MAKING YOUR SHOPPING LIST | Beginners Guide To Couponing Part 3
And we’re off and running now. We have our coupons and we are organized and ready to begin. This is part THREE of our Beginner’s Guide To Couponing. In case you’re just joining us, you may want check out the previous posts in this series:
PART 1: Where Do I Find Coupons?
Now onto part 3! It’s time to make a game plan. Just like everything we do in life, we need a plan. You can’t just show up at the store with your coupon binder and hunt and search and hope to match up some coupons with the deals. It’s easy, but not quite that easy. There is no “winging it” in couponing. And on a side note here, I’ve seen many people give up on couponing because they clip the coupons from the current paper and run to the store to use them. No, no, no. The manufacturers and stores are not going to put an item on sale the same week the coupon comes out (it may happen occasionally, but it’s rare). Instead, you want to file and organize those coupons and be patient. A week or two later, BOOM, there is a BOGO sale and you have those coupons!!
So, if you’ve been following along, you probably have a few weeks of coupons ready to go. If not, no worries. Keep reading. It’s time to decide where to shop and make your first list. I have a few stores nearby that accept coupons. Publix, Winn Dixie, Walmart, and Target are my main go-to stores. Other smaller stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, Save-a-lot, etc are also nearby. And there are some specialty stores like Fresh Market and Whole Foods as well. Here is the thing you need to keep in mind. All of the stores, and probably the stores near you are acceptable when coupon and bargain shopping. You may think that Fresh Market for example is over priced. I can see where you think that as it’s definitely not my first choice for those “every day low prices”. That’s ok. They WILL have amazing sales to entice us to come in and hopefully buy other items while there. As a bargain shopper couponer, we will beat the system and train ourselves to ONLY PURCHASE that DEEPLY discounted item and steer clear of impulse buying. Then there are those stores that always have decent/low prices. They won’t usually have the best “loss leader” sales or HUGE discount sales on items. Instead, they use those everyday low prices to get us in the store. That being said, you will most likely be shopping at quite a few different stores throughout your couponing trips.
- Decide which stores you will be shopping at.
- Find a coupon blog that covers that store. We at Couponers United post the weekly ads at Publix,Winn Dixie, CVS, Walgreens, plus deals at Target, Walmart, and other stores when the sales are AWESOME!
- Bookmark the weekly sales matchup page on the blog/blogs you choose and visit it once a week to see the matchups
Now you have your stores picked out, and the blog that covers that particular store. Check the weekly ad and make notes of the deals. Check the FINAL price of the deal. Check out the coupons to be sure you have them. If they require a print, print them NOW as they never last long. Make your list. If this is your first week and you’re just starting out. Pick 5 deals at one store. Clip/print your coupons and your list.
How to decide if the deal is really a “good deal”. Is it 60% or more off? That is usually my benchmark. Example: Trix Cereal is $3.99 BOGO. That makes each box $2. So, 50% off. I have a $1/2 coupon, now it’s $1.50 per box. That’s a much better deal. Still not sure? I HIGHLY recommend grabbing our STOCK PILE PRICE LIST. It is a HUGE help to decide if the sale is good enough to actually buy or great enough to STOCKPILE!
My method at the store:
When I coupon shop, I have my list written or printed. I have the coupons I am going to use paper clipped to the top of my list so I don’t have to dig around for them at the store. If I have a LARGE list with MANY coupons, I put them in order of how my store is laid out. This saves me a lot of time.
Now, it’s your turn. Choose your store for this week. Choose 5 deals. GO SHOPPING! Baby steps….baby steps. And don’t forget to get our STOCK PILE PRICE LIST to help you make your decisions.
Another post that may help you: COUPON LINGO