Coupons = $$$  Photo c/o insidesocal.com

Coupons = $$$ Photo c/o insidesocal.com

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By Kellene Bishop

As you may already know, the use of coupons is mandatory for my personal preparedness of food and medical supplies. I have truly obtained a bounty of free or dirt cheap goods over the last 6 months that has nearly doubled my original supplies. As a result, it’s really freed up money for items such as solar ovens, fuel, pressure cookers, butane stoves, foam, etc. When I share this information in passing (read: Outside of the confines of my 3 hour Coupon Training Boot Camp) I frequently get a lot of negative comments with a touch of whining such as “coupons are only for junk”; “I can’t find coupons on items I use”;  “It’s not worth the time and effort it takes” or “I shop at Costco instead.”

I’ve got great news for you. These comments are misinformed perceptions, pure and simple. Let me share a little bit with you. 

 1)      I only spend 2 hours a week couponing. However, these last three weeks I’ve been doing so many classes that I literally have not even been able to invest that much time and so I haven’t even bought any groceries. And guess what? We didn’t even miss it! We still had all we needed because of all that we had previously from couponing.

 2)      I don’t just use coupons on “items I use.” I try new things many times—especially when they are free or cheap. I have three key rules on couponing. 1-You can’t afford to be brand loyal. When things go south, you’ll be happy that you have toilet paper. It doesn’t matter that it’s not Cottonelle, when Charmin was on sale for dirt cheap. 2-If I would be willing to use the product if it was FREE or CHEAP, then I cut the coupon. 3- I only use the coupon on items that are already on sale, thus making the majority of what I buy 70-100% almost ALL the time. This strategy has also allowed me to discover new things that my family likes. For example, I fell in love with the California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzes. (I know. Not exactly “food storage” but it sure did come in handy when I had no time for lunch other than a microwave meal. I also discovered that I preferred a completely different brand of mayonnaise than I had been buying all my life. Who knew? I only got the other brand because it was only 75 cents for a large jar with coupons.

 3)      Because of coupons, I literally cannot afford to shop at Costco or Sam’s Club anymore. Seriously. For example, Costco used to have the best deal around on zip-lock bags. When they would circulate one of their coupons, it would cost only 5 cents a bag. BUT… a local grocery store chain last week had boxes of Hefty Easy Zip bags on sale for 10 for $10. And guess what? I had $1 off coupons for Hefty Easy Zip bags! Um, sorry. No matter how much volume Costco buys, I doubt they could match that price.

 4)      You shouldn’t waste time trying to match coupons with sales. You need to align yourself with a coupon shopping service. I have my favorite services that I like to use for my area. It’s not a normal day without me checking out www.couponcarousel.blogspot.com or www.krazycouponlady.blogspot.com as well as www.savvyshopperdeals.com. The first two sites give me hot spot highlights for deals. But the latter site actually allows me to use a software service that tells me all of the best deals in my area…and I can pre-sort my search by store, product type, or even percentage of savings. As I browse I can make my grocery list and be in and out in a jiffy. Heck, the site even tells you what section of the store you can find something in! Not only that, but there’s also a video tutorial on the site that you can watch to get your feet wet with couponing—at least until I give you a more thorough webinar. 😉

Coupons = $$$ in Your Pocket!

Coupons = $$$ in Your Pocket!

5)      Next, I think that ANY of you would be hard-pressed right now to tell your boss that you want to earn $100 an hour, and you want to be able to work two hours a week for that money, and in you slippers, while you watch TV and talk on the phone. Right? Well, that’s what I save EVERY week that I do coupons! And that’s just for 2 of us in the home. I buy items that we eat regularly and items that we can store away. That way I’m storing what I eat, and eating what I store. If your family is bigger then you can save even more. I have a friend who recently got off of food stamps thanks to what she learned with couponing. I have another friend that has 7 in her family. Her monthly grocery budget is only $100. And guess what? She spends half of that on food storage!! My sister just went to a store last week that I loathe because of how un-coupon friendly they are. And she was STILL able to walk out of there with over $160 in groceries and medical supplies for which she only paid $20.55. Oh and by the way, she also received a $5 Target Gift Card. (Way to go, Sis!)

6)      Last, but not least, coupons are not only for junk—although I’ve managed to find my share of chocolate coupons. Hee hee. I simply don’t have the time, energy, or resources to share with you all that I’ve been able to purchase, at what  price, and where. But what I will do is give you SMALL list of items that I’ve purchased for FREE over the last few months. This is not even an all inclusive list. So when your jaw drops to the floor after reading this, pick it back up and give couponing a try. Surely you’re not going to be conquered by a few harmless coupons, are you?  🙂  

A-1 Steak Sauce
Almond M&Ms
Apple Jacks
Apples
AquaFresh toothpaste
Arm & Hammer toothpaste
Aspirin
Aveeno Face Cream
Ball Park Beef Franks
Bananas
Band-aids
Bar S Hot Dogs
Bayer Quick Release
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
Butter (unsalted)
Capri Sun Drinks
Carefree Maxi pads
Celery
Cesar Dog food
Cheerios
Cheese
Cheetos Astro 100 calorie paks
Chef Boyardee
Chef Michael’s Dog Food (dry)
Chef Michael’s Dog Food (wet)
Chicken Breasts
Children’s Bayer Chewable Tablets
Clean & Clear (facial cleanser)
Colgate toothpaste
Crest Whitestrips
Crystal Light
Degree Deodorant
DelMonte Fruit Cups
Digorno Flatbread Pizzas
Dole Salad mix
Dove soap
Dry Idea deodorant
Earth Grains Wheat Berry Bread
Ecotrin
Eggs
Energizer batteries -6 pak, AA
French’s mustard
Fusion Razor
Gatorade (32 oz. and 1 liter)
Grey Poupon
Hefty Fresh Extend zip bags
Hunts Ketchup
Isopropyl alcohol
Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce
Jell-O Pudding Snacks
Johnson and Johnson First Aid Kit
Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats cereal
Kellogg’s Rice Krispie cereal
Kellogs Raisn Bran
Kens Salad Dressing
Kraft BBQ Sauce
Kraft Easy Mac & Cheese Microwaveables
Kraft Ranch Dressing
Krafy BBQ sauce
Lint Brushes
Listerine Advantage
Manwich Sauce
Milk
Nature Valley Nut Clusters
Nexcare bandages
Nexcare bandages
Nexcare Disney Tatoo bandages
Office Depot Copy Paper
Oscar Meyer Balogna
Oscar Meyer Beef Franks
Oscar Meyer Bologna
Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner
Peanut M&Ms
Post Raisin Bran
Puperoni dog treats
Quaker Life cereal
Reach Dental Floss (55 yards)
Reach toothbrush
Renu Contact Cleaner
Right Guard Deodorant
Ritz Crackers
Sara Lee Hot Dog Buns
Schick Quattro Razors (non-disposable)
Schick Razors
Scotch 3 pack Tape
Scotch Double Stick Tape
Scotch Mailing Envelopes
Secret Deodorant
Sirloin Steak
Snickers Candy Bar
SoftSoap Essentials
Steamables (vegetables)
Sure deodorant
Tennesse Pride Sausage Gravy
Tide liquid detergent
Tylenol Aspirin
Vaseline Hand Lotion
Velveeta Microwave Cups
Western Family Tuna
Wet Ones
Wheat Thins (Multi-grain and regular)
 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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