Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm a Coupon Queen


I have a good friend, Susan, who lives near Atlanta. She has been 'couponing' for many years. She tried and tried to get me involved--but I just didn't have time. WELL---once I retired and had more time in my life (HA HA), I started talking to Susan about what to do and what not to do. She was a great teacher. She even bought me my first coupon organizer. (I now have TWO--both quite full!!)




Couponing is NOT for everyone --but someone with my Type A personality and my love for lists and details, would enjoy it!!!! AND--if you have time (it does take time every week), then it may be for you. SO--for the past couple of years, I can call myself a Coupon Queen... WELL--I might just be a Princess, since I don't go into as many details as some people do with coupons. BUT--I have saved us quite a bit of money the past couple of years.




Here's a few pointers:
-Look for store specials; If you have coupons for those items, you'll double your pleasure.
-Look for the store's policies about coupons and savings (my Kroger's offers double coupons up to 50 cents; my Kroger's also takes expired coupons--which really helps; AND my Kroger's offers a 5% discount to Senior Citizens every Wed.--on top of our coupons.)
-Compare the store's own brands with the name brands; Sometimes the store brands are cheaper, and just as good, than a name brand WITH a coupon.






I could go on and on and on, but I know how much I hate reading LONG blogs. So I won't go into more details about how I save money using coupons. BUT--anyone who is interested is welcome to email me (betsyadams@mac.com) and I'll give you lots of pointers. It's really alot of fun--if you enjoy this type of thing.

Comparing what we spent in the year 2007 to the year 2008 in our grocery budget, we saved almost $500. And you know how much the price of groceries have gone up in 2008, don't you?? SO-- saving $500 on top of that is SUPER, don't you think??? Therefore, when I can save a bunch of money by using coupons, it is worth all of the effort I put into it!!!! That gives us more money to travel and see waterfalls!!!

36 comments:

Grammy said...

Thats great. I never was into coupons either. Unless it was something I normally buy. We do not get a paper in this town with coupons. Only sales papers. But I have shopping down pat now. And miss the conveyance of every thing at a short distance. Have a great day. Grammy

Kallen305 said...

I have tried in the past to collect coupons but they always get thrown about in my purse and then I can't find them because they are all over the house and when I do find them they are expired.

I do buy stuff in bulk that is on sale though.

Good for you! It is an excellent way to save money.

Michele said...

I love a good coupon now and then and cannot resist clipping it!
A great post!

(Hugs)

Cedar ... said...

That's amazing that you saved that much. I haven't found a store that takes expired coupons yet, but that would bring me in their doors for sure. What a great way to boost sales for the store. Good work Betsy!

Smilingsal said...

I've been a couponer for years. I'm glad you joined in!

Shellmo said...

Betsy - that's awesome on how much money you saved! I'm becoming better at using coupons - now I just need to get one of those organizers you mentioned! P.S. I have signed up at certain stores online that will email coupons such as Joann Fabrics and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Mildred said...

Good for you Betsy! I need to get an organizer for coupons also. Thanks for the tips. Have a happy weekend.

The Incredible Woody said...

I'm a coupon wanna-be - I can't ever seem to remember to bring my little organizer!! Same thing with my cloth grocery bags. Any tips on improving my memory??

jlshall said...

I've been couponing for years now. My mother-in-law sort of got me into it - she's always been a "Coupon Queen," too. It really is amazing how much money you can save if you're faithful about it. But the really amazing thing is that you found a store that will take expired coupons!

karin said...

We've used coupons for things we normally purchase as well as for things we would like to try out. The savings have been amazing! First Tuesday of the month in some stores is 15%; or if you purchase $200 in food you get $25 or a free Turkey at Christmas. Each store usually has two company brands - one very cheap, but the fancier one has even been better than the known brand - depending on the product. We're also not wasteful people and we're definitely working on smaller portions as we don't need as much as a family with teenagers.

Good advice here! Keep clipping!

NCmountainwoman said...

