Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frugal Living: The Where, Why and How of Couponing

Ok, so I've been hearing a lot of methods about couponing: where to get them, when to cut them, how to store them, etc. Now for little, old me to weigh in (**announcer voice: 'at 105lbs...Alison 'The Femme' Frugal!! crowd: cheers**).

The Where: Everywhere--duh! I cannot tell you how many deals I would have missed out on if I had not been cutting coupons from the Smart Source and Red Plum circulars on weekends AND searching the internet! Obviously the paper route is a great way to find deals that might not be online, but I like it mostly because I can cut out coupons that I wouldn't bother printing. You know, those coupons...the "well, I don't really use that brand/never tried this, but its a great deal" kind? Like take last weekend, when I found a B1G1 L'Oreal Pro Vive Hydra Gloss coupon in the Smart Source ad. Now normally, that is a product I would never think of buying, its expensive, brand-namey (which I totally rebel against by nature), etc. But since CVS is doing a B1G1 event on that same product this week, I'm totally getting my two free shampoos! On the other side are the internet coupons. Sites like, and others are great to find an assortment of coupons really quickly and scan through to find what you need. Online is also my best bet to check the websites of products that I use regularly, like Silk Soy Milk. For a while this spring, they were offering a coupon for $2.25off any 32oz or larger carton of their product. This translated to 9quarts of free, shelf-stable vanilla soymilk for me (which goes great on my free kashi cereal--$2off coupons at, often onsale for $2 at Walmart). Bottom line: paper = browse, online = don't waste the energy.

The When: Now, I actually do have a definite opinion about this. Katharine was telling me about this popular method where you don't cut out the coupons immediately, but instead mark the page somehow and then cut it out right before you go to the store, so you don't have a bunch of coupons floating around you house/apartment or something like that. At this point I would like those of you who are infinitely more politically-correct than I am to skip to the next line--ready? That is absolutely RETARDED!
Why don't I just thumb through the study the day before I have to give a report on it and then read it in detail 30 minutes before class? Oh yeah, because I would FAIL! Same basic idea here: prepare as best you can, as early as you can, to avoid pain later.

The How: Fun time! Well, its not totally unique, but I am sort of proud of my coupon storing method. Using an empty CD case with lots of pockets, I store my coupons pretty logically, according to what they are, how the stores in my area are generally arranged (cereals together in the front, frozen foods last, and so on), and coupons for specific stores. Before I go out for a shopping trip, I go through my coupon-holder and put the coupons I plan to use in their own compartment, so that I can find them easily. Also, the CD case is awesome: totally didn't cost me a thing and it is designed to keep CDs from going anywhere, and is therefore more than sturdy enough for little bits of paper!
Enjoy your Friday and keep clipping!

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