Today I want to talk about where to start. What is the first step toward reducing your grocery bill? We've discussed motivations and obviously, since you're taking the time to read this - you are motivated to reduce your grocery spending. So- where do you start? ........Coupons! I believe that coupons are the starting place because so much of what I do utilizes coupons. So you need to collect a good stash of them! But how?
If you do not already collect coupons, now is the time to start. If you already are a coupon cutter don't stop reading yet. Some of the things I have to say may change how and what you cut. I would like to talk about where I get coupons, what I cut and how I manage/ organize them. For today, however, I will concentrate on traditional manufacturer's coupons.
Let me say - before I list places to get the coupons, that getting multiple coupons is important - so that you will be able to maximize deals. (I will talk about that later!) but, let's just say that having a checkbook sized organized with 20 coupons isn't going to be much help in really reducing your grocery bill. I try to get at least 3 sets of each week's coupon fliers. I can't always do it, and sometimes I've gotten more - but 3 is my goal. You need to COLLECT coupons, not just cut out a few here and there. Here are some sources I use to get my stash.
Sources of Manufacturer's Coupons
The best place to start can be by subscribing to the Sunday Paper. That way you will have a source of coupons delivered to your door. (and sales fliers too!) Most newspapers run specials. I would not pay full price to get one delivered - check and see what deals they have going. I was able to subscribe to our daily paper through a deal at a little stand at the Meijer store. I will get 7 months of the daily and weekend papers for 10.00 a month. I also got a FREE Entertainment Book! Just what we've saved using the Entertainment Book has paid for the paper.
Another source is to ask friends, family, co-workers for their coupons or their extra coupons. Many people just throw them our or only clip a few items. Get the word out that you'd love the extras.
A third source is to go and purchase a Sunday paper. You can get them anywhere. Here in Indianapolis, the Dollar Tree Stores sell the Saturday Edition of the Sunday paper for 1.00 each. (They may do it on Sunday too, but I've never checked.) I try to go and pick up 2 extras whenever I can get there on a Saturday. I do always check first to make sure that there are coupons in them! I have heard that some people find stores that sell the Sunday paper on Monday for a discounted price! Some find a gas station or store that will give them the extra Sunday papers after midnight.
I often score a big pile of coupon fliers from the recycling bin. In this area, many schools, churches and libraries have large recycling dumpsters. Whenever I go to the library, I park next to the dumpster and take a peek! I have to say I've never done an actually "dumpster dive" (Climbed inside) but have done great with just a skim off the top. To me that's recycling at it's best! I've also found a few nice magazines to read that way.
Another way to collect coupons is through a coupon club/swap box. You can start a coupon swap box a your church, work or library. Use a coupon organizer and for every 2 coupons a person donates they can take 1 out of the box. That way the person who needs diapers and not dog food can get extra coupons of what they use. Keep an envelope for expired coupons to be placed in as they are found. (Overseas military and missionaries can use these!)
A final way to get coupons is at the store. When you are shopping check out the "blinkies" (the little coupon boxes attached to the shelves). I have found coupons at Store A and later used them at Store B. Also the Pharmacy dept. at our local Meijer often has $1.00 off yogurt coupons. We've gotten discounted yogurt and yogurt drinks for as low as .25/4 with these coupons. Check out the free magazines and pamphlets around the store as you shop. I just got a $10.00 check this week from Kellogg's. I had sent in a rebate found in a free magazine at Meijer! Keep an envelope in your coupon box marked "File" and pop these coupons in there to file when you get home.
These are just a few ways to get manufacturer's coupons. I will be posting more next time about Internet coupons and sources for them. I will also be posting about what I cut and how I organize/manage my stash of coupons.
If you have any other ways that you find manufacturer's coupons or coupon fliers. Please share them with us. I'd love to hear from you!