How to Prepare for Your Shopping Trip in 6 Easy Steps

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how-to-prepare-shopping-tripDoes it take you a long time to prepare for your weekly shopping trips? Do you find the process overwhelming? I originally published this article back in September but wanted to share it with all of you again! If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that they don’t have the time to shop with coupons or that it is too confusing to shop with coupons, I would have at least a couple thousand dollars in the bank. :) However, I was able to put a couple of thousand dollars into savings by the money I saved using coupons. And using coupons is not difficult! It takes me between 30-45 minutes each week to get my shopping list and coupons together. (It does take me longer if my son is awake so I make sure to wait until naptime to get my list together. ;) )

I wanted to give you the steps to show you just how quickly and easily you can get your shopping list together. Before we get to the steps, please don’t overthink couponing! You don’t have to buy items you won’t use. You don’t have to buy huge quantities of groceries (if there are awesome deals, I will buy 4 – 6 of the item). You don’t have to have lots Sunday coupon inserts because many coupons are available to print online. You do have to have the motivation to spend a little time putting together your list and then cutting your coupons. If you think of any questions while reading my steps, please leave a comment with your questions and I will answer them.

Step One: Turn your computer on.

I give the Weekly Ad & Coupon Matchups for 20+ stores and each of these stores have printable grocery list. Go through the list and click on the item(s) you want to purchase so that they are added to the grocery list.
shopping-preparationStep Two: Print your printable coupons.

As you go through the weekly ad & coupon matchups, you will be given the direct links to the printable coupons. As you see deals that you want to take advantage of, print the coupons that you need. Tips – most coupons you can print twice per computer. Also, I always print my coupons in black ink. Don’t waste your color ink on coupons!

Step Three: Print your grocery list.

You can see from the picture above, I will often write notes on my list as I think of additional items I need to purchase.

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Step Four: Gather your coupons.

Gather all of your coupons off your printer, gather your Sunday inserts and store fliers.

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(Coming soon – I will show you how I file my coupon inserts.)

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Step Five: Cut Your Coupons

Since you printed out the printable grocery list, you will know where to find each and every coupon needed to take advantage of the deals. Follow your list. Tip – if you purchase additional items that are not on sale, make sure you check Addicted to Saving’s Coupon Database to see if there is a printable coupon or insert coupon you can use on that item!

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Step Six: Go Shopping!

I carry my cut coupons, shopping list and a pen in a simple white envelope that I saved from junk mail I received. Some people carry coupon binders as they shop. For me, I find it is easiest to carry an envelope of coupons that correspond to my grocery list.  As I shop, I will cross of items on my list that I’ve added to my grocery cart.

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Lastly, admire your savings! The receipt pictured above was not one of my most stellar shopping trips. BUT, I saved $17.00 using store coupons and $8.10 using manufacturer coupons. When I combine my coupon savings with the savings from store sales, I saved $38.41. It took me 45 minutes to get ready for this shopping trip and I saved $38.41. Was it worth the time? You tell me! ;)
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Living Off What I Have with my Overflowing Stockpile

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So I have a huge confession to make. I guess it isn’t really a confession… so much as it is an admission. My stockpile is at capacity. A few days ago I was going through the freezer in my garage and I realized that there was no free space in it. And the freezer is ginormous. Then I was going through one of my pantries and I realized it too did not have much free space. And I started feeling guilty. When I blog on Addicted to Saving and when I give coupon classes, I help all of you learn how to get the best deals while you are shopping and I give you tips on growing your stockpile. But I also tell you that if you let your food expire or if you have more food in your stockpile than you will use, that you are actually being wasteful and not good stewards. So, all that to say, I am going to be going through my cabinets, pantries and freezers and we are going to start really living off of our stockpile. And we are going to give away a ton of food that we will not eat.

