“Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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  #26  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:16 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Keeping a coupon binder is too much work for me, so when I get a coupon insert I write the date in marker on top and store it in a drawer, then cut only the coupons I need from it later.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:40 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Only go to a store if there are good enough deals. Trying to keep track of every store every week will only wear you out. Price match when you can so that you can condense the amount of stores you shop at.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:42 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I usually try to have at least 4 sets of inserts each week. I keep all inserts in tact. I follow the local paper for weekly sales and use coupon matchups here at a full cup and through other bloggers to get the best prices at my local stores. I only cut out the coupon when I am going to go to the store and use it. That way my trip is planned and budgeted before I enter the store.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:58 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Vote Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing on a budget

I started couponing when the price of food kept growing but my food budget stayed the same.

Rule #1: Stick to the Budget

There are plenty of great coupons out there and I usually have multiples of them, but if using them will put me over my budget, I'll pass, no matter how good the deal is. There will be other deals and perhaps I will have the money next time, but I coupon to ensure we have enough food and household stuff to get through the week.

Rule #2: Shop the Sales

I shop the sales. If my children's favorite granola bars are not on sale, I do not buy them. There are plenty of sales on plenty of items, and we can wait until they are on sale.

Rule #3: Be Brand Friendly!

This advice was given to me by a very wise young lady here on A Full Cup and it's probably the best advice I have ever been given. Don't discriminate against a certain brand, especially if you are new to couponing! You might just find something new that you really enjoy!

Rule #4: Don't Compensate!

Saving tons of money on groceries is amazing! However, it's easy to get caught up in all the money you saved and start buying things you don't need or will never use, just because you can. Ask yourself "If all I had to pay for this was tax, would I use it?" If the answer is yes, then buy it. If not, put your saved money in your pocket and save it for that trip to Cancun you've just been dying to take!

Rule #5: Don't drive your savings away!

Our rule of thumb is if gas is going to cost half as much money as I am saving, it isn't worth the trip. Try to plan your trips to certain stores for times when you will be passing that store, or else you will be spending all that saved money driving to the places you are trying to save money at!

Rule #6: Use the right coupons at the right store!

All my stores have different coupon policies. Some double only up to .50 while others double up to .99 and one doubles up to 1.00 once a week! Often times I have several coupons with different values for the same item. It's important to make sure that I am using my 1.00 coupons on those days that they double up to 1.00 if possible, and using my lower value coupons in the stores where higher dollar coupons don't offer maximum savings. For example, a .75 coupon would be better used at the stores that double up to .99 or 1.00.

Rule #7: Don't be afraid of unbranded goods.

Often times, if I find myself in a situation where a cereal or juice I really want isn't on sale and/or I have no coupons for that item, I'll buy non-branded alternatives instead. My family rolls their eyes when I buy non-branded stuff, especially if I have a coupon for something branded, but I know I can get a better deal and I'll wait until I can.

I am fairly new to couponing but these are the rules I follow for myself. My food and household budget is 60.00 a week and with food prices being so high, and my budget being unyielding, these rules maximize my savings!
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  #30  
Old 10-03-2011, 05:14 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I love my fullcup app! I check for deals before and when I am in each store. I have found quite a few deals I would have missed or forgotten otherwise!
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and of course me, the crazy coupon lady
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:22 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I use a binder/deviders.I shop two stores that double/triple.I always visit there forums to find sales and coupon match ups.I post my sale finds w/coupons.I love the printable coupon forum.I have a desk top computer,my dd's have a laptop,so I can print 6 of most IP coupons.
  #32  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:11 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I clip coupons that I know I will use and alphabetize them in a binder, and keep the inserts by date for those I probably won't use. Then I use a full cup to organize my lists and coupons by store in a small file folder for each week. I rarely look at flyers anymore but I use a full cup for most of my shopping! Thank you!
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  #33  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:53 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I clip coupons, put them in card sleeves in my binder. For me, it works best to sort them alphabetically, so I bought a pack of the A-Z dividers. Behind the last page I have colored pocket dividers. I keep the current weeks ad in each pocket (CVS is red, etc.). Before shopping, I put my coupons in a plastic envelope for each store. I usually make my list right from here on AFC, because the folks here are awesome and extremely thorough!!!
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:04 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Its a learning process. I went from the little accordion coupon book to the binders. I don't even know how I have 2 binders, but I do. The most time consuming part is cutting coupons, so I make sure to set aside plenty of time to do that. Once the coupon binders are organized, making sure I compare prices for items is key. I have access to the Commissary on a Marine Corps Base, but not all items are cheaper there when you factor in store coupon stacking at places like Target and Walgreens. Because of our location, I don't get very full weekly coupon inserts, so I purchase them from various people. I usually get six at a time, six of any item seems like a good "stocking" number I think. Any more than that and I can't find room. Any less then that I seem to run out too fast.

