Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thoughts on Couponing

I started couponing about a year or two ago and it has been a blessing, headache, and job rolled into one.  Couponing just makes sense for me - its free money offered to you by manufacturers to encourage you to buy their products - plus I have time to do it.  With coupons you can get name brand products for must less than the cost of even the lowest quality store brand. 

I hate paying full price for an item and always kick myself when I go to the store without my coupon folder (you never know what you will find on clearance that you have a coupon for).  I take advantage of free offers by shopping at drug stores and highly encourage others to do the same. I have personally left CVS paying pennies for lots of goodies.

That all being said, I HATE the way the shoppers on TLC's Extreme Couponing behave.  I believe they take advantage of the system, make normal couponers look bad, and frankly are very selfish and hoarders.  I do not see the need for having a hundreds years work of soup in your basement... it just seems very wrong.  Shelf clearers are the worst (if you watch the show or coupon, you know what I am talking about).

Anyway, I follow a handful of blogs to help me with my couponing, one of which (and my favorite) is My Litter.  Tiffany, the blogs author is actually from The Woodlands (near my town), and was on Extreme Couponing.  She and her family were one of the first families featured and the ONLY normal family on this show in my opinion.  Tiffany just did an article on the show (Extreme Couponing) and its a pretty good read if you are interested in the show and want to know "how they do that".

A couple notes on couponing:
- It takes time and effort
- You don't have to run yourself crazy to every store in town to get a good deal.  The deal will come up again soon, just be patient. 
- When there is a good deal on a product you like, and you have matching coupons, buy enough to last 3 months... Products go on sale in cycles so take advantage of the low price while its available
- Keep all your coupons, event those for things you don't necessary want.  You never know when you will run across an item that is totally free... you can easily donate this item to a non-profit.
- Make sure you read the fine print on sales paper and you buy exactly the right product otherwise your coupons won't work or you will pay more than you expect
- You don't have to find the deals all by yourself.  Check out couponing websites and they can tell you what to buy, where to buy it, and what coupons to use.  Two of my favorite couponing sites are: My Litter and Krazy Coupon Lady.  Let them do the work for you.
- If stores in your area double or triple coupons you are lucky (none do in my area) and you should TOTALLY take advantage of it!
- Finally, drugstores typically offer the very best deals.  CVS is my absolute favorite place to shop.  It seems expensive if you do not coupon but if you coupon, use your rewards card, and plan your shopping trip you can get stuff super cheap.

For more shopping tips and to read about one of my best shopping trips ever at CVS read this post.  

Good luck shopping, save some money and USE YOUR COUPONS (just don't be crazy about it please!).  What are your couponing strategies and tips?

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