Why do I need to tell you this? For a couple of reasons :) First, I want you to see that it IS possible to grow a stockpile even with the tightening coupon policies, higher prices of food and less and less high value coupons to use. (I’m still sad about the fact that we don’t get Red Plum coupon inserts in Tampa Bay.) When I first started couponing, we bought 8 (yes eight) newspapers every Sunday because I wanted 8 of each coupon. Now, we buy 4 papers. And most often, you will find us buying 2 boxes of pasta (even if they are dirt cheap) or two bottles of juice, etc etc. Even with us buying lesser quantities, we still have grown our stockpile. So don’t think that you have to buy 10 boxes of pasta at one shot. If you buy 4 boxes of pasta this week and then another 4 boxes of pasta next month, chances are that you will have a sufficient enough stockpile of pasta to live off of one box a week for quite a while. (Of course every family has different food preferences and your family sizes are different – so if you go through more pasta than once box a week, you will want to stock up on more than my previous example.)

Secondly, I want this to act as a reminder to you that you too should go through your stockpiles and make sure that your food is all fresh and that if you too have 10 boxes of pasta (5 of which you will never eat) you should give some away! There is nothing better than giving food away and blessing others!

And lastly, I am showing this because you are going to notice that my weekly Photo Show & Tell is changing. For the past 6 years, every Friday, we have gone grocery shopping with the intent of taking advantage of all of the best deals and then showing all of you what the best deals are. Every week we have bought food we didn’t need strictly with the intent of taking a photo of it and giving you step by step instructions on what coupons to use to take advantage of the deal. For us, money has become tighter recently. And I can’t bring myself to pay for and buy more food that we don’t need when we have more than enough to eat for months and months to come. In the freezer in our garage, we have at least 25 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and at least 20 lbs of lean ground beef. And I have at least 15 freezer slow cooker meals that I just need to thaw and cook. I just can’t justify spending more money knowing I have all of that food! That said, if there are stellar deals, we will still take advantage of them and instead of adding them to my stockpile, we will just immediately give them away! I can’t resist stellar deals!

SO – starting tomorrow, I will do my weekly shopping trip and I will take advantage of some of the sales. But not all of them. And you may notice that I’m buying a lot less (and fingers crossed – spending a lot less). But in addition to that, I will also put together a shopping list you can follow that gives you all of the best deals, prices, coupons and total out of pocket spending. I know many of you rely on my Photo Show & Tell to help figure out what to buy each week. And I don’t want to stop helping you. So my Photo Show & Tell will show you what  I bought and how I bought everything. But it will also give you a grocery list that will show you what I would buy if I had room in my stockpile. Sound good?

Update – I wanted to add one more thing :) For fresh produce (we love our fresh produce) we will either continue to get it at the coop we belong to OR we will stop the coop and get the produce that is on sale at Publix, Aldi or maybe even Sam’s Club. We haven’t decided yet how to handle produce…

To end this, I would love to hear how your stockpiles are doing? Are you too overflowing at the seams? Or do you need to add to it? Have you had a difficult time growing your stockpile? Share your thoughts! I would love to hear them!

Go HERE to read Introduction to Stockpiling  and learn how to grow your stockpile!

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*Tonight* FREE Addicted to Saving Holiday Savings Class, 7 – 8:30 pm (Tampa Area)

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Tonight is my first class in quite some time, and I’m so excited to talk about two of my favorite things – couponing and saving money on Christmas presents! Have you registered yet? If you live in the Tampa area, I hope you’ll join me this evening for a special class I’ll be giving: Holiday Savings: Meals, Gifts, & More!

The class is FREE and will be held at Calvary Church East Lake Campus in Tarpon Springs. This class will focus on saving money at the holidays. I’ll touch on basic couponing tips, how to save on groceries for the holidays, and of course, how to save on Black Friday and gift-buying all the way up through Christmas.

This event is free, but I would ask that you bring a canned good item so we can pool our resources together and donate to a local food pantry that our church works with. Go HERE to register.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 13th
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Calvary Church East Lake Campus
1190 East Lake Road
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
Cost: FREE (but please bring a canned good if you’re able)

Please pre-register for this class using the EventBrite Registration link below (or in the sidebar). There’s no cost, but we do need to know how many are coming to alert the facilities staff.

