Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coupon Queen!! (Well, maybe I'm entering the court!)

Two blog posts in one day???  Could it BE?!?!  There is an urgency to this blog that made it mandatory to post TODAY!!

I have recently taken on a new endeavor - coupon-clipping!!

While visiting home in Wisconsin for Christmas, I had the JOY of spending an entire day with my best friend Becky.  I've referred to her before in this blog as Becky-Homecky!!  :D  Becky is amazing at all things domestic, and she is a GREAT teacher.  While I spent time just "doing life" with Becky, she was excited to open her pantry and show me "all this great stuff I got for basically nothing or FREE!"  Becky had recently begun coupon clipping and was thrilled with the results.

Now, I remember Sunday afternoons growing up - I would frequently enjoy sitting with the Sunday paper and clipping coupons with my mom.  But as I got older and ventured out on my own, I tried to do the same and found myself frequently discouraged.  Many of the coupons I clipped were for items I would never need, and really, how far can "25 cents off" go anyway?  I was disenchanted, believing that coupons were just a marketing ploy to get you to buy things you don't want or need, so I decided it was a waste of time.

Well, as Becky opened my eyes to - that 25 cents off coupon can go REALLY far if it's used wisely and with the right timing.  She opened my eyes to a few "secrets" of coupon clipping...

1.  Coupons don't expire as soon as you think.  Manufacturers coupons in the Sunday paper (the typical inserts are RedPlum, SmartSource, and P&G) often last several months, so if you organize your coupons well, you can WAIT and PLAN to use your coupons - you don't have to just run out and use them that week.  She actually suggested organizing them by the month of expiration, not just the type of coupon, to help keep track of expiration dates.

2.  Many stores will also accept internet coupons.  If you get to know your favorite stores coupon policy, you may be able to combine a manufacturers coupon found in a Sunday flyer AND an internet coupon for a better deal.

3. MOST stores have days or weeks that are "double coupon" days - again, look into your grocery stores coupon policy to find out when the double coupon days are and to see if there are any restrictions on double coupons (for example:  Ingles has double coupons every day, but will only double a certain number of coupons per amount of money spent, ect).

4.  The BEST way to use coupons is to use a coupon when an item is already on sale.  This is where the weekly store ads come in handy!  Comparing the store ads to the coupons you already have clipped can help you save the MOST!

Phew!  Sounds like lot of work, huh?  Well, thankfully for the internet, there are HUNDREDS of people around the country who are already doing all of the work for you - you just need to find the best sites for your particular stores!!  Many of these people are basically "professional coupon clippers" and know ALL the secrets to getting the best bang for your buck!  You simply go to their blog each week, click on your store of choice, and they will list the best deals that week, combining coupons and store sales, FOR you!  Many also list the stores coupon policy right on those pages as well.

My current personal favorite coupon blog is Swappin' Spoons.... I like it because it features all of the grocery stores (in addition to WalMart AND Pharmacies - which also have some FANTASTIC deals)  and she really lays out the information in an easy-to-use format.

Depending on your area and what stores are available to you, you may need to do a bit of hunting at first to find your ideal blog to follow for great coupon deals, but Money Saving Mom has a great list of stores and blogs to follow for those stores.  It's a great place to start.

OH - and did I forget to mention - the reason why I HAD to post this blog this week is that...


That means that the great deals you can get with your coupons are even BETTER this week!  So it's a GREAT week to try it out!!

To get you started, if you shop at Ingles, here are this week's deals from Rebecca at "Swappin Spoons!"


Chi Chi's Tortillas, 16-17oz., $1.98--On sale buy one get one free ($0.99)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/16 Smart Source insert
Free after coupon 

French's Mustard, $1.33
Use $0.50/ coupon from the 1/23 Smart Source insert
Free after coupon triples!

Tabasco Sauce. $1.29
Use $0.50/1 printable
Free after coupon triples!

Hambuger Helper, $1.39
Use $0.50 printable (print limit leach)
Free after coupon triples!

