It was 4 years ago today that my long, grueling 36 hour labor was over and I awoke in recovery to see my beautiful baby girl. I was so proud then and every day it grows and grows. Where has the time gone? In some ways it seems like such a long 4 years but in others it was just a fleeting moment. Next year we will be preparing for Kindergarten and all of her baby stages have long since passed. No more diapers or bottles or pacifiers. Just a big independent kid ready to take on the world.
Last time I told you all about how I collect and store my coupons. Now, that you have some coupons to work with it’s time to start shopping and building your stockpile. I know that a lot of you have been watching TLC’s Extreme Couponing. Personally, I love watching! It gets me so excited to go shopping. However, keep in mind that these couponers do not shop like this every time they walk into a store. These are special trips planned to showcase the possibilities of coupons.
Don’t be afraid of the word “stockpile”. You don’t need to store toilet paper in your kids underwear drawer. I find that having shelves in the garage where I can store my extra items allows me to keep my indoor cabinets more organized. There are also some items that I am not going to use very often, such as 9 boxes of air freshener starter kits, extra paper towels or boxes of diapers. I also use cheap plastic bins to organize smaller items. The shelving in the garage helps me keep the clutter out of the house but you have to find an organization system that works for you and your space. Bottom line is, don’t feel like you have to build a miniature supermarket in your home just because you start couponing.
I found that the best way to build my stockpile was to start at the drugstores. By getting more expensive items like razors, shampoo, deodorant or cleaning products for just pennies or even FREE allots more money for other items on my grocery list. I also think these are the items that are the worst to run out of; nobody wants to be caught without deodorant! These are also the items that usually have the highest value coupons and go on sale most often. Couponing on this level requires that you get out of the mindset of “I don’t need that right now”. It may seem silly at first to come home with 6 tubes of toothpaste but you probably spent less than $0.50 and you won’t have to think worry about toothpaste for at least 6 months!
Starting at the drugstores is a great way to start small and not get overwhelmed. You’ll learn as you navigate through the world of coupons that the rules are tricky and differ from store to store. Some stores are not as coupon friendly as others but CVS and Walgreens are two stores that like to play the game. They have more coupon savvy cashiers and are willing to help new couponers.
B2GO – Buy 2 Get One Free coupon or offer
BLINKIE – Coupon machine at the grocery store with a red blinking light on it. Coupons that come from the machines are referred to as ‘blinkies’.
CAT – Coupon that prints from a Catalina machine at the register. A Catalina Machine is a marketing tool that manufacturers use to print coupons as incentives to shop.
COUPON POLICY – Each store has a coupon policy. The policy stipulates what their procedure is in regards to using coupons. It is important to know that policies change often and can vary from store to store based on manager’s discretion. Some policies are corporate policies and some vary by store. It is important to contact the store you shop and find out their coupon policy before you shop.
DEAD – Refers to a dead deal, or that an offer is no longer valid, this is often used in terms of a coupon that runs out of prints.
DND – Do Not Double – in reference to coupons. Some manufacturers place a DND at the top of the coupon by the expiration date, meaning that the coupon should not be doubled at the store.
ECB – Extra Care Buck, Earned at CVS
ES – Easy Saver, Walgreens rebate booklet
EX or Exp. – Expires or Expiration date, in reference to coupons or rebates, they must be used before they expire.
GM – General Mills Coupon Insert, found in the Sunday Paper
HBA – Health & Beauty, in reference to products at the store
HOT – Hot Deal or Coupon, a deal or coupon that will not last long
INSERTS – Coupons found in the Sunday paper
IP – Internet Printable Coupon, a coupon that you can print online
IVC – Instant value coupons, Walgreen’s rebate booklet
MANAGER’S DISCRETION – A store manager often has the discretion to set limits on coupons used and items purchased.
MQ – Manufacturer Coupon, provided by the manufacturer to use when making a purchase
MIR – Mail in Rebate, provided by the manufacturer to use when making a purchase. You will pay out of pocket and receive a rebate in the form of a check back from the manufacturer.
OOP – Out Of Pocket, this is the total that you pay or your expense
OOS – Out of Stock, when an item is not available to purchase
OTC – Over the counter medication, in reference to products at the store
OYNO – On Your Next Order, this is an incentive where you make a qualifying purchase and then receive an incentive to use on your next purchase.
