Shopping with Coupons | Plan your Purchases

This is the fifth baby step to Shopping with Coupons: A Beginner's Guide to Saving. This snack suggests you Plan your Purchases.

But, before we get our Planning on, let's review the steps that have been shared up to this point in Shopping with Coupons: A Beginner's Guide to Saving:

Set a Budget: We know how much we can spend, how often we will shop, and what meals we are buying for. But, of course, we need to…

Get some Coupons: We know where to get these coupons so we can save a lot in our budget! And, what do we do with all of these coupons? Well