Creating A Stockpile!

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.

Picture from
Picture from

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!

Sad PB
Only one jar of peanut butter! Thanks kids!

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.

Stockpile of Peanut Butter makes my kids happy!!!
Stockpile of Peanut Butter makes my kids happy!!!

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!

Sunscreens purchased for $.74 each with a sales price and coupons!
Sunscreens purchased for $.74 each with a sales price and coupons!

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!

SWS Pro TipTo really stock-up, you need to purchase MULTIPLE Sunday newspapers to get MULTIPLE coupon inserts.  Please read “So, you want to coupon without buying a paper…” for more information.

Organizing Your Coupons: Do I have to cut every coupon??? NO!

As I told you in the earlier post, “I Don’t Have Time to Coupon…YES YOU DO!,” couponing is not difficult.  In fact, it’s down right easy.

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:

  • Newspaper Inserts
  • Post-Its
  • Pen
  • File Folder

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.

  Smart Source

  • 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.

Red Plum

  • 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.


When you start to prep for your grocery trip, you will check websites like, or (a few of my favorites cites) and they will present the deal.

Check it out!!!! By just clipping the Bic Coupon from Smart Source 8/2, you can get FREE razors!
Check it out!!!! By just clipping the Bic Coupon from Smart Source 8/2, you can get FREE razors!

Just pull the insert, clip it, and head to the store!  Poof!  You’re done!!!!

Start collecting those inserts and watch the savings start to build!

I Don’t Have Time to Coupon….YES YOU DO!!!

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!  no-excuses-white-design-280

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….

  1. Open your papers, pull out the inserts, & file (5 mins)
  2. Prep your shopping trip- check websites, make list, print coupons or clip coupons (hour or less)
  3. Drive to the store (varies)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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!

Shopping with my little man.
Shopping with my little man.

So….couponing doesn’t take anymore time than what you probably already spend, it just changes how you spend that time.

So, you want to coupon without buying a paper…..

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!)

$177.02 in groceries that I spent $42.33 on. A 76% savings!
$177.02 in groceries that I spent $42.33 on. A 76% savings!

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

Print coupons are an option ( 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!

These were FREE and actually made me $.21 per seasoning!
These were FREE and actually made me $.21 per seasoning!

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.

A world of savings will be open to you!

Be sure to check out my video on how to organize your coupons in the article “Organizing Your Coupons: Do I have to Cut Every Coupon??? No!

SWS Pro-tips:

  1. Don’t purchase on Holiday weekends- no inserts!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

Rebate Apps- The Ibotta Edition

One of my favorite things about couponing is using the rebate apps. Rebate apps are  easy ways to get money back for items you are purchasing already.

All rebate apps are slightly different, but the idea is you will purchase an item from the list given, usually use your phone to scan the barcode of that item, and then submit a picture of that receipt.  Then usually within 24 hours you will get that money back.  Once you build up a certain amount of money then you can get paid through gift cards or paypal.

If you are thinking this might be too difficult, I recommend you try out Ibotta which is my favorite rebate app!

Ibotta Logo

Why is Ibotta my favorite?

Now Ibotta is my favorite for many reasons, but the main reason is you work as a team with your Facebook friends who also have Ibotta to earn MORE money.  This is the only rebate app that I use that gives rewards for getting to a certain level of earnings.  So, you might need to earn $10 while your team needs to earn $15 and you will get an extra $1 added to your account.  The more friends you have, the easier it is to hit those goals.

Ibotta also has items called “Any Brands” that you can get money back for.  So if you are getting milk at the store anyway, then just submit for $.20 back.  Its awesome!

Ibotta Milk

To get started, please click my Ibotta link.  By using my link we will be on a team together, then sign-up by using your email account and my referral code (which will appear for you).  Once you are signed-up, then you can sign-in with your Facebook page and all of your Facebook friends that use Ibotta will be on your team as well.

For more info- please watch my video on how to use Ibotta. 

