20saver


Sunday morning routine
March 9, 2008, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Coupons

Every Sunday morning, I walk to a small, local grocery store a block over from our apartment to pick up the Sunday paper. I always get a nice chuckle from the man who owns the store when I pay the $1.84 with exact change in coins. The coins are usually taken from our change jar or scooped out of my wallet in the rare event that I actually have any physical money in there. This morning I paid with mostly dimes and nickels since we were low on quarters.

I like to buy my paper from this small store for several reasons. For starters, I like the exercise, even though a 2 minute walk probably doesn’t do too much to improve my health in the long run. Regardless, I’m getting outside for 2 extra minutes and breathing fresh air. Second, I’m not using up gas or putting unnecessary miles on my car by going to another store a few more blocks away. Not only does that help the environment, but it also helps my wallet. Third, I like the fact that I’m supporting a local store. I work for an independent bookstore so I know how hard it is for locally owned businesses to stay afloat. I know that this man appreciates my loyalty, even though it’s only $1.84 once a week. He recognizes me and knows that I always come in for the Sunday paper. If I went to Kroger, for instance, most of the employees wouldn’t even notice I was there or care what I was buying. I know I could probably go to a dollar store and get the paper for a mere dollar (as I’ve heard you can do) or get the paper delivered straight to my doorstep (possibly saving me money in the long run), but I don’t mind paying that extra $.84 a week because it’s putting money back into my community and getting me out and about more.

You may be wondering, why do I go out and buy the paper every Sunday and only on Sunday? The very simple and short answer is COUPONS. Yes, coupons, those little controversial slips of paper that entitle the barer of said paper to save additional money on a certain product. I can sense the eye rolls. Believe me, I can. Jake used to be a coupon skeptic. “Oh come on, 35 cents off of a can of stewed tomatoes really won’t make a difference in our budget.” Well, not really, but when you use that coupon when the stewed tomatoes are on sale for $.75 and your store doubles coupons, you’ll only wind up paying a measly nickel for those tomatoes and that, my friend, will make a huge difference in your budget when you can consistently match up sales and coupons.

Paying that $1.84 for a paper is a simple investment since all you have to do is use two $1 coupons (or 4 $.50 coupons, etc) and you’ve made your money back and more! You’ll find plenty of coupons to choose from since nearly every week of coupon clipping generates a nice sized stack.

No, I’m not a crazy coupon lady. I much prefer the term “coupon queen,” as a friendly cashier said the other day at Walgreen’s. Yes, I do buy things when they aren’t on sale or when I don’t have a coupon for them. Sometimes. And it hurts to do so. But, yes I do it on occasion. Hey, why should I pay full price when there are so many ways to get an item for way less or free?

Once I get the paper and return to our apartment, I hunker down with my scissors, a Sharpie, my small accordion-like file folder full of coupons, and usually some breakfast and get to work. I dissect the paper into what I actually want to peruse (the front section, metro/local news, the business section, the “Flair” section which includes the Jumble and Sudoku puzzles, Parade magazine for my pop culture fix, a few select fliers, and the holy grail of coupons) and the sections that go straight into the recycling bin (the sports section, real estate section, classifieds, and the rest of the towering stack of fliers). Now that the paper is a 1/3 of what it was, the actual news sections get put aside for later in the day or week, depending on how busy life gets, and I dive straight into the coupons.

When I cut out coupons, I will usually clip anything that I know Jake and I buy or we could possibly buy if it were on sale/free. I pay special attention to coupons for new products because they will inevitably go on sale and or have a rebate, making them very cheap or free, in the coming weeks. I also keep family members in mind when I clip coupons. I clip out denture item coupons for my dad, hair color coupons for my mom, baking item coupons for my grandma, and baby item coupons for Jake’s brother and sister in law.

Why do I even bother cutting out coupons for other people? Because, if I don’t clip them out, they will just go straight into the recycling bin and have no potential for helping anyone out. Also, my family knows how strapped for cash I am and giving them coupons is one thing that I can still do for them even in my frugal state. It shows that I care, that I’m thinking of them, and quite often will lead to a phone call, coupons, or fliers from one of them informing me of a great deal I should take advantage of. Once other savvy shoppers now you’re a savvy shopper too, the flood gates open up and they reveal a plethora of opportunities to save some serious money.

Once all of the coupon clipping is done, I usually call my mom for our weekly chat (the routine isn’t just for the newspaper) and flip through the fliers I pulled out. I usually only spend time on the CVS, Walgreen’s, and Kroger fliers. I’ll look for things that I know Jake and I need and for things that are on sale, offer rebates, and or things that I have coupons for. One thing to keep in mind while clipping coupons and looking for sales is to only stick to things you know you need or you’ll use in the future. You’re not saving any money if you buy things you have no use for just because they are on sale. The only exception to this rule is if you are going to give it away to an organization like a food bank. I will circle things that I think we’ll get and if I have a coupon for it, or think that I do, I write a little “c” next to the item to serve as a reminder to dig out the coupon before we go shopping. Once I finish looking through the fliers, I usually go online to see the fliers for stores I frequent that don’t distribute their fliers in the Sunday newspaper. If I see anything I like, I keep tabs of it in a Word file. I add my findings from the paper fliers to this Word file as well.

By this time, the conversation with my mom is drawing to a close and I can pay attention to filing away my coupons. This is also a good opportunity to find any expired coupons and toss them in the recycling bin. I divide the coupons up by category (such as feminine care, toothpaste/brushes, personal care, shampoo/conditioner/hair care, paper products) and then file them in according to their expiration date. I make sure to pull out any coupons that I think I’ll need for the coming week and put them in the front compartment.

I know that I will reap the benefits over and over again of spending the time clipping out coupons and matching them up with sales and for that reason I really like spending my Sunday outside of work doing so. After all, isn’t the best kind of routine one that you enjoy?

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I really like your blog! It’s cool reading your cute routine too!
~The Bargain Shopper Lady

Comment by The Bargain Shopper Lady

Aw thanks, BSL! I didn’t know about iheartcvs.com, so I’m sure glad I visited your site too!

Comment by Sarah




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