I have been asked how I know when there will be coupons in the newspaper. Generally, I don't. However, I do know that Proctor & Gamble almost always has an insert in the first Sunday paper of the month and generally speaking, there isn't much to get excited about in the inserts on holiday Sundays. I have found a couple of sites that are pretty accurate on what will be in the Sunday papers tho. The overall coupon schedule can be found here. (July 4 was a surprise, P&G had an insert that wasn't even on the guru's schedule.)
A couple of my favorite sites are The Frugal Girls and Money Saving Mom. Both sites usually have info on what to expect in the Sunday ads on Fridays or Saturdays. These sites also have Couponing 101 if your interested in their tips and abbreviations. I usually give it a peek to see if there are any exciting (to me) coupons coming on Sunday.
Our local newspaper doesn't have a Sunday edition, but they put the coupon inserts in the Saturday edition. I subscribed to a regional newspaper through their website and got a bargain subscription for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday paper (Sunday being the most important to a couponer) for well less ($20) than the amount I save every quarter in the coupons. Works for me. Frugal Girl and Money Saving Mom also have info on when to use coupons to get items for free when on sale and a coupon is available. I am a fan of both on Facebook or you can subscribe to their daily email on their home page or even narrow it down by stores in your area only (Free of course) to get the info.
Don't think just food and cleaning supplies either for money saving, recently as part of their 50th anniversary, Menard's was (and might still be) running a ceiling paint (free after rebate) as well as rebates on other paints and supplies. Frugal Girls and Money Saving Mom also has a lot of free scenarios for personal care and baby products. So keep your eyes open.
Any extra coupons I give to family and friends to pick through. My mom lets me pick through her inserts (she subscribes to 2 regional newspapers--East and West--and the local) and shares with family and friends too. So that is 5 newspapers worth of coupons right off the bat.
I also utilize internet coupons. I subscribe to Coupons.com and Penny Pincher's Gazette (both free) to be able to print coupons off of the web. Kroger (and affiliates like Owen's and Scott's) allow you to download coupons to your "Plus" card and they will automatically be on your orders when you check out and are buying the merchandise. Don't remember what all is loaded on your card? They keep track of it and you can see the list of coupons on your card through their website when you register it. Easy peasy. Don't get me wrong, I still print coupons too...sometimes a bargain can be had at Meijer or Martin's and you can't use a Kroger customer card for that!
Another regional favorite store of mine is Meijer. Meijer have their own additional store coupons on their website (look in the MealBox section, shopping list) that you can print, use in conjunction with their sales AND manufacturer's coupons. If all of your coupons add up to more than the sale price, they will not make them into Money Makers, but you can get the products for Free! I am good with that. For those naysayers among you that say it costs to much to print coupons, I usually watch the Staples ads for free after rebate, $1 after rebate, or starting Sunday as part of their back-to-school specials 1 cent after rebate reams of paper for my coupons. I do wish that they would have the same sales for ink cartridges tho...oh, well, I guess I can't complain since the savings of matching coupons with sales usually saves me at least $200 a month.
Meijer is the best in my area in that they accept all internet coupons, and I've never had a problem and they have a lot of catalinas. (If under 50 cents they usually even double.) Marsh and Kroger/Owen's are usually fine. Our local Kroger (shopping card plus purchases will save you 10 cents a gallon on gas occasionally) and Meijer doubles coupons up to 50 cents so generally that is where I do most of my shopping. Last week Daisy Cottage Cheese was on sale at Meijer for 99 cents, I had a 45 cent coupon (well 4 of them) so I got 4 containers for 9 cents each. I like cottage cheese! The Kid believes Ranch Salad Dressing is a substitute for ketchup, so when Kraft had their $1 off coupon recently, getting bottles of Ranch salad dressing for 59 cents or less was an amazing deal, and stocking up for his return to school this fall was a must do!
Recently, Marsh got a new clerk/assistant manager combo that questioned every coupon I had...my solution? I generally no longer shop at Marsh because Kroger, Meijer and WalMart will price match and I have never had a coupon issue at any one of them. My theory is to choose your battles. We will soon be getting a Martin's in our area. I have shopped in out-of-town Martin's for loss leaders in the past (10 pounds of apples for 99 cents last fall is tough to beat!), so I am looking forward to seeing what my savings might be on a regular basis. In the meantime, I am monitoring their website sale fliers for a rough idea of their sales cycle.
That in a nutshell is Couponing 101 Stoney Style.
Donating over $1200 to local charities on a budget of $1 a day
As a interesting read, I have been following a guy that is blogging about his adventures of eating on a dollar a day budget (currently on day 60 something) but his goal is 100. So far he has been able to donate over $1200 in food and supplies to his local food pantry without going over his $1/day goal. It is really an amazing read; at first he was a little hesitant, so he was eating oatmeal and rice, a lot, but he has really branched out to include fruit smoothies every morning, a beer for a backyard holiday cookout, and his new favorite sandwich. (Granted his local stores allow money makers, but still, I find it totally interesting and amazing.) You can begin reading his blog by clicking here. His description of manning up to purchase feminine products because the products were a money maker is pretty funny.