Allison emailed with some tips on saving money. Here's her list of ideas that she has found save her the most money. Maybe some of them will help all the new couponers out there. If you have other tips that have helped you - feel free to share them in the comments!
Take it away Allison...
Probably the biggest, most eye-opening (& money saving) thing I learned was the you can you coupons for each BOGO item... whether you're in true BOGO land or not, this applies, for both manufacturer coupons and store coupons, which of course you can "stack," using both store and manufacturer coupons together on each. There used to be a fantastic deal on the Enjoy the City books for $5 Winn Dixie Coupons; alas, these are no more, but some have Fresh Market coupons which are great if your Publix takes them.
Read follow this site daily, and learn lingo and rules as you go-- often it's common sense and you'll figure it out within the context. Also, if you haven't, subscribe to Publix's digital coupons and Best Meals Happen at Home, both of which can mean big savings. For example: This week's sale has Campbell's Homestyle soups on BOGO. I have: 2 coupons for $2/3 cans from Best Meals, 2 printed coupon for $0.75/2, and one for $0.50/2 cans. So, normally at $2.49/can it'd be $14.94 for 6. My final cost will be $1.47, FOR 6 CANS, which is over 90% off. That's the kind of deal I live for ;).
You will be limited to the amount of coupons you can print; usually 2 per device. If you have a PC and a laptop, that's great, you can print your allotted limit from each. Some people have multiple devices they can print from; I have 2, which for my family of four is more than adequate. The coupons you print have an individual number and UPC code; it's not legal (no matter how tempting!) to copy them. If there's an absolutely incredible deal that I want extra coupons for, I email my husband a link so he can print more at work and bring them home.
As far as newspaper coupons go, you do not have to page thru them and clip every one you think you might use; in fact, using this website, it's easier not to. I buy one or two newspapers, and throw them in a stack using a dated piece of paper as a divider; when Michelle references the coupon date, I just thumb back to that date, find and clip the relevant coupon. I also shamelessly pilfer my neighbor's coupon fliers out of the recycling bins ;).
I like to try to plan my family meals around the sales, which is a huge help. Bacon and butterbread were BOGO recently, so that means we'll be having a couple of BLT nights, which everyone loves! Swai is going to be BOGO this current sale, which meant I had to look up Swai and find a recipe for it (Hey, it's fish! Thanks, Google). With the last sale on Knorr sides, I'll have an easy, savory seafood meal that everyone will like at well under $9 to feed four, even allowing for cooking ingredients.
Last, if you've seen any of those "extreme" couponing shows, forget about 'em. Seriously, that stuff is purely for entertainment value. They're fun to watch, but the reality is, I can't feed my family on 90 bottles of hot sauce and 12 cases of Smart Water, even if they are free. Focus on practical savings, which can be pretty phenomenal just using coupons combined with deals I find here. My last trip to Publix I spent $40.34, and my total savings was $37.36. A 47% savings is well worth a little planning! Best of luck and happy couponing to you.
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