Before I get into my "new" system, there are a few things I want to share with you about how/why I coupon.
-There was a time that I would buy anything as long as it was a deal. I promise you, I would buy Fruity Pebbles! (Please don't be offended it you like this cereal! It is just not the best choice for our family.) Those of you that know me, will get a chuckle out of that. But at that time, I didn't know a lot about nutrition, or about boys and sugar :), and I basically didn't care what it was as long as I got a great deal on it. I am sure that those Fruity Pebbles were free or close to free.
Now, I am VERY different! When I see those free or almost free deals, it is still hard for me to pass them up, so sometimes I buy them and donate them. I do my best to buy foods that are free of artificial colors/sugars, high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil. If I can I will buy organic foods, but normally they are not in my budget. I just do the best I can with what God has provided. Which is why I make most of our snacks, all of our bread and even at times yogurt!
I say all this to let you know that there are many deals to be had using coupons on food that is good for you. I hope to be able to share that with you on this blog. There are many coupons for healthy foods, more and more in fact. Whole Foods has a new flyer of coupons every month and you can sign up here to get coupons from Mamboo Sprouts. I have often combined those coupons with sales at Whole Foods to get free items.
-I shop at many different stores on a given week. It is the only way to maximize my money and feed my family the way I would like. I would still save money if I shopped at only one store and used coupons, but not as much as I could be saving. Stores that I will commonly hit up for deals include Super Target, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes. Maybe once a month I'll go to Kroger, B.J.'s, Walmart or Food Lion. I match their sales with my coupons to create the best deals. Note - Trader Joe's does not accept coupons, but their prices are great for the things I buy there. I should do a Trader Joe's post just sharing what I go there for as it is the same every time!
- I will buy coupons on ebay. One example would be for milk. Our family only drinks non-dairy milk. The boys favorite is Silk. They often have coupons, but the boys drink A LOT of milk, so one or two coupons doesn't help that much. And Silk is expensive! So when there is a coupon for Silk I'll go to ebay and buy a group of 20 or more. The price is minimal compared to the savings. When HT doubles coupons and has a sale on Silk, I am a very happy mama!
-Lastly I eat a vegan diet....most of the time. I also try to stay away from sugar. This adds some complications to our budget, but I just do the best I can with it. I can cheat with the best of them and I do when my options are limited and I don't feel guilty a bit...well...maybe a little bit.
Okay....I guess I have digressed from the original post on my couponing system. Without further ado...
This is the system I used when I did most of my shopping at one store. Many of you are probably familiar with it.
It is basically a binder with dividers that have the different categories of food.
After each divider there is plastic sheet that holds sports cards. You just slip the coupons it.
This system works great, I have used it for about 5 years, but when I started going from store to store it became difficult to sort my coupons by store. It also doesn't accomodate the size of some coupons. So I decided to make a change.
So.....Jesse and I began the task of creating a "new" system, new for me anyway.
I told you at the start of this blog that I am not an original thinker. I basically take others ideas and modify them to fit our needs and my style. That being said, the "new"system comes from Money Saving Mom, my FAVORITE blog for money saving tips. If you haven't checked her out, it is a must!! Here is the link for the coupon system. I only modified it slightly so I am not going to go into detail on how to create it, but more of what I like about it.
With this system I am able to sort coupons by store. There is an envelope for each store I go to in the front. If I have individual store coupons they will go in there. Also, as I get prepared to go to a store, I will pull the coupons for that store that match the sales and they will go in that stores envelope, saving me the trouble of doing that in the store.Another thing I like about this system is that it allows me to break the categories down further. For example, I used to have toothpaste with personal items and I would have to go through all of the other "personal" coupons to see if I had a specific toothpaste coupon. Now toothpaste has its own category. Hopefully saving me some time.
Keeping receipts is something I am not particularly good at which bothers my husband. I am hoping that having an extra envelope on either side (one for general and one for grocery stores) will help me do a better job of keeping track of receipts.