Pretty Little Celiac

I started couponing as a result to save money on all the other things we buy in our household to offset the cost of gluten-free foods. When I talked about it, other people shared their tips and stories with me as well. Here is a guest post from Christy over at Celiac411 with how she manages to save money as well!!

How to organize coupons

How to organize coupons

First understand that when I started, it was out of necessity. After working for a software development firm, from home, for over three years I was laid off. The company made some bad financial decisions, and, as the saying goes, sh!t rolls down hill.

So my first discovery was www.coupons.com. They offer decent coupons and they have new coupons weekly. It’s one of the easier and more simple sites to deal with. You literally select the coupons you want, make sure you’ve downloaded their printer software (don’t worry it’s safe) and then click print.

Getting your local Sunday paper is always a plus. This was my second discovery. By combining the coupons found at coupon.com and those from the Sunday paper, there are times that  you can literally create a “double coupon”. Just beware, some stores have certain coupon rules that don’t allow for this….more on that below.

At this point I still wasn’t seeing the big savings that some people brag about. So I searched the internet and found Lozo.com. This site is pretty awesome. It literally finds all the different coupons offered by tons of different sites each week and brings them to you. Now it can be a little frustrating. After you select your coupons from Lozo.com, it will batch like coupons together (i.e. all those offered at the P&G website) but then you have to click on a tab that will take you to the outside site. Sometimes the site will allow you to directly print, other times they will make you sign up for a mailing list. My suggestion: create a coupon only email address. This way you can sign up for all the different outside websites using the same email and forgo filling your personal email with blast emails. Once you get over the initial signing up at 30 or so site, the next week is a breeze…all you have to do is select your coupons at Lozo, then sign in when you are directed to the outside sites.

Winn-Dixie and Publix both offer online e-coupons. With Winn-Dixie you link your WD card, select the e-coupons that you want to load on it, and it automatically incorporates them at the time of checkout so long as you scan your WD card. These coupons can be used on top of any paper coupons that you have, so if you have an e-coupon and a paper coupon, you’ll get both of the savings.Publix offers something similar but they only allow for one manufacturer coupon per item, period.So if you sign up for their e-coupon and you have a paper coupon for the same item, it will not take both….but it does use the one that is worth more savings.

Lastly, if there is a product that you use on a regular basis and you can’t find a coupon for it, go to the manufacturer site. A lot of times if you sign up with them directly they will email you a coupon.

Savingstar is another site, but it works a bit differently. Here you can link your CVS, WD or Publix cards (among others), select the online offers that you’d like, and then when you buy certain items you’ll actually get cash deposited into your SavingStar account that you can use or have transferred to another account (like your checking). In other words, you wont see the savings at the register, you’ll get them later on. It’s not much of a savings but anything helps!

My top tips for couponing:

1. Know the grocery store’s store policy on couponing (i.e. Publix vs. Winn-Dixie)

2. Look at the prices of items in the store. Sometimes you’ll save more buying 3 smaller items (such as diapers) than you would if you bought just one big box.

3. Organize your coupons. I use an organizer and it’s made shopping so much more sane. I organize by the following categories:

Baby
Food
GF Foods
Paper Goods
Cleaning
Misc. (vitamins, dog food, batteries, etc)

4. Don’t buy items (if possible) unless they’re already on sale. This way you get the sale price plus additional savings from coupons.

5. The biggest treat is landing a BOGO item! A perfect example was me buying ALL laundry detergent. I caught it on a BOGO so the price originally was 2/$8. Since it was BOGO it made it 2/$4 which was great but I had an additional coupon to save a dollar….so I got both for $3. Not too shabby!

6. Be open to trying new brands, if you can. Your favorite brand may not be on sale every week….branch out and use coupons to explore new options.

7. If a coupon doesn’t say “void if copied” you can make copies of the coupon and use it again on your next shopping trip, so long as it isn’t past the expiration date.

That’s the gist of it. It may sound like  a lot but really once you get past the “set up” phase, it’s not that bad. It takes work, yes, but like I told you the other day, I saved $184 in one trip! Since February 18th, I’ve spent $680.80 on $1145.20 worth of groceries, saving $464.40.It‘s helped us out a lot since I stay at home/work from home with our three boys.
Check out her website over at http://celiac411.com/
How to use coupons while living gluten-free I started couponing as a result to save money on all the other things we buy in our household to offset the cost of gluten-free foods.
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from Pretty Little Celiac