Couponing with Kids in Tow: Tips, tricks & humor to help you cope!

Couponing at the grocery or drug store takes patience and focus – and let’s face it, with kids in tow (especially the little ones) those qualities tend to fly out the window faster than you can say “Sit back down in the buggy and stop smacking your brother!”  If you’ve forgotten what it’s like – CHECK THIS OUT!

So how is a couponer to manage?  In a perfect world, our husbands would walk into the room and say “Sweetie, why don’t you take some time to get your list together and then go out for a couple hours.  I’ve got the kids – take your time!”  But even those of us who are blessed with wonderful husbands would probably fall out of our chairs if we ever heard those words.

So here’s what I do ….  I don’t take my kids. 

Unless I can’t help it, I will wrangle my schedule around so that I can go out once a week at nighttime, and I’ll hit every store I need to hit all in one fell swoop.  I’ll stop at CVS on my way to Bi-Lo, make a pass at Walgreens on my way back – and call it a week!  On an awesome Publix week, I have to plan a little harder because that’s a  20 minute drive for me – but for enough great deals I can make it happen.

These late night trips are pretty exhausting, but I spend the couple days ahead of time getting my list together, printing and clipping my coupons during a naptime or after the kids are in bed, and double checking on the shopping day for any last-minute finds.  Being prepared it the best way to get in and out quickly and with everything you planned to get.

Phone a Friend:

Those times when I haven’t been able to get my husband to watch the kids – I’ve swapped “shopping times” with a friend.  My friend Tessie used to come over and hang out with our kids while I ran out to the store – and then I’d come back and do the same for her.

In a pinch – I’ve even sent my coupons and list (prepared extra carefully to be considerate) with her while she went on a trip for the both of us.

There are usually ways to make it work – and it just makes it all so much easier when you can run in and out by yourself!

But what if leaving the kids at home is not an option?

Here are some tips to keep the kids happy and maintain your sanity while shopping with kids and coupons:

  • Prepare – Prepare – Prepare!  If everything is printed, clipped, sorted and listed – you will be better able to stay on track.  I even mark on my lists how many coupons I have for each item I’m buying – that way I don’t ever have to pull out the coupons to count them.  (Less chance for them to get knocked to the floor)
  • Bring a snack, that way when the inevitable asking begins – you don’t have to splurge.
  • Think of a grocery game you can play with the kids – I like to have mine play “Spot the blinkie machines and tearpads” and I award them imaginary points for each one they find.  That helps me not miss any – and keeps them occupied.
  • Ask them to help you load things into the cart – just keep them busy doing little things to help mommy – idle hands and all that….
  • Find out if your store offers balloons, stickers, lollipops, etc…  For me, the time waiting at the register is the most stressful part – so a well-timed lollipop from our friendly Bi-Lo bagger is always a welcome distraction!

What tips do you have for couponing with kids?    Please share them in the comment section below!

New Video: Bi-Lo Shopping with Kasey (FREE Bounty Napkins!)

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Watch the video above to see Kasey’s “Happy Dance”.  Oh yeah, and also how to shop at Bi-Lo for free things…. ;)

Currently, Bi-Lo has Bounty Napkins (the small pack) on Price Lock for $1. Using the $.50/1 Bounty Napkins coupon from the 4/1 P&G Insert, we were able to get FREE napkins this week!

“Good Things Come in Small Packages”:
One tip to keep in mind when couponing is that sometimes the smallest-sized products are the best deal (I know, counter-intuitive when you’re used to buying in bulk to save money, right?). Because some coupons don’t have size restrictions on them, you can use a high-value coupon on a low-priced item to get it FREE!

