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Friday, February 18, 2011

How to Get Started Shopping with Coupons

I sent this as an e-mail to a fan but I think there is a lot of info here that many of you might find helpful so I am sharing it here.  Remember, neither Rome nor a stockpile was built in a day.  Start off small and the savings will come as you get more experienced.  I have found that now that I have been stockpiling for about a month and a half, I am stocked on a lot of items so there are less and less items I need to buy each week besides things like milk, eggs, fresh fruits and veggies, etc.  There are my personal experiences.  It is geared towards Publix because that is where I do most of my grocery shopping but it can be applied to most stores once you find out their policies.

The best way to start is to buy more than one newspaper a week.  When I started in January I bought 8 newspapers that first week plus the 1 I get delivered and the 1 my father gives me.  Even if I don't use half of the coupons in the paper each week I am saving so much money that the $10 investment to save on my shopping is well worth it.  Then when I get my newspapers I pull each insert out and sort it by inserts.  I make a pile of the Smart Source and a pile of the Red Plum inserts.  Then I take each insert and take it apart.  I make a pile of the covers from Smart Source, then a pile of page 2, and so on.  I spread this out on the floor and have my kids help with it.  Once I have a pile for each page I staple the 4 corners of the cover together.  Then I staple the corners of all the page 2s and put them inside the stapled cover pile.  Then I do the same with each pile over pages until I basically reconstructed the Smart Source insert but it is now just one packet.  Does that makes sense?  I do the same with the Red Plum insert and then any other that might be in the paper each week (Proctor and Gamble, etc.)  I then take a file folder and label the tab with the insert type (Smart Source, etc.) and the date and put it in the file drawers I have.  When I need a coupon from a specific insert I can then find the folder and clip all 10 of those coupons at once since they are already stapled in a pile for me.  More work on Sunday but less work when I need the coupons.  Thank you The Coupon Wizards for teaching me this great trick.  Before I would just put all the inserts in a folder with the type and date but didn't pull them apart first.  So when I needed a certain coupon I had to flip through all 10 inserts for that week to find the coupon and clip it.  It took much more time to do this.

Each Monday/Tuesday I look at to see Thursday's new ad (I also go to The Coupon Wizards to check their match-ups, too).  There are lots of other sites that do the same for other stores.  Message me if you need help finding a website that does the match-ups for your store.  On she lists everything that is on sale at Publix and under each item she lists what coupons match the item to make the sale even better.  I copy and paste all the info she has on her site for the items I want into a Word document.  If there is a printable coupon listed under the item then I print it at that time in case the coupon isn't available in a few days when I want to shop.  As the week goes on and I see more deals, I add them to the Word document.  Before I go to shop I print the list and pull my coupons.  

I think one really big trick in saving money is to not run out of things and have to buy them when you need them (usually at full price) as opposed to buying them with a good sale and coupon combo.  Lots of things freeze so you can stock up.  Sometimes items are even better than free after coupons.  For example if an item that sells for $3 and it is on sale for BOGO you pay $3 for 2 of them.  If you have a $2 off coupon for each of them then sometimes (depending on the store/cashier) you get overage.  That means that you get $4 even though you are only paying $3 for the 2 items.  The extra $1 off just comes off your total bill so it helps cut the cost of other items you may be buying that aren't on sale like eggs, meat, etc.

Most Publix will take competitors coupons like Target.  Ask your store what coupons they take.  It can vary from store to store even in the same city.  Some take 1 Publix coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon per item you are buying.  Some will take 1 competitor and 1 manufacturer coupon per item so you can use a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon on 1 item.  And some, if you are lucky, will take 1 Publix, 1 manufacturer, and 1 Target (competitor).  Then you can really save A LOT.  Whew!  That's a lot of info.  Are you still with me?  LOL  

Another trick that I learned is that you can take back your receipt if you forgot to use a coupon (at least at Publix you can but I think many other stores do this, too).  So when my hubby goes to the store and gets items that weren't on my list (ack!) and didn't have a coupon (double ack!), I take his receipt and look up everything he bought to see if I can find a coupon for it.  Then I go back to Publix with my receipt and they will give me the cash back for the coupons he should have used. has a database of coupons so you can look up and see what insert or website to find them in.  

I will post about drug store shopping soon.  Please let me know if you have any questions!  I am here to help! 

~Cori :-)


  1. I still haven't been able to find anyone who does match-ups for Savemart Supermarkets or Food For Less. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for all the good advice!!

  2. thanks for all this info you explined it perfectly. I believe your doing a coupon class for BETH Monkeyz Kloset right? Did I miss it? ?/ she posted something about getting coupons I'm sure 1/2 of them I can't use I keep a kosher home. Is it still 20. to get in I think that's the price she posted not sure?

  3. I am not the one doing the class for Beth, but she did tell me it was last weekend. If you go to the coupon wizards page I posted about they do free webinars that are awesome. Yes, couponing and keeping kosher will be hard but not impossible. And you can still save a ton on toiletries and such at walgreens and CVS.

  4. Hi Brittany. I haven't been able to find any for Savemart Supermarkets or Food For Less either. Try checking with The Coupon Wizards. They might take a special request.