Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom

So, you want to save money?  Who doesn’t, am I right?!

The number one tip I’ve got for you?  Start couponing and start it NOW!

Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

You’d be amazed at how quickly your monthly food budget adds up without using coupons.  My husband and I recently took a look at our monthly spending and realized quickly that I needed to jump back on the serious couponing bandwagon.  After my second little guy was born, I got a bit lazy about it.  Let me just say that our monthly food bill {including eating out, which we have now limited to one or two meals a month} had nearly doubled!  DOUBLED!  I knew that coupons and cooking at home were the answer to bring that total down.

There are seriously so many coupon resources out there.  My all-time favorites are…

Sunday Paper Coupon Inserts

 Southern Savers

The Coupon Clippers

 The Krazy Coupon Lady

Coupon Mom

Money Saving Mom

My Grocery Deals

There are a few tricks to effectively couponing for your family though, and it will take some time to master.  Once you’ve got your own system down, the whole process {meal planning, shopping list writing, coupon gathering/clipping} shouldn’t take more than an hour of your time each week.  It may take you a few weeks to get to that point though, so be patient!

Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

Meal Planning

Yes, it’s time consuming and it can be kinda difficult to think about what you will eat for a week or two at a time for every single meal of the day, BUT you’ll soon realize that you tend to make a lot of the same things over and over again.  There is nothing wrong with that!  Of course it’s fun to try a new recipe every once in a while, in fact I think I try something new for dinner at least once a week courtesy of favorite ideas I’ve pinned to Pinterest, but we are all creatures of habit and we like our food the way we like it, ya know?

To make meal planning easier on myself, I first figure out if there are any nights that we have previous commitments that may hinder a sit down dinner {think about things such as a husband traveling on business, kids sports events or practices, church or school events, etc}.  If I know I’ll need a quick dinner that night or that we’ll be missing a family member or two from the mix, I plan something fast and easy {more like a lunch time meal}.  I also figure in nights that we may have a lot of food leftover from the night before and allot “leftovers” nights as well.

I almost always use a meal planning sheet of some kind to write out what we’re eating and the ingredients I’ll need to shop for in order to make that specific meal.

Some of my favorites are shown and then linked below…

Meal Planning Printables & Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

Simply Bloom, Finding Home, Sew Much Crafting, I Heart Naptime, Dabbles and Babbles, My Love for Words, Life in Yellow, & Reasons to Skip the Housework {not pictured in order, please pin from original source}

My advice?  Find one you like and USE IT!  Or if you can come up with your own meal planning system, go for it!

Once I have written out my meals, I also add them to my Menu Board located in our kitchen, so that everyone else in the family is aware of what the plan is for the week.  I anticipate that this will eliminate the “what’s for dinner?” question once my little guys can read.

Shopping Lists

Writing out your shopping list can become a simultaneous project along with meal planning.  The important thing to remember with writing out your shopping list is to write it so that it makes sense to you and the layout of the store you’ll be shopping at.  For instance, the way I write out a shopping list when I know I’m going to Target is quite different as opposed to a Publix shopping trip.  I’ve been to these stores hundreds of times and know how my specific stores are laid out.  I know that in Publix I usually go to the Deli and Produce departments first, so I always begin my list with those items.  If you’re not sure of the layout of your store, I’d suggest to group your items into like categories.

Luckily there are hundreds of free Shopping List Printables from awesome blogs.  Here are some of my favorites…

Grocery Shopping Printables & Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

Becoming Martha, Hello Cuteness, Frugality Gal, Criss Cross Applesauce, Two Plus Four, Raining Hot Coupons, Create then Captivate, Katelyn’s Corner {not pictured in order, please pin from original source}

Find more of my favorite Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Printables on Pinterest!

Coupon Clipping & Gathering

 After my shopping list is complete, I go back through the items I know I need to purchase and pull out coupons from my Coupon Binder.  I used the Krazy Coupon Lady’s method for storing clipped coupons in a binder with page protectors.  It’s what has worked best for me, and I’ve used it for over two years now.

Even though I take my entire coupon binder with me to the store on a shopping trip, I always pull the coupons out that I know I will definitely be using.  It’s just easier that way for me, especially if I’ve got my little ones in tow.  I also tend to put a little star next to items on my shopping list if I know I have a coupon already pulled for it.

Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

How to Use Coupons Effectively

Stack Your Coupons: Keep in mind, you can typically use one store and one manufacturer coupon per item you purchase {unless you are purchasing some crazy big amount of something and your store has a limit on the amount of coupons you can use}.  So say for example that I need to buy some cereal, and Cheerios are currently BOGO at Publix for $3.00.  I can use my manufacturer coupon for $.50/per box {which will double to $1.00 off/box because Publix doubles any manufacturer coupon $.50 and under}, and a store coupon that I found in their store ad for another $.50 off per box.

So I’m already getting each box for $1.50 a piece.  When I apply my manufacturer coupon it will take off $1.00 and then my store coupon will take off another $.50.  That means FREE Cheerios people.  And, if you have say 4 of each coupon, that would be 4 FREE boxes of Cheerios.

Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

Wait for the sale: Don’t just use your coupons because you have them.  If you are paying attention to the sales ads each week, and know that an item you typically purchase goes on sale at some point each month, try to wait it out and keep those coupons ready and waiting.  Now, if it’s an item you use, and you’ve got a good coupon, and it’s about to expire, I’d go ahead and use it.  However, after couponing for a few weeks, you should be able to pick up on the sales cycles of your most used products.  Try to stock up on those coupons and purchase the amount you’d need in between sales next time it’s on sale at your store.

Compare Store Ads: Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible at the store you’re shopping at because many stores will price match products promoted in competitors ads.  This is also when you need to be very aware of the coupon policies of your particular stores.  Southern Savers has a pretty detailed list of most national store’s coupon policies that I’ve used as a reference many times in the past.  You can also ask your specific store for their policy, they’d be happy to assist you and answer any questions.  If I know I’ll be asking for a price match at check out, I bring the ad with me and I usually put those items on the check out belt first, so I can tell the grocery clerk that I’m requesting a price match.

Couponing Tips for the Busy Mom from Wait Til Your Father Gets Home #couponing #coupon #frugalliving #grocery

So, your meals are planned, your list is written, your coupons are pulled and organized.

Now what?!

When to Shop: Choose wisely what time of day you go grocery shopping.  Since I’m a stay at home mom, I can take advantage of grocery shopping in the morning {after my kids have been well-fed and are happy} while a lot of other customers are either at school or work.  The less crowded the store is, the less stressed you’ll be.

How to Shop: Now, if you do have little ones and you can manage to get to the store without them {while they are at preschool or maybe on a weekend morning while daddy can hang out with them for an hour or two}, definitely take advantage of that!  I don’t know about you, but I feel like I not only get the shopping done quicker, but I also have the time to really make sure I’m using all of my coupons as effectively as possible without those sweet little boys in attendance.  Plus, my oldest is getting to the age that he is now requesting random products as we walk the aisles.  Avoiding that meltdown because I won’t get him some cookies, is always a plus in my book.

Communicate: Once you’ve found all of the items on your list and you’re headed to check out, I’d make sure to let the cashier know you’ll be using coupons during your transaction.  They generally like to be warned, especially if you’ve got a big stack of them, so they can pay attention to the items a little bit better as they ring them up.  After all, they need to be aware that you are actually purchasing all the items that you have coupons for that day.

I hope my tips have helped you in some little {or big} way, and you’ll soon see the benefits and savings you can experience if you educate yourself and actually use coupons on a regular basis.  I should also note that my husband and I have recently been making more of an effort to buy organic, non GMO, and gluten-free foods.  The huge bulk of where I save at the grocery store is on items for the baby, dairy, and household items.  The meats and produce that I purchase are grass-fed and organic which can be pricier.  If I’m saving in other areas, I don’t feel the penny pinch quite as badly when I purchase those more expensive, wholesome foods for my family.

If you’ve got any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear your advice!

Happy saving!

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Comments

  1. says

    What a great resource, Meredith!! So many helpful links and ideas. I used to clip coupons here in there but always got so overwhelmed with keeping track. You have inspired me to try again :)

  2. says

    Great post Meredith! I also tried the coupon thing once but realized we don’t ever buy the stuff that I find coupons for, and keeping track of everything just to save $2 on that pack of toothpaste was too much for me. Not to say I haven’t walked out of CVS with bags of free stuff because of couponing, but it’s rare. Now that my son is older and likes boxed snacks, I might have to give it a try again.

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