As I was cleaning up the house yesterday, I found that I had at least two weeks worth of Sunday newspaper ads and coupons that my husband had left lying around (in the event that I'd want to read them). I haven't looked through either in ages, so I tossed them in the recycle bin. Then I got this wild hair to try coupon clipping... Rather than try this on my own, I enlisted the help of two blogs (that normally cause chest pains at the mere mention) I have on my blogroll.
Money Saving Mom was the most help when it came to organizing... Her weekend posts (and all the others that linked to her post) told me what the hot deals were at all of the stores. She (and many other savings fanatics) matches up the sales ads with recent coupons. I wasn't tempted to buy things I don't normally buy, so I found it to actually be very easy and useful. An added bonus was that many of the coupons are online, so I didn't even have to fish through the paper.
Coupon Cravings is a cool blog too. Her focus seems to be on all sorts of random deals... Think restaurants, gas stations, magazines, online offers, etc.
First things first... Get the coupons and ads back out of the trash. I really only needed the ads to clip in-store coupons. Keep the coupons organized the way they came, as bloggers refer to them by the booklet name and date published. Write the date on the cover. (Example "8/16 Red Plum"). This makes it very easy to find what you're looking for.
Second... Build my shopping list using the bloggers' lists of hot deals. Only write down things that I actually use. Clip my coupons (from the paper or online) and head out.
It wasn't hard to learn that K-Mart is currently having their double coupon days. The best info I found regarding this deal is at the Frugal Girls blog. K-Mart is not convenient for me at all, but I had other errands to run near there. I was discouraged by the many rude employees and the difficulty finding things, but happy with my savings. I purchased what you see above. Only a couple of the items were on sale, but the coupons I had were pretty big, especially when doubled. I even found a $5 off a toy coupon on a K-Mart blog. (Really, there's a blog devoted to K-Mart? I had no idea.) That coupon couldn't be doubled, but I was happy to get this ridiculous Bionicle for Zach's upcoming birthday for $16. (Really, how is a Bionicle worth $16?) Don't tell Zach about the present. Anyway, my total savings was $28.04. I spent $61.80.
Since Walgreens and CVS are within walking distance of our house, I should be shamed for never trying coupons there before yesterday. Walgreens was a total bust - they were out of the few things I'd come for. CVS was a better success... Most of what I purchased at CVS was on sale. Combining sale prices with my coupons made for awesome savings. (By the way, my CVS provides a CVS card scanner at the door. Scan your card and the machine kicks out a coupon. The one I got yesterday was $3 off a $15 purchase.) My total savings was $19.82. I spent $21.62.
We also stopped by Costco and bought a membership yesterday. I plan to go back later this week for my first shopping spree (er... TRIP... Is it a spree when saving money is the focus?).
Bryan ran into Target for these, but he couldn't find them. They are normally $9.99, but are on sale right now for $6.50. I have a $1 coupon too! I will swing back by Target later.
The only errand I didn't get around to is stopping by McDonald's. You read that right - I am running an errand to McDonald's. They have coupon books on sale for $1. Scratch that... I just called the McD's closest to my house and they don't have them. I will have to call around to others. If you find some, please let me know.
So, there you have it... I have been successful at saving serious amounts of money by using coupons. Now that I've managed to save $47.86 in one day, with minimal effort, how can I justify NOT doing it again next week?