Clearance sometimes gets a bad name, there are many reasons why something is on clearance. Maybe its close to expiration or maybe it has a small flaw or maybe its just overstocked in the store and they want to unload.
Whatever the reason, whenever I go shopping one of my very first stops is the clearance section. Its where I find some GREAT deals and even FREEBIES when I pair with a coupon or rebate app.
This can of sweet potatoes was on the clearance shelf of my Krogers.
Well, its good for another year. The only think I saw wrong was the fact it has a dent in it. I’m currently preparing a Thanksgiving Basket to donate and this is the best price I’ve seen on a large can of sweet potatoes.
Sweet! (no pun intended)
But Bruce’s Yams, regular price $2.50 each
FINAL COST: $1.29
Here is a example of ALMOST FREE! This box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix is on clearance for $.59. Still not even close to the expiration date. I have an Ibotta Rebate for $.50 back on any brand of Stuffing Mix. So…
Buy (1) Kraft Stove Top Stuffing Mix, regular $1.25
Clearance can be an adventure! You never know what you will find! I’ve gotten FREE Old Spice Shaving Cream with $.99 Clearance price and $1.00 off coupons and FREE Sharpie Markers with clearance and rebate apps and even super cheap batteries with clearance & $.75 off coupons.
Check out my print coupons page: Coupons.com. Go through and print any coupons you might use NOW and then you have them later when the deal pops up!
There are many myths to couponing and not being able to coupon for healthy food is one of the main ones. Sure, couponing for the packaged foods containing all kinds of sugar and salt and who knows what else to keep it’s shelf life longer is easier, but it is very possible to get deals on healthy foods as well!
I went grocery shopping this week and bought $138.92 worth of groceries and personal care products for $56.91.
When looking at the picture be sure you notice the bananas, grapes, apples, sweet potatoes, corn, yogurt, organic juice boxes, Quorn product, and milk. Lots of healthy, non-processed or minimally processed foods.
So here are just a few examples of ways to save on healthy foods like produce!
Fresh produce is a must in my household. With two growing children, we do our best to give them a healthy diet. So, in order to not break the bank, I do several things to keep the costs down.
First, I watch the sales. If a certain brand of apples is on sale, then I will purchase those for that week. If grapes are on sale over strawberries, then we are snacking on grapes throughout the week. Buying only the sale items will automatically save money without using coupons!
Second I purchase produce items whole and clean and cut them myself. A head of lettuce will set you back about $1 or less, but a bag of precut and cleaned salad will cost $3 or even $4. Don’t be lazy- cut up your own fruits and veggies and see that savings!
Third, check out the websites of your favorite products and sign-up for the mailing lists, like Driscoll’s for berries! They will give you coupons for being a member and more for sharing your opinion on their products!
Finally, I use rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 to get money back on fresh produce. And the best part about it all is you can double dip in rebate apps by submitting to all that apply!
And if you are unlike me and have a green thumb, then it is always a great idea to grow your own produce! Not only can you save your family money, you can share with friends and family when the crop over produces! That’s what I love about my next door neighbor, we have tomatoes all summer because of his little garden.
If you have another tip please share in the comments!
You’ve tried and tried to coupon, you’ve clipped, you’ve spent hours in the store looking for those specific items and you’ve found that once you got there, it was cheaper to buy the generic brand. It felt like a big waste of time. Why bother? Maybe those crazies on TV can do it, but it’s just not for you!
I think I can help. What you need is a plan. Well, at least a better plan than the one you threw together before you left for the store in 10 minutes based out of what you need for that week. Items that may or may not be on sale. Items for which you may or may not have coupons.
To make couponing successful (think Savings!) then Planning is KEY. I won’t lie to you, it will take more time and organization for you get your grocery list together. But if I can help you get a savings of 60-80% on your groceries, like I get on mine, then we can agree that it will be time well spent.
Here are 5 reasons why planning is so important?
Planning keeps you from making impulse purchases. My favorite talk show radio host, Dave Ramsey, tells his listeners to “give your money a name” and then you won’t be wondering where it all went. I always know how much money I’m going to spend and what I will buy. If its not on the list, its not in my cart! (unless my husband is with me, because he always wants to buy stuff he “needs” that he only remembered he “needed” when he walked past it in the store)
Planning keeps you from wondering from aisle to aisle hunting for the best price. When you’ve already made your list based off of what on sales and the coupons you’ve clipped, you won’t need to sort through 25 brands of pasta sauce to find the cheapest. With a PLAN, you grab what you need and go. (If you’ve brought your entourage of children and spouse, this is a great way to give them a coupon and have them find the item. They get to participate and save you even more time) which leads to my next point….
