Saturday, August 22, 2009

Couponing/Freebie-Getting, BH-Style

Here are Bloomington Housewife's main couponing strategies. Aaaaand now I'm going to stop referring to myself in the third person. I've included helpful information about how to set yourself up/organize yourself for couponing, where to find coupons, and how to use coupons to your advantage. Please keep in mind that I am still fairly new to this whole thing, so my strategies are constantly evolving, and I'm learning more all the time.
Here we go!

What You Need:

  • Scissors or a paper slicer (incidentally, you can find scissors for free at CVS all the time)
  • Color printer (sometimes stores are more likely to take internet coupons if they're printed in color. It shouldn't make a difference, but sometimes it does, if the cashier is picky and/or dumb. The cost of printing in color on the fastest or lightest setting is tiny compared to the money I've saved with my couponing and freebie-getting, so I think it's a worthwhile expenditure)
  • An envelope/box/coupon organizer, and paper clips/bulldog clips/etc. (to keep your coupons organized)

Where to Find Coupons:

  • Internet (blogs, store websites, product websites, etc.)
  • Sunday paper
  • Store booklets
  • Magazines
  • With free samples
  • Product packaging (e.g. cereal boxes)
  • Sent from manufacturer as a result of your commenting on a particular product (by doing this, I've received coupons for FREE Bagel Bites, Skintimate Shaving Cream, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Chiquita Fruit Bites, and more)


  • Coupons alone will save you some money if you use them for things you'd normally buy anyway. However, you can save LOTS AND LOTS of money by matching up coupons with sales and other promotions (e.g. rebates, store promos), especially if you're willing to consider brands/items you wouldn't normally buy.
  • Print out/clip any and all coupons you find (unless they're for something you REALLY would never buy... I don't clip diaper coupons... ;-).
  • Know when to hold on to a coupon and when to use it. Here are three different examples of this... Example 1: Betty Crocker brownie mix is something we sometimes buy, since it's usually the cheapest mix and Joel loves brownies. So I printed out a few coupons online when I came across them. Since they weren't going to expire for a month, I hung on to them to see if a good sale or promo match-up would come along. If nothing had shown up the day or two before the coupons expired, I would have gone ahead and bought the mix, using the coupons I'd found. Example 2: Dark Chocolate Chex Mix in a bag is something I'd NEVER buy, because it's so expensive. But by matching up an awesome store promo with an awesome coupon, I was able to snag a bag for around $0.25, which is way less than a candy bar, and it's about six times more snack! :-D Example 3: I had a coupon for those cute mini Haagen-Dazs ice cream cups. I kept a look-out for a great sale matchup, but as the coupon's expiration date approached, nothing presented itself. So I let the coupon expire without using it, since I couldn't justify buying one of those tiny cups for $0.75. Never use a coupon on an item "just because" you have a coupon. You won't save money that way. **NOTE: something I've thought about since letting that coupon expire: if it's a day or two before one of your coupons is set to expire, why not leave it on a store shelf next to the product in question? Maybe someone else will find it and be able to use it! COOL!
  • Freebie-getting: You can find free food/household items/personal care items ALL THE TIME, if you know where to look. Example: Kashi cereal cups are something I'd never buy, because they're outrageously expensive. But I found out online that Target was selling them for $1 each, and I happened to have five coupons for $1 off any Kashi product. So I waltzed in and came out with five free cereal cups. I'll post great freebies on this blog as I find them.
  • Stockpile wisely. In our tiny apartment, we don't have much room. So even if I could get, say, 100 boxes of crackers for free, I wouldn't take 100 boxes of crackers, because I have nowhere to put them. On the other hand, I could take some of them and donate them to a charity. I don't know if they'd have anywhere to put them either, though. That's kind of a lot of crackers. Maybe I could have picked a more realistic example. Anyway, if I'm able to find toothpaste for free and/or deodorant for $0.29 (both of which I have!), I go ahead and buy a couple of each, knowing that I won't be able to find that price again for quite a while, and not wanting to have to go out later and spend $5 on something I could have gotten for free. This is the whole "Spend now to save later" mentality. It is NOT the same thing as "The more you buy, the more you save!!". Don't get sucked into that. Just think ahead, carefully consider your needs, space, and the quality of the deal you're getting, and then act accordingly.

I will add to this post as I have time, and as different issues arise. In particular I'll add information about e-coupons, which are handy-dandy little digital coupons you can load onto your shopper's card (e.g. Safeway Club Card). I'll also touch on how to organize your coupons. And I'll list my very favorite couponing, freebie-getting, deal-announcing sites! woohoo!


Anonymous said...

This is one of your brothers (I'll let you guess which one)

**NOTE: something I've thought about since letting that coupon expire: if it's a day or two before one of your coupons is set to expire, why not leave it on a store shelf next to the product in question? Maybe someone else will find it and be able to use it! COOL!

made me laugh haha!
also,your blogging skills are already steller, if I do say so myself

Bloomington Housewife said...

Robbie. This is not a joke. If you are too callous to see the beauty in paying it (and by "it" I mean the awesomeness of coupons) forward, then maybe this is just not the blog for you. I wish you well on your journey to find a heart. -BH

p.s. if you pay me more compliments I will think about letting you keep reading my blog.