Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ten Levels of Becoming a Karate Coupon Master {Part 2}

Don't Forget! Tomorrow is Friday and time for Friday Favorites! Go ahead and start thinking of your favorite {80s sitcom, 90s crush, new etsy site, hair style, coupon agenda, etc} to link here! Get your button using that code right over there on the top left <-------.
I had such a great time last week and can't wait to do it again!

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Y’all are the funniest people out there! If you didn’t read the comments section from Part 1 of this couponing post, then you need to hop back and read it. From Couponing “Pants on the Ground” to “getting beat up by Johnny and the skeleton outfitted kids”, I think you covered it all.
Thanks for being awesome in your kuh-rah-TAY-ness.
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In part 1, I covered my belt levels of becoming a Karate Coupon Master from a white belt through Mr. Miyagi.

Today’s post will go over some of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned and used to get farther along the belt system- without actually using the crane kick at the checkout counter.
Crane kick

• The biggest goal to maintain for me is that I want this to be a blessing for my family- not a burden. When I hear myself saying, “Mommy can’t read that book to you because I have to clip coupons from coupons.com because they just reloaded coupons right now”, I know something’s gotta give. For me, I have to find a reasonable balance in how much I can do. For that reason, I think I’m probably in between a brown and a black belt on my chart.

• I took a coupon class from Kristan at Money Wise Shopper {who said 5 times that her site was still under construction, so I feel like I need to include that here}. If you are in the North Alabama area, I would strongly recommend her class {contact information on the last link}. March 10 002
If you’re not in the area, find a class near you that will help you get a grip on the whole idea of couponing- especially if you are a beginner. Kristan gave us a list of “to buy” prices for items, a strategic plan that has worked for her and COUPONS, of course! Lots of them!
March 10 001

Here are my coupon tricks:
1) Much like Dave Ramsey talks about Christmas “being a surprise every year”, we always act surprised when dinner comes around every night! One of my biggest mental changes is the planning that takes place before shopping and coordinating that with our dinner plans. This saves you from running to the store all the time for little things that turn out to be $75 Super Target purchases- not that I would know anything about that…

2) I have stocked my freezer for a while with meat {a lot from Angel Food, some from Sam’s and sales}, so I now just buy what’s on sale and plan dinners around that.

3) There are many great ways to plan ahead for dinner {to save you time and money}.
Homemade Gourmet has fabulous planning tips and tricks {my friend Melanie is a rep if you need one}, Tricia at Once a Month Mom has an awesome plan every month, Stephanie at Crockpot 365 is fabulous for planning ahead AND not spending time over the stove and there are dozens of sites out there to help you make the most of your time with your family while NOT running to the store at 5:00 to find something for dinner {and possibly nail polish, toothpaste not on sale- A mortal SIN- and overpriced cereal for the morning}.

4) I have a bit of a problem with stockpiling.
Although I know it will help in the long run, I counted our cereal boxes and we currently have 24 {because I got them all for under $1.50- my “buy now” price for cereal- Kristan’s is $1- $2, so I feel okay with that}. My marriage is at stake here, so I vowed to not buy any more, but know that it can be addictive.
I cannot divulge the number of Steamfresh Veggies or Progresso soups I currently have.
You already know too much.
karate-kid

5) I use newspaper coupons from 2 papers in order to stockpile when things are one sale {some people recommend a paper for each member of your family, but I can’t handle more than 2}, All You Magazine {highly recommend- you can get it at Wal-Mart or get a subscription- got mine for free from Sky Miles} and print LOTS of online coupons {the websites listed below have links to each coupon they mention that's available online}.

6) Here are my favorite sites for couponing:
http://www.iheartpublix.com/. Because I DO ♥ Publix, as outlined in this very old post. Michelle does an amazing job of showing you WHAT is on sale, for HOW MUCH and WHICH coupons you can use to make them super cheap.
Basically you don’t have to think.
She has the Unagi. {FYI- this link contains funny Friends clips with Unagi. It also contains "mild" curse words that I wouldn't have blinked at in college, but would turn the channel for now with kids around. So, don't play if you have children within earshot. Do play if you miss the Unagi.}

http://www.southernsavers.com/. This has the same printable links and couponing approach- just with more stores.

http://www.couponmom.com/. She does a fantastic job of showing you what’s on sale, coupons to use AND the percentage you would be saving from the regularly listed price.

