Organize your way to SAVINGS!

Hey everyone!

I am super excited to share some fun insights with you this month about

spring cleaning your way to savings!!

 

To me, the most important part about starting your couponing experience has got to be the way you are organized.  Have any of you watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing?   You must know that the show is meant to show the ‘Extreme’ and not the reality of how to save everyday.  Typically in the interview portion, you will hear any number of couponers tout how they spend upwards of 40 hours a week couponing!  That’s insanity!!  When I hear that my heart just breaks for them because while it is great to save money, it should not consume your life.  The system I am about to show you will help you cut your grocery bill in half!  Now, that may not sound extreme, but when I started this 3 years ago, saving half my grocery bill meant an extra $500 a month for my family.  Well, heck!  Wouldn’t you at least give it a whirl to free up that kind of dough each month?!  And p.s. you will only spend about 3-4 hours a week doing this and that includes your shopping!

So here are some very simplified rules to help you get started.

Rule #1 – don’t ever use coupons on full price items. 

Simple enough right?  Use a coupon when and item is on sale and you will get your maximum savings.  There are so many tools on the web right now to help you know when things are on sale and when the right time is to use coupons.  I’m sure many of you have local bloggers who specialize on stores in your areas.  Check them out for sure because they will have already done most of the work for you!  I use a free website called GrocerySmarts.com.  It’s a free coupon matching website that helps you create a grocery list for your family, rates the deals for you, and tells you where to find the coupons to got with those deals!  Check out the top left corner to see if they have information for your area.

Rule #2 – you have to have coupons in order to coupon. duh!

Most items go on sale at the grocery store once every 12 weeks or so.  If we see an item for a great low price, we use our coupon to pay for said item, then wouldn’t it only make sense to buy enough of that item for our family to last until that product went on sale again in about 3 months??  How do you do that?  Simple…you need to have at least one Sunday paper for each consumer in your home.  When you subscribe to your local paper, you are given priority for those inserts meaning you get first dibs instead of newsstands.  Plus, lots of papers now have great deals when you sign up for multiple Sunday deliveries.  You can check out some of those deals on my blog {The Grocery Geeks}.

Rule #3 – NO SCISSORS ON SUNDAY!! 

Yep. You heard me.  Do not cut one single coupon out of your newspapers on Sunday.  Here is a WAY easier system for ya.  Simply take your whole inserts out of all your Sunday papers and write the Sundays date on the front of those inserts.  Then put them away!  Don’t even look at them!  OK, you can peek, but don’t get overly excited about that $4.00 off coupon for the Gilette razor because if you get your scissors out, remove that coupon, and go to the store, there is a VERY good chance that item will not be on sale and you will be missing out on a great bargain by not waiting for that perfect timing.  So just put them away.  I use a hanging file system, but if you just want to make a big stack under your bed I really don’t care, just write the date on the front and keep them together.  Got it?!

Now, when looking a most coupon blog sites or coupons matching websites like GrocerySmarts.com, you will notice there is a reference code with the coupon information.  Let me show you what that means…

Tyson Anytizers any one bag, $1.00/1 (6/8/12) SS-3/4

The first part is the coupon information or the specific coupon detail (Tyson Anytizers).  The coupon value is $1.00 off of 1 bag.  This coupon expires on 6/8/12, and can be found in your SmartSource (SS) that you dated 3/4.  So when you see coupons match up like this you know that you can go to your SS insert and cut out the coupon when you actually intend to go use it at the store!  SEE??  NO cutting, organizing, alphabetizing, crazy nonsense when you get them because chances are you won’t use all the coupons you get each week.  Let’s use our time more wisely and only cut them when we need them!  Cool right?!

