Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Newspaper article

I was interviewed a couple weeks ago for an article for the local newspaper.  I've been couponing for about 20 years now, and have likely saved over $30,000 if not more during that time (taking into account the time that I was in college and also when I could barely walk when I was suffering from Lyme disease.)  I usually save $2,000 or $2,500 a year, and I spend about an hour a week organizing.  The woman who was the main one featured in the section on coupon shopping spends hours a week and saved $3,000 last year, up from $2,000 the year before.  (Personally I'd rather spend 1 hour a week and only save $500 less per year.  Time is money, you know!)

I don't understand why everyone now thinks the only way to organize coupons is a binder.  It may work for some, but I preferred a box when I used to clip coupons.  Now what I do is file the entire insert.  This is why it takes me so little time each week to prepare.   I get the coupon insert.  First thing I look through it and clip any coupons I KNOW I will use even if the item isn't on sale or almost free after coupon.  Those go in the small accordion coupon file in my purse.  The rest of the insert is placed in a file folder with that day's date on it (Such as 8/7).  When I visit coupon match up sites online, they will say which supplement the coupon that corresponds to the sale items were in.  For instance, say Crest toothpaste is on sale.  On a coupon match up site, it will say "Crest Toothpaste $1.00 off any 4 oz. or larger P&G date".  The way this is decoded is P&G means the Proctor and Gamble coupon supplement, and the date is when it was in the paper.  So I just go to my file, pull the file folder for that week, get out the Proctor and Gamble insert, and clip just the coupon I need.  It saves tons of time.

Of course, I only shop for two people.  And I don't buy 100 jars of mustard for $23.00 so I can tell everyone I saved $100 on mustard.  I will buy things to donate.  But I don't clear shelves.  That is plain rude.  I am not smart with cashiers.  Yes, I've had my problems with cashiers, but being rude is not the way to solve problems.

I was also glad to see the articles I was mentioned in (yes, I was mentioned in two) didn't mention buying coupons off eBay or from clipping services.  I have heard there are plans in the works to code coupons by region to prevent this from happening, as it does say on the coupons that buying or selling invalidates them. 

What you see on TV isn't reproducible all the time.  You may occasionally have a shopping trip like that, but not all the time.  I once bought $158 of groceries for $10.  My best sale ever was when I bought $1700 of games (although I admit they were very overpriced) for a final total of $65 (but still 90+ board games for $65 is cheaper than garage sale prices!  That was no using any coupons, however.)

Coupons aren't available for fresh fruit and veggies, for milk, meat, and rarely bread. You can still save money, but don't believe everything you see on TV.  Just because the TV might show a woman using coupons on an item they aren't supposed to be used on doesn't mean you can get away with it.  (People have been arrested for it in the past!)  Stealing newspapers is a crime, and you can get arrested for that, too.  (I recently read a newspaper article where a woman said she was going to pay her $4,000 fine she received from stealing newspapers with the money she saved from coupons.)

If you're going to use coupons, use your head.  Don't steal newspapers to get coupons, don't commit fraud by using coupons on items they aren't meant to be used on, don't be rude to cashiers or other shoppers, and don't clear shelves. 


  1. I don't get the whole baseball card plastic holder binder set up either. Seems like a major pain. I saw one of those binder people in MY Walgreens and thought "oh no they found my store!"

  2. I just think it would take longer to file than would be worth it. I mean, trying to stuff the coupons in those little slots? Oh my! I can't imagine!