I started couponing after watching a transaction of a smart shopper in front of me at Target. She got a big box of diapers and a big package of wipes. I was listening closely because I was expecting my second son and I wondered what diapers were costing.

The cashier rang her up gave her her total, and then she handed her two coupons. Her total dropped by almost half and she got a $5 gift card. I actually butted in and asked her how she found out about the deal and she directed me to a website.

I started out just looking for good deals on diapers. We average spending maybe $10 a month on diapers which is a far cry from the $40+ we spent 6 years ago when my first son was in diapers.

There has been some trial and error, but now about a year and a half later I’ve cut our monthly grocery bill from $300/month to $150/month and I include what I term household maintenance items in our grocery budget such as light bulbs, batteries, toiletries, toilet paper and makeup.

How I do it:
I get two Sunday newspapers. I got both through sales on Groupon and LivingSocial. So I paid $30 for both newspapers, instead of $60. I also print a lot of coupons.

When I get the coupons out of the newspaper, I write the date on them and then put them in file folders by type (smart Source, Red Plum, P&G) The sites I use to find out about deals always let you know where the coupon can be found by giving the name of the mailer and the date it was delivered. I found this to be much more efficient than cutting them all out and then organizing them by type in a coupon book.

I visit these Websites:
http://thekrazycouponlady.com/
I use this website for deals for CVS, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. Sometimes not all the deals are available in our area, but the majority are.

http://www.kansascitymamas.com/
This is a site with information about local store deals like Price Chopper, Hen House and HyVee.

http://www.pennypinchinmom.com/
Another site with local store deals for Price Chopper, Hen House and HyVee. I like her lists because she highlights the best deals in green. She doesn’t always include all the deals that are available, but if you are in a hurry to set up a list this is the best way to go.

On Sundays I look up info for Walgreens, CVS and Target since their ads run from Sunday to Sunday.
On Tuesdays I look up deal information for Price Chopper, HyVee and Hen House. I hardly ever go to all the stores in a week. Usually just one Monday morning and then 2 Wednesday morning.

I cut out or print the coupons I need and go shopping. I figure I spend about an hour a week making up my shopping lists and cutting coupons.

My favorite places to coupon are CVS, Target and Hen House.

Aside from saving money some other bonuses of couponing are:
*I am building my food storage finally!
*You get to try out new things like the salad additions.
*You often get better quality items for a lower price.
*I have a Gift Box where I keep items I’ve found that would make great gifts but that I don’t necessarily need. It has been so nice to “go shopping” without leaving my house when Aiden has a birthday party to go to. I spend less money this way, and I am not rushed so I get to spend time making the gift cute. I also watch for Christmas gift items all year long and usually have a much more relaxed holiday season.
*I still budget out $200 for groceries just in case the extra is needed. Anything that I don’t use I put into our vacation, entertainment or Christmas budgets. I already have Christmas covered for this year, and we are halfway to having enough to go on a Disney Cruise.

Some Other Tips
Walmart price matches often you don’t even need the ad. So even if you aren’t ready to coupon you can always check the ads and save money just by letting the cashier know you want to price match.

Always check end caps for clearance items.

Think outside the box. I’ve been needing a decent diaper bag for a long time, but I was too cheap to pay for one. I didn’t have to! I found a website called Swapmammas.com where you can post pictures of things you have to swap and you can start conversations with someone when you see something of theirs you want. I found this diaper bag and luckily the mom who had it wanted a couple of my items. For the $8 it cost me to ship her items I got a new fancy diaper bag.

Thrift stores even offer coupons. I got Aiden’s Easter outfit for free with a coupon at Saver’s (it even still had the original tags on it!)

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