I love this post from Financial Bliss, it’s a quick overview of the secret of coupon shopping…

“Coupon Queens don’t shop like normal people. Normal shoppers go to the store with a list of things they need, and then try to match coupons to those items. You wander up and down the aisles and spend hours trying to find the right coupon to go with the right item. In the end, you discover that generic is often cheaper, and the hours you spent using coupons saved you under $15. Doesn’t exactly seem like its worth the effort.

But that’s not how a Coupon Queen shops. We go into the store armed with a list of things we know are on sale, and coupons for those items. 75% of the time those items are free. I don’t shop for items I need. Wait, did I say that? I can see the confused looks on your faces….because I was confused at first too. I don’t shop for what I need. I shop for what’s free.

Now, how do I make that work? When exactly do I shop for what my family needs?

I do it every week. I just shop in advance. Meaning, I don’t shop for cereal when my family needs it. I shop for cereal when its on sale. If I find my family’s favorite cereal on sale for .50 a box, I’m going to buy enough to last till the next time its on sale–even if I’m not actually out of it. By doing this on every item we use, I never pay full price. In fact, I tend to save at least 75% on every item we use. This is groceries, health and beauty, cat food, household products and more! This strategy is called stockpiling. Its stocking up when items are on sale, instead of waiting until I need them and running the risk of paying full price. It takes a few months to get a healthy stockpile built–but once its built, my list of items I ‘need’ each week is extremely small. Less than 4-5 things a week. In fact, most weeks my list is at zero. It goes faster than you think….I know many who’ve done it in under 3 months!

Now, how do I know what to stockpile? First, I sit down and I make a monthly menu and master shopping list. From there I started a pricebook, so that I could track the prices of the items I buy every day. Now, when items come on sale, I match them with my pricebook and my master shopping list to see if they’re items I want to stock up on. Is it something I’ll use? If not, I’ll pass on it. Is it at the lowest price according to my pricebook? If not, I’ll pass it by and wait for a better sale.

Coupons are like poker cards to me. You don’t play them all right away. I hold onto them, and use them at exactly the right moment.

Shopping is the same. I don’t run out the door and buy everything I need in one setting. I wait and get it when they are at the lowest price possible. Patience, strategy, and a little bit of cleverness together lead to me feeding my family for as little as I do.

Join us….it doesn’t take long to learn. Anyone can do it”

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