Ok... so I'm SURE that you have seen or at least HEARD about the couponing show on TLC... Extreme Couponing for Hoarders. That IS what it's called, right?! LOL!! Unfortunately, it has people believing SO MANY things that quite simply, ARE.NOT.TRUE! Couponing should be a blessing to your family. It should save you money and NOT consume your life. There are so many wonderful resources out there to get you started on the right foot. I'm going to share a few things with you that I use in my grocery shopping/money saving/couponing trips (and I USED to be a grocery shopping HATER... I LOVE it now... it's a challenge :-))
First of all, I JUST signed up for emealz (if you don't know what I'm talking about, click here and CHECK.IT.OUT). IT IS AMAZING! Last week was my first week using the site. She posts 7 recipes that go along with your grocery store choice/diet issues...ANYTHING! Now, I do NOT make 7 meals in a week (we do leftovers or pizza sometimes). So, I just chose the meals I wanted. I picked 4 last week. The second AWESOME part of the site is that it prints a GROCERY LIST! The list shows which recipes each item matches, so I could cross out the ones that I wasn't using. IF I would have made all 7 recipes, the total cost was $83, last week. $83 TO FEED 4-6 PEOPLE 7 MEALS?! That is crazy. AND, that is NOT including any coupons. So, if you have coupons you COULD save even more. She just makes the lists according to deals.
Ok... so once I've picked my meals and printed my list from her site, I go to a couponing site (there are a TON of them). I mainly use 2... Saving My Family Money (this site is run by my cousin, so I'm a little partial to her) and Southern Savers. From these sites, I create the ACTUAL list that I'll use at the grocery store. I personally only put things on my list that are on sale (preferably a GOOD sale) that my family uses. Here's a secret about grocery store sales... the product sales run in 6-8 week cycles! With that said, if something is on a REALLY GOOD sale, then I'll stock up on what my family might use in a 6-8wk period. NOT stock up on it for LIFE (like the people on that TLC show do). There is NO NEED for 100 boxes of pasta. If my family eats pasta 1/week (which we don't... but just for an example), then I would by 6 or 8 boxes. These deal sites are very helpful because not only do they tell you which products are on sale, but they also tell you the coupons that match up with these deals (there are even some FREE ones that you can print from your computer...*each computer will only print 2 of each coupon.... sooooooooo, if you have more than one computer, or access to multiple computers, you can print more. DO NOT copy the coupons... they have different codes).
Now, once I've made my 'deal' list and my 'meal' list, I start the coupon hunting. Now, as a mother of a 3yr old and a 1yr old, clipping coupons, storing them and organzing them is NOT something I have time for (I'm SURE there are people who can relate). BUT there's an answer for that too! Coupon clipping services (again, there are TONS of these). My favorite one is Our Coupon Clipping Service (I might be a little partial again... this one is run by my cousin and I ;-)). If you search it though, you can find several. These sites provide a SERVICE to you. THEY clip, organize, and store the coupons for you. You pay a small fee and they mail them to you. Now, I'm SURE that there are some of you scratching your heads, VERY confused by this idea. But, let me explain... I've made my 2 lists and I want the coupons that match. I simply go to the site, click the coupons that match my products pick how many (remember the pasta example, that would have been 6 or 8 coupons... probably about $0.60-$0.80... if I had bought 6-8 NEWSPAPERS, it would cost A LOT MORE). Does that make sense? So, Now, I can shut the computer and wait for my coupons. When they come in the mail, I take my lists and my envelope and get shopping. It's THAT EASY!
Ok... so now, let's hear from you. Any tips to offer? Sites you use? How bout experience? Have you tried couponing? Love it? HATE it? Let's chat...