be a good estimate.

A Few Weeks Later...

The summer has been fun and very busy, causing me to get behind on blogging about this adventure. I have still been couponing my heart out! I finished my first month of couponing by lowering my grocery spending by $100, and I had a lot more in my cabinets than normal. So far I feel like a fool for not starting this sooner. It definitely takes up some time, but if you are on a tight budget it is worth it! I continue to revamp my system, and have a lot of work to do before I consider myself as a coupon queen. Right now I am probably the status of the queen's maid! Every week I have a schedule to follow to keep up with all my deals. This is an ideal schedule of course. My kids come first, and I rarely get to keep to the schedule in its entirety.

  • Saturday - Check deals on coupon sites for Walgreens and Target. If there are good deals, I work up a list of what I am going to try to purchase. I also get all my coupons ready for my trip to those stores.

  • Sunday - After church when the boys are down for a nap I pick up a newspaper, and head to Walgreens or Target if there are good deals.

  • Monday night - If time allows, I cut my new coupons and put them in my binder.

  • Tuesday morning - Try to make a trip to Aldi if I need produce or other basic items. I will not make the trip if all I need is produce b/c it is cost prohibitive with gas.

  • Tuesday evening - Check coupon sites for deals at Homeland, and plan trip if the deals are good. Planning the trip means I get my list of deals and coupons ready so I can be as quick in the store as possible!

  • Wednesday morning - Go to Homeland if there are good deals.

  • Wednesday afternoon- Check out the deals on the coupon sites for Reasor's, and plan a trip for Thursday or Friday if necessary.

I also check the coupon sites on facebook daily for new coupons, and usually print at least one a day.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week 3

Week 3

  • In Week 3 I scored my first free body wash. It was actually a really nice men's body wash for Matt, but free just the same! I used a manufacturer coupon and a Target coupon combined with a Target sale to make it free.

  • In order to get these free items, you must act fast. I went to SuperTarget early in the week and they were already out of everything I wanted to get at a discount or free. However, the regular Targets seem to hold on to their merchandise a bit longer. I was able to get my free body wash at Target in Tulsa Hills.

  • I tried even more items from Aldi this week and was impressed by 99% of what I bought. I am still in awe of my savings there.

  • I continue to do the bulk of my shopping at Wal-mart because they have what I need and they definitely have the cheapest non-sale prices, with the exception of Aldi. I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet of the price of the items I buy at Wal-mart. This allows me to do price comparisons when I see something is on sale at another store. Wal-mart is really close to my house, so I would rather go there if the price with or without a coupon will be the same.

  • After making my grocery list I now scour the internet for coupons for every item on my list that I do not have a coupon for in my binder. It only takes about 10 minutes and it could save another $5.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coupon Challenge

The craze of TLC's Extreme Couponing has motivated me to extend a personal challenge to myself to see if I can become a couponer. I purposefully did not say "extreme" couponer! I have no desire to create a stock room in my home of 100 dish soaps! However, as my monthly grocery bill looms eerily close to my mortgage payment, I feel a need to take a deeper look at couponing.
So I have challenged myself to coupon as much as possible for 3 months. There is definitely a learning curve with couponing. I know that 1 month would not be a sufficient period to determine if couponing is really successful for a very busy mom that has no desire to visit 5 different stores a week or stay up to midnight searching for good deals. I have set a few rules to make it more interesting. First, to take advantage of a good deal it must be something I will need to buy within a month. Second, if it is not something I would buy within the month, it must be $1 or less. This ensures I will not go broke saving money! I will do my best to post what I have learned each week during this experiment.
This blog will not become a coupon blog. I will leave that up to the experts, who will be divulged in my findings. I still desire to form monthly budgets for families. If you or someone you know needs help forming a budget, please contact me.

Week 1 Results:

  • Homeland at 31st and Harvard is scary, and not worth it!

  • Becoming friends of pages such as Money Saving Queen and Coupon Closet on Facebook is a key to learning how to coupon as well as obtaining random coupons. I use their Matchups to find the best deals.

  • Do not do all your shopping at Homeland, Reasor's or Food Pyramid. The prices are normally much higher than Wal-Mart. Only buy those things that are on sale, and/or you have a coupon for.

  • When using coupons while kids are shopping with you, have a nicely prepared list of exactly what you are looking for and make sure all coupons are pre-cut.

  • Walgreens is a good place for toiletry deals, but careful with the register rewards. Register rewards can be good if used in moderation, but they can also increase your spending quickly.

Week 2 Results:

  • Homeland in Prattville is not that far away and is not scary! I got several things for free and was very happy with my savings.

  • Visiting Homeland on Wednesday is essential for getting the really good deals. The earlier the better. Most stores (not just Homeland) sell out of the specials listed on the coupon sites the same day their ad is released. My next task is to obtain a raincheck for a sold out item, but I have not ventured down that road yet.

  • Aldi is awesome! Specifically the produce is awesome and cheap. It is definitely worth the drive. There are many items that are worth price comparing at Aldi.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tax Returns

The tax season is upon us. As a one income family, we actually look forward to take season every year. We enjoy the benefits of a refund. I know some of you are groaning, but I will put out another post that will help you identify ways to become part of the lucky refund group. This post is really for all of us who sit around thinking of all the ways we get to spend our free money. This is probably the closest we get to winning the lottery, especially considering we rarely gamble!
Instead of rushing out to spend the money on all the little projects and desires that might cross your mind, consider allocating your money in the following way.

First, as a Christian family my husband and I always give 10% of our refund back to the church. Actually, we like to give it specifically to a family of missionaries that I grew up with. We find this is a great way to give to charities that do not fit into our monthly budget.
Second, if you have debt of any kind, refunds are a great way to decrease or eliminate debt. Paying down a car loan, credit card, or student loan is one of the best ways to utilize the extra cash. If you do not have a car loan, consider putting part of the money in savings every year to use as a considerable down payment on a car in the future. (Wouldn't it be so nice to save the money for a car before actually buying it! It is a foreign concept to most of us, but there are plenty of people out there that pay cash for cars!) Also, putting part of your refund into your retirement accounts is a really great idea. Especially for those of us on one income. This allows you to contribute yearly to retirement without even working! Another great idea is putting this "responsible" portion of money into your child's college savings account. However, I know that after looking forward to this extra stipend for a year it may be difficult to spend all your money on getting rid of debt and investing in the future. It is an extremely boring responsible thing to do!
So, third, I advise you take your remaining 90% after charity and allocate 25% of that money to use for fun. You will feel like such a mature adult for paying down your debt, and you can still have a little something for yourself. So to sum up:
10% to charity
65% to paying down debt or investing
25% for fun

I wish you all a happy tax season and abundant refunds! As always, I would love to prepare a budget for you. Please contact me at if you are interested!