Monthly Archives: September 2011

couponing with kaseface part 3.5

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It’s been a while, friends!   I hope you had a chance to organize your binders because I am ready to go shopping! Before we do though, I want to share with you a few things I’ve learned along the way about shopping with coupons  so you can know before you go!

  • You can’t catch every sale:  Once you feel the rush of getting out of the store with twenty name brand items that you paid little to nothing for, you will want to feel it again.   Just remember, there will be other sales.  If you miss one, it will come around again.  Sometimes, if you miss one, the very next week the item turns out to be even cheaper anyway.  Sales cycle, on average, in 12-week increments.
  • Don’t buy what you don’t need:  Don’t waste your money on items you won’t use just because you have a coupon for it.  The great thing about couponing is that it will allow you to be able to try lots of new products so you can see what you like and what you don’t like.  Definitely test the waters before stocking up so you don’t end up wasting money you were trying to save.
  • Set a budget:  It’s a pain, but it’s also fun to see if you can stick to it.  Gone are the days of aimlessly roaming around the store grabbing this and that.  It’s time to shop with a list!  Money management is the name of the game.
  • Know your coupon policy, and carry a copy of it with you:  This way, there are no surprises. If there’s a problem,   you will be equipped with your knowledge and the official policy to back you up!

Perhaps the most important thing you should know before you shop, however, is that there is a learning curve.  There have been many times that  I have found a mistake on my receipt once I got home,  or a sale didn’t work out like I thought it would, or I spent more money than I intended.

When I mess up, I get super frustrated with myself.  What I try to keep in mind is that I am still a beginner, and I am still learning.  In the end, I’m still saving a ton of money. Plus, returns were invented for a reason!  If you don’t think I’ve returned 11 boxes of My Little Pony fruit snacks to Safeway because they didn’t turn out to be as cheap as I expected, you would be sadly mistaken!

Now that you a little bit about what to expect, let’s go to Target.

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charm city

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I realize that as of late my blog has been extremely coupon-heavy, but guess what?  There aren’t any coupons this weekend so I’m left to ruminate about my life in charm city now, compared to as little as a month ago.

The biggest change is that my brother’s blood numbers are going up to levels that he hasn’t seen since before he was diagnosed.  The treatment seems to be doing it’s job and my brother seems to be responding to it.  There is a big weight that will be lifted off my shoulders once the good doctors at Johns Hopkins declare him well.  The thought of losing my brother came with an unbearable sadness that, in combination with the loss of my mom, I was just barely handling in the first place.  I’m happy, to say the least, that things are progressing in the right direction.

If you keep up with me on Facebook you may have also noticed that I am now employed, working at a neighborhood bar in Fell’s Point. I tend the bar twice a week and I really enjoy it.  I have to say that it’s kind of awesome that I actually have fun at work, it’s a completely different atmosphere than what I’m used to. I love it.

You know, honestly, I was never expecting to get attached to Baltimore, I guess because of the circumstances that brought me here.  I can see now why they call this place charm city.  It is downright charming once you get to know it!  The weather is pleasant(sans earthquakes, hurricanes), the city’s lack of pretense is nothing short of refreshing, and the people?  Come on, forget about it!  When the time comes, I will be very sad to leave.

I don’t think that it’s been any secret that once I got a taste of what it was like to live outside of Texas, all I wanted to do was move. Over the years though, moving seemed more and more impossible.  To do it responsibly would require things like a decent job and money.  Neither of which I have been able to find, earn, or win. Which I find quite shocking considering my highly lucrative journalism degree…

In the spirit of being honest, I struggle with maintaining a positive outlook for my future.  Especially if that future is in Dallas.  For instance, I see how Dallas is represented on “Most Eligible” and it makes me sick because, as much as I wish I could say “oh, that’s not how it really is,” it is.  If I ever do decide to try and actually meet someone– that’s the scene I have to wade through!

Dudes actually act like that to get girls. The idea, while fun, is neither hopeful or encouraging.