P&G – Proctor & Gamble Coupon Insert, found in the Sunday Paper
Peelie – Coupon found attached to a product. You have to peel it off to use it. It comes from the manufacturer attached to the product to use when you make that purchase.
POP – Proof of purchase, used when remitting a MIR.
Q – Coupon, the same as cash
RC – Rain-Check, obtained when an item is OOS. You can extend the price of the sale when you obtain a Rain Check from the store. Not all stores write rain checks.
RP – Red Plum, Coupon Insert, found in the Sunday Paper (formerly called Valassis)
RR – Register Reward, from Walgreen’s – This is a manufacturer coupon and is an incentive from the manufacturer to make a qualifying purchase.
RUN – Going to the grocery store to use your coupons
SCR – Single Check Rebate (Rite Aid), an incentive program that offers you MIR when you make qualifying purchases.
SS – Smart Source, Coupon Insert, found in the Sunday Paper
STACKING – Using 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 store coupon on the same product (if store coupon policy allows)
DOUBLE – A coupon that the store doubles the face value of, if the coupon policy is to double coupons.
TEAR PAD – A pad found hanging from a store shelf or display. This could be either coupons or MIR.
TRIPLE – A coupon that the store triples the face value of, if the coupon policy is to triple coupons.
UPC – Universal Product Code, bar code on the product, used for MIR.
WYB – When You Buy, the wording on a coupon.
YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary. This deal worked for me; however it may not work for you.
Use this list as a reference when you are reading through your daily deal sites and always ask if you get confused. Next time I will be giving you the ins and outs of CVS. Like I said before, CVS is a great place to start and I know you are dying to get started! Keep collecting those coupons and get ready to shop!
I told myself that I was not going to blog about couponing. But here I am…blogging about couponing. There are just SOOO many coupon blogs out there now and frankly I don’t think I am that good. However, I have received so many emails about how to get started with coupons and I really want all of my friends to be able to save a little bit of money like I have been.
- It is very difficult to be brand loyal and take everyday couponing to the next level.
- It is sometimes time consuming to coupon and does require a certain level of organization and discipline.
- Your menu will always be changing but the up side is you get to try a lot of food you may not have purchased before. Flexibility is key to couponing!
- Once you get into it, it’s VERY hard to pay regular price for anything and can be agonizing if you have to do it…maybe this is just me lol
So let’s get started!
Collecting and Organizing Coupons…The Mommies 2 Cents Way
I don’t have the patience or the energy to go out of my way to get coupon inserts so I buy them. But I make sure that the savings from the week more than covers the cost of my papers. I buy 4 papers every Sunday morning. I buy them from Walmart and they cost me $1.25 each. I have to note that if I hear through the grapevine that there will be a hot coupon that weekend or there is something I really want to buy then I will increase my number of papers to 6 but usually don’t buy more than that.
There are some instances when there will be one specific coupon that makes for a great stock up. It wouldn’t make sense to buy 20 newspapers so that is when I go to ebay or a clipping service. BE CAREFUL! Once news hits that a coupon is hot the price goes through the roof. It doesn’t matter how cheap you were going to get an item if you had to pay $18 to get the coupons. The point is, ALWAYS factor the coupon cost into the item.
So now you have bought your papers and removed all of the coupon inserts as well as the Walgreens and CVS ads. I also write the date with a sharpie in the front of the insert so it is easily visible. What to do with all of the papers?! I usually just put them into the recycle can that night and they pick up on Monday morning BUT if you don’t have a curbside recycling program, you can donate the newspapers to your local animal shelter. They use the papers to line the cages for kittens, puppies or small animals. They will appreciate your donation.
Another place to get coupons is printing them. Coupons.com is a great resource. You can print up to two of each coupon per computer. They change the coupons on the first day of each month and occasionally add new coupons throughout the month. It is best to check coupons.com every couple of days to see if there are any coupons you might want and print them out. I always go on the last day of the month and print any coupons I want because they might be gone the next day. Please note that photocopying coupons is not allowed. Each coupon printed has a specific code.
I have to admit that I have tried a million different coupon systems. When one doesn’t work, I move on to the next because I really wanted this coupon thing to work. You can keep them in a shoebox or you can clip every coupon and file in a binder. You can save the whole insert in folders or in a file box…it’s really about what works for you.
