Thursday, March 24, 2011

(Mommy JD) Clipping Coupons- the Secret to my Success

If you are wondering about my random Shutterfly Father's Day card post, well I did that so that I could get $10 off my next order. I'm all about the freebies and discounts. Which brings me to finally posting something that has been sitting in the drafts for a while: my life with coupons.

How do I get away with being a hybrid of a working mother and a stay-at-home mom? It's all in the coupons. Some stay-at-home moms do surveys, write blogs with advertisements, write reviews, etc. But I have come to find out that most actually "make" their money (or rather make their husband's income stretch) by using coupons. And I don't mean a clipping a few here and there and causally using them at the store. No, I mean hard core, 20+ coupons every shopping trip, reducing your grocery bill by 80% or more coupon clipping. I guess you could call it "Extreme Couponing," but that TV show is actually not a positive reflection of the coupon game.

My husband got me into this game with one haphazard mention of a coupon lady (who I now know as Jill Cataldo) who was featured on Oprah and subsequently many other news articles for her coupon fame. She put me on to printing coupons from home- which has been totally awesome and rewarding. Me being the competitive type, I quickly got into this game (because that is truly what it is, a game- with rules, wins, losses, and all). I found that the easiest thing to do was to follow coupon blogs written by moms (and dads) who match coupons with grocery store sale ads. This is the best way to stretch your coupons and dollars. I had to learn that the hard way- when I first started couponing I would just go to the store with the coupons I had and buy everything that I had a coupon for. Well, that method will have you actually spending more than you would have without the coupon because 1) if a name brand item isn't on sale, it's usually entirely overpriced and 2) you don't always need the item you have a coupon for (or at the least, it can wait). I've found that this is called reckless couponing.

But since that time I have become a very savvy couponer. I've had my share of both coupon highs and lows but every experience is a learning lesson. Most times I will not argue with a cashier about a coupon, but every once in a while I have to stand my ground. Thanks to the research of my coupon bloggers, I know just about every store's coupon policy (or where it can be found). My favorite stores to coupon at are CVS and Walgreens- yes drug stores are usually notoriously overpriced but you have to shop from the sales ad! Never stray- an item will almost always go on sale.

So here's my bundle of coupon blogs - yes there are a ton, but what I love about coupon blogs is that the posts are never more than a few sentences and you can usually tell what the deal is just by the title. My favorites are,, and I also have my own pseudo-blog in the form of a tumblr where I just re-post my favorite deals. I call it "To Save or To Spend" because even with coupons you are still spending money and you have to make wise choices!

Lastly, whenever you shop online, always search for a promo code before making a purchase and shop through to get cash back!

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