I must admit that I do not clip coupons. But I do take advantage of the store saving card. I occasionally pick up a coupon in the store itself, or look for products that have a coupon attached. I'm sure it's simply a matter of getting started and getting organized but I really don't have the desire to do it.

Carla said...

I've used coupons for years, though I'm not as organized as you are. They do make a lot of sense. Good post!

Rose said...

I don't collect coupons like I used to, but am trying to pay attention and at least clip the ones for stuff I will use. I might as well keep that dollar as to give it to them! Do you get coupons on line...there used to be a place I went to for coupons but can't remember the name now.

By the way, not boring for a lot of us!

amelia said...

I have always wanted to but never have clipped coupons. It just seems like a lot of work and I am short on patience!! Also, nothing that I use ever seems to be on sale!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Very Cute Betsy...I try to do it as much as I can too. It is quite a feeling of accomplisment to save some dough $$$!!!

Diane said...

Betsy, Good for you. I takes sticking with it to make it count but it DOES count.

Cassie said...

Patrick cuts all the coupons out, and I sort through them. I keep the products we use &/or send some to Jessica(the daughter). He is SO funny.When he's in Phx & I'm up north he still clips the coupons & mails them up to me!!(Postage stamp -42cents.) It kills me when I go shopping & forget my coupons that are going to expire.Sadly,I do that a lot.:>(

Cassie said...

Oh, & I immediately recognized that $3.00 off for Red Lobster! We always try to make use of that one!

Cicero Sings said...

Canadians don't do coupons to speak of. I do watch the bargains and stock up on my goods that way. I'll hardly not buy the thing if it isn't on sale. The stores, at least in B.C., show you your savings on the bottom of the bill ... and I save a lot ... than if I ran out and bought the thing, because I'm out, at full price. I cook from scratch so most of our purchases are on the outer periphery of the stores ... for items there are usually no coupons for!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

When I first got here I was really into this and it was 'new' to me. My problem however is I am such a ditz at times, I get tot he checout and totally forget my coupons. Then I'd be mad with myself, it was all just way too stressful!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Good for you and George, Betsy! That's an awesome amount of savings!

Tina said...

Betsy,
How organized you are! wow! I started collecting coupons but I soon found that so many couponed items were not in our diet...and what was in our diet seemed never to be made into a coupon!! It fast became frustrating..and so I fell behind on clipping..I attempted to keep up with household item coupons..but then we became a costco family so even the gro stores can't compete with costco sometimes with regard to household items. Glad it works so well for you, tho. $500 dollars is a great savings..and many water falls I hope!!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

I have not been a coupon clipper, but if I get one in the mail for Lowe's, Home Depot, Penneys, Beds Bath and Beyond etc, I will throw them in my purse just in case....

Susie said...

I usually always clip the coupons out of the Sunday paper. We do save money using them it's just sometimes we forget to grab them.

mountain.mama said...

Hi Betsy,

I wish I had a wife like you who would be organized enough to save $500 in groceries at my house! Good job there.

To answer your questions, I live in Vernal, Utah. It's in the northeast corner, about 110 miles south of Wyoming and 30 miles west of Colorado. Very pretty country with small waterfalls in the spring.

Loran

Rosa said...

Oh I'll cut and save them alright. Then I leave them at home.

Wendy said...

You saved $500 clipping coupons???? Wowie!! My hubby usually gets me organized with coupons and store specials, but 9 times out of 10 his carefully cut coupons expire in my purse! LOL.

Mildred said...

Me again! Just wanted to thank you and George both for your support, friendship and prayers during Nalley's tests. Thanks for being such treasured friends.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Grammy--Well it would be hard couponing if you didn't get coupons each week!!! Good Luck!

Kallen---Get you one of those little organizers. I get mine at the dollar stores. It truly takes discipline to do this.. It is work. I spend hours each week on it.. I will say that the drive to Hendersonville seems shorter now (2.5 hours each way)--because I work on my coupons in the car!!!!

