Monday, May 19, 2008

SAVING US SOME MOOLA-*PART 1: COUPONS AND FREE SAMPLES

**after typing four pages in word on just coupons and freebies, I think I am going to break this down in parts. I don’t want to overwhelm or bore any of you with an endless amount of words.

Okay so I’m finally getting around to typing this post. sorry it took so long, but goodness, things have been hectic on my end (yes, I know you guys are getting just as tired of hearing this as I am saying it).
I’ve been mentally writing this post in my head for a bit now b/c I wanna make sure that I write it in a way that is easy to understand and that will show you guys how fun it actually is to save your family money. I know that most people think that the time that I put into these tasks is a waste and not fun at all, but to be quite honest, I enjoy it immensely!
Most of information that I have, I borrowed from other cool chicks out there that are gracious enough to share their tips, links, and shopping trips with the world.

First I am going to give credit where it is due and highlight a few blogs and sites that have saved me a ton of money!

freebies 4 mom
Heather is the coolest chick I know and she takes a lot of time to share with the rest us all the freebies, internet coupons, and other cool deals that are out there. I don’t go a day without checking her site. she also offers give aways on her blog which I think is awesome!

money saving mom
Crystal is an amazing blogger that also runs the site biblical womanhood. actually I think I first came across her biblical womanhood site before finding money saving mom and felt like I hit the jack pot. Crystal is a young mom just like myself (‘cept I think she is a little bit younger {sniff}) and she takes a lot of time out of her schedule to help us out.

Everything you need to know and get started about couponing you can see on her blog. not only does she show the latest and greatest of internet coupons and free samples, but she will also break down for you all the deals you can get at chain stores such as cvs, riteaid, Walgreens, food lion, publix, kroger etc!!! actually I’m extremely jealous of all the great stores in her area that offer such amazing deals that make it possible for her to stretch her buck. I only have a couple and well that just sucks!!!!


the mother load
Amy is another woman after my own heart. She enjoys things like saving her family money, cooking on a budget, and entertaining her family at hardly any cost. She has posts like “freebie Fridays” where every Friday she posts all the free stuff that is out there on the net. Her blog is another daily click for me. I’ve printed out some amazing (and simple) recipes from her site and I highly recommend checking her out!

Those are my top three that I check on a daily basis. And usually while I’m on those blogs, I’ll hop over to another one and another one and another one (aka blog hop) either via comments or links that these girls will post on there blog.

Actually, you really don’t need to read anymore of what I have to say, you can actually just go to the above blogs and find out everything that you need to know….lol.

But for those that are still sticking around, I’m going to tell ya a few things that I do to help make our dollar stretch via couponing and free samples!

coupons
Okay, I know some of you are groaning right about now. but I’m here to tell you that most of the money that I save comes from clipping coupons. I actually don’t mind clipping the coupons. It’s a great task you can do while watching tv or while you’re at work {wink}. Actually, I’ve been known to cut them on my lunch break while eating downstairs with the hubby (money saving tip to come in a later section).
I usually purchase at least 3 Sunday papers each week that is if I know there are going to be really good coupons in the paper. I may even purchase one more. The papers are only $1 each and there are coupons and rebates (see *part 2) that well exceed that cost! Not to mention a lot of the ads for chain stores (i.e. cvs, Walgreens, etc) have coupons in them which adds to my savings.
You can get coupons from places other than the Sunday paper. this will probably come as a shock to some of you as it did me until I realized how many sites out there offer printable coupons. Now I do need to let you know that you need to check with your local store’s coupon policy to see if they take internet coupons. Some stores have issues with them possibly being copies, etc. so they may not take them.

Aside from finding links for printable coupons from the above blogs, you can also find printables at the below sites:


smart source
betty crocker
red plum
box tops for education
Pillsbury
pp gazette
coupons.com

These are just a few that I hit on a regular basis.

Now I know that some of you are thinking that is a lot and that its going to be a waste of ink, but I disagree. I can print a lot of coupons using one cartridge. Some of the coupons that you will print will be for free product, some will be for such a large amount off that you’ll end up getting the item for pennies. Not to mention that once you have emptied out a printer cartridge, you just bring it to office depot and they will give you a print out for $3 off your next purchase. You can bring in as many empties as you want and you are able to stack three of them on one purchase (meaning $9 off!!!)

Also be on the lookout for coupons that are attached to the product you buy. They can be found on the inside of a pizza box, on the outside of the bottle, inside a pack of shredded cheese, or they just might need to be peeled off the packaging.

Now you’re probably wondering what you are going to do with all these coupons after you have them all together and cut out while you watched a few episodes of murder she wrote.

1. Staple multiples: since I buy more than one paper and some of the above websites let you print more than one of the coupons that they are offering, it is very helpful to staple the coupons together. That way if you are at a store that offers b1g1f (buy 1 get 1 free) or you need more than one of that product and you have all your coupons together, it will save you a ton of time.