When I started couponing, I clipped every coupon and filed it by isle at the grocery store. To me this was a complete waste of time. I spent all of my time clipping and sorting and filing but no time was left for deal scouting, shopping or saving money! I must point out that this is a VERY successful method for a lot of couponers but it just didn’t work for me.
I then moved to a folder system. I bought a pocket folder for each insert type (Red Plum, Smart Source, etc..). Then I would put the whole inserts into them by date. This was a better system for me but I quickly realized that after 3 or 4 weeks my folders were unable to hold all of my coupons. They became too heavy to move around and they were ripping apart. This is when I decided to try the hanging file box. So far, this is the best method for me. It is organized, time saving and it looks neat and tidy, which I love!
I bought a cheap file box from Walmart with hanging files in it. Then I bought a box of manila tab folders. Each hanging file is labeled by month and insert. Each manila folder within the hanging file is labeled by week and insert type. This way if I need a coupon from the May 8th Smart Source insert I can easily find “5/8/11 SS” and pull the inserts. I also have a folder for printed coupons, blinkies, mailers, Catalina’s and store coupons. (I will have a post explaining what those are next time).
This works for me because I don’t like to shop spontaneously. I like to be prepared and know exactly what I am buying. I also don’t like to tote all of my coupons with me every time I go to the store. With two young kids in tow it’s just too difficult for me to carry 12 lbs of coupons and them into the store.
Now get out there and start collecting those coupons! Remember, having the coupons is the most important. You can always adapt you storage system as you need to but never ever miss getting the coupons. You can’t get the deals if you don’t have the coupons.
I hope this helped you at least get started. Don’t get overwhelmed and if you start to feel like it’s too much, take a step back. Take a break and come back to it later. Next time we’ll see if we can’t get you shopping!
It’s official…summer has begun. I know this because last week after I put the kids to bed and straightened the kitchen I made a bee line for the couch. I would be so excited to get lost in an unrealistic teen drama or an equally unrealistic medical drama. Now I find myself watching shows about pregnant teenagers and crab fisherman.
The other true sign that Summer has arrived is that it is 205 degree outside. Thank you Florida for being the next best thing to the surface of the sun. This is about the time of year that I stop wearing makeup because it just melts off when I walk outside. Cole has also given up wearing a shirt…and pants…and underpants…ok maybe that’s just because he is two and not because it’s Summer.
Another tell tale sign that Summer has arrived is that our 8pm bedtime rule is hard to enforce. This being because the sun is still shining bright through their windows. It’s 8, I’m tired, they’re going to bed! Maybe it’s time to invest in blackout shades or melatonin patches or Nyquil…just kidding!
Summer is here and this weekend it officially kicks off with a Memorial Day BBQ. It’s time for sweaty hot weather, more time with your kids and cooking outside with the bugs…yuck, great and I don’t think so! So the kids and I are headed to California to spend most of the summer with Grandmere and Papa. That way it won’t be quite as hot, someone else can play with the kids and I don’t have to go near a hot stove on the patio!
I must apologize for my lack of posts. A week and a half ago I was sick with a cold. Not too bad but sick is sick. I stayed out of the kids faces and I refused to come near the hubby. I don’t know about your husband but mine is ridiculous when he gets sick. He must take to the bed and sleep for 8 hours at a time so I was very careful not to get him sick. I got better and everyone was fine. Whew! That is when the bomb dropped! Both kids got sick the moment Kevin went on a business trip and it was a completely different illness than I had the week before. They have been so sick for the last week and now Ansley is feeling better and Cole should be any day now. So you can guess what happened next…I am sick as a dog…again!
I am trying to make the best of it and catch up on my blogging but of course I have a million things to do this week. The kids and I are headed back to California next week and this is no time to be down for the count. There is a lot of preparation that goes into leaving your husband and pets at home alone for 6 weeks. Preparation that I cannot get done at the last minute.
I think it comes down to the fact that I HATE being sick. Mostly because I feel like I don’t get to rest and I am always running on empty.
Enough whining! Just look for all of the new posts about interesting stuff that does not include my germ cycle. I am going to go take all 5 of my vitamins…with a glass or orange juice…and then eat chicken soup…and an apple for good measure. Happy Monday!
