I find that I do much better with saving money when I take the time to plan out my shopping trips. In the area where I live, the grocery ads are delivered on Thursday evening and all the other ads and coupon inserts are in the Sunday paper.
For all of my general, non grocery shopping trips, I like to plan them on Saturday night. On Saturday I go out and get the early edition of the Sunday paper. After I get my daughter to bed Saturday night I go through the paper and pull out all the coupon inserts and ads that I’m interested in. I like to go through the coupon inserts first and cut out all the coupons I’m interested in. While I’m cutting the coupons I sort them into one pile for me and one pile for the ones I’m giving away. My reasoning for looking at the coupons first is so that I know what coupons I have when I’m looking at the ads and will know if it’s a good deal or not. When I look at the ads first I find myself having to flip back and try to find which ad had that good price when I find a good coupon to go with it.
Once all of my coupons are clipped, I start going through the sales papers. I like to look at the drug store ads first since they seem to give the better deals. Only then to I look at the Target ad. While I’m looking at the ad I write up a list of everything that I might want from that store and note if I also have a coupon. Once I have my lists for all the stores I go back and edit them figuring out which one has the best deal for which product.
When my final list is ready I pull the coupons that correspond with that sale and create one envelope for each store. Then I write my list on the envelope. I find that it’s so much easier to have my list and coupons together like that to reference while I’m walking around the store.The envelopes are also convenient to keep in your purse.
Of course I also carry my whole coupon file with me. Sometimes it stays in the car and sometimes I take it in with me. It all depends on if I have the time to look around for clearance or other non-advertised bargains on that trip. I plan to go into more detail on my coupon files and how I use them in a future post.
For the grocery ads, I like to look through them either Thursday night or Friday night, depending on how late they are delivered on Thursday. I always start with the ad for the store where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. While I’m going through the ad I try to write my list and plan my menus for the week. Once that’s done, I flip through the other grocery ads to see if they have any specials worth stopping there for. These lists may get revised once I get my coupons Saturday night, but not always.
My explanation probably makes my system seem more complicated then it really is. Do you have a system that works for you? I’m curious how many people have a system and how many people just wing it.