2. You are going to need something to put them in. awhile back I made this coupon box to store all my coupons in. I made sections based on my families needs. This box is sturdy and large enough to hold all the coupons that I have cut. I recommend getting something that works for you.

When it finally comes time to hit the grocery store, I usually start by making my grocery list. I base my grocery list off of my menu (see *part 3*). I then go off of this grocery list to find the coupons that I need. I take the coupons that I plan on using and keep them clipped to my list. I don’t leave them in my coupon box b/c I usually have so many that would be more confusing and would take more time. I also bring the coupons that I think I may wanna buy a product on (i.e. Johnson and Johnson has a ton of coupons out there on the net for $1/product. I usually gather these coupons and buy the Johnson and Johnson buddy soap at walmart for $0.97. I don’t necessarily need the soap at that time so it may not be on my list, but I know that I need to scoop these up before the coupons expires and stockpile them so when the kiddos use up what we have, we already have some in the house. most of the time these items make it on the list b/c I tend to get distracted at the store looking for one thing or another and then I may forget.)

I also bring with me a calculator and my little scrappy tote that I once got at a weekend crop. The tote is perfect b/c it has one big opening in the middle that is the perfect size for my coupon box and has lil pockets all around the outside that fits my calculator, cell phone, and coupons. I devote one pocket for the coupons that I want to use and one for the coupons that I didn’t use. Once an item goes into my cart, that coupon goes in another pocket.

That’s pretty much the extent of that. I enjoy grocery shopping a lot so this isn’t really a chore for me. I like to see how much I can save each trip and how much stuff I can actually get for nothing. Its like a game. And we all know how much I love games!!!

Whew!

Bored yet???

free samples
As some of you may not know, there are a ton of free samples out there for the taking. Companies are smart. If they know that if they give ya a free sample of one of their products and you like it, more than likely you are going to go to the store and buy a full size of that product.

A lot of name brand companies are willing to do that. for just a few seconds of your time, you fill out your information and voila in four to six weeks a sample of that product will arrive in your mailbox. Some of the samples come with coupons, some don’t, but I feel its just a bonus if I get one.

You can get anything from toothpaste to granola bars for free.
Cat food to shampoo.

Now I have to say that I do not sign up for anything unless I know the company!
Some of the sites you can go to (again aside from the above blogs) are:

start sampling
walmart
On the menu go to “in stores now”, “free samples”, and then it will list the ones that they are currently offering. They offer about 6 different samples I think a week. They change a lot which is a good thing. I get most of my samples here.


I love getting the samples in the mail and I have enough shampoo samples laying around that when I run out I have some or when I travel I have the smaller bottles/packages to throw in the suitcase.
Samples are awesome!

I have found some new products to try this way and some products that I had thought about buying but after receiving the sample, decided that it wasn’t for us.
Well I am going to end *part 1* here! hopefully some of you are still here and you’ve learned something new or learned of a new site to go to to help your family save some cash!

Just so ya know, I hate money.

Well I love it when I have it but I hate it when I don’t. So any lil thing that I can do to help my family keep some in the savings account keeps me from getting ulcers and keeps me sane.

If any of you have any tips for me in regards to couponing and free samples, please share! I’m always wanting to hear of new things.

11 comments:

Aimee said...

girl! i can't imagine how long this took you to type :) thanks for all the tips!

Raesha D said...

Thank you SO much!! Do you do The Grocery Game? I'm doing the one month trial for $1.00. I can't wait to read the next parts in this series!

noelmignon said...

wow... this is inspiring! I used to be a big time coupon clipper and I could save like 50$ on my grocery bill....back when I was having to buy like 2 monster boxes of diapers and crates of formula every week. I should get back into it!

Thanks for the inspo!
:)

Greta Adams said...

i got the coupons all out and sorted and i am ready to shop...now lets see how much i save this month...i am excited to know ...so far i have save 2.50...and the month is almost over but i haven't been shopping yet...

karen akaliz said...

this is wonderful stuff, but my problem is that there's never any coupons out there for things i buy? what up with that? how does one get around that aside from buying stuff we don't really like?

oh, hi e! sorry, you had me in total money mode.

chelemom said...

Thanks for the info!!! Am going to favorite those sites so I can print them later on!

Crafty Connie said...

Yippee!!! I can't wait to put into practice some of your tips. I have always used my crafting coupons like a fanatic but I want to expand my coupon use to everyday items. Thanks so much for the tips.

Kristi said...

This post is exactly what I've needed! I've bookmarked it so I can spend quality time going through all your links. I need to be more smart about my food spending!!

SpAzzGiRL said...

I am on and off with the coupons, I don't buy the Sunday paper because it is like $2 here but I should get it delivered, that would be cheaper. And those dang stores here don't accept printed coupons at all...bastards!
But I am a bargain hunter for sure.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for all the info! I really need to get better at this kind of thing...you know...saving money.

Anna M-W said...

Good stuff!

I have been on Money Saving Mom before. The money she saves is INSANE!

Thanks for posting this babe!