If you like Kroger, http://www.cellfire.com/ has upload-able coupons that you can put on your Kroger card {you don’t have to print or cut them!} and they also have an iPhone app. I might switch to Kroger just for this tech-y coolness.

http://www.shortcuts.com/ also has upload-able coupons for your Kroger card.

So there you have it, folks. The secrets behind my crane kick. I only use it when necessary, of course.
And- if I quit stockpiling cereal for End Times- I might even get the guy at the end.

This weekend I spent $90 at Publix and saved $154 for loads of groceries and goodies.
Take that, Johnny.
KK close up

Since I love saving money, this post is linked to Jill's Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries- with MR. Diaper Diaries guest posting today! Love it!

So, what's your favorite couponing tip or site?
Do you go "gung-ho coupons" in spurts {because I do, sometimes}?

And what's the most you've ever saved {or your goal}?

13 comments:

dawn said...

Hillary-

I want to know more about the "to buy"prices for items...that is a new concept to me. I'd love some examples!

you've actually got me thinking about this.

Mandi @ It'scome2this said...

You spent $90 and saved $154. I am in awe!!

Rebecca Setzer Schroeder said...

My sister in law is a black belt in coupon clipping. They actually included her in an article in the Times two years back. This is a woman who bought Pop Tarts for $.24 a box and had 40 of them. So she gave my kids a box a piece to take home. I want to do this. I just always get overwhelmed. When she shops she goes to 3 different stores to get the most use out of the coupons she has. I just don't know if I can do it and lug 3 kids from store to store to save. I need Help Sensei!! You must have more blogs on this subject.....PLEASE...now wax on, wax off....

Rochelle said...

Wow, um, can I pay you to come shop for me, lol?! :)

shopannies said...

thanks so much for the links to the coupon sites some of which I was aware of and some others I will be sure to check out thanks

Anonymous said...

my husband was not on the coupon band wagon until i dragged him to walgreens one sunday and he seen me spend 13.58 and save 241.29! ( i had 5 or 6 glucometers for free on top of everything else i bought) and from that day he even has offered to buy me the sunday paper!!

Kelly said...

I am totally impressed with your ability to save $154! Wow! I used to coupon regularly but after having child #1, my hubby took over the grocery shopping and I would clip my little hands off, then he would FORGET to use them. It was so frustrating, I stopped even trying. He goes to the store almost every day to the tune $25-45 per visit. Do the math on that! Ouch. Yet it's still cheaper than eating out which we also go in spurts of doing more often than we should. We justify it as 2 busy careers, 2 kids and 1 MBA getting Mommy! It's all kinds of wrong! We could probably save enough for a month's tuition at the kids school if we couponed. Okay I have to stop now before I get mad. :-)

Jennifer said...

Great post and wonderful advice. It's hard for some people to get into couponing because it is overwhelming at first. But, once you start, it becomes easy. I get so much for free, I love donating to food pantries and gifting things to my friends and neigbors!

I like forthemommas.com and momsneedtoknow.com. They cover tons of deals and are local to me (Philly), so they also highlight some local deals.

PS - You have lovely penmanship!

Jennifer S. said...

I've almost gotten divorced more than once over stockpiled cereal but man does DH complain when we are out or low. ha ha Go figure!

melissa said...

I love 5dollardinners.com for a great way to use what you have on hand. I have a tendency to wait until the last minute to try and figure out what to fix. Love learning how to stack coupons!

Kristan @ Moneywise Shopper said...

Oh Hillary thank you! I was so excited to read this..... I even wrote about it on my blog. Of course it's still "in progress" (and thank you so much for stating that on here)

For those that do want more info on classes that information is under classes on my blog. I LOVE showing people how to save $$.

Also Publix paid me $4.05 yesterday to shop with them. I figured they paid my gas to get there and back.

LizzieV. said...

Yea links! And dinner is often a surprise around here, too. I intuitively know just how long it takes to lightly thaw & cook things straight from the freezer. I've always believed I could do a cooking show on how to make a meal out left-overs & stockpiles!

Then, there's Costco. I don't think DR had Costco in mind when he set up the envelope system.

Donna said...

I try to avoid couponing b/c I get overwhelmed and think I won't do it well so why try- this is helpful- perhaps I can change- I want to change- p.s. laughed out loud at all the Daneilson pis.

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Hillary

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