For those of you who are already seasoned couponers, I hope this system will help you save a bit more time since that is just as valuable as your money, right?  I do a post on my blog every few months where I will tell you what inserts you should still have in your file boxes that have not yet expired, so watch for those.  I seriously could go on and on about this stuff, but I think that will help you to get started very easily and keep organized while you’re at it.  I do have one more little surprise for you though…

This will only sink in if you actually start seeing your savings add up.  I have put together a savings tracker for you guys.  Only bummer is I lost all my cute fonts by putting it into google docs :-(.  Anyway, there is a tab on the bottom with specific instructions on using this spreadsheet, but it will calculate all your savings for you and tally them up.  Use this as motivation to keep going!  Set goals with your savings, or use your savings to clean out some other areas in your life… the possibilities are endless when you free up that kind of cash!

HAPPY SAVINGS!

CLICK HERE FOR GROCERY SAVINGS TRACKER

Now, that is my “couponing” side, but I’m also a mom of 5 and there are days I feel my brain needs a little “spring cleaning” too.  We put each of the kids in an activity for their Christmas presents which I initially was super excited to be able to do for them.  Little did I know what the added tasks to our schedule would do to my sanity.  Here are a few things I have thrown together that have helped IMMENSELY!!

My Mommy Notebook

I feel like every mom should have one of these.  The idea is to have all the important things each family member needs in one central location.  Could be called a “Hub” {wink wink Natalie}.  How it works is quite simple.  When someone brings home an important paper, it goes in the book.  When there is papers for mom to sign, they go in the book.  Simple.  I found a super cute 3 ring folder (cause I am gonna have to look at this thing a LOT I may as well like it), and I got pocket dividers for everyone.  What’s inside??

  • Family calendar
  • School calendar
  • School lunch menu
  • School newsletter
  • Basketball schedules
  • Scout/Activity Day schedules
  • 5th grade trip information
  • Piano Lesson assignments
  • Passwords for online school programs
  • Preschool calendar
  • Kindergarten helper schedule
  • Coach’s contact information
  • Sight word flashcards
  • Apple Core bookmarks
  • School fundraiser information

I’m sure everyone has these kinds of things just floating around.  When I decided to put them all into one spot, the kids were told that anything that comes home from school that I need to look at goes in the front pocket.  So as I’m helping with homework, I am also going through and doing my homework: signing, reading, updating the calendar, etc.  I can’t tell you how this has helped me stay up to date with so many little ones doing so many good things.  Don’t you love it?  My friend Colette was my inspiration for this.  You can check out her homework folder printable at her super cute blog.

“Did you do your list??”

This is my new favorite saying in my house.  One night I was so upset about having to nag my kids about the same things day after day, night after night that I finally decided to do something about it.  I had found this picture frame collage at Big Lots for $10 and had intended other things for it, but here’s what I did.  I made up a list of the things I wanted each of the kids to do every morning and every afternoon.  Most are pretty much the same: get dressed, make your bed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth {seriously with 5 kids I say these things a LOT in one morning}.  I made a list for the afternoon too:  homework, reading, sight words, practice piano, 2 chores, brush your teeth {again, things I’m sick of nagging about}.  You get the idea.

After I framed the lists I hung this on the wall between the kids’ bedrooms, I attached a dry erase marker and sat down with my children.  They are not to turn on the television, the Kindle, my phone, or any other play thing they can find until the “list” is all marked off.  After school when they ask to play with friends, I simply have to ask, “Did you do your list?”  They know what it means, I don’t have to nag, and I think they get a deep satisfaction when they get to take that marker and cross off everything in their squares.  Who doesn’t like that feeling?  We are still in the trial phase of this system, and I am trying to think of some type of reward system but right now it’s working great and I feel so much less like a harpy and more like a mommy.

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes just the business of being a mom can seem so scattered, so I hope that this will give you some ideas on how you can get a little more organized to save money and also to save your sanity!  Love you all!!

 

Jen Morris is a Professional Coupon Coach

SMITTEN BY BIO | GROCERY GEEKS

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  1. [...] I hope you read my earlier post to get the first set of rules.  If not, take a minute and check it out then pop back here to learn more… Organize Your Way to Savings [...]

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