Monday, April 5, 2010

BOOT CAMP: Thinking Outside the Box- Coupon Basics, Contest day 1

I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to saving with coupons. It was a huge transition for me, so I took it slow.  I used to think couponing was hard and confusing but I took it a step at a time.  I ultimately learned that in order to be successful I had to THINK OUTSIDE OF MY BOX.

First I had to expand my horizons when I shopped. A friend stated the other day that "You can't be brand loyal, when the brand is NOT loyal to you!" Isn't that so true? For example: I used to only buy Pampers for my daughter until I realized Huggies was a LOT cheaper and had better coupons (sometimes $3 off per pack!!).  She didn't have allergies so I quickly made the adjustment. So my first step was that I had to decide NOT be brand loyal. I have my particulars like my laundry detergent that I need to keep with because of certain allergies and sensitivities. When I used to be brand loyal, I used to also recycle all the items I would buy despite if it were on sale or not.  Doing this would limit our food menus for each week which made me really bored and not want to prepare meals. Not only did being open to the sales and deals allow us to have a wide variety of meals but I went from saving 30% of my money to 60%.  Many would assume that the food on sale is not healthy for you, but we make sure that our meals are balanced and healthy for us.  I like to create our meal menu from what I already have on stock, you can check that out each Monday to see how I am utilizing what I have already on hand!

Besides just reading the store ads, there is a step further, when you are ready for it. You can begin to CLIP COUPONS. You can find coupons in 3 different places:
** the coupon website and printing the coupons you select
** Sunday paper has inserts (P&G, SmartSource, and Red Plum)
** Ecoupons @
                      (Look for tomorrow's post to find more on "Where to find coupons!")

When you decide to CLIP COUPONS, keep some of these highlights in mind.  These are a few things I learned along the way:

** Clip out EVERY coupon.
Remember that we are not buying one particular brand anymore and you never know when it will go on sale. I used to miss out on many deals because I clipped out only what I thought I'd use. I would lose out on a $1-$2 off here or even a free item. I started to save everything and realized that I was saving more than I was in the beginning which is another way I went from saving 30% all the way to 60% on each shopping trip to Safeway.

** Make Lists!
When you start to accumulate your coupons you'll notice that it helps to make lists of what you need and want to buy while you are out.  I make lists either on the computer or on paper.  I also put a *  next to the item if I have a coupon to go with it at the checkout.  I plan out my trips carefully since I travel with my 1 year old.  Our trips have to be planned and quick.  The lists keep me on track. 

Organization is very different for everyone.  My way may not be your way, but the important thing is to organize it YOUR WAY.  When I started to COUPON CLIP, I would set out the coupons for the day and for the particular store. I still kept the other coupons with me just in case I found a deal at the store and could use a coupon I had on hand. After just clipping coupons for a couple of weeks I bought a coupon Organizer that is perfect for me. There are all sorts of ways to organize your coupons. (notebooks, accordian organizers, envelopes, etc)

Couponing is a process and you have to do it at your own pace. If you read the ads in the paper or on this site and find anything confusing, please contact us. We want to help you save! If you have any tips of how you save or find deals, please share your tips with us!

PhotobucketNow for the weeklong contest: Follow Aloha Deals on Facebook.  Then click on the "Suggest This" tab and confirm you are a fan.  From there, you can pick 20 friends PER DAY you can suggest Aloha Deals to.  That is a possible 100 friends through the course of the week (until Friday).  The person with the most friends joining will be the winner of one our great prizes!

Monday's contest: Any Twitter followers who RT our posts this week can be entered to win $5 of Amazon bucks- can be used toward anything!  1 RT = 1 entry.

PhotobucketYou can also follow our Twitter if you don't have an account through an RSS feed for updates in your blog reader to know when a new post is ready or if there's a quick deal to share that isn't long enough to blog about.  Share a link to one of our articles this week in an email/blog/facebook status and you can also be counted in the contest. 

(Include in the email, forward a link to us for your blog or type "@Aloha Deals" in your Facebook status so we can view it and count your entry)


iMaLLheaRt said...

I have a question. I understand why we need/should coupon but is it better to buy from the stores rather than bulk at Costco or Sam's Club? I do most of my shopping there and don't really buy things at Safeway or Foodland, etc b/c it costs more than buying bulk. What do you suggest I do if I want to start saving like you guys are?

JLPierce Ohana said...

We are compiling a list of Hawaii Costco prices, so we can compare and show you when it is cheaper than shopping at Costco. They don't accept coupons besides their own booklet, so we can get things for less when coupons are stacked on top of sales!

Rach said...

So awesome, I love contests. Yeah trying to get my Sunday paper...soon someday!