I've had several questions about how I do the shoppin' thang! SO...I thought I share what worked for me and how I got started!
First, last year I went to a shopping seminar that a woman from our church started a few years ago. She tried to cram a years worth of info into a 6-7 hour time frame - and she didn't get through!! She was overflowing with wonderful money saving information. As well as biblical principles to apply to everything!
So I got a jump start from that memorable Saturday. I immediately figured out a way to best organize my coupons. Which, for me, happens to be a hard plastic index card box - so that it fits in my purse/car! (Though it's almost filled to capacity and I'll need a second one soon - or a new way to organize them!) Then, you start to clip away! I get the Sunday paper delivered to our house. I also get the coupons out of my grandmother's paper. And if the coupons are really good, I'll go pick up a few more for $.99 at Walgreens. And you file those babies away! Also, clip every single coupon. I didn't understand why until I realized that even if I didn't use that particular item, if I could get it for free or "make money" from buying it, it was worth it. And I could bless someone else with it if the opportunity arose.
After getting the coupon clipping/organizing down, you gather the weekly ads. Grocery store ads run from Wednesday to Tuesday. Drugstore ads run from Sunday to Saturday. The biggest thing to know while reading the ads are price points. You need to know great prices on items to see if it's the best deal you can get. That takes some learning. BUT, once you train your brain, you'll unconsciously start filing numbers in the back of you head and memorize the lowest prices! I like to check out Walmart. They have "low" prices. So if a grocery/drug store is running a price for lower, and that store doubles coupons or has rebates, chances are you can get at least a %50 better price at that particular store than at Walmart - if not better.
So, when I first started with CVS, my earliest purchases weren't cheap. But I was buying things that gave me Extra Care Bucks back so that I could start snowballing that "money" into savings. I've messed up a few times too. I've learned to use my biggest ECB's first. And there are limits on how many times you can "do the deals". I tried to do one twice and had to return everything. YIKES!
With the help of many blogs, like the ones in the previous post, I'm finally getting the hang of it. And it's fun....really. And it makes your accountant, penny-counting, budget loving, incredibly hardworking (and good lookin') husband really happy too! :-)
About those blogs, if they're all pretty much all inter-connected. You can just keep clicking and find tons of $ blogs. There are ones for Target, Walgreens, RiteAid, Publix, even Walmart - all teaching you how to get the best deals. They link coupons, run the numbers, and even tell you what Sunday paper (by date) the coupon you should use can be found in!
As for the supermarkets, my favorites are Publix and Piggly Wiggly. I hear Western is REALLY good too, I just don't live right next to one. So, when our favorite meat goes really cheap at the Pig (they have great meat) I go buy a whole bunch! Divide it up and stick it in the fridge. We're lucky to have another fridge in garage, so excess goes down there. Publix has great BOGO (buy one get one) deals every week. And when you use 2 coupons for the BOGO, you get incredible deals. ALSO, this is a big one, they accept competitors coupons. So if Target sends out a bunch of coupons, you can stack those with the Publix sales AND manufacturer's coupons! Even more great savings! They also accept competitor's coupons that are, for example, "$5.00 off a purchase of $30 or more"!! It could be a Bruno's, Target, or WinnDixie coupon - they'll honor it! Crazy! Publix also has incredible customer service and are always friendly. My kids know ever stop in Publix...first it's the free cookie counter. Then the free balloon in the produce section. Rounding out the grocery collection is the free coloring book and crayons! Every....single....time. But hey, if it keeps them happy while I shop...keep 'em coming!
Ok, so I think that was the longest post I've ever written. And for a reason - I ain't no writer!! I do not have a wonderful way with words like so many of you are! English was not my forte. Oh well. :-)
I hope it's given you a little insight into my head. Maybe I'll start posting a little more about my savings.....and I hope I pass the "money savings bug" onto everyone who reads this little blog!