As amazing as it is to be single, unemployed and living in my high school room in Dallas, I would give it all up to be able to see where my life in Baltimore goes for a couple more months.  It’s very unrealistic to think that I will be able to stay here, but I want to leave on my terms.   I’m not ready to go now that I’m all settled in.  This has been a year of many downs and very few ups.  I would consider my life here an up and I really want to hold on to it.

couponing with kaseface part 3

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So now that you know where to get your coupons and how to cut them out, it’s time to get organized.  This is a great weekend to do it because there are no inserts on holiday weekends, so you can get organized without being overwhelmed by tons of new coupons.

There are a lot of different ways that coupons can be organized.  People use envelopes, mini file thingies (I think that’s the technical term for them), index card holders, etc.  Couponers like kaseface, however, use what coupon nerds call the binder method.

My binder is my best friend when I’m at the store. Let’s just go ahead and address the question right away. Is it embarrassing to walk around with a huge binder full of coupons? No, my friends. It’s embarrassing to pay full price for something that the store is clearly giving away for free with coupons!  It happens, people.  More often than you would think.

I got my sweet binder at Pottery Barn Teen. I use a zip binder so coupons don’t go flying out when I drop it(I’m all thumbs). Inside my binder you will find coupon sleeves of all shapes and sizes.

I get my coupon sleeves from thekrazieqponlady on ebay.  I started with a sampler pack, and then ordered more as I went along and got more into it.  Once you start, you will find out which kind of sleeves come in the most handy for you.  I think you can also find just the basic 9-pocket sleeves at hobby stores, as they serve a dual purpose for organizing trading cards.

There are many different ways in which to organize your coupons within your binder.  You can go by aisle, alphabetically, category, whatever way works the best for you.  It’s your binder, think about what will be easiest for you and organize it that way.

I use dividers with pockets to separate my categories.  The pockets are really helpful, especially if you run out of space in your coupon sleeves, or can’t file a coupon right away.  I bought some dividers without pockets and I still regret that purchase.

I have two different binders.   I have a food binder and I have an everything else binder.  My food binder is organized into broad categories like:

  • refrigerated/dairy
  • pantry
  • frozen food
  • drinks

Within those broad categories, I group my coupons together.  For instance, in the pantry section all the cereal is together, all the snacks are together, all the chips are together, etc.  I separated my food binder from everything else because my original binder was really heavy and the sleeves would come out of the rings– it drove me nuts! So, I ordered another binder and split it up.

My “everything else” binder includes everything that isn’t food.  The categories aren’t as broad in this binder but they work for me because everything fits somewhere.

  • teeth
  • body/face
  • cosmetics
  • detergent
  • cleaning
  • paper
  • hair
  • miscellaneous
  • Target Q’s

Something else that I like about my binder are the many pockets and pouches at my disposal.  The zip pouch at the front of the binder is great for when I pull all the coupons I am going to use before I go to the store.  I can store them all in one place and not have to worry about losing anything.

The pouch can also be used to hold pens in case you have to mark something off your list, scissors, in case you have to pick up an ad with coupons at the store and don’t want to risk tearing off the barcode or expiration date.  It’s multi-functional and for that, I am thankful.  There is also a little pocket in the front of the binder that can be used similarly:

front pocket closed

front pocket opened up

There are also various pen holders and pockets in the inside of the front cover.  Like I said, there are dozens of uses for all these compartments and I use mine for all kinds of things. The binder is just convenient, plain and simple.

Since I rely on my binder so much, it’s crucial that it makes it with me to the store!  I have been known to put my binders in a reusable shopping bag and set that bag by the door, or to put my bags/binders in the car ahead of time to help myself remember. I have found doing that helps me remember my binders AND reusable bags.

I think the real reason I like my binder, as “OCD” as it sounds, is because it’s something I can control. When it’s all in order, I like to sit down and flip through it just admiring how pretty it is and how much money it’s going to save me.  I’m sick, I know!

Go get your binders in order and grab those weekly ads because in the next couponing w/kaseface post I’ll be talking about why I like to coupon at Target.  It’s the only store that has a coupon section in my binder and there’s a reason for that!   I think it’s one of the easiest, if not the easiest store in which to get great deals using coupons.  I will show you some scenarios that have worked for me and also share which items that I always find for pennies or free at Target, and therefore refuse to pay for anymore, anywhere else.  Ever! So get organized, it’s almost time to shop!