Blue Diamond Nuts, 1.5oz., $1.25
Use $0.50/1 printable
Free after coupon triples

Franks Redhot Sauce 4.5 oz., $1.25
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/23 Smart Source insert
Free after coupon coupon triples!

Carefree Liners,22count, $1.49
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/09 Smart source insert
Free after coupon triples

Halls Cough drops, $1
Use $0.50/ coupon from the February or March All You Magazine
Free after coupon

Scotties Facial Tissue, 60-132 ct., B1G1 at $1.28 (64¢)
Use $0.50/1 printable
Free after coupon

Lever 2000 Bar Soap, 2 count, $2 --on sale buy one get one free ($1)
Use $0.25/1 Lever coupon from the 1/30 Red Plum insert
$0.25 after coupon

Buy 6 Dannon Single Serve Yogurts, 6 oz., at $0.50 each
Use $0.40/6 coupon from the 1/30 Smart source insert
$0.30 each after coupon triples

Cake Mate Candle $1.99
Use $0.50/1 Cake Mate printable
$0.49 after coupon 

Breakstone's Sour Cream 16 oz., $1.99
Use $0.50 printable
$0.49 after coupon triples

Minut Rice, $2.10
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/23 Red plum insert
$0.60 after coupon

Heluva Good Dip $2.39
Use $0.50/1 printable
$0.89 after coupon 

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, 14 oz.,  $3.78--On sale buy one get one free ($1.89)
Buy 2 and use $1/2 Frosted Flakes cereal printable 
$1.39 each after coupon


Nissin Bowl Noodles, 3.27-3.36 oz., $0.80--on sale buy one get one free($0.40)

Laura Lynn Gravies, .75-1.25 oz., $0.66--on sale buy one get one free ($0.33)

Sweet Onions, $0.98 

Peppers, $0.98

Tyson Thighs or Drumsticks Family Pack 98¢ 

Braeburn or Fuji Apples, 3 lb bag, $1.98 

Florida Strawberries, 1 lb, $2 

Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Family Pack $1.98 lb 

Carolina Pride Select Slices Lunchmeats, 9 oz., $2.98--on sale buy one get one free ($1.49) 

Carolina Pride Smoked or Polska Rope Sausage, 16 oz., $3.58--on sale buy one get one free ($1.79) 

Sometimes, Frozen Pizza is Perfect.

So I've been bad about posting once again (has it really been over a MONTH?!?), mainly because I am never home these days... the theater company I'm involved with has been busy busy once again getting ready for shows (one of which we've already rehearsed and performed since my last post!), my husband is back in school, and all other time is spent at work or cleaning up the mess I leave behind in our house.  This has not left much time for blogging, or even for really cooking for that matter!

In all honesty, during weeks like these, I sometimes feel like a bad wife.  I'm never around, always busy, and struggle to find time to grocery shop, much less cook!  (That being said, the busy routine of our life works for us right now - It just looks different than other peoples lives!)

Last week Friday, I got home from work and had a free night.  Although I was tired, I just had an itch to cook something fabulous for my favorite guy.  I found a recipe for his favorite - Sweet & Sour Chicken - and decided to give it a shot.  I made a list, hopped in the car, and went to WalMart to go grocery shopping.  I got to the checkout about an hour later... exhausted and hungry, and as I handed my credit card to the cashier, my attention was suddenly diverted to the elderly couple in line behind me.

The sweet old lady was hanging on her beau's left arm and they were smiling lovingly at each other.  You know those kinds of couples - those people who have obviously been together for years, but still are madly in love?  He was talking softly and sweetly to her, and seemed quite contented by her presence.  In his right hand, he held a WalMart ready-to-bake pizza, a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and a movie.  Suddenly, I had a craving - to just spend time with my hubby.

So, I took my groceries out to the car and walked back into WalMart, grabbed a pizza and a bottle of Diet Pepsi and got back in line.  Sweet & Sour Chicken can wait.  Time with my sweet husband, however, could not.  :)

Sometimes, Frozen Pizza is perfect.