For more information on other rebate apps: “Rebate Apps: Checkout 51 Edition” & “Rebate Apps: SavingStar Edition

I’m a Cashier Stalker….

Well, its official, I now profile cashiers.

I feel like I should be at a Cashier Profiling Anonymous meeting. Hello. My name is Shana and I’m a cashier stalker.

I am now that crazy couponing shopper that walks up and down the aisles and looks for that perfect cashier. When I first started couponing I read on some of the websites and watched some of the extreme couponing videos about profiling cashiers. I honestly thought it was funny and just plain ridiculous.
However, I now will stand in the longest line with the longer wait time to get that perfect cashier.

So, if you are new to couponing or new to this concept in general, let’s discuss what cashiers to avoid. OLD WOMEN! Now, with that being said, you may know a great older woman cashier and I’m not saying they don’t exist, only the majority of my experiences with this stereo type has not been pleasant.


So you might be asking “Why?”

Well, as someone who is still fairly new to the couponing world, I’m still pretty nervous when I get up to the checkout. I have a lot of products in my cart and I don’t have the budget to cover the full cost. I’ve done my homework. I’ve made my list and like Santa have checked it twice (honestly like 10 times). And I clipped my coupons! According to my calculations, I know what I’m planning on spending…but then there is that cashier… She won’t crack a smile and seems annoyed by my presence, just wait until I pull out the coupons. I’ve even been treated like I’m stealing from the store!

A few weeks ago I went grocery shopping early one morning and there was only ONE cashier open. And of course it was an older woman. I gritted my teeth and got in line. As I approached, her frown was as welcoming as it got. She scanned all of my products and then I handed over my coupons….oh the face!

Now, it’s commonly known in the coupon world that manufacturer coupons are good in any store even if they say “Redeem at _______.” That’s advertising that the store paid for. So, when 2 of my coupons had another store’s name on it, she wouldn’t even scan it. I tried to explain to her how it worked, but she wasn’t having it! “We don’t accept competitor’s coupons” she repeated to me like 20 times (I’m sure it wasn’t that many but when someone doesn’t want to listen to you, it seems like it.)

Needless to say, I walked out to the car and unloaded my products. Still a little confused how the cranky cashier could just shut me down, I grabbed my 2 items that should have been cheaper and I then walked back into the store to return them.

Coupon fail.

So, this morning I got up early and went grocery shopping! I love to go on Saturday mornings. My husband is home, meaning I don’t have to drag my 6 and 4 year old around, the store is fairly empty besides some workers restocking (which means someone to ask for help around every corner), and the shelves aren’t completely cleared of the hot sales!

Well, when I walked up to check-out, the same checker was there. Lips pursed together, scowl on her face as she worked with another customer. She was at the end of the transaction handing the change over and no one in line.

But I kept walking.

And then I saw him….a young (and seriously, he looked 12) man that smiled as he scanned the products. Sure, there was the person he was helping and another in line with a very full cart, but it was worth the wait.

So, what do you look for when you are stalking…
I mean profiling…
I mean consider joining a line to check-out in?
Well, I…

#1. Look for young. Younger cashiers are generally more pleasant, smile, and don’t care if you have coupons. And especially if you have a LOT of coupons. I’ve even had one say “wow, great deals!” before.
#2. Look for a smile. Pleasant and easygoing cashiers makes the check-out experience a good one. If a problem does occur with your coupon, an easygoing cashier will try to help you figure out why not just hand back your coupon.
#3. Look for male. I’ve actually had many good experiences with younger female cashiers but males are just naturally laid back and easygoing. And let’s be honest, males just don’t care what you are buying and how many coupons you are using.

cashier young male

So…remember, to always be nice regardless of what cashier you get. As my mom always use to tell me, “kill ‘em with kindness” when dealing with a difficult person.

For my experienced couponing readers out there: What do you look for when profiling a cashier? Please comment below.


Check out my affiliate coupons page:  Go through and print any coupons you might use NOW and then you have them later when the deal pops up!

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Making a difference one sale at a time….