Couponing? Do you do it? Is it worth it?

So after talking to everyone from last year to now about couponing I can tell you I love to save money but I don’t have the time to coupon. I have been couponing since like 2000 before it was even a HUGE thing, and I remember a couple of friends would do this and make money off of it, especially my coupon savvy friends at Bragg.

So the commissary has discouraged the use of extreme couponing however they have this GREAT website called CommissaryShopper, check out my review right here..

Extreme Couponing follows savvy shoppers as they plan and plot their way to unbelievable savings. Witness amazing shopping skills and shocking stockpiles of merchandise, as everyday people go to extremes in pursuit of extraordinary deals.

DID YOU KNOW that the average American family spends between $500 and $1,000 every month on groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, pet items, and clothes. You know you can make some sacrifices to get from the high-end of that range to the low-end.

So after doing some research and market studies did you know there are LEVELS to couponing? OMG I didn’t even know. So I have branded these people my way and how they fit into the levels…

First Level: Basic Coupon Clipper: This is me, I fit this category..Most of the time, I will pay for a whole cart full of groceries while handing over less than 10 coupons. I end up normally saving a few bucks off the entire order. 

Second Level: Buying the Generic Store Brand over the Name Brand: This is the category that my grandmother fits into! She used to be a name brand shopper but as times have gotten tight she solely shops for generic brands, and she saves about $200-$300 per month without clipping a single coupon. The problem for me here is that I prefer the name brand over the generic – it just tastes different to me and let me tell you I have tried to pass over a few items and my mom is SPOT on and can taste the difference right from the start (#nopullingthewooloverhereyes).

Third Level: The Savvy Shopper: This is my friend Jackie, she fits into this category perfect. Saving at this level requires a little bit of effort, you must clip and organize your coupons, and be patient. By spending about 2-3 hours per week, you can save 75-95% on all you buy at the grocery store and the drug store. She can go into Walmart or Harris Teeter and get just about anything for one penny or free. When the conditions are just right, people can save even more money buying the name brand products than the generic brands. Items often go on sale, and when they do, the Savvy Shopper capitalizes on the opportunity. They’ll join a store sale with a manufacturer’s coupon, and get the item for pennies or even for free.

Fourth Level: Extreme Couponer:  I have only met a FEW people who fit into this category, they are shopper SAVVY! Did you know that you can use a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon on the same item? Well, you can. Did you know that you can use two coupons on a buy-one-get-one-free sale? Well, you can. Setting up bigger and better deals is what the Extreme Couponer does. They take the same measures as the Savvy Shopper but then they look for several deals. Why get just one deal when you can get three or four all at once? To this end, it’s not odd for an Extreme Couponer to have 4 Sunday newspapers delivered to their home.  This is where you start to buy things in volume, the more coupons the more you can save.
Coming up in a few weeks check back on my ways on how to Coupon 101. In the meantime I have GREAT COUPONS on ATW COUPONS

Do you know about the Commissary Shopper PROGRAM?

HAVE you heard about Coupons for the Commissary? This is GREAT!!! I love it!!! Well I WANTED TO BRING MY READERS some great savings! Why not?
SHEP is your Commissary Working Dog and his mission is to find the best values at your local Commissary. As a benefit, your Commissary can save the average military family of four about $4,400 annually – even more when savvy shoppers use valuable money saving coupons.

CommissaryShopper is a FREE printed coupon feature with valuable manufacturer coupons exclusively for U. S. Military Commissary Patrons. When our manufacturers have special offers and coupon opportunities, they contact CommissaryShopper and we collect them in our bi-monthly issues.

You can get CommissaryShopper FREE by mail – APO/FPO addresses are preferred for OCONUS mailing. You only need to subscribe once to continue to receive CommissaryShopper.

You can also find the CommissaryShopper coupon feature at your Commissary – available while supplies last. CommissaryShopper is dedicated to delivering manufacturer coupons to our military patrons. “We will not offer or sell your subscription information.”

CommissaryShopper is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). CommissaryShopper is not a secret government program, so please tell a friend and help them save more at the commissary too!


Tips for Savings around the holidays

Here are some ways you can save while you are on a TDY/PCS/Deployment, my husband and I used these techniques and the last deployment we saved pretty good. It is always good to save because you never know when you will have an emergency. The rule is trying to save at least 3 months’ worth of salary.  
The first savings I recommend is automobile insurance. We had three cars on my husband’s last deployment, so what I did was I called USAA, and asked them to change my coverage to where no one was driving it and it was parked in the garage. It was simple, I called them up and they actually suggested it for me. They were pretty reasonable and I got a quote over the phone and it saved me about 50% on a six month premium. That is big time savings and your vehicle is still covered from damages while it waits for you to return.
The next savings I used was with our cell phone plan.  While you are on deployment or even if your solider PCS to a overseas duty station. Cell phone companies will allow you to suspend your accounts and services, I know with Verizon you can do this online. Now you can’t break your contract but you can just suspend the service and take the plan off while the solider isn’t home to use it. 
The third tool was being smart on which phone card to use and how often to use Skype. It is very important to stay in touch with your family and friends while on deployment. Take advantage of Skype and all phone cards. Now you will need to do your research on which cards are reasonable and which cards will eat minutes you might have to play around with a few but if you use Skype (calling from computer to computer) you can avoid these overseas calls. My husband and I have saved a ton on Skype, we both have smart phones that allows us to download the app onto our phone so we “technically” don’t have to be at a computer (but it does work better) when you are on a DSL/Cable connect versus a 4G connection. 
We always start contributing to a retirement savings plan, such as a Roth IRA or the government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The concept of “out of sight, out of mind” works amazing for anybody that is trying to save.  We had it set up where each of us was depositing $100 a month into my ROTH IRA and my husband had $100 going into the TSP. 
One thing to be careful of is spending money at the PX in Iraq or Afghanistan. You would think that being overseas that you wouldn’t have a chance to really spend any money. That’s not true. The truth is that there are PX’s (Post Exchanges) readily accessible to any soldier.  There you can buy electronics, snacks, magazines, books, etc. 
So my last piece of advice is when you get home from a deployment don’t go crazy on buying new cars, motorcycles, boats or trucks.  I knew a soldier who had reenlisted while were overseas and received a $20,000 tax free bonus.  All of which was gone in the first month of being home!  More importantly, learn from the examples of those who fell into financial traps and avoid those situations.