I have visited this subject before but it can't hurt to return to it, especially these days.
Yesterday was shopping day around here. I wasn't food shopping because we'll be away from home for a while and I didn't want to have to toss anything before we leave. At the bottom of the post I've listed some of the money saving blogs I follow and get many ideas from. There are more but these have worked for me as a good starting point. Here are my deals from yesterday:
First stop: Staples
All of the above, after discounts and coupons was $20.42 ... I have a rebate to redeem for $7.38, total out of pocket will be $13.04. Had I paid retail for all I'd have spent about $76.83!
Next was Walgreens
All of the above plus a candy bar that is long gone, after discounts and coupons was $31.09 ... I have a rebates to redeem for $13.99 plus a register reward for my next visit for $10, total out of pocket will be $7.10. Had I paid retail for all I'd have spent about 57.19!
All of the above plus a gallon of milk, after discounts and coupons was $29.07 (I did use extra care bucks I already had to cover most of that) ... I received extra care bucks totaling $17.87 and have a rebate to redeem for $10, total out of pocket will be $1.20. Had I paid retail for all I'd have spent about $35.17!
Now, I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the items I bought I wouldn't have purchased if they hadn't been a great deal, but many of them I would have needed eventually so they will go into the stash piles, or will be given away if I know someone who needs something specific.
As a result of Jason leaving and the impending divorce I've really had to watch spending and have gotten back into couponing. I'd been doing really well with it until everything started happening around here and then it fell by the wayside for a bit (so did any kind of shopping). But I'm back at it, with gusto.
My old system of storing coupons was a simple accordian-style file similar to this. That worked well, if I only had a few coupons, but if I found a certain shampoo on clearance on an endcap at Target I had to sort through ALL "body and beauty" coupons to see if I had one to use with the shampoo ... it took forever, and if I happened to find another shampoo on another endcap I had to do the same thing all over again. It was a heck of a lot of disorganized work, and not good with a handful of kids to watch too.
My sister implemented a system of using a large binder with baseball card insert sheets to hold coupons. She could put all shampoo coupons together, or each in their own space, and then just flip to the page to find the right coupon.
After finding a zip-closeable binder on clearance and sheets at Staples I set out to do the same thing. I did add some sheets with different size inserts for different things ... full page for not yet filed coupons and restaurants, 4"by6" openings for store specific coupons, etc. It's a big thing to carry around when I've already got a carseat to lug but it has been so much better. More on the idea here.
Some of the links I mentioned above:
And now a request: Not a big one, but if you drink coke products and don't use the codes under the caps could you please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I drink way too much diet coke so I've started collecting the codes. Thanks.
I'll be announcing a winner to the quilt contest later tonight. Thanks everyone for playing!