Top 5 Shopping Tips

by Jodi Furman | May 18th, 2011 | Shopping Secrets

Tips by FabuLESS Shopping Specialist Jodi Furman

So, you want to get started with coupons, and you think that you need to invest hours into clipping and sorting, and you wonder how you’re going to balance your new 84 pound organizing system at the store while you push your shopping cart around, right? Well, STOP. Here’s an innovative, highly efficient, and thoroughly modern way to UNclip yourself from the “burden” of couponing – yet you’re still going to get the savings that coupons provide.

With just a simple tweak to the way that you shop – by letting the sales cycle dictate the pattern of which you buy your regular, non-perishable staples – you will save money. This means that rather than buying 2 boxes of pasta a week, because it’s not on sale EVERY week, you’re going to buy 8 or 10 boxes every 4 weeks when it’s on sale. You’re still buying the same amount of pasta over the course of a year, but you’re ONLY buying it when it’s on sale (and, preferably when it’s BOTH on sale AND you have a coupon!)

There are also TONS of savings that you can realize without using a single coupon, just by planning your menus around whatever is on sale and stocking up on your pantry basics when they’re on sale. But adding coupons to the mix and, whenever possible, “stacking” (combining) coupons on TOP of an already great sale price, you rack up BIG savings.

Read on to find out how to quickly find out what’s on sale and whether or not there’s a coupon that you can stack on top to see your savings surge!

TIP ONE: Each Sunday, grab the coupon inserts from the paper, and though it might be tempting to do so, DO NOT CLIP AND SORT THE COUPONS, just write the date (that you received the coupons, NOT the expiration date) on the front page of the insert with a Sharpie marker. Then put the UNclipped inserts into a folder; it will take about 30 seconds in total. Why shouldn’t you clip the coupons? Simple. Coupons are ALREADY organized by issue date! Clipping and sorting is time consuming, and you’re just REorganizing something that is already organized. It’s just not a good investment of your time or energy. That time can be better spent doing other things to save your family even more money or, better yet, spent with your family and friends. (PS – If you forget to write the date on the front of the insert, and don’t know when you received it, just look on the spine of the insert. In teeny, tiny type it will say the date the coupons were issued. You STILL want to write the date on the front to make it faster/easier to find the specific insert that you’re searching for).

TIP TWO: You’re not going to coupon in store, you’re going write out your list and gather up the few coupons that you’re going to use BEFORE you leave, and you can do it hours or even days before. When you’re ready to write out your shopping list, go to your computer and use what’s called at coupon matchup. A coupon matchup is simply a list of all of the items on sale and the coupons that “match up” to each item– you can find the matchups for over eighty stores on www.livefabuLESS.com. If your local store isn’t on the list, search online for your store’s name, and the word deals or matchups. Chances are excellent there’s a blogger or site that covers your local store!  Check the matchups for ALL of your local stores; you might be surprised to learn that the store you perceived was the most “expensive” is actually the one that’s the most fabuLESS! Write your shopping list FROM the matchup (write the list on the outside of an envelope). While writing out the list,print the coupons that you’ll be using and mark down the date/inserts that have coupons (do NOT clip WHILE writing the list– just write down the date and insert type, i.e. 1/2/11 SS would mean the insert from January 2, and SS means Smart Source).

Once your list is complete, grab ONLY the inserts you need and clip ONLY the coupons you need. Then take ALL of the coupons (clipped and printed) and tuck them inside the envelope. If need be, you can hand your list and coupons to someone else to do the shopping for you. It’s also perfectly OK to buy items that are on sale that do NOT have a coupon or even items that you need that aren’t (gasp!) even on sale. Don’t forget to add those to your list. Also, remember to add whichever proteins (meat/poultry/seafood) and produce that are on sale to your list, too!

Check back May 19 for tips 3 – 5!

To learn more, please visit Jodi’s website, Live FabuLESS.

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