Couponing: Step 2 – Change How You Shop

27 Mar

Stockpiling: In order to make couponing work, you must stockpile. You can no longer decide what you want to cook and what you need and then make your list. You have to wait for the item to hit the rock bottom price, and then stock up. You must make your list first, then decide what you will cook, what you need, and what you can do without that week. Here’s how:

1. Know the lowest prices and shop the sales.  Check out the Southern Saver’s Buy Price List .  Print it out, use it to make your list, and update it if you see any prices that fall below hers in your region. When something hits rock bottom price, stock up! The sales typically repeat quarterly, meaning that you should buy a 3 month supply of something when it hits rock bottom price.   If it’s free or cheap, I check the expiration dates and buy as many as I will use between the present and the expiration date.  If it can be frozen, I usually buy a 4 – 6 month supply. Do know that couponing ettiquette is to always be sure to leave plenty for other couponers. 
2. Set a budget. If you aren’t careful, especially when you are just starting out, you may actually end up spending MORE than you save!  Set a budget and stick to it.  When making your weekly lists, rank them in order of importance.  I try to stick to a “couponing budget” of $50 per week and a grocery budget of $50 per week.  However, I leave room in my monthly budget for the next great diaper stock up sale!  Remember, it’s really about what you  DON’T spend. 

3. Brand preferences. I do realize that brand loyalties make shopping much quicker, but they don’t necessarily save you money. I PREFER Pampers, but it seems the great deals are always for Huggies, so sometimes we buy Huggies. While there are a few things that I won’t compromise on (skin care, for example), I try to give up my loyalties and buy what is free or cheap.

Now you are set up, and have a general idea of what you will be doing.  Time to learn about the stores in your area.  Step 3 – Know Your Stores

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