Hope to see you all tonight!

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Brother Refurbished Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer, $59.99 SHIPPED

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brotherIf you are looking for a printer deal, make sure you check out today’s Amazon Bonus Deal of the Day! We can purchase this Brother EHL2270 Refurbished Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer for $59.99 SHIPPED. Go HERE to view this printer.

Refurbished Details:

“When you purchase refurbished Brother products, you can save money and still be confident you are getting a quality, genuine Brother product. Each unit is carefully refurbished and undergoes a stringent quality control process to ensure optimal performance prior to being sold as a refurbished model.

In fact, we believe so strongly in the quality of our refurbished products that we cover them under the same limited warranty as new Brother products. “

Print Details:

  • Fast, high-quality printing at up to 27 ppm
  • Built-in wireless and Ethernet network interfaces
  • Automatic duplex printing for two-sided documents
  • Adjustable, 250-sheet capacity paper tray
  • 32MB memory standard

Go HERE to see all Amazon Deals on Addicted to Saving

Go HERE to see all Holiday Gift Deals on Addicted to Saving

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How to Prepare for Black Friday

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Oh it’s coming — that day of crazy bargains and even crazier shopping: Black Friday is just over a month away! After the turkey and trimmings have been put away, it’s time to grab your running shoes and put your shopping strategies in place to grab those deals as you start the holiday shopping season. Check out these tips for preparing for Black Friday.

Make a Plan

Don’t go into your Black Friday shopping frenzy without a plan. Most stores will offer their sale ads online days before Thanksgiving, and we will be posting Black Friday ads as soon as they come available here on Addicted to Saving. We also have a Black Friday Category and a Black Friday Page that we will be updating as the ads/deals come available, so bookmark the page in your browser for easy access.  Of course, you can grab a newspaper and plan your strategy after your Thanksgiving meal if you prefer. Either way, you need a plan.  Saving money doesn’t just magically happen!  Decide which bargains you want to go for then make a plan to make it happen. You will need to decide which stores you want to shop at and make a list of the items you want to buy at each store. Decide in which order you will go to which store.

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Write it Down (or print a list)

Don’t rely upon your memory — Black Friday will be stressful, confusing, and very busy. Write down your list of items at each store, or print the deals you really want from the Black Friday Ads in the a Black Friday Page.

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Set Your Budget

I can’t tell you have important this is. While I will find you plenty of wonderful Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you shouldn’t buy something just because it’s a deal!  Make a budget for how much you want to spend during your Black Friday excursion and stick to it. Will you be paying cash, writing checks, or using debit and credit cards? Decide ahead of time how much money you want to spend and how you want to spend it. I discourage credit card shopping as much as possible, unless you are in a financial position where you are 100% comfortable that you will pay it off in full the next billing cycle.  As you make your shopping list, note how many you need of each item. Keep in mind that some stores may only allow you to purchase one or two of certain items.

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Enlist Help

To make your Black Friday shopping a success, you may need to call in the troops. Enlist fellow savers in your shopping spree master-schedule. Will you be taking the whole family? Will you be shopping with friends? Put your heads together as you plan your strategy. If there are five shoppers in your group and five stores that you all want to shop at, make out your lists then split them up. Instead of each of you having your list of items from five different stores, send one person to one store with everyone’s list for that particular stores.

Use Your Cell Phones

If you are shopping with a group, be sure to make use of your cell phones to communicate while you are shopping. Keep each other posted about your whereabouts and what items you have managed to snag so there are not unnecessary duplicates.

Shop Online

Since I’m online all the time anyhow trying to find deals for you all (and myself!), I’m more of an online kind of Black Friday shopper. Join my Holiday Deals group on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and set up your Twitter account to get a text every time I post a deal. Then turn it off once the Holiday Shopping season is over (or keep it on to get year round deals!)  ;)  See my post HERE about how to turn on Text Alerts on your twitter account.  Both of these ways are excellent ways to stay on top of the latest deals.