Planning saves you precious time while inside the store. Many of you reading my blog have young kids and know how kids + grocery shopping = disaster! Getting in and out of the store quickly saves you time and your sanity…oh by the way, saving money is just an added bonus!
Planning allows you to try a variety of new items. Since I started couponing I have tried lots of new products or at least new to me! Some are hits, like the Campbell Slow Cookers sauce or the seemingly infinite flavor combinations of Combos. Some items are duds with my family so they become gifts or donations. Either way, I would have never purchased an item for full price, but for $.40…yeah, we’ll give it a whirl!
Planning saves the MONEY! When you go in and know what is on sale, plus you have coupons for added savings in your back pocket, you are keepin’ that cash in your wallet! Walking into the store with no plan means you are going to purchase items you don’t need, you’re going to pay full price on the majority of those items, and you won’t have those money saving coupons. (Not to mention that when you run out in a week, you’ll be back to the store to buy it again for full price because your plan does not also include a Stockpile…but that is for another blog)
You need a Plan! And there are SO many resources to find those deals! By spending just a little time on your computer scanning the websites and making your list, you’ll be saving more money, buying more name brand, and enjoying the shopping experience more!
Ok friends, there are a lot of myths out there about couponing. Many people who don’t coupon will stereotype us extreme couponers as crazies! However, not all of us are like the ones you’ve seen on TV. Networks portray couponing as unrealistic, bordering on obsessive! But they are just trying to keep you watching for 30 minutes so they can have high ratings… Remember, its TV and, not to shatter your worldview, but not everything you see on TV is true! Gasp!
So, let me take you through some of the common myths about couponing….
Myth #1: I like to eat healthy and organic, so couponing doesn’t work for me.
Whether your couponing or not, buying unhealthy food is easier than buying organic, BUT is couponing just about buying food?
If you only couponed your home and personal products (i.e. toilet paper, toothpaste, cleaners, body wash, etc.), you would save a TON of money. Buying your paper towels and laundry detergent at Whole Foods for FULL PRICE would be throwing your money away!
But let’s take a look at the healthy foods. Although it is less common to find coupons for healthy food, they do exist, Good news is that they are becoming more and more common every week!
Sometimes just by visiting the retailers’ websites and signing up for their emails you will get coupons sent directly to you.
Myth #2: I don’t buy just anything, I’m very brand specific.
If you are brand specific, then don’t change! I am brand specific about 2 things:
My laundry detergent
It is ok to be brand specific, but you do have to take advantage of the sale when it hits for your brand and STOCK-UP!
My shampoo had a sale at CVS making it less than a dollar a bottle with coupons. I didn’t just buy one and then when I run out have to go to the store later and pay full price, I bought 9! Now, I’m set for at least a year (probably longer) and paid about what I would of paid for two bottles full price.
I may be a “stay-at-home” mom, but I don’t just sit around watching soap operas and eating bon-bons all day. On top of raising my children, I juggle 4 part-part time jobs! My time is precious and I don’t have time to cut every coupon.
So, you have to have a good and easy method. Couponing can take lots of time if you let it but I prefer the method that makes it reasonable.
BEFORE- I use to go to the store with a list of foods I wanted to buy. The list might of taken me 10 minutes to put together at home but when I got to the store, I would spend HOURS trying to find the cheapest items and compare prices.
NOW- I take about an hour or so planning at home by looking at what is on sale & clipping only the coupons I need. I use lots of great resource websites to decide what to buy and then I spend less than an hour in the store itself. I go in with my plan and know exactly what I’m getting and how much it is going to cost me.
The amount of time hasn’t changed, but where I spend that time has. And with 2 young kids, getting in and out of the store quickly is a much better option for my sanity!
Why are people wasting their money on name brand when buying generic is cheaper? If your not couponing, or couponing inefficiently then this is a valid question.
This is a BIG myth, and one that I wholeheartedly believed in for the longest time. Coupons have to be used hand and hand with a SALE! Before this epiphany, I would take coupons to the store and either leave them on the shelf or put them back in my purse because the GENERIC items cost less.
How many times do we get to a store and the name brand with the coupon is still MORE expensive than the generic?
Well, in order to save big, you can’t shop out of need anymore. You need to shop off of the sales! This is how you can buy your favorite name brand organic food and save big! When the there is a sale on your favorite item and you have the coupons, you will need to STOCK-UP enough to get to the next sales cycle. Thereby eliminating the NEED to purchase at full price and paying too much for name brand.
