Living Frugally: Use Coupons and Save

FrugalUncleSamI will be the first to acknowledge that I rarely use coupons. That is because I rarely go shopping, grocery or otherwise. My idea of shopping is realizing that I need something – or to be more honest, want something – then sitting down in front of the computer and heading over to Amazon. Love that Amazon Prime with the two-day shipping … ahh, but I digress.

This Living Frugally post was written in collaboration with Mrs. SavvyJames … she provided all the input and I simply typed and prepared for publication. Alas, she is the one who does most of the shopping in our household. I have been known to jet off to the store when she is in the middle of preparing a meal and realizes she needs another item or two. Generally however, I make every effort to avoid stores.

The first order of business is to choose a container to hold your coupons. A shoebox is used in our household. Other options include coupon wallets, coupon binders, or converted recipe boxes. At the end of the day it does not really matter which type of container you choose, as long as once you have clipped or printed your coupons, they immediately find their way to your container.

Speaking of printed coupons, long-time readers of this blog have likely noticed the powered by coupons.com placements around the blog. As an avid couponer, she likes the idea of being able to find and print specific coupons. Finding a coupon company to partner with was her idea and I believe it fits in nicely with the frugal aspect of personal finance and retirement planning. The process is incredibly easy. Simply click on any of the coupons.com images – located in most posts and over in the right hand column – find the product(s) you use and print the applicable coupon(s).



Next step, develop a filing system. Many shoppers organize their coupons by category (e.g. meats, beverages, dairy, frozen foods, cleaning items, pet care, baby and toddler, etc.) or expiration date. Try both methods and determine which works best for you. We file by expiration date and the system works well for us. We like this system because it helps maintain order in our coupon box, which leads to the next consideration, purging regularly. We typically sit down every second Sunday and remove expired coupons.

With your system established, you’re ready to go save some money. Before heading to the store, make sure you know exactly what you plan to buy. We all know that studies have shown that people tend to buy more than anticipated, or needed, when they shop without a list.

Amazon EchoA quick digression. As Amazon Prime members – I told you we love us some Amazon Prime – we were fortunate to have a chance to buy an Echo last December during a preview period (at half the price which made it even more appealing). For those that might be interested, it just recently became widely available.

Anyhoot, one of the features we like best is the Shopping List. We simply call out, “Alexa [or Echo] add xxxxx to my shopping list.” With the associated app on our iPhones, or my wife’s Kindle, we can view/edit our list at anytime. Much more convenient than pen and paper. Anyway, digression over.

With your list in hand, go through your coupons and determine which can be used for the trip you are about to make. Stick to your list and use your coupons when you’re able. Voilà, money saved.

How about you, SavvyShoppers. Do you use coupons and if so, what tips or tricks can you offer?

 

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

9 Comments

  1. I’m not against clipping paper coupons, however I use the rewards programs for the places we shop… One account for the house, it can add up quickly for the programs with points to cash rewards. Most learn what items/ brands you buy so they offer paper coupons at check out and sometimes they hit the mark, like Andrew, the others I throw away. I find the largest discounts are on store brand items, which I never have a problem with.

  2. I love saving money with coupons but I don’t spend much time on clipping them. I’ll quickly scan the coupons in the weekly circulars and keep the ones with things we use. And I shop at Target frequently and the cashier gives out coupons…I’ll keep the ones we would use and throw out the rest.

    • Sounds like the approach a lot of people use. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Andrew.

  3. Love it. I recently got back into using coupons and the ability to pick and print my coupons is incredibly easy. Looking forward to saving a little money as I work to minimize some debt.

    • Glad to hear it, my friend. Every little bit of savings helps as you work to chip away at that debt!

  4. My wife and I have the couponing system down. I actually set up an Excel coupon database and shared it in a post. It’s one of my most popular posts (if you go to my site you can see it on the sidebar – I won’t add a link in the comment as I think that’s a bit spammy). The system is based on expiration date, but it makes it easy to filter in Excel on type of coupon. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way for the coupons to magically appear in the spreadsheet, yet…

    • Thanks for stopping by, DC and providing insight into how you manage your coupons. I will have to stop by and check it out. It sounds like something that is incredibly useful.

  5. Coupining is addictive! My favorite app is favado. It allows you to create lists based on sales with matching coupons to get the best deals. My savings per trip average about 76%. Sometimes you can make money!

    • Wow! That is significant savings and sometimes you make money. Nice. If you have a chance to try printing out some coupons from coupons.com I would love to get your feedback on the experience. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and kicking off the conversation, Kim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *