Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coupon matching

Couponning is about being organized to some degree - I like to know four things before I leave the house (Most of you will only need the first three to get started, and we'll organize the fourth one tomorrow :)

1. What is on sale at the store I'm going to that I need?
2. What coupons do I have to match those sales (this is the coupon matching)?
3. What else do I 'need it now'?
4. How much does each item cost before/after coupons?

If your goal is to save an extra 20-30% on your grocery bill, your need it now list may be longer than mine - I really try to limit items that are need it now and buy what's on sale in bulk...

There are some great coupon matching sites out there and trust me, this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good one:

A Full Cup - Very extensive US site - most large grocery and drug store chains - requires volunteers to post so each store is only as good as the people who are committed to posting, may require multiple posts on the forums to find what you want.  They also have a searchable Coupon list (must register)

Hot Coupon World - Very extensive site, mostly US specific, but some Canadian and other stores too!  You search forums by the store you want to visit - can be cumbersome and it relies on volunteers to post so the lists aren't always complete, but its a good place to visit to see what other couponners are doing at your stores :)  They also have a searchable Coupon list (must register)

For Couponners in my general neck of the woods:

Southern Savers - multiple southern stores - can create shopping lists directly from the sites that include all coupon match ups

I use this one pretty extensively for 80% of my match ups

I Heart Publix - store specific but wonderful!  and sometimes has links to different coupons than SS, so I use both!  They also tend to get their Publix Ad done by Mondays for Wednesday to make planning easier :)

I Heart Saving Money - more stores than Publix, run by the same person as I heart Publix... also internet and restaurant deals, but more like a blog than an organized website

So, I sit down with my ad, my coupons and my need it now list and plan my strategy.  I write my grocery list on the envelope I'm going to put the coupons in. (or multiple ones if I need to break up my order) and work on making it work with all my coupons - this is also the time that I might go and visit the sites above to make sure I haven't missed a printable or insert coupon...

I try to stockpile items that are on BOGO (or 40% off or better) by figuring out how many of them I think I will need in a twelve week period and that I have coupons for or can trade for... I do this with most non-perishable and frozen items, because on sale items help bring down your OOP (Out of Pocket expenses)

Tomorrow we'll review Price Books and why they help keep you on track!

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