Over the past few weeks I have been much more diligent about clipping coupons, buying items on sale, and generally trying to save money. In an effort to reinforce good behavior, I’ve been spending 30 minutes each Sunday or Monday looking through the circulars of CVS, Rite-Aid, Giant, and Shoppers. I clip the coupons out of the Washington Post and compare them against the various ads to find the best deals.
I’m primarily using coupons for paper goods and other household staples, like dish washing detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and sandwich bags. I’ve also had a fair amount of luck with body washes and shampoos. I figure if I don’t have an immediate need for these items I can always stockpile them in the basement.
I’m averaging about 65% savings, with a combination of circulars and coupons. I don’t clip every coupon in the paper. I clip coupons only for items that I am planning on purchasing at some point in the next month or two.
It’s pretty nerdy of me, but I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of my weekly savings. One column contains the original price of an item, one contains the discount or sale price, and the other includes the amount saved through coupons. I fill out the spreadsheet after every trip to the store to see just how much money I’ve saved. So far I’m averaging about 70%.
The other day I came home from the store all excited to have spent only $9.77 on a purchase that normally would have cost me $34.84. But when I got home I realized that I actually could have used two more coupons, which would have saved me another $2.00.
In need of a better coupon organizing solution I searched the house and found a miniature 4×6 photo album that works just perfectly. I think I bought it from the dollar store a few years ago. I placed a 4×6 index card in the slot of each page, and wrote a caption on top, like “baked goods”, “dairy”, “snacks”, etc. Then I slipped my sorted coupons into each page. I don’t keep a lot of coupons, so the pages have plenty of room for me. And unlike boxes or envelopes I can see through all of the pages, which allows me to find coupons much more easily.
Oh yeah… And if you have a system that works well for you please tell me about it.