Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making Shopping Lists

I mentioned in my "How I File My Coupons" post that I make lots of lists.  You can see if you click on the photo above, that many times I duplicate my notes.  I just want to make sure I have all the info!!  When I cut out the printable coupons, I make note paper out of the scraps I have left over.  I visit my favorite frugal blogs sites daily, and as I read them, I make notes for anything that I am interested in.  I stuff these in my purse if I'm at work and put them with my couponing stuff when I'm at home.

Obviously, it's only important that I can read these scribble notes I make.  =)  I use a lot of coupon abbreviations to save myself writing & keep the notes as short as possible.

Let's use the example above:
It's from CVS for the week of 4/17
I wrote "Easter Grass .99 --> Tues L1"
What this tells me is that the Easter Grass at CVS is .99 until Tues and there is a limit of 1 $0.99 ECB
Same thing with the Paas Decorating kit under it.  Sometimes CVS has some ECB (Extra Care Bucks) items that are only good for 3 days (Sun-Mon-Tues), so it's important to make these notations.

I also wrote "Edge Shave Gel 3.29 w/$2.50 ECB. L1 use .55 MQ 3/20S"
What this tells me is that the Edge Shaving Gel is on sale for $3.29 and I can earn a $2.50 ECB for buying one, but there is a limit of 1 ECB offer on this product.  I also can use a .55 Manufacturer's Coupon from the March 20th SmartSource Sunday coupon insert.  So after the ECB & MQ, this product would end up costing me 24 cents!!  24 cents is my buying price for shaving cream!!  If I accidently purchased 2 of these products thinking I would get (2) $2.50 ECB's, I would be wrong.  It has a limit of 1, so it's important to make notations of offer limits.

Another example from above would be "Aquafresh TB & TP $1 - $1 MQ 4/17R"
What this tells me is that the Kids Aquafresh Toothbrushes & Toothpastes are on sale for $1.  Look in my April 17th Red Plum Sunday coupon insert to hopefully find a $1 manufacturer's coupon. 

Sometimes I put a "checkmark" next to a note I write.. like "check" Welcome Mats or "check"  Dixie plates.  Usually these are notes to myself to "check" on this item, because someone mentioned a good price or a clearance deal... and since clearance varies from store to store, it's just a heads up for me to remember to look at  those items while I'm there.

Keep in mind, many coupons are regional.  If I posted about coupons, I'll always be referencing the LA Times newspaper, because they have a more complete coupon insert for Ventura County.  The coupons in the Ventura County Star are not as many as the LA Times.  It's worth it to get the Sunday only newspaper of the LA Times.  Many times you'll stumble across a $10/yr subscription rate for the LA Times Sunday only.  If I see one, I'll post it... or you could always call & beg for the deal your friend has ;)  But not only do the coupons vary in Ventura County, but they vary greatly across the USA.  What some blogger posts in TX may not be a coupon we received here in Ventura, CA. Always keep in mind that you may not have the same coupon.  I like to use the COUPON DATABASE on Coupon Mom to help me locate my coupons in my LOCAL inserts.  You can choose your state, and it's more accurate.  You'll find a list of abreviations I use often on the left hand side of the Savings Chatter blog.

Then when I'm ready to hit the store, I take all my scribble notes and compose them into one nicely written list.  Sometimes I use a scrap piece of paper, or in the case of the photo above, I used a #10 envelope.  I like to use an envelope for Target, because I usually have pulled out & matched my manufacturers coupons (MQ's) to my Target coupons (TQ's), and I can put them all inside the envelope.  More on Target coupon matching later!!

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