Smart couponing is mostly about taking the time to follow the sales, get as much as you can of that one cheap/free item while you have the chance. If stores near you offer overages and you can't use the item that you get, donate it. I've donated to friends, family, neighbors, the USO, and MCCS on base. Its a great feeling to know you can help people. Even if we don't pay something for the item, we have still donated the time it took to locate and purchase the deals.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:51 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I file whole coupon sections in file folders by date in hanging files organized by month in file boxes. Then when I put together my list using Grocery Game or AFC store-specific help, I clip the coupons I need. If I see coupons I know I'll use as I'm clipping OR for coupons I collect elsewhere, I use a coupon holder that I keep in my purse. I keep a seperate coupon accordian file that I leave in my car for restaurant and retail coupons.

I like my system because it's time efficient (and therefore the way that couponing fits into my life). I can see that having a binder is great for deals found on the fly, but the time investment is prohibitive for my lifestyle.
  #36  
Old 10-04-2011, 05:00 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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You don't have to get all the deals! When I first started, I went crazy trying to do every deal there was & ending up paying more oop because of it. Now, I just do deals that are very very cheap or free before or after ecbs.
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  #37  
Old 10-04-2011, 07:59 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Stick with your normal grocery budget at first, you'll save more money and you'll stockpile things. The more time you spend couponing, the smaller the budget you'll need, but the more of a stockpile you'll have. And if an awesome deal comes along that will allow you to add to your stockpile then you'll have all that money that you saved to use on it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:37 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I cut out all my coupons every week and use Ziploc bags to organize them by week and insert type. I also buy about ten papers a week but I buy them on Saturdays when they are .75cents each.
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  #39  
Old 10-04-2011, 09:19 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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My trick is NOT GETTING BEHIND in my coupons! I really have to make sure I stay on top of it otherwise I have a really hard time getting back on track.

I also have my 2 coupon binders (food and non-food) then I have a separate "trip binder" with base-ball card holder with that trips qs in it, calculator, that weeks ads for PM'ing and reference as needed along with anything else I may need like coupon policies and catalinas.

