Coupons and price matching have been the only way I have been able to stay on a tiny budget.
I am what I like to call a “health-nut couponer”. I am a vegetarian who believes unprocessed food is the way to go, I prefer all-natural cleaners, I don’t wear make-up or use perfumes and have very few toiletries, and I don’t like to shop…and even I find good use for couponing and price matching. If I can, I suppose anyone can. Now that you think I’m some kind of weirdo *chuckle*, let me introduce you to my coupon binder, which helps me coupon without spending a lot of time cutting coupons!
One of the greatest reasons I hear for not couponing is how time consuming it is. Well it doesn’t have to be! I want maximum savings for the things I do buy, but I don’t want to spend more than 15-20 minutes per week creating my shopping list & preparing my coupons. I have organized myself and my coupon binder to best accommodate this.
Saving Is All In the Details
At some point I will do an entire post on how I maximize my savings, but for the sake of this coupon binder tour I just wanted to briefly touch on a couple coupon basics I follow.
1. Use a Coupon Database: As I mentioned in the webisode, I use a coupon database to do all the coupon and sales matching work for me. They match the sales for that week (from your personal store) with the corresponding coupons leaving you free to do other things! There are quite a few databases to choose from, so you should be able to find one that has your favorite stores!
I also recommend finding a coupon blog or database that serves only your local region, it will be a bit more specific and often list unadvertised deals in your neighborhood. I pretty much just do whatever my local coupon blogger tells me to do! *wink* A big shoutout to my awesome local deal matchers: Sisters Shopping On A Shoestring, and The Coupon High!
2. Make A Plan & Stick To It: Create a budget, menu plan, and shopping list. These three items can make all the difference in how much you spend! I cannot stress enough the importance of planning ahead…however you decide to do it, whatever methods you choose, plan ahead! You’ll save gads of money and learn to buy efficiently. Even if you never coupon, you can cut your grocery spending just by sticking to a menu plan and corresponding shopping list! If you base your menu plan/shopping list on sale products from that week, you’ll do even better!
3. Find An Execution Method That Is Flexible With Your Lifestyle:
My coupon and savings habits change based on how crazy life is at the moment. When I have more time for shopping trips I lug my entire coupon binder around with me, and it allows me maximum savings. When I’m strapped for time, I have my shopping list which I stick to, and carry my little poly vinyl pocket with just the coupons necessary for this shopping trip. Then I stick precisely to my list, which means I stay precisely on budget.