I have been clipping coupons for a few weeks now, and have found that it is something I really enjoy!
I am learning so much about couponing! And I've even gotten a few free things since I started! The two main places that I'm gathering information are at Money Saving Mom and Hot Coupon World.
My goals in couponing are:
:::to save money on our grocery bill
:::to use coupons on products I need and would be purchasing anyhow
There were several things that kept me from trying coupons: the cost of subscribing to the paper, the amount of time I knew it would take, the temptations of buying things I didn't normally use, and seeing how (in my eyes) some couponers were "hoarders".
Cost: I subscribed to the paper on Sunday only - the savings I make with the coupons is more than the cost of the paper. Some Sunday afternoons, I have enough time to look through the paper and actually read a few articles, which has been enjoyable. I always make time for the funnies. ;-) I am only getting one paper. Some couponers get multiple copies of the paper, but I want to keep it simple!
Time: It really doesn't take me too much extra time to use coupons - perhaps an extra hour or two per week. I clip the coupons and file them away. On Monday I look through the grocery ad and match up sale items to coupons I have. There are also bloggers who match these up as well so I scan over several lists online to see if there are any I missed. Then I make my list and off to the store I go! At this point, I am only going to one store. There are several stores I could shop at, but I'm sticking to the convenience of just one store for all my groceries.
Temptations: I have bought a few things that were outside my normal range of grocery shopping. But I try to only clip the coupons that I *should* be using, and the rest go out to the curb for recycling.
Hoarding: I am determined to only buy what I know our family will use, so this isn't really that much of a problem for me. For instance, I use perhaps two large bottles of shampoo per year, so there is no need for me to have 20 bottles of shampoo under my bathroom sink! However, we do use peanut butter, and the brand I buy is normally $3.09 a jar. When it went on sale, I was able to combine coupons with store coupons and buy six jars for $7. Now that was a great bargain! I know that eventually we'll use that peanut butter, and it saved me a lot of money to stock up! I use cleaners sparingly, so I know that I have no need of 10 bottles of toilet cleaner! However, it makes sense to have 10 bottles of dish washing soap in the cupboard, because I know I will use about that much in a year's time.
Here is how I organized my coupons, (using the method Crystal explains at Money Saving Mom):
I did have to cut about 1/4" off the edge of the 3 x 5 card so that the lid could close. This system is working well for me right now, and I can take the whole box into the store in case there are unadvertised sales on items I have coupons for.
Here is the box with the lid closed:
My conclusion is that couponing is something I will continue to do! It has saved me quite a bit of money already, and I am still learning the "ins and outs" of the process!