I do my best to respond to as many questions, comments, and emails as I can, but unfortunately, there are many times that I just can’t get to them all. I promise it doesn’t mean I don’t like you! I love reading all your questions and comments, and even if I can’t always answer directly, I hope you’ll keep ‘em coming.
In the meantime, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:
What is Living Well Spending Less all about? Can I still read it even if I am not interested in coupons?
Absolutely! LWSL is “the adventure of finding the Good Life on a budget.” I write about a huge variety of topics, including DiY projects, recipes, budget & money-saving ideas, parenting, homeschooling, party planning, homemaking, faith, & more. While many LWSL readers use coupons, there are just as many who don’t. My philosophy is that a life well lived isn’t so much about what we have or how much we spend, but who we are. You can read more about me here.
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I am new to this site. Where should I start?
If you want to know a little bit more about who I am, where I’ve been, and how I tick, you might want to start by reading my depression story and how I finally found financial peace. If you’re still up for more, you can read about how I took all my kids’ toys away, why we started homeschooling, and then how I realized we were doing it all wrong.
I want to save money with coupons, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?
Yes! Start here, with the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons. It is an eight-week course that breaks down the whole process into manageable “baby steps.”
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How can you use so many coupons at one time? Mine all say “One Coupon Per Purchase.”
A single item is considered a “purchase,” so “one coupon per purchase” really just means you can use one coupon per item. Every once in a while, a coupon will state “one per transaction,” in which case you will only be able to use one at a time.
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How do you save money on meat and produce?
Honestly, I save the most money on meat by not buying a whole lot of it. I am vegetarian, and while my family is not, we usually end up eating a lot of meatless meals. If cutting back on meat is not an option for you, then try to save on meat by watching prices and stocking up as much on possible when there is a good sale.
As far as saving on produce, you can check out my tips here for 7 Ways to Save on Produce.
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I don’t have a big family. Can I still benefit from using coupons?
Everyone can benefit from using coupons! It doesn’t matter if you are single or have a huge family, have dietary restrictions or eat mostly organic. Granted, the degree to which you save might not be as significant as someone (like me) who is very strict about buying and eating ONLY what is on sale, but any savings is better than none. You can still use the methods and techniques outlined in this site to buy the things that are right for you and your family, in a quantity that is reasonable for the size of your family. Saving $25 a week of your groceries will put an extra $1,300 a year in your pocket. That is a lot of shoes!
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What do I do if my coupon expires before I can use it?
Don’t expect to use all your coupons. Don’t even expect to use half of them. The key to extreme coupon savings is matching up a coupon to a great sale price. Lots of times, a coupon will expire before a sale comes up. And that is okay. More coupons and more sales will come along, and there will always be more match-ups. But if you want to do something useful with your expired coupons, consider donating them to the troops, who can use coupons expired up to 6 months at the Commissary.
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I am afraid to print too many coupons because printer ink is so expensive! How can I save on printing coupons?
If you are serious about saving money with coupons, then I highly recommend investing in an inexpensive black & white laser printer. I personally use the Brother HL2140, but you can purchase the slightly newer Brother HL2240 on Amazon.com for less than $100. A high-yield toner cartridge costs about the same as an ink-jet refill, but will last anywhere from 4 months to a year.
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How do you organize your coupons?
The way I keep my coupons organized has evolved over the years, and will probably continue to evolve as time goes on. I started by using a Couponizer book, then, as my coupon supply got larger, eventually switched to using a filing system, which I wrote about (and made a video about) here, where I filed my entire inserts by date and then clip only the ones that I needed for a particular shopping trip, based on my coupon matchups. I would still use my Couponizer to store my printables and loose coupons.
Several months ago I decided to try out the binder method, which I wrote about here. While I liked having all my coupons in a portable, ultra-organized format that I could take with me everywhere, I found that clipping ALL my coupons every week was just too much maintenance for me. So now I use a hybrid system that combines the Qubie binder method with the filing method; I use the Qubie to store all my printables, loose coupons, and any super high-value coupons that I notice when the new inserts come out on Sundays. Then I still file the whole insert by date and find the coupons that I need when I make my shopping list.
Don’t be surprised if the way you sort and organize your coupons changes over time too. For more information on where to find these items, go here.
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I don’t understand all these acronyms and abbreviations! Can you please translate?
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I’m still only saving 30-40% at the grocery store. How do I save more?
Mega-saving (70-80% or more) on a regular basis takes time. You need to first establish a plentiful and varied stockpile, as well as a good supply of coupons. You also need to commit to buying only what is on sale each week. A few non-sale–especially milk, eggs, dairy, & produce– or impulse items will really affect your bottom line. I personally almost always buy milk at CVS using Extra Care Bucks, and I usually buy eggs at Walgreens using my Register Rewards. But be patient and consistent, and you’ll get there. And remember, ANY savings is better than none!
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