How do you shop?

This is a comment from a reader on one of my Kroger shoppng trips.

OK!! I'm working on my couponing skills, but you always have so many coupons. Do you actually buy that many Sunday papers? When do you actually sit down and do all of this. These might be stupid questions but I need to know. Do you sit down with your sale paper and your coupons together do you clip the coupons and put them in your binder? then check out the paper while going through the binder? Give a girl some hints, Please. Jen.

Do you actually buy that many Sunday papers?
Yes, I usually buy 6 Sunday papers a week, I also print a lot of coupons online and get many in the mail from different places. Also, I have been known to buy some off ebay if there is a great deal or a really great coupon that I know I will use a lot of.

When do you actually sit down and do all of this?
I try and get all my coupons put away immediately or things get out of control! But that doesn't always happen, so I try and pick a night when my husband is watching T.V. so I can sit with him and organize my stuff. My days are so crazy that this is something I usually do after the kids are in bed, or I have coupons strung from one end of the house to the other :) I clip my coupons right away and get them put in my binder first. Then I start looking at adds, this way it is so much easier to see what I have.

Do you sit down with your sale paper and your coupons together do you clip the coupons and put them in your binder?
When I get the CVS and Sundays adds I take a look through them to see if I have missed anything, I already know what is going to be on sale because I look at places like Iheartcvs.com that show me what is coming up in the next few weeks. But for me it is easier holding it in my hand than reading it off the computer screen. I also shop my 24 hour CVS late Saturday night so I need to get my act together quickly on Saturday's so I can run without the kids! During the week if I have to go to the store I will check the store adds quick, check my site for any match-ups, and browse any other sites that might be helpful. For the most part I just do all my match-ups at the store while I am shopping. This is why I like the binder. All my coupons are in one spot and organized by isles of the store. So as I walk down each isle I just flip to that section and I can see all my coupons at once. This way if there are any unadvertised deals I usually catch those.

When I first started couponing, I made a lot of lists. I would pull the coupons I needed and put them in an envelope with the list and use that in the store along with my binder. If I am doing a really big shopping trip I still do this. But this way I didn't forget anything.

Right now I have such a large "stockpile" of groceries I am shopping just for all the staples and fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of my stockpile items I only pick up if they are free. It took about a good 9 to 12 months to get to the point where I didn't care if a box of cereal was $.50 I was only going to pick it up if I got it for free.

I find that most Moms have to do much of their organizing while the kids are in bed or taking a nap. Then you can get a list together and go to the store. I know that it can be hard to shop with little kids, trust me I have done it with 6 for many years. Only recently have my older kids been able to babysit while I run to the store. It is hardest for me when I have a little one sitting in the front of the cart because that is where I put my binder, which then gets moved to the basket of the cart and is heard to look through. I like to grab the carts with the little cars if I have the little kids so I can still keep my binder right in front of me.

Always start slowly, if you try and get every deal at one time you will get burned out, frustrated and quit. If you miss a deal, there will be another one. All sales go in cycles, usually about every 3 mo. so that same deal will probably be back again. Pick one store and one drug store to start with and when you are feeling comfortable shopping there and are understanding what deals they run then try other stores. Don't kill yourself trying to coupon. Just do a little at a time.

How do you shop? Any other tips you can give a newbie?



Elise said...

I am SO glad you posted this! I just got back from WalMart and Rite Aid I was just about to quit But reading this IM going to try again and work with Target and maybe Walmart. I had the coupons for the Zantac, Johnsons sponges and Pringles. The manager could not do the Zantac and she acted like I was crazy! She says This coupon is for %5.00 the Zantac is only $3.87!" I said yes but says ANY Zantac and said "Well you cant get that for free" Then she said the AIr Wicks cant be done either at that point I was so frustrated I said "Gimme back my coupons and forget the whole thing!" ARG! Target is better for me so until I know how to do this well I will start slowly! PHEW

Amy said...

Quick question about your stockpile (which I am totally envious of!!) How often do you go through everything and check to make sure that stuff isn't sitting there expiring? I find if I even get a couple of boxes of cereal, I am constantly checking to make sure nothing is going bad. Do you do that frequently, or have any system to keep up with it? THANKS!

The Mom said...

Don't quit. I am so sorry, it makes me so mad to hear about you being treated badly when you are doing nothing wrong.

We rotate thorough most everything very quickly with a large family. On the jars and cans I take a permeant marker and write the date. than put the newest in the back and pull the older forward.

Tracy said...

So, you do shop with your binder? I am still embarrassed to pull out all of my coupons. I have been thinking about getting a binder, and this encourages me to go for it. Do people stare at you?

shawntell said...

Okay just wanted to tell you that I just deleted another blog from my homepage tabs and added you instead. Such a great blog and great deals. Love it.

Letty said...

OMG!! It is so true that the best thing to do is put your coupons up immediately! I have a binder and when I was out of town in December I fell behind. Sad to say I am still trying to get things back under control! I think I am going to go work on my binder now. :)

Just Me said...

Definitely only start with one or two stores. I actually started with drug stores, CVS, Wags and RA, and mastered their various systems, built a great stockpile of toiletries, etc. Then after about 6 months of that I started to focus on the grocery/food side of things. I found that focusing on one area and really "mastering" it gave me the confidence to go to the next sector.

Margie said...


I have found that people are in awe when I shop with all of my coupons. I have also had people wait in line behind me (instead of going to an open register) just to see how much I cut my bill down to. I live out in the middle of nowhere and have to travel far to shop, and I'm also in an area in which people don't coupon, so it's odd for them to see. People don't stare or even say anything negative. I have always had people say positive things in regards to me having coupons. Now, some people do get frustrated sometimes when you have a cashier that doesn't know what to do with coupons and they have to wait a little extra.

If you ever have a time in which people stare or could say something, find something in their cart that you have a coupon for and hand it over to them. You may find their perception will change quickly!

SunshineofAutumnQuilts said...

What a great post. I have been doing Krogers for a few months now, once in a while Walmart to match something Randalls or HEB is doing..However I am still not getting good enough to get free cereal. On a post sometime can you show some examples of things like that? I did get soft soap (4) for free, and a couple other non food related items. Thanks..I love your Blog, very inspiring.

D said...

This is great advice, thanks! I just got started and definitely caught myself going through just what you described. I have decided to focus on the grocery stores and Walmart, with occasional stops at Target. I found the Walgreens and CVS deals too complicated to pull off, and their prices are too expensive otherwise.