While I don't really make New Year's resolutions, I have had some things in mind that I have wanted to do - and one was to start using coupons and trying to figure that whole thing out. I call it a 'whole thing' because it feels like it's more of an art form than a hobby.
I even got invited by someone in my play group to a CLASS to learn how to make the most out of coupons. Of course I have no time to attend during normal waking hours, but can spend quality laptop time late at night to see what Google can teach me.
Like they could read my thoughts just down the road in Bon Air, Young House Love wrote a post on coupons that had a lot of good links and tips. They have a very good point about only using coupons for things you buy already. There is really no point otherwise.
They also write about the Kroger loyalty card - it's very fancy and you can charge up your card with a bunch of coupons that you can use just by scanning it at check out like you usually do. Too bad I absolutely HATE shopping at Kroger. They seriously stink here, especially the two closest to us.
Other than that, some of the coupon sites they link to are decent. I think I saved about 10% the other day. Not great, not bad, but it only took me 5 minutes to go through them and print.
I've avoided coupons in the past because I've had this perception, right or wrong, that coupons are mainly for processed junk food that I don't really need and try not to buy. We just don't eat a lot of frozen taquitos or toaster strudel around here. At least, not since I was pregnant. In fact, Charlie at birth was about 50% comprised of Toaster Strudel and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Please don't tell Gisele Bunchen.
Anyways, I stand slightly corrected on this - I have found some coupons for food we actually eat and even some for organic food, which I buy as often as possible. I would say the coupons I've seen are for junk about 75% of the time. Still, I should make the most of that 25%.
I even managed to find a few web sites dedicated exclusively to organic food coupons and deals. And some of the organic food companies have their own coupons on their web sites They don't have as much volume as the other coupon sites, but I'll take what I can get. We go through a lot of organic milk and yogurt in these parts.
Amazon also runs unadvertised sales on certain organic products. I've never ordered food from Amazon and I have no idea how these web sites find this stuff out, but I may have to give it a try. If you subscribe to the newsletters or Like them on Facebook, they'll tell you when the sales are happening.
So I linked to Whole Foods, but I don't normally shop there because it's kind of far from us and seems expensive. But I saw this interesting article about how it's so dang expensive there for the most part, but there are certain things you should buy there that are the same or cheaper than the regular grocery store. The spices and bulk foods especially - really cheap compared to the regular grocery store.
Another semi-related money saving thing I've been wondering about: wholesale clubs. We joined one here, which I affectionately call the Ghetto Costco. I go pretty regularly and use their coupons a lot - but am I saving money? I can't tell. I'm not sure buying 3 of something is really all that cost effective. The jury is still out on this one for me.
So there you go. If you'd like to send me a nice present with all the money you save, then by all means, go with your gut and do it.