Monday, August 13, 2007

My new "hobby"

Anyone who has talked to me recently at any length has heard me talk about my new!! I've read on several blogs and forums how shoppers are able to get things at a significant discount (sometimes free or for a profit!) by watching sales, ads, and using coupons. I admit, it is quite overwhelming and complex, but I am learning a lot.

First, I assembled my coupon binder. It is made from a zip up binder, subject dividers, and baseball card collector sheets. Each sheet has nine pockets to place coupons into. My binder is organized into sections including, freezer, refrigerator, baking items, cleaners, make-up, teeth/mouth care, medicine, etc. (note: I tried to link the site that gave instructions on this method, but it appears it is no longer and active site)

Part of the trick is learning where to get coupons and how to use them effectively. Crystal, at Biblical Womanhood, has been a great help in getting started. The best place is to subscribe to the local newspaper, especially Sunday's paper--it is loaded with coupons. If there seem to be a lot of great coupons in a particular week I will purchase an extra paper for additional coupons. My sweet mother-in-law often sends her coupons my way as well. Many coupons are available online and by contacting companies and requesting coupons. At first I thought it was crazy to contact companies, but I thought I would give it a try to see what happened. Thus far I have written two companies and received of which was from Ciba Vision for a free bottle of AOSept Contact Solution, a $9.00 value! It took no longer than three minutes to e-mail them. Just think, essentially I spent three minutes to "make" $9.00. At that rate I could make $180 per hour! Okay, maybe not all the coupons are that good, but I was pleased and will never hesitate to contact a company again. After all, the worst thing that could happen is they could say no.

In future posts I hope to share some deals I've found. Thus far we have been astonished how much we have saved just by taking a little time, putting forth a little more effort, and planning into our shopping trips.


Chris said...

Liz - I saw a piece on channel 5 news about coupons a few weeks ago. I got motivated to start saving them, and have used a few, but need to really get after it.

I'll be glad to get your expert thoughts when we have time to talk about it!

strem said...

Wow! I need a tutorial. I have read part of the coupon plan on Biblical Womanhood before, but I see I need to return to it and REALLY read it.

I know of several families who thrive on these smart shopping techniques, and I can use all of the help I can get. So, I'll get to reading... but I may be calling you soon. You MIGHT have to make a trip over (or we might need to make a trip over) to have an in-person lesson. ;) MISS YOU!

strem said...

One or two follow-up questions for now... First of all, how do you know who to write to for coupons? Just the companies you use - to ask them if they have coupons available? And, specifically, do you know how *I* could get a free bottle of that contact solution? :)

Liz said...

I mentioned it is difficult to be too brand specific, but on a few items we I started with those companies. George has very sensitive eye allergies and so I wrote the company, (Ciba, which I found on the bottle), via their website, and said how well AOSept works for him and that I haven't been able to locate coupons. The mailed me a "free" coupon for "any of the following" then listed several of their products, including AOSept. Cool, huh?

I hope I answered your questions clear enough...feel free to ask for clarification.