I hope I busted a few of those common myths about couponing? If you still have reservations, please share them in the comments so that I can help you to become an extreme couponer too!
This is the lesson that you don’t want to pass up! There really are only 2 rules to making you an exteme couponer.
One of my favorite phenomena’s to witness is watching “unbelievers” become true believers while teaching couponing classes around the Northern Kentucky area. As the class progresses, I get to watch as their brains start to connect how couponing will work for them!
Too bad I can’t watch you read this so I can watch your light bulb come on!
Rule #1: Always use a coupon when something is on sale.
Ok, I know the rule seems pretty basic and not earth shattering, but really this is where the disconnect occurs with non-couponers. They don’t understand how couponers save SO much money or get free things because they don’t understand how couponing works.
Usually non-couponers will make a meal plan for the week and then base their grocery list off of the meal plan. Makes sense for the most part. However, you will be purchasing your products out of need and will pay full price for most items.
Couponers make their grocery list off of the items on sale for the week and the coupons that match those items. We then make out meal plan for the week based off what is already in our stockpiles, NOT what we purchased on the grocery trip. Some exceptions maybe fresh produce or items we can’t stock up on.
Need + Coupon = Small Margin of Savings
Sale + Coupon = Large Margin of Savings (even FREE)
Rule #2: Use Multiple Coupons
So, when the sale is HOT, you need to STOCK-UP and buy multiple items! If you only purchase one item, you will run out within a week or maybe 2, and then you are off to the store to purchase another at FULL price. So you should purchase multiple items to see that savings!
BUT WAIT!!!! The coupons says “1 Coupon Per Purchase”!!!!
True…but that doesn’t mean one coupon per transaction.
Now, you can’t use 4 manufacturers coupons on only one product. However, you can use 4 manufacturer coupons on 4 products!
Stacking coupons is an option at some stores…but that’s a lesson for another blog.
When the common everyday person thinks of a “couponer” they immediately conjure up some pretty terrible images. They picture that crazy lady in the store lugging around a huge binder filled with coupons. They envision her home with products hidden under the bed and in her closets. Maybe she has a stockpile of goods that has taken over her basement, garage, and/or extra bedroom.
Although that is what is depicted regularly on the TLC show, “Extreme Couponing,” that isn’t the case for many of us extreme couponers.
If you google the term “stockpile” then you would read: “a large accumulated stock of goods or materials, especially one held in reserve for use at a time of shortage or other emergency.”
While we are not necessarily preparing for an emergency, a big part of making couponing work is creating a stockpile of products that you actually use. That’s because, when you find something is on sale, and you have coupons that make it super cheap or even FREE, you want to stock-up!
But why stockpile???
Well, sales tend to run in cycles, usually 4-5 month cycles. When your favorite brand of peanut butter goes on sale, it may not be back on sale for 4-5 months. If you only take advantage of the deal once, guess what??? Once you have eaten that ONE jar of peanut butter, you’ll have to go back next week and purchase the peanut butter for FULL PRICE!
Instead, create a small stockpile to get you through to the next sales cycle. This will help you to SAVE MONEY on those items you purchase regularly.
Once you get to the next sales cycle of your peanut butter, only purchase enough to replace what you used over the last 4-5 months. If you didn’t purchase enough, then buy more than the last time. If you have extra, you won’t need to get as many.
Another thing to remember is that some sales cycles are yearly. Items like cold medicines, suncreens, school supplies, etc will go on sale once a year. So, be prepared to stock-up for that entire year!
Can you see how stockpiling helps you to be a SUCESSFUL couponer?!
Just remember, you are only stocking up to make it from one sales cycle to the next, not to survive the Apocalypse!
Organizing your coupons is even easier! I’m not one that has time to clip every coupon nor do I want to carry a large binder around when I’m shopping.
For those of you that choose the binder method, great! Have I missed out on a clearance deal here and there without carrying around all of my coupons? Sure. But overall, my couponing method is what works for the majority, those that don’t have the time to clip every coupon.
So, what you’ll need:
Before we go further- you need to know the difference between the inserts. There are 3 different types of inserts you’ll find in your Sunday paper.
Smart Source (SS)- these inserts contain money saving coupons on groceries, home, and personal products and come regularly most weeks. These coupons should be saved in your file folders for 6-9 months. A few times a year you will receive 2 Smart Source inserts in the same week.
Red Plum (RP)- these inserts also contain money saving coupons on groceries, home, and personal products and come regularly most weeks. These coupons should be saved in your file folders for 6-9 months. A few times a year you will receive 2 Red Plum inserts in the same week.
