Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Conscious Couponing

Who doesn't like to save a dollar or two? I do! I remember growing up and helping cut coupons from the Sunday paper with my family. Next, we would make a list of what we needed and then head to the grocery store. When it came to clothes shopping we made a bee-line to the clearance racks or shopped at stores like Ross, Bells Outlet, or TJ Maxx.  Now that I am responsible for my own money, I cringe at the thought of paying full price for anything. Honestly, I try not to buy anything that is not on sale or without a coupon!

So we all know about extreme couponing. There are blogs, classes, and shows devoted to teaching you how to "get paid to shop" and walk out with carts or bags of free groceries and house goods. Sales are great and "free stuff" is even better. However, this post is not about that. I want you to stop and think about the saying, "There is nothing free in life."

Did you think about it?... Really?...
Woman thinking about Coupons

Now I know at this point you are thinking. “Why am I reading this since I am not going to tell you have to save oodles of money and get free stuff?” Please stay with me...

This blog is about learning and growing together in community. With this in mind, I hope that my method of couponing will help those who want to conquer the task of couponing, even if they do not have the time or desire to spend hours cutting coupons, searching for sales, or devouring stores for deals. The solution to this is "Conscious Couponing".

1. Learn what foods and products you and your family use.

*If you use a certain hair product, look for sales and corresponding coupons for the hair product that you need (or want).

*If a grocery item or product is on sale that you don’t need, don’t buy it just because you have a coupon (unless you can get it for free and plan to give it away to help someone less fortunate).

2. Sign up for store mailers, email coupons, and text message offers.

*If you don't know about the deal then you cannot save on it.

* By signing up to receive offers they are sending you potential savings.

Example: Our favorite casual dinning steak house is Logan's Steak House. The mailers that are mailed to the house have Logan’s coupons. However, some times we want to go out and we don't have the mailer. Since I have signed up for their emails, I get email coupons too!

3. Make a list of what you use and how often you purchase each item.

* You probably know what items you buy regularly, but it may take a few months to learn how frequently you need to purchase them.

Example: We buy toilet paper in bulk about once every 6 months, but we buy a gallon of milk every 2 weeks.

4. Glance at store ads either online or in the local paper. Make a note to what is on sale from what you need to buy or will need to buy soon.

*Browsing ads online is free and less cutter. Also several websites allow you to click the on a sale item and add it to your list.

**There are websites that you can Google that will show you all of the best deals at all the stores, but this method of couponing is about being conscious of the items you need at the stores that you regularly shop at.

5. Browse the coupon inserts and online websites. Cut and or print only the coupons or coupon codes that you will use.

* When you cut or print coupons and codes that are not going to be used before they expire, it is a waste of time.

*Also, when you save coupons that you are not going to use, it takes extra time to cut, and organize them.

6. Place coupons in a small carrier that you can access quickly. Carry the coupon organizer with you or in the car.

*When I have a big folder or binder it is normally not very accessible.

7. Whenever you get out of the car to shop or dine, check the organizer for a coupon.

* Get excited about your savings! (money, time, and energy)

The whole purpose of Conscious Couponing is to make sure that you’re really saving. The goal is to save money on the items that you are going to purchase regardless of whether you find them on sale or have a coupon.

I hope this method of couponing can help you maximize your money and time.




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