Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Got Questions? Send them My Way: Q&A from Reader

I had a reader send me some questions and thought it would be nice to post those questions with my answers on here for all of you to see. I am sure many of you have the same questions. So, please if any of you have questions feel free to send them my way and I will do my best to answer them for you.

The questions are in blue and my answers are in red.

1.) I saw on your website the amazing cheese purchase you did! How do you get multiple of the IP Q's ($5/5 Kraft)? I was only able to get one, and I have always wondered how this is achieved!
              - There are a few ways of achieving this. First you can print TWO per computer. The easiest way is once the first print has printed you can hit your back arrow 3-4 times and it should re-print for a second time. OR you can just go back to the home page of the coupon and print the coupon again. I have two computers in our household that I am able to print from and then I also print from my sister in laws and my parents in law's houses, as well. There for I am able to get up to 8 prints of a coupon. I don't print every single coupon off at my familys' houses only the Hot, High Valued coupons. 

2.) What do you do w/ all that cheese? Is it freezable?
                         Yes, cheese is freezable, especially shredded cheese, it freezes great and unfreezes perfectly! I did by some chunk cheese, which you can freeze, however it tends to get a little crumbly on you, which is fine with me, as it still tastes and melts the same. So, when higher cost items, such as cheese, goes on sale and there is an amazing coupon to accompany it, I stock up and freeze it. 

3.) How do you find good deals on meat? I always have plenty of everything except meat and fresh veg! Do you just suck up the cost by doing so well on everything else??
                         I have a couple of strategies I use to get great deals on meat. Meat & fresh produce are probably your most expensive products you are going to have to purchase (other than laundry items). I have a couple favorite stores that I shop for meat. My most favorite is Albertsons. I get AMAZING deals on REALLY good meat there. I also will occasionally use Winn-Dixie and Sedanos for meat. I don't use Publix as they don't really tend to have great meat sales (which saddens me a bit). I know what my price-points are for me and my family.  I wrote a series called StockPiling 101 GO HERE, where I have a list of meat items and what my price points are for stocking up on those items. I also have a section in Tab Header of my blog called Meat & Produce, that I try to keep up to date with the best meat and produce sales in stores. If you don't see your store listed, let me know and I will add it for you, and start listing their weekly meat sales. I list the sales under Stockpile Prices and Need Items. Meaning the stockpile items are priced at a price that I think are great enough of deals that you may want to purchase extra of these items and freeze them. Need Items are priced at a fair to decent price that I wouldn't go crazy buying them at that price but if you are in need of the item because you are out or just want some, then I say grab one or two. 

As for Produce, I also have a couple stores where I purchase produce. But here's my biggest strategy tip Buy Seasonal! Meaning the cheapest time to purchase fresh produce is during it's peak season. Every season has it's own fruits and veggies that are priced at their most rock bottom prices. I was hoping this summer to start canning, but unfortunately I never got around to it. Next summer I plan to have bought all the canning supplies I need to start canning my own fruits and veggies that will hopefully last me all year.  

We are heading into Fall which means Apples, Oranges, and Squashes are going to be going into their peak season, which means my family and I will be eating lots of those during this season. During the summer, we ate Strawberries like crazy and then blueberries, lots of grapes, peaches/nectarines, and watermelon. I am a big believer in seasonal eating as you are going to get the foods at their best prices and at their most flavorful. 

But as I said earlier I have a couple of stores that I prefer to purchase produce. Aldi is my number one, they have the cheapest produce I have found, plus I have to say I am REALLY impressed with the quality of their produce. It also looks really good and fresh. But I like Winn-Dixie and Publix as well for Produce. I think most stores usually have similar pricing for produce when it is in it's peak. Now that I coupon I am soo much more aware of pricing and definately have my price points for produce. 

My other strategy is when it isn't in peak season is to buy frozen (and some canned, though I don't like most canned veggies). There are usually good deals and good coupons for frozen veggies, so I stock up on frzn veggies when it comes on sale as well, especially if the fresh is too expensive. 

And finally, Yes there are times I just suck up the extra cost, but I try and use other strategies to bring the cost of more expensive items down. By "purchasing" items that will provide overage or money making items to help cover the cost. I also throw in $/$$ coupons to also help bring the cost down a bit more. And also, once you have a good stockpile in place you will feel better about those occassional splurges, which are not half as bad as your splurges pre-coupons. ;)

4.) What is your coupon storage system? I have messed with a few things, but not found a system that I am truly happy with...
                               Ahhh yes the coupon storage. I kind of laugh as I am about to offer you advice on this only because currently my coupons are a bit crazy, they are currently in a chaotic organization system, only because I haven't had time to regroup and get them into a better order, though I have been working on it and it has gotten better. However, having said that, what I do and what works best for me is to NOT clip my coupons as soon as I get the Sunday inserts. I file them in folders with the type and date. I keep all inserts whole and only clip the ones I need when I need them. Every blog out there will tell you exactly where to find your coupons (such as RP 8/29), so all I have to do is grab the file/folder with RP 8/29 and turn to the coupon and clip it out. Takes way less time and energy then clipping them one at a time.  I have also found that before I was clipping coupons and tossing ones out I never thought I would use, and later wished I had held on to. Only because you never know when you might come across an item on sale and with the appropriate coupon will provide either overage or be a money maker. If I have no use for the product I will just give it away to family or friends who may need it. But it didn't cost me anything and it provided me with extra money in my pocket or just stretched my dollar further. 

As for my IP Qs, I currently haven't been using a very good system for those. But a friend just offered me a great idea, which I am going to start doing. Is to get a three whole punch and file them by type, or where I printed them from. So if I printed coupons from Coupons.com, i would have a folder for that, those I print from RedPlum.com would have their own folder and so on. Also, I will file store coupons in their own files. And you could break it down further and break them up by sections. Such as Household, Frozen, Meat, Produce, & ect...

Some couponers like to clip and place them in coupon binders, so they can carry their coupons everywhere they go. I use to do that in the beginning but I don't any more. If I find something on sale and know I have a coupon at home, and I really need it. I will just go home and get the coupon and go back. If I don't go back then it's not the end of the world for me. But it may be easier for you to carry your coupons around with you so you can catch great deals when you come across them. But for me that takes more time then I am willing to spend. It's really a personal preference. 

I always tell people that you need to make couponing fit your lifestyle. The more you put into the better and bigger your savings will be. For some they may not need as big as savings for others and just don't want to or can't put in as much time as others. And for others of us, it is worth putting in the extra time to save those extra bucks. But you need to make it fit in for you and your family, and don't stress over it. If it is stressful then you aren't doing what is right for you. 

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