Proctor & Gamble (P&G)- these inserts offer coupons for P&G products and come out once at the beginning of the month and are only good for that month. For example, the P&G for July will expire at the end of the month, so you can throw the July P&G away on August 1st.
Once your paper is delivered or purchased from the store, you need to pull them out and stack in like piles.
Then, take a Post-It note and write the date and insert abbreviation on it. (Example: SS 7/26) Stick it to the insert and file it in your file folder.
Since I’ve been teaching couponing classes I have heard it all when it comes to excuses.
“I don’t have time to coupon.” “It is just too much work.” “I refuse to carry a binder around the store.” “Couponing doesn’t work for me like it does for you.”
Sorry, no excuses!
Remember, I’ve been a teacher for the last 10+ years, I have heard every excuse there is and I am not going to accept them.
Couponing is NOT difficult, but it is a different frame of mind when you are shopping. You don’t shop out of NEED anymore, but off the of SALES. This is what brings the large savings.
So, how much time does it actually take to be a couponer?
Well, I will admit, you are going to spend more time prepping your shopping trip but the time saver is in the store, since you know exactly what you are going to get and going to spend.
So, let’s break it down….
Open your papers, pull out the inserts, & file (5 mins)
Prep your shopping trip- check websites, make list, print coupons or clip coupons (hour or less)
Drive to the store (varies)
Shop (Less than an hour- as long as you stick to your list! Could vary more if you don’t know the layout of your store.)
Drive home (varies)
So, in less than 3 hours you can complete your couponing trip. Now, that might seem like a lot of time, but I’d like you to really think of how long it takes you to grocery shop now???
Before couponing, I spent very little time prepping, maybe 15-20 minutes preparing a list but I spent the bulk amount of my time (2-3 hours) in the store looking for the best price! And if I have my 2 kids…they are whining, picking on each other, and jumping on and off the cart. The more time in the store, the crazier the kids get!
So….couponing doesn’t take anymore time than what you probably already spend, it just changes how you spend that time.
So, I started couponing in January of this year. I’ve been going about 7 months and it has totally changed our budget!
I save, on average, 60% on groceries. Where I was spending $100-$120 a week on groceries, I’m now spending, on average, $40 a week. And my cart is just as full if not more so plus I’m buying name brand. (I was totally a generic or whatever is cheapest kind of girl!)
So, as I post pictures on Facebook and my friends ooh and aww over my amazing hauls, I always get the question “How did you do that???”
Well, couponing of course!!!
So the main idea with making couponing work for you is to pair coupons with sales. When the sale comes to your store you need to grab a coupon and make that savings larger or even FREE!
But where do we get those coupons???? Here are a few options.
Print coupons are an option (coupons.com) and I print coupons quite often. However, you are limited to the number of prints per device. Furthermore, print coupons are limited nation wide. So, if there is a HOT coupon and you don’t print it right away, it will be gone quickly. (By the way, print coupons tend to be the most scrutinized by cashiers.)
The BEST place to get coupons is the Sunday paper! It comes every week and you are not limited to just one paper, purchase MULTIPLE papers! A good rule of thumb is to purchase one paper for every member of your family. I am a family of 4 (my husband, 2 kids, & myself) so I purchase 4 papers. 4 papers, means 4 of every coupon, meaning when that sale hits, I can purchase at least 4 of that item and STOCK-UP!
So the picture above is a great example of what having multiple papers can offer you. Here is how it works:
When Kroger has a Mega Sale the deal is $5 off of 5 participating items. so…
The Weber seasonings retails for $3.79
Kroger has them on sale for $1.79 ($2.00 savings)
Buy 5 participating items (doesn’t have to be the same item) and get $1.00 off per item. That brings us to $.79 per seasoning
Add the Manufacturers coupon for $1 off one item and BOOM = MONEYMAKER of $.21 per seasoning!
Having multiple papers meant I could do the deal several times. (Remember, you can only use one manufactures coupon per item so you have to have multiple coupons for multiple items.) Also, when you find great deals you need to stock up on them so you won’t be back the next week purchasing the item for full price!
So, you want to coupon….but you don’t want to buy a newspaper? Yet alone multiple newspapers? Well, then you don’t really want to coupon.
Trust me, once you start couponing, you’ll quickly make up the cost of multiple papers. Spending $2 per paper each week will be nothing compared to the amount you’re going to save.
Buy a subscription & multiple subscriptions if you can. This will guarantee you get the paper and not forget. If you live in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area contact me to take my couponing class and get a deal on your newspaper subscription!
You don’t need to clip all the coupons & keep a binder to be a good couponer! Just follow websites and organize your inserts! See video for more info.