Took a little vacation and break over the holidays, but my shelves and family are ready for me to start couponing again in the new year. Having 4 inserts in this week's paper really gets me excited too!
Ready to coupon in 2012?!
There are a few ways to get started:
1. Keep a price book- this will be your guide to if a price for something is what you want to pay. Every family is different, so keep track of the food items your family uses the most and as you see a low price, mark it down. If you have seen a coupon for the item, mark that down too so you know if it's something you can even get for less than your rock-bottom price you've seen. Sometimes the sales just aren't so good for a while but you need to keep restocking, just have an idea of when to really go crazy and get more than usual.
2. Meal planning- know what foods and items your family uses the most. I've heard of families making 4 week plans and rotating that throughout the year (13 times) or even just making a plan out of that week's ads (front page is where you want to focus). Try to shop once a week for your meals and then only go in if there are other items you need more of as well. You will spend less if you aren't in the stores as often.
Here's what I'm planning to use this year to avoid that "What's for dinner?" mess cause that is the hardest part for me. Meal planning service called E-Mealz, which plans the dinners and my shopping list for me a week at a time for under $5 a month! I just cross out the things I already have in stock (using coupons of course) and just pick up the rest at my local store. This will also help me have some variety in our diet and even has some crock-pot meals for the crazy nights!
3. Budget- get your budget together for the year, and adjust as changes come to your pay. I keep better track when I am following a weekly budget and leftover goes toward the household items we buy (toiletries, cleaning supplies) so I can keep those bought at their lowest prices too. Be reasonable with what costs are here, and hopefully coupons will help you cut down your prices as well.
4. Stay organized- no matter which system you use (file folder, coupon binder, coupon box), having your coupons ready to go will help for those last-minute shopping trips.
5. Have a support group- having someone else to keep you motivated really helps, this is why I started this site and love when others spot deals and share on the Facebook page! Find some other couponers in your area and start a coupon swap- they probably don't use the products you use and vice versa. It's a great way to get extras of the ones you like. You can always use the FB page to shoutout and find some couponers maybe in your own neighborhood!