Coupon Database

Just a reminder that the Coupon Database will not be updated until next weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Why Not Consider Wednesday: Coupon Binder

coupon binderThose of you who have been following our posts on shopping- either at grocery stores or at CVS and Rite Aid have noticed that we like to use coupons.  Manufacturers coupons can be an invaluable tool to help you get items you want and use for cheaper, but you have to be organized if you are going to use them.  They can easily take over your life.  I recently decided to change my organizational system, because it required too much work. 

I used to have a binder that had sections for each type of grocery item (ie Frozen, Pantry etc) and I would clip the coupons I wanted and insert them into plastic inserts that kids usually use for collectible cards.  It worked great, for a while, but it was very labor intensive.

What I noticed, however, mostly from participating in the Grocery Game, and from looking at other sites, is that most people identify coupons based on what section of the Sunday newspaper they came from  (ie P&G 3/1/09 means the Proctor and Gamble insert in the March 1 Sunday paper).  Consequently, I have decided to change the way I organize my coupons, and I am starting a new binder this weekend.

Instead, I will mark each coupon insert with the date of the paper,  put a 3 hole punch in it and file it in my binder.  I will separate out weeks by using a page separator.   

My binder has a zipper and it also has a section with 5 tabs.  I will use that section with tabs for my fliers from CVS (weekly and monthly deals), Rite Aid (weekly and monthly Rebates), A&P and Shop Rite.  There is also a small pouch I can put a scissor (handy if I have to take my binder out with me and cut coupons while I am at a store) 

Hopefully, keeping everything together in one binder will help me be more organized.

I may keep one or two of my playing card plastic inserts for coupons I come across from other sources, ie while walking through the stores- sometimes there are magic boxes with great coupons, from the mail etc. 

Why not start a coupon binder too?  If you are a little embarassed about using coupons, don’t be.  Just in case you are- here is a link to a very intersting article posted on CNN.com.  “In a recession, cheap is chic.” 

In order to help you keep track of your coupons, should you decide to create a coupon binder like this one, we have created a link on the right side of this blog entitled Coupon Database.  When you click on the link, you will find a spreadsheet that tracks all the coupons from the Saturday Jersey Journal paper as well as the Sunday Paper (I get the NY Post).  We have sorted the coupons alphabetically by dollar value and expiration date. 

Here is how you can use the spreadsheet.  When you plan on going shopping, and know you want to buy an item, check the spreadsheet to see if there are any coupons for that item.  Because this is labor intensive, I will file items only by major brand name ie Gilette and then you need to take a quick look through your binder to the appropriate section to see if the coupon is for the particular item advertised on sale or that you need (ie Gillette Fusion Gamer Razor or Gillette Shaving Cream). 

We hope this will be a valuable resource.  We will keep the coupons up on the database until they expire- even if we have suggested using a coupon in a Shopping Saturday post.  We will shoot to update the coupon database every week to reflect the new coupons that came out in each weekend paper.  Assume that by Monday 6:00am the Coupon Database will be updated- but we may be able to get the database updated earlier so feel free to check earlier than that.

Where to Get Coupons in Hoboken

Coupons usually come out in the largest newspaper in the region on Sunday, except holidays. For the schedule of which coupon inserts come out each week for 2009, go here. The best place we have found to get coupons in Hoboken is in SATURDAY’s Jersey Journal, which has an advance copy of the coupons and only costs $.50 per paper. You can find it at the newspaper stand on 14th street off of Bloomfield Street (right next to Buzz Cuts).

Saving money at the grocery store

couponsI have learned how to save an incredible amount of money at the grocery store in the past year following couponing websites and The Grocery Game. What I learned has changed the way I shop for food.

This is what I used to do when I needed to go grocery shopping: I would go through my recipe books and pick 7 meals for the week and list all ingredients I needed to make those meals. I’d add a couple of lunch and breakfast items. Then I would check the fridge and pantry for anything that I was running out of and add it to the list. Voila! I took the list to the store and bought everything I needed. I would spend $120 to $150 at the store.

What I learned on all those couponing blogs and from the Grocery Game is that you are not supposed to buy what you need for the week when you go grocery shopping. Everything in the grocery store goes on sale about once every 3 months. And on sale means either half price or better compared to what you buy it for when you need it. When items are on sale at their rock bottom price, you should buy a 3 month supply so that it lasts you until the next rock bottom sale. This way you spend less money on the items you need.

Of course it takes about 3 months to get your “stockpile” so that you pretty much have everything you need in your house. The first three months you end up still pretty much spending over $100 a week. But once you have stockpiles of everything, they you just “cherrypick” when you go shopping, buying whatever you are running low on that is at a rock bottom price. At that point, my grocery bill ended up being about $60 a week.

It is easy to fall off the couponing/stockpiling bandwagon. When you are well stocked and can survive on your stockpile, it seems stupid to go to the grocery store just to buy 8 containers of cheap juice on sale and nothing else. Then all of a sudden you are out of juice and kicking yourself for spending $1.99 per container instead of rockbottom $1.49 per container. So my bill fluctuates between $60 and $100 depending on how good I’ve been. And the best of all about being stockpiled is most of the time when we finish a bottle of juice, I can just reach down to the bottom shelf or pantry and open another one instead of making my poor husband run out at 8am to buy overpriced juice at the corner store for breakfast.