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Couponing the Right Way for You

This is installment two of a blog series I started yesterday. Go here to read Part 1 (What is your couponing motivation).

I am writing these entries because I ran into a few of you Discount Queens over the last couple of weeks who felt frustrated because you are getting great deals on things but are not sure that you are actually saving money in the long term.

Sound familiar to anyone?

One of the ways to avoid this is to Coupon the Right Way for YOU! I love the comments left by some readers in my last post sharing their couponing motivation:

Heather and Dave said… I just try to save money on a few things at the grocery store so that I don’t feel guilty when I splurge on bigger things.

Sara said… I love to coupon, because it allows me to stay in my small budget easily! I feel like I’m “helping,” finacially, my husband who works hard so I can stay home.

janetf said… My main motivation is to see how little I can pay for my groceries – it’s a game to me…

Sassy said… I give alot of things to someone close to me that is having a hard time with the ecomomy.

Everyone has different financial and family goals and of course, everyone has different amounts of time they can devote to shopping.

I have friends who just shop the Walgreens deals. Way to go! This is a GREAT way to stock up on toletries.

My sister-in-law only coupons at Albertson’s because she doesn’t have time to run from store to store. Awesome!

I am obsessive and usually end up at every store in a 5 mile radius from my house at least once a week. Although I am obsessive, I also have boundaries. (Those of you who know me should stop laughing right now. It is possible to place limits to your obsessiveness. Especially boundaries that can be followed obsessively…)

Here is what works for me:

  • I use couponing to stock up on all items I need in my home (food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, baby items, etc)
  • I clip and file all of my coupons in a binder on Sunday night and DON’T think about it the rest of the week. In fact, I print coupons online everyday and then save them in a designated location until Sunday when I cut and file them with everything else.
  • I LOVE to cook and so I do NOT limit my monthly budget to the point that I can no longer cook meals for my family from scratch. One thing I do to help with this is keep a list on my fridge of all of the meals I currently have ALL the ingredients for and could make at any time. Currently I have the ingredients to make 4 weeks worth of meals on my list. I cross off meals as I make them and then add more as I acquire ingredients on sale. This means I keep handy a list of all of my favorite recipes and the ingredients needed to make them so I can stock up when I find a deal. I took this week entirely off from couponing because, hey, I could and my family definitely would NOT starve.
  • I shop with only CASH. This means that when the cash is gone I can stop obsessing about the crazy screaming deals out there.
  • I FREEZE just about everything. Seriously check out my extra fridge in the garage someday. From cheese to bread to desserts, there is a little of everthing in there. I generally make fresh meals and then freeze leftovers for another day.

So, whether you get one newspaper subscription or 10, what is Couponing the Right Way for YOU? Leave a comment with your tips and ideas. Really, I want to know. Maybe one of your tips will help me become less obsessive.