USING A COUPON DATABASE AND CREATING A SHOPPING LIST
**When I was starting out, I waited until I had mastered the regular grocery stores before I tackled CVS and Walgreens. The rewards systems with those 2 stores just confused me. Waiting until about a month in, really helped me with understanding these 2 stores. Of course, each person handles things differently, so if you feel like tackling these 2 stores immediately, I say go for it! I have waited until week 4 to discuss these stores so you can find information there.
In week 2, we will focus on creating and understanding a couponing shopping list and matching your store sales. Your list or spreadsheet should be tailored to your likes and dislikes. A good list or spreadsheet will have these basics:
Additional columns that I keep on my spreadsheet are:
• Percentage Saved
• Amount I will be buying
• How many coupons I am using
• Total price I am paying
• check mark column for when I have that item in my shopping cart
You are welcome to use my spreadsheet template, but if you want to truly learn how to coupon, I suggest you create your own that fits YOU.
Another spreadsheet I use is the Savings Tracker. This is totally optional as a couponer, but most of us do like to see our savings laid out in front of us. This spreadsheet was how I knew that my weekly average in 2012 was $44.54 per week! What a motivator! Here is a clip shot of what my savings tracker looks like:
Once you have created a spreadsheet, you can start matching up the weekly sale with available coupons. I start out by pulling up each store ad and listing the items I would like to buy or items I know that usually have coupons to match with (the longer you coupon, the more familiar you will become with items that regularly have coupons). The spreadsheets will get easier over time, but like anything worth doing….it will take practice.
After you have listed the items on your spreadsheet, you will then begin to match coupons to those items. Using the coupon database, this is a breeze. Simply type the name or type of product and hit search. All available coupons will be shown and you can pick the one(s) you would like to use. The database will use the coupon lingo (SS, RP, PG) so familiarize yourself with these terms so that you will understand where to find your coupon. If it is a printable coupon, there will be a link for you to click.
For example, if the coupon you are looking for is for Huggies Diapers, you will type in “huggies” or “diapers” and click search.
Let’s say you want to use the following coupon:
$1 off Huggies Little Swimmers Disposable Swimpants SS 4/13
You would then go to your SmartSource coupon insert from the week of 4/13 and clip that coupon (or if you have already clipped your coupon and stored in a binder, you would simply pull out that coupon).
When I am creating my list, I put all the info into the spreadsheet and then decide which items I will ultimately buy and so I do not clip coupons until I get my final spreadsheet. This will depend on my weekly budget or needs for the week. This is why I have a percentage saved column, because I like to know I am getting at least 50% off on the items I am buying unless I absolutely need them.
The more you coupon and build your stockpile, the less you will “NEED” items. You will have a supply on hand so that you should not have to pay retail price next time you need that item. The goal of effective couponing is to buy products, not when you need them, but when they are at a “stockpile” price. That is how you save money!
Week 2 Wrap Up