It’s no secret that I am counting down the days until I am diaper free. I no longer want to bend over a wiggling toddler while trying to tape something around him. Nor do I want to wipe regular size human poo off of that wiggling toddler. With that being said I was also not in a hurry to get started potty training Cole. I started with Ansley at exactly 2 years and we ended up having to take a break until she was 2 1/2. So, I was just going to wait until the end of the summer to even mention it to him. I guess he had other plans…
9 days ago he came to me and said that he wanted to “go pee pee on potty”. I said “ok” and took him in and sat him down. He started peeing. I was excited but cautious. I didn’t want to get into the full swing of things and then him not really be ready. Then he asked for “big boy unnerwears” so I said ok and pulled out the Toy Story ones I had stuck in the back of his sock drawer. I kept reminding him that he might have to go pee pee. After an hour or so he said he had to go so I took him…and he went! The rest is history!
It has been 9 days of pee in the potty and no diapers, except at night. He is however having a slight issue with #2. He just doesn’t want to part with it and has trouble “letting it go” in the potty. If this is our biggest issue well, I’ll take it!
I think I am a little late to the party on this one but you are going to get my “2 cents” anyway. I wanted to use this product a few times to really see if I could notice a difference. Honestly, I didn’t think we had a stain problem. I don’t like messy food or art projects so I rarely cook BBQ ribs or start passing out finger paint in the afternoon. Sure hubby is a bit of a mess during meals, who wears a white dress shirt to an Italian restaurant anyways?! So all in all we are, I mean, were a pretty tidy family. This all changed when we enrolled Ansley in preschool. You may have heard me ranting about the “dress for mess” sign. When I pick her up she often looks like she has been wrestling with a paint and glitter-glue covered bear for the last 3 hours!
Needless to say my clothing budget has been broken for 3 months! Purex Complete with Zout is just what I needed. I thought that at the very least it would make the stains not so noticeable so that she could wear the clothes to school again. I was blown away when it washed out EVERYTHING! It was like I won the lottery. No more weekly visits to the store for MORE shorts and tank tops.
So now that I have told you all about the magic, I’ll give you a little info on the science. Purex Complete with Zout contains three powerful stain-fighting enzymes. Each enzyme targets a different type of stain:
- Protease: Works against protein based stains such as grass and blood.
- Amylase: Works against starchy stains such as chocolate and tomato sauce
- Mannanase: Works against guar, which is used as a thickener in many foods, such as ice cream, BBQ sauce and salad dressing, because it’s super sticky.
If you are a little unclear on how the enzyme stuff works, google it. It’s really very interesting! Can you see her?…My science nerd, I think she is sticking out…
Purex Complete with Zout comes in Fresh Morning Burst as well as Free and Clear for those of you with sensitive skin or noses. It can also be used in all types of machines, even HE!
At this point I would be shelling out some serious cash for this stuff but luckily I don’t have to! It is very reasonably priced from $3.49 to $7.99 depending on the size and I can fins it at Walmart, Target or Publix!
Bottom line is, if you have kids that are as active as mine, then you can’t afford not to try Purex Complete with Zout. I am stocked and ready for whatever stains come my way. It’s a good thing too because next week is MUD WEEK! Bring it on mud!
**I was provided a sample of Purex Complete with Zout for my review as part of the Purex Insiders Program. However, ALL experiences and opinions are 100% my own!
And THAT was Mother’s Day weekend 2011! Honestly, aside from being sick with a nasty cold, it was a great weekend. I couldn’t taste the heaping breakfast that I was served in bed BUT it looked amazing! Cole told me it was yummy as he shoveled my eggs into his mouth. That kid is a great eater as long as it’s off of someone else’s plate!
The gifts that I had told Ansley I wanted got a little lost in translation but eventually found their way to me. Dad was trying to figure out why I wanted “pretty aphids” and a “flour swifter” and more importantly, where he would buy such items. I schooled Ansley on the words “apron” and “sifter” then things were back on track! They did very well and I might never take off my cupcake apron.
After spending the morning together, dad took the kiddos to the park so mom could veg on the couch watching DVR’d medical dramas and “find yourself” chick flicks. Then they were off to the movies! I got some much needed downtime, especially since I was sick.
They did such a good job on Mother’s Day that I decided to make them “slurping spaghetti and meatballs”! It was a wonderful weekend and I am so lucky to have such an amazing family. I hope all of your mother’s day fun made you feel as blessed as I do.