Michele--The longer I do this, the more I learn about which ones are really good ones and which ones are not. Getting 25 cents off of Bounce or Bounty towels is not much---so I usually go for the bigger coupons these days. I get my best savings on our Vitamins. I buy them when they go on sale for BOGO (buy one get one free) and then use 2 coupons with each bottle. Sometimes these vitamin coupons can be as much as $2 per bottle. That helps alot!!

Cedar--Well it does take WORK and hours of organizing. I have grocery lists each week--and a little book that I put my list and coupons in for that particular store. We also go to 2 (sometimes 3) stores per week... The expired coupons are GREAT--and I can save and save UNTIL that store puts something on sale. Then I stock up.

Sally--That is good to know, Sally.. Maybe you can teach me MORE...

Shelley--Like I've told others (above), it does take alot of time and effort to make it all work. I do enjoy it--especially when I see results. Get your organizer at one of the dollar stores. Do you have Dollar General or something like that??? I haven't done much with coupons online. Getting the booklets in the newspapers is enough to keep me busy.

Mildred-- The organizer helps alot--or else you'd have coupons all over the place and never find anything. I go through the Kroger circular each Sunday--looking at their specials for the week. I write things that I might want on my list. Then I go through my coupon books and see what coupons I have for these 'specials.' I'll pull the ones I want and put them in that book... Make sense???? Ask if you need other info or ideas..

Woody--Ha---I haven't started the cloth grocery bags yet... We use that plastic bags for picking up junk while working in the yard. SO --right now--we 'need' those old plastic bags. BESIDES, it would take ALOT of those 'green bags' for our groceries!!!! ha ha... I'm all for going 'green'--but that's one way we won't change right now. Memory???? What's that??? ha ha

Joy-- Yes, that's the best deal of all--using expired coupons!!!! I can keep them for a couple of years. Amazing huh???? Since you've done it for years, you can probably teach me alot of things!!!

Karin--You obviously have done your homework--and that is what it takes. There are so many ways to save money in addition to coupons---IF you take time to learn what the stores policies are. Thanks!!!

Carolyn-- Well I said it's not for everyone. You truly have to 'want' to do it in order to really make it work. I love it---but that's just me.

Carla--Thanks... Glad you use coupons also. Are you a Kroger's person? We are since Wednesdays are 5% Senior Discount. AND--they do take expired coupons and double up to 50 cents. I wanted to try Food City --since it's new and in our area. But so far, I can't find much of anything that is as good a deal as both Kroger's or Walmart.. Even Food Lion has better specials than Food City. Just my opinion!!!!

Rose--I have not done any couponing online. I have enough to keep me VERY busy just with the booklets in the newspapers. The key is what you said---only buy what you need and don't buy something with a coupon that you don't need or won't use or eat... Get you an organizer for your coupons --and that should help.

Amelia-- In order to save money, we have lowered our standards a little about certain things. Instead of specific shampoo that I used to use and pay big bucks for, I now use coupons and buy different shampoo and conditioner. We changed toothpaste also when we started clipping coupons. BUT--doing this is not for everyone. You have to enjoy it and WANT to do it.

Suzanne--Yes, when I save us money, it makes me feel REALLY good!!!! How was your day at the FAIR???? Did you eat those corn dogs and fried corn-on-the-cob??? YUM!!!

Diane--Yes, it is work and discipline. I have to spend hours not only clipping and organizing -- but making lists and checking specials. One has to WANT to do this!!! But the results are wonderful!!!

Cassie-- That helps--having someone else clip the coupons. You should get him one of those organizers --and he can put the coupons in categories for you. Then when you need one, you can find it. We get that Red Lobster coupon also---and Olive Garden. Do you have Olive Gardens out there????? YUM!

Cicero--That's just as important as clipping coupons. Going for the specials and then stocking up will definitely save you money. We finally bought a 2nd frig/freezer for the garage ---and that helps when we buy in bulk. Our Kroger's shows you your savings at the bottom of the cash register receipt also.. That always makes me feel good when I've saved between 35 and 40% most of the time. Another way to be organized is not to run out of anything and then run to the store and pay full price. That is BAD as you know!!!

