Wednesday, February 17, 2010

coupons--my organization system + this week's haul

This is what $12 bought me last night at CVS and Publix:

Here's the rundown, in case anyone is interested:

2 Glade candles
2 bottles Crest Pro Health enamel rinse
1 bag of Reese's cups
TOTAL for 5 items: $1.69 after coupons (saved $33.27)

4 bags Birdseye frozen vegetables
2 bags Birdseye frozen dinners for two (pasta, meat, veggies, sauce)
2 bottles Ken's teriyaki marinade
2 4-packs of Fiber One Yoplait
1 bag Goodlife cat food
1 box Ziploc freezer bags
1 Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers lunch (pasta and sauce)
1 can Blue Diamond wasabi almonds (not pictured)
TOTAL for 14 items: $9.97 after coupons (saved $37.56)

My friends/family/colleagues who tease me about couponing often inform me with a certain degree of smugness in their voice that they don't use coupons because coupons are only for Cheez Wiz and Froot Loops and other such processed garbage. I wanted to make this post to show that I am able to buy household goods and healthy food for my little family for a tiny fraction of the normal retail price using coupons. I mean, it's not Whole Foods organic whatever whatever, but frozen veggies and yogurt and almonds are also not Cheez Wiz and Froot Loops. More importantly, we save tons on health/beauty/home stuff like mouthwash and ziploc bags and stuff, which we're going to end up buying regardless. Money is really tight around here and couponing is a great way to free up a little cash in the monthly budget. Can you detect a certain degree of smugness in my voice?

The person who should really be feeling smug is the amazing Jenny at Southern Savers. She takes all of the guesswork out of coupon shopping. Every week, Jenny posts the new weekly ads for CVS, Publix, Kroger, and Target, along with a bunch of other grocery stores we don't have in Atlanta. Along with all of the sale items and their prices, Jenny lists all relevant coupons for that item and the date for each coupon.

Because of Jenny's awesomeness, I don't even have to clip coupons on Sunday anymore! I just keep all of my coupon packets binder-clipped together by week in this magazine holder:

and then I clip what I need when I need it using the coupon match-ups on Southern Savers! It saves me sooooo much time not to have to clip every single coupon and sort it.

Once upon a time I did clip every single coupon and sort it. I made a box for the coupons out of an empty envelope box that I liberated from work and then actually Mod Podged expired coupons onto. I really can't explain why I do the things I do.

Luckily, the old coupon box has not become obsolete at all. I still use it to organize all of my loose coupons, like ones I clipped and didn't end up using, coupons I grab out of the magic blinking boxes at the store, coupons that come in the mail, etc.

I created a rather elaborate organization system involving envelopes and color-coded post-it flags. I go through periodically and purge the expired coupons.

I made the divider out of scrapbook paper and a cardboard six-pack container.

This is all very silly but my organization system really cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend coordinating my grocery store visits every week. It took a little investment of time in the beginning to figure everything out and get into the groove of things, but it was totally worth it.

And as long as we're talking about coupons/bargains/my being a cheapskate, I had a totally lucky moment yesterday at Target. I had been coveting one of their Valentine's Day wreaths since they put it out at the beginning of January but I could not bring myself to pay $20 for it. I generally cannot bear to pay full price for anything. So I decided to hold out for the after Valentine's Day 50% off sale, knowing full well that it would almost certainly be long gone by then in its infinite cuteness.

It was still there! It might not show up very well in the picture but the wreath is all wispy faux ranunculus and it is adorable. I still kind of cringed to pay $10 for it but I was not about to gamble that it would still be around on Thursday or Friday when it goes to 75% off. But I have already definitely gotten $10 of enjoyment out of it already, whatever that means. It is exceedingly girly but Nick doesn't seem too put out over it because he is princely like that.

NEXT TIME: our trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!!!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That wreath is cute! Very spring-ie. I stand in awe of your coupon systems.

  3. I think that this is a fabulous system, and I do envy you the access to super savers. We have nothing like this in my area of Ohio. In fact, the only grocery stores in town are Wal-Mart (which doesn't really count, and also they don't have good coupons) and a teeny tiny IGA, which has an actual butcher working in the back. I am a huge fan of the frozen vegetable, but what about fresh lettuce and fish and pork chops and stuff like that? Can you find coupons, or do you have to pay full price (or better yet, do you dumpster dive on Publix' throw-out-oldish-produce night???)

    Oh and that wreath is hideous, bless its heart.


  4. I know you are not hating on my wreath!!!

    After I have pillaged the CVS and Publix for what's on sale, I head over to Kroger for meat, produce, and dairy. They have really low prices AND good specials that also get listed in the circular. I stock up on whatever meat and produce is on sale and try to come up with menu options that work with the sales. We have eaten a lot of baked apples this winter since they have been so cheap!

    Too bad you are stranded in the land of crappy grocery stores. Perhaps you will lead a coupontastic life in Australia?


  5. la casalinga: What about that site that has the map of coupon bloggers all over the country? One of the coupon bloggers made it a little bit ago.

    And KM: That is a great idea to just binder clip them!! I had bought file folders and was writing on the tabs what dates/booklets were in them but it's getting out of hand.

  6. Katie J, you is mah SHEro. Lawsie Mercy. All I need to do now is start a blog about charting my fertility and we can be a fancy bloggin' super ladies team!

  7. Jinah--I didn't know you were a couponer??? I see a guest blog in your future!

    Katie J--omg are you seriously already tracking your fertility bc that is AMAZING

  8. Well, that does it. I'm inspired and am going to start checking out Southern Savers. Thank you!


    I have a friend named Katie J who calls ME Katie J and I figured that comment was from her


  10. Ha. No. Trying NOT to get pregnant.

    For now.

  11. Katie,
    That is RIDICULOUS! Thanks for sharing your awesome organizational skills! I too am a couponer and I am so going to make that magazine holder and coupon collage box. Love them!! I love crafts so this is right up my alley. I'll have fun with this. BTW- I didn't know you were a blogger too until your comment on mine this morning. Glad to have another blog to read! :)