How To Print Coupons Online

 

Using coupons is a great way to save money – heck, we’ve devoted a whole site to it! – but you’ve got to get some coupons in your hands before you can start.  Printing coupons online is an easy way to get them right now – on almost anything you could imagine.  Manufacturers release a limited number of coupons online for consumers to print out – usually with a limit of 2 prints per person.(Your computer won’t let you print more after that)

Here’s how to access and print those coupons from your computer:

  1. Register for Coupon Sites:  First, register for the following coupon printing sites and install each of their coupon printer software when prompted.  The major sites that offer printable coupons are totally safe and will not send you spam or put spyware on your computer – they are:
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  2. Manufacturer & Store Websites: You will also be able to print some coupons directly from manufacturer and store websites – like Pillsbury.com or Target.com.  These are safe as well and in most cases will send you an e-newsletter occasionally with new coupon offers or product info.
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  3. Problems Printing?  In most cases, switching browsers will solve your printing problems.  Some browsers work better for different sites, I use Firefox, and I usually have no problems printing at all.
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  4. Searching for a specific Coupon:  Most of the main coupon printing sites will have categories that allow you to find a certain coupon more quickly (Like “Baby” or “Beverages”).
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  5. Print 2 Coupons: In most cases, you can print each coupon twice by using your back arrow or simply going through the process again to print.

Video: 3 Steps to Save with Meat Mardowns!

We get lots of questions on how to save money on meat. While we usually just have to wait for a nice sale – there are a few more ways to save on meat.  In this short video, join us as we hit the Meat Markdown jackpot – and go over a few tips to save even more!

      1. Stores start marking down meat as it nears it’s expiration date, in order to sell it quickly.  Scan the meat cases for “$$$ Off” stickers to find these deals.  If you can find “$$$ Off” stickers on an already low sale price – even better!
      2. Since a meat markdown sticker is a discount from the store, you can still stack a manufacturer coupon with it for even more savings.
      3. Even though it may be on or near the expiration date – if you’ve found a great deal you should still stock up. Buy it and either cook or freeze it right away.  If buying raw meat – cook it and season it, the portion into freezer bags for easy taco nights, pasta nights, etc….  Lunchmeats will freeze pretty well in a freezer bag for later use.

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How to Get the BEST Deal on Toilet Paper

 

The following is a guest post by our new friend Stephanie Brandt

Steph is a wife, mom, full-time teacher, AND a blogger of deals, coupons, and all things frugal at Debt Free Spending

Before we get started at looking at the best way to get the best deal on toilet paper, we need to start out by asking a question. “What can I live with, and what can I live without?” My hubby hates the commercial where two bears are always showing their bums, and I have to laugh, because I think most people DO have a preference when it comes to toilet paper. Therefore, you have to make a decision about your preferred texture for toilet paper.

If you have an anything-goes attitude, you will probably get the best deal! For those who are brand specific buyers, then we need to look at maximizing the deal price on your specific brand. Another factor to consider is what can your toilet handle? If you have a clog every week, then you may want to consider switching to a less fluffy brand. Because costs, texture, and sizes of rolls vary, we are going to look at how to determine a “deal” for toilet paper.

Determine the price for square footage. The amount of square footage in a pack is located at the front bottom corner or most packages. (As shown in the photos below).

  1. The first package had 16 rolls and 334 sq. feet.
  2. The second package had 12 rolls and 284.6 square feet

Now, to figure out if you getting a good deal! Move the decimal point two places to the left. If I pay around $3.34 on the first package, that’s a good deal! If I pay $2.84 for the second package, that’s a good deal!

My “best price” for toilet paper is $0.01 per square foot, and this is just an easier way to figure out the price for $0.01 per square foot! Remember to use coupons in combination with store sale prices to get as close to this price as possible. If you can get close to these prices with deals and coupons, you are getting a GOOD deal!

 

*Exciting News* Couponing Slideshow Tutorials!

We’re happy to announce that we’ve added some new Couponing Tutorials, in a slideshow format, to the Time2$ave website!  Stay tuned as we will be adding more over the coming weeks.

You can check out the first *4* tutorials below:

1)   Getting Started

2)   DON’T Pay Full Price – Get Rid of Your List!

3)   The Life Cycle of a Coupon

4)   Internet Printables

Keep in mind that these tutorials are intended to EDUCATE you about the parts of a coupon, how to use them, how to obtain them, and how to change the way you shop.  Learning is a process – but the time you invest will pay off HUGE!