I’ve decided this month is food spreadsheet month (since I’ve already shared my Summer Menu and Pantry List), and although this one doesn’t have to do with cooking, it certainly has everything to do with my grocery shopping. So this is my coupon planning spreadsheet. I know, it doesn’t look like much, but it saves me a lot of money and keeps my head on straight when shopping. And once printed out, it’s much more portable than my massive coupon binder. :)
I’m about a year into learning about couponing, and I’ve gone from ordering 3 copies of the local paper and clipping everything to cancelling the newspaper and relying on printables and the few coupons I get in the mail. (Life with a one-year-old and all.) For me, the main advantage of couponing has not been the actual coupons themselves, but the fact that I’m paying attention to what produce, meat, and staples are on sale and how much I should pay for them.
Each week I check a few local couponing blogs (The Krazy Coupon Lady, Coupon Connections, This Beautiful Frugal Life, Happy Money Saver) compiled on Google Reader (a feed reader is a necessity if you want to follow a firehose topic like couponing) to gather the best deals from the stores I frequent. I just search for a store name and view the relevant posts for the week and copy the deals I like to this spreadsheet noting the location of coupons I have access to. Based on the how the deals match up with what I need to shop for that week, I pick what stores to visit (can’t get to everything when you have two kids in tow–I usually hit two stores on Friday and one on Monday), print out the relevant coupons as well as the spreadsheet and fold them up in an envelope to take to the store.
A couple of other useful documents by other people on the topic of couponing:
- Stock-up Price List (for the western Washington area): All you Costco shoppers, take a gander at this spreadsheet comparing Costco to average couponer prices, and you’ll see why I don’t have a membership.
- Store Coupon Policies: Links to almost every store you can think of on the west coast. Useful when cashiers question your savings and to double check online deals. (“Can you really do that?!”)
Do you coupon or watch for store deals? What are your tips/methods for organizing your weekly trips?