Sarah--Well, couponing is not for everyone. If it stresses you out--then don't do it. You can find other ways to save money I'm sure.

Pat-- Thanks... It does take alot of time, organization and hard work. But the end result is good!!!

Tina-- It's hard... It took me a long time to find the right coupons for us. We changed some of the things we eat that we could get on sale and with coupons. BUT--we still look at the store brands --and if they are cheaper than the name brands with coupons, I use the store brands. We don't have Costco here but we've got Sam's. We buy alot of bulk items at Sam's and buy almost all of our meats there. And of course, they don't take coupons. SO--our savings at the end of the year is not only from coupons.

Penny-- We like the Lowe's coupons--when they give us 10% off if we spend $50.. AND we can always spend $50 at Lowe's!!! ha (That's where I get my bird seed!)

Susie--I have a little notebook with my grocery list in it ---and my coupons for that day. We only buy what we have on our list---and don't allow ourselves to buy extra stuff. That helps with the costs also!!!

Loran--I've never been to Utah---but would love to go there sometime. You live in a beautiful place for sure!!! AND--you know we'll be there someday IF there are waterfalls. HA... Well---I'll come and organize you ---and teach YOU how to save $500 a year!!!! Okay????? I can be the Coupon Nanny....ha ha

Rosa-- l make a list in my small notebook --ahead of time, and put the coupons I use at that store in that notebook. That way I won't forget them.

Wendy---Well the $500 comes from clipping coupons, buying in bulk, making a list each week and sticking to it, buying the store specials, going to the store regularly with my lists --and having no impulse buying and running to the store at the last minute if I need something, buying store brands instead of name brands, going to more than one grocery store each week, and by changing some of the brands we used to use to new ones that go on sale alot and/or that we have coupons for... SO---it's alot of things that help us save money!!!

Mildred---Oh you are such a Sweetheart. We just want you and Nalley to BOTH be healthy and happy. Just remember--we are with you all of the way!!!! Lots of hugs to you tonight!!!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I have used coupons in the past, but the trouble is, they tend to take over my kitchen, purse, truck !
I vowed I would get more organized and bought one of those nice coupon holders.....then I forgot where I had put it ;)
I may have another go, since groceries are getting so expensive.

Lori said...

I don't do coupons but I do try to hit the sales. I almost never buy clothing unless it's on clearance or a very good sale...and then there's always G.W. (Goodwill, which we especially love on dollar day!)

We all have to save wherever we can!

fishing guy said...

Betsy: You and my wife would hit it off, she has a box for coupons that she organized and takes shopping.

Gill - That British Woman said...

great info Betsy, that's great you being able to save that amount of money, and its better in your pocket than in the grocery stores pocket.......

I wish they doubled coupons here in Canada, you guys have so much more coupons and better pricing than we have in Canada.

Do you shop at Walgreens and CVS, as you get some super deals there?

Gill in Canada

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Josephine--Good Luck!!!! I do think there are lots of ways to save money on groceries, etc. besides coupons.

Lori---You are right... There are many ways to save money. The thing that all of us need to learn is to plan ahead --so that we don't get stuck running to the store to buy something at full price because we have run out of something, or because we 'need' it!!!! Hitting the sales takes time --but it certainly works (just like coupon savings).

Tom-- Good for your wife!!!! It just takes some organization.. And of course, some people take their entire collection of coupons shopping with them--just to make sure they have them if they see something on sale!!!!!

Gill--We are lucky that our Kroger's does double coupons up to and including 50 cents. That helps ALOT. Yes, we have both Walgreen's and CVS --and another one called Revco.. All do a good job with specials--and with advertising. I personally like Walgreen's best out of those three.

Jen said...

Do you know if you use your own reusable bags most stores give you credit for that. I shop Kroger too, and it's 5 cents per bag. Plus you are helping the whales or who ever eats them that shouldn't. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Jen--I haven't used their bags yet--simple because it would take so many of them... I'll check on the discount. I haven't heard of that... Thanks!!!