Planning Your Shopping Trips

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Now that you have your inserts and loose coupons filed, you have cut down a dramatic amount of time revolving around the planning of your shopping trip.  As you may have figured out, the Coupon Wizards are methodical, strategic, numbers-driven people.  Planning our shopping trips is fun to us (as sick as that may sound).  It also ensures that we aren’t caught up in the impulse-buy fever that every store attempts to lure you into.  I have a routine that I use to plan each and every shopping trip that I make.  First, I make sure that I have a calculator and pen with me at all times.  I go to a variety of sites that will pair the coupons with the current ads.  They are easy to find on the internet and all of them have a little different format.  We would suggest that you try several of them and settle on the one that works the best for you.  Because we know what our families consume, the shopping list part is really not that hard.  I find the items listed in the ad that are at the “stockpile price” that I have predetermined and those are the items I select.  I print the ad out with the coupon match-ups attached and I begin to locate the corresponding coupons.  This process is also easy because I know right where each insert is for each Sunday paper date and I know which category to look in for my internet printables and previously cut coupons.  As I am locating my coupons, I am counting the number of coupons I have to be sure that I am maximizing my savings.  I then record the total quantity x sales price – (coupons x quantity) = net amount out of pocket.  I do this so that I know whether or not my shopping trip is within budget prior to leaving.  I also do this so that I know if the register is correct when the cashier tells me my total.

I then take my completed shopping list and all of the organized, neatly stacked, corresponding coupons and I place them in a traditional coupon file like the one pictured to the left.  As with the expand-a-file and the file box, the coupon file has several tabs on the top of the dividers.  I use these tabs to separate my coupons and lists by store.  I have one tab for each store that I frequent.  Not only does it keep my coupons and shopping lists organized, it gives me a place to file the receipts from completed transactions as well as any rain checks, register rewards or extra care bucks I may be carrying over until the next week.  Once I am done and my coupon file is full, I am ready to head to the store and do my shopping.  But… you will see in the next tab, my work is still not done!