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Whatever you do, don’t approach your Black Friday shopping haphazardly or without a plan in place. In order to survive the throng of frenzied shoppers and snag the bargains you are after, you will need to work out a good plan ahead of time. Decide which stores you want to visit, strategize with your buds, and keep in touch during your shopping so your Black Friday bargain hunting will be a success.

  • Make sure you check out the Holiday Gift Ideas for Less on Addicted to Saving as your bargain-hunting this holiday shopping season. 

What is Snap by Groupon & How Does it Work?

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You may have seen on Facebook’s “trending” topics that Groupon has come out with an app called “Snap.”   This Groupon Snap Ap is much like Ibotta in that you can scan your receipt after your grocery purchase to redeem offers and get paid cash for your purchase.

How it Works

1) Download the Snap app for iPhone or Android, or use the Snap website

2) Browse the offers before you shop

3) Purchase promoted products in your account at any store

4) Snap a photo of your receipt and voila!, money in your account

Just like Ibotta, you can get $1.00 for each friend you referral with a special referral link (go to My Account and scroll to the bottom to see it), once they redeem their first offer.

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Currently I have 31 offers in my account, including high value Huggies Diapers and Wipes offers, Milk, and more!

Go HERE to sign up with an email address or your Facebook account.

FAQ

Where can I redeem Snap offers?
At any store! To get your cash back, simply use the ‘Snap Receipt’ feature to upload your receipt. We don’t care where you shop – we just need proof that you purchased one or more promoted products so that we can add cash to your account.

[Read more…]

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Tips on Saving: Save Time Using the “Item Search” Feature

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Did you know you can literally search for any item or brand on Addicted to Saving? Whether you’re looking for generic terms like “milk” or “carpet cleaner,” or specific brands like Huggies or DiGiornos, you can see where your search term is on sale this week, see if there are any coupons to match, and you never have to leave Addicted to Saving to do it. As long as it’s a store I feature here on Addicted to Saving, then you’re in good shape.

For example, let’s say you’re running low on diapers and you want to see the best deal right now. There are a couple of different ways to get to the Item Search Feature.

The first way is to simply place your cursor over the STORES category and select the Item Search option:

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You’ll then be taken to the Search Page where you can enter your Item or Brand (in this case, diapers).

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You can also find the Item Search feature on the right hand side of the page, just under the fold, as noted here:

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The saves you a little time because you can type in your Search Query right here versus being sent to a separate page.  Note that the arrow above indicates a Search by Brand or Item Query of just the current ads, whereas the Search Addicted to Saving Query will search all of Addicted to Saving. You want to use the Search by Brand or Item query. Below you can see the direct query search item. Note that when you type in your item, it will remember your past searches and suggest them (in blue):

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Once you type in your Search Item or Brand, then simply hit ENTER and you will get a list of your search item or brand result from every store where it’s currently on sale.  In some cases, if the upcoming ad is ready, you will get the results for this week and the following week.

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Since I installed this feature, I save myself a TON of time every week. Quite frankly, when a new coupon comes out and I want to see if there’s a matchup available, this is exactly what I do.  So if you see a great coupon but aren’t sure where to match it, this is the feature you should use!  I’ve had it up for a while but am just not getting around to highlighting it.

Hope this helps and Happy Saving!

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Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2 & 3 on sale $44.99

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If you haven’t already, join Holiday Deals with Addicted to Saving on Facebook! Every deal related to the holidays (gifts, decor, cards, travel, etc) will be posted in this group!

If you are looking for a deal on Downton Abbey, this is a good one! Amazon has Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2 & 3 Deluxe Limited Edition (Amazon Exclusive Season 4 Bonus Features) [Blu-ray] marked down 55% to $44.99! (This is regularly priced at $99.99.) Go HERE to view this set. **Remember, prices on Amazon are subject to change.

Go HERE to see all Amazon Deals on Addicted to Saving

Go HERE to see all Holiday Gift Deals on Addicted to Saving

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