Saturday, February 28, 2009


Ok, so for those of you who actually care about this crazy obsession I've found- I've heard it called "Legal Shoplifting"- I thought I'd give a little book report. Please feel free to skip this entry. I probably would- there are no pictures and a frighteningly large amount of words. Oh, and I'm sure this seems SO overwhelming, but it's totally addicting, so beware!

Buy Ahead

There's a wonderful concept that I try to live by: Buy Ahead. What does that mean? Buy stuff BEFORE YOU NEED IT. This way you have time to find things at a price you're willing to pay. Also, buy as many items as you can at that price. This is why I get 3 newspapers; I can get multiple items at a great price.

The process is to make a shopping list based on what's on sale that week. Then you use coupons on top of sale prices. That way you combine store deals (sales) and manufacturer's deals (coupons) to create amazing prices.

So for example, I have a bunch of bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my cupboard, but when I see them for less than a quarter (on sale plus coupon) I'll pick up another bottle. That way I'm never running out and having to pay $5-8 a bottle. Plus, I'm feeling good on building up my food storage. Look at me, little Miss Preparation.

If this is as fun for you as it is for me, you can hit multiple stores in a week to "cherry pick" their best deals. One of my friends who doesn't find this as fun as I do told me she has to start small. Only shop this way at one store or just go for certain types of products.

My menu for the week has everything to do with what's in my freezer/on my shelves from past sales. I will still need a little something here and there, but for the most part I'm just livin' the dream off of cheap stuff. And really, isn't that the goal?

Finding Coupons

There are a few places I've found I can get coupons.

1. The first is coupons that come in the mail. Red Plum sends out a mailer and you can request to be on their mailing list. (just google it) And apparently Albertsons and Smiths actually mail store coupons to you, based on your address linked on your savings card. I didn't know that, probably because my address hadn't been updated for years.

2. The second place for coupons is the Sunday newspaper. I have been resistant to this because I actually have tried it before and was just flushing the money down the toilet. I am now singing a different tune- we get 3 Sunday papers and I love it. What changed? I started using Pinching Your Pennies (see link below) that tells me how good the sales actually are.

3. The 3rd place I get coupons is at the actual store. There are blinkies- coupon dispensers- throughout some stores. Albertsons has a bunch. If they're for items I would use a take a few and file them away for when they go on sale somewhere. Since they're manufacturers coupons, you can use them anywhere! Also, when you check out, stores frequently print out coupons with your receipt based on items you purchased. Those are great too, but usually have to be used at the store you got them at.

4. The 4th place is the internet. There are actually places on the internet where you can print coupons, and good ones at that, for free. Most will let you print each 2 times per computer. Most places restock their coupons at the beginning of the month, so if you see a really good one, print it because they will probably run out. Pinching Your Pennies links to coupons right in their shopping lists. Just so you know, some stores do not take printable coupons because of possible fraud (people taking their coupons to Kinko's, etc). Check with your stores before you plan a whole trip based around internet coupons, but I haven't had any problems with them.

Not all coupons are great or are for things I need, but I hold on to all of them anyway because if I can get something for free, then hey, what a deal. If I don't want or need it, I can always donate it.


I've found some web sites that I have LOVED that have helped me a ton. FYI: these are all free!

has a couple of videos that give really good info on how to shop this way right on the front page. If you're new to this, watch this 1st. I can't recommend these videos enough. They really answered a ton of questions, even before I had them! They also have a Grocery Wizard that lists and rates the deals of the week.

This is my FAVORITE site. Up at the top, click on State Forum, find your state and wow! Have fun. I have spent hours and hours playing here. There is so much good info. If your state doesn't have much, look up Utah. Among other things, they post many of the stores sales for the week, usually a day or two before they start, and then rate how good the prices are with stars. They also tell you what coupons are available from the newspaper for those items and have links right there for internet coupons.

click on the PYP Price Points List. This is such a great resource, even if you don't do anything else. Print off this list and take it with you every time you shop! It tells you what are good prices for different items. (the stars refer to how good the prices are. 3= pretty good deals, about what you'd get at Walmart. 4= good deals, 5= Great deals.) This has been so helpful for me when I hit on deals not in the ad, like clearances and unadvertised sales, or go to stores they don't rate.


This is so fun!! I love getting stuff for free. I'm getting so I'm regularly getting much better than 50% when I shop (many times 75-95%). I've found if I stick to my monthly budget that I am saving us not just percentages, but actual money. I am able to live better off of less money.

Beware though! It is so easy to get carried away with how much money you are saving that you're spending way more then you should! It may be a great deal, but if you don't have the money for it then don't get it. (this is a hard one for me!) I have been resistant to budgeting at all but have found that it is VITAL to actually saving money and not just blowing through it. I've heard that couponers tend to spend more money then regular shoppers. I'm sure it's because of how exciting it is when you get great deals. Just look at my monthly budget. In May I had spent over half of my monthly budget before the 1st week ended! I just get so caught up in how fun it is to get stuff for super cheap. So I'm saying be careful.

If you're looking for a great resource in budgeting, check out this. Go to 22a, Don Milne. It's an Excel document where you just plug in how much you spend in every area. It tells you a percentage range of what you should shoot for which is so helpful to see if I'm spending too much of my income on our mortgage or whatever.

It takes bit of work to shop this way, but hey, we work so hard to earn money, why not work to save it? There is a learning curve to all this and I have had to really work to catch on to this, but I'm sold.

If you have questions, feel free to email me and we'll talk! It's all I talk about anyways, so it'd give Matt a nice break.