Good-Luck to everyone!
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  #40  
Old 10-04-2011, 09:33 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I realized I don't need to get every deal that comes along. Now I just try to get the few deals I really want every week. I realize now that if I miss out a sale item it will most likely go on sale again in a few months. It is too time consuming to chase deals all week. Spend time with your family instead
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:20 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I use a small (shoe Box Size) plastic storage container with a handle. I cut the flaps off #10 envelopes and staple an index card to each envelope staggering the placement of index cards for easier viewing. I write catergories on the index cards for sorting my coupons etc baby supplies, dairy, frozen food Etc. and put my coupons in the envelopes. This is an inexpensive way (about $4) to have all my coupons stored and easy to use. I just tote my box with me to the store. It fits perfect in the child seat of a shopping cart
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:02 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I purchase two papers each week. I try to use RR's or ECB's to purchase them with. I clip the coupons for items that I know that I'm going to use, file the rest of the insert in a basket, by date. I write the date on the front of the insert. The coupons that I plan to use, go in my coupon box. I read the forums for the stores that I shop at. CVS is near my work, so I try to go there on work days, to save on gas.
  #43  
Old 10-04-2011, 01:48 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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With me just starting out I use envelopes but I really want to do the binder idea. My idea works I have 10 different envelopes and I check the ads and compare the sale prices to what I have for my coupons. Granted I did just start so I really haven't done food yet still working the kinks out with that. but my best tip for this is be organized because if your not you will go crazy trying to find everything and searching your coupons for hours to go with what is on sale. Me personally have help also my husband and a friend of mine help me find, print, and organize.
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  #44  
Old 10-04-2011, 03:16 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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i use a binder to keep the coupons for items i buy regularly. i learned the hard way don't throw out the inserts because you never know when a good deal is going to come. I have also tried to learn when to stock up-- there is a time of year it seems when cereal goes on sale or cold/flu items etc.
  #45  
Old 10-04-2011, 04:38 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Know your stores coupon policies.. Carry a copy with you and keep the corporate number on hand..You will find you need these things more than you would like.. Just because it is a great deal Doesn't mean you have to buy it.. ( that is a hard one )
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:35 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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Hi I start off making a list of everything I use in our house I get all the sale papers to the stores I use and mark down whats on my list with the store coupons then mine I get my binder together as I have it set up with my house needs and sections and then extras If there is sale I want to stock up on things I get together my store policy which I have a section in the back of my binder and pouch that hold calculator, pen, scissors and note pad. As I go along each lane I mark down the prices of the things I use to find the cheapest price.
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  #47  
Old 10-04-2011, 06:25 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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My smart couponing tip is - try something before majorly stockpiling it. I know that sales can be spur of the moment, and this might not always be feasible, but I personally think its a good tip.

Even if something is super cheap, or free, if its something your family will never use, or can't (like stockpiling a beauty product and finding out it gives you a rash) then the time, effort, and money to clip/print the coupons, drive to the store, etc might end up not being worth it.

Also - remember to check expiration dates, on many an occasion at my local stores when things have been cheap/freebies with Qs - its because the items have a short expiration date and they want to move the product before having to write it off.

Not such a big deal for items that can be frozen - but chocolate milk or yogurt for example, not so much.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:27 PM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I have read many blogs on "how to organize your coupons" which has been extremly helpful. What I do is take a piece of computer paper fold it in half write the name of the store I am going to and take notes. For instance if I am going to Meijer I write all the deals for that week that I am intrested in and then put the coupons in that paper. I do have one for each store I am going to with there deals on them. This has worked great for me for two years. My trick is reading and get all the info everyday then put my plan into action. I have been laid off for almost three years and finding afullcup has helped my family soooo much. You dont need to be Extreme just smart.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:46 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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I do a lot of the things you all mentioned but something I do differently is when going through the weekly store flyers for the deals the ones I plan to buy I cut right out of the flyer and paper clip the coupons I plan to use with that deal to the cut out from the flyer. Less writing and I see the exact deal the way it was in the paper. I then put each deal and the coupons clipped to them in a seperate envelope for each associated store I buy multiple papers so have lots of store flyers so dont mind cutting one up to save me time! Hope this helps someone save some time! It works great for me
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:07 AM

RE: “Not Extreme, Just Smart Couponing Contest” - Week 1

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BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!BlueMoon187 has posted more than 2000 great deals! WHOA!!
I follow the 3-R's of Smart Couponing:

- Rule-following. I follow the rules set by the manufacturers and the stores. Always.

- Realistic. I know the limits of what my family needs and will use, and I don't let chasing the deals take over my life or my home.

- Respectful. I respect others in the store and when trading. I try to be collaborative so that everyone can enjoy saving money.
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Here's my couponing philosophy...


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