Wednesday, May 18, 2011

STEP 13: Turning a Matchup Into a Shopping List

So in the previous step I told you how I go about breaking down a matchup ad into a Shopping List. Here's an example. First, see the original post I copied into word HERE. And yes, I do copy the WHOLE thing!

After pulling out deals with no coupons, pulling out the items I'm not interested in, and sorting it, I leave myself with the following short list:

(6) Maruchan Yakisoba Noodles 3.96-4.27 oz, on sale BOGO 89¢ for two
- $0.50/1 Maruchan Yakisoba 3/13/2011 SS Insert (exp 5/31/2011)
**Makes them FREE plus overage

(4) Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese 12.6 oz bag, on sale BOGO $2.59 for two  
- $1/1 Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (IE)  Printable (FF)
- $1/1 Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese Dinner 4/17/2011 SS Insert (exp 5/17/2011)

**Makes them $0.30 each

(2) Welch's 100% Grape Juice 64 oz, on sale BOGO $3.91 for two 
- $0.75/1 Welch's Juice 4/17/2011 SS Insert (exp 7/15/2011)
**Makes them $1.21 each

(2) Back To Nature Granola 7.5-13.5 oz, on sale BOGO $3.79 for two
- $1/1 Back to Nature Cookie, Cracker, Granola (IE)  Printable (FF)
**Makes them $0.90 each

(4) Keebler Crackers (including Club, Town House and Flipsides), on sale BOGO $3.69 for two
- $1/2 Keebler Townhouse Crackers
**Makes them $1.35 each

(2) Lysol Disinfectant Trigger Spray 22-32 oz, on sale BOGO $2.69 for two
- $1/1 Lysol Disinfectant Spray 4/17/2011 SS Insert (exp 5/17/2011)
**Makes them $0.35 each

(2) Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid 25 oz, on sale BOGO $2.99 for two
- $.50/1 Seventh Generation Household Product
**Makes them $0.99 each

(4) Bertolli Pasta Sauce 15-24 oz, 2/$4
- $1.50/2 Bertolli Pasta Sauce 4/17/2011 RP Insert (exp 5/15/2011)
**Makes them $1.25 each

I omit the coupons I don't have. I add the quantity of items I want and that turns the matchup into the shopping list. Once you get the hang of it, it'll take you all of 10-15minutes to sort the add. If you file your coupons alphabetically, you can even sort the headlines alphabetically to make finding the coupons even quicker!

Hope this helps!

Monday, May 9, 2011

STEP 12: Saving Money Without Sacrificing Time

If you're new to couponing than you've undoubtedly realized it can easily consume all of your free time. And at first, I'm sorry to say, this is true. But only until your fully set up. After that, maybe 5-10 hours a week will easily save you thousands of dollars per year.

So how do we accomplish such savings on such little time? It's easier than you think!

First things first though. You must be set up and ready to go. Take the initial time investment and get things the way you like them and make sure your comfortable with them. Coupon organization is not something you want to do over and over again so make sure you get it right the first time.

Second, last lesson we talked about getting your resources together and in the very first "Pre-Couponing" step, you were to decide on one drug store and one grocery store to put forth your efforts. If you've done that GREAT! If not, shame shame! To save the most time, you are only going to worry about your primary stores for a majority of your shopping. Then you are going to find your online ad matchup resource to rely on all the good deals.

So you have your coupons organized to a T. You have your primary grocery store selected. And you have your online ad matchup site at your deposal. Right? OK.

Search through your site and find what day they usually post the match up for your store and memorize it. So on the day your ad breaks on your site, I want you to highlight, copy, and paste the matchup post into a Word document. (Don't worry, this will make sense.)

Next, your going to skim the ad and immediately delete the sales that don't have any coupons attached (excluding meat and produce).

Hopefully your site also marks the best of the best deals by some how distinguishing the stock up prices from the other prices. And hopefully it will note any overage deals as well. So in this list you've made in Word, I want you to go through and simply delete any sales that are not that great on products you wouldn't use and I want you to move any sales items that are overages up to the top.

Next, skim through and delete any items you're not interested in and you should have a hit list of sale items, with coupons. Before you hit print though, you need to next go through the list and see what coupons you have vs. what is listed. If you don't have the coupon required to make a good deal, best skip it for now unless it's a necessity.

Once you do THAT, you should have a list of products on sale, with a coupon list, that you can now turn into your shopping list. I know this sounds like a long process but I promise you that it took me longer to write this post than it does do filter a sales ad! :)

Once you have your list, go ahead and begin your coupons. Cross check your coupon amounts to the ad matchup and notate any differences off to the side along with the number of coupons you have for that item. This whole process should take you about 2-3 hours and you should have coupons and list in hand and ready for shopping! An hour to get the add filtered to a list, an hour to pull coupons, and a final hour to cross check, total, and budget.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

STEP 11: Gathering Your Resources

It's important to find resources for your area and your stores for matchups, sales alerts, freebie and deal notices and so much more. Here are my lists:

For local matchups and deal alerts I turn to:

For other ad matchups, couponer support, success stories, Q&A, and more...the best place on the web is:

For insert schedules and previews:

Places to print coupons online:

Once you find your resources, bookmark, bookmark, bookmark! I've even gone as far as setting my browser up to open all my favorites as soon as I launch. The reason for this is unless you are a stay at home mom, we need our savings to be time friendly. These next few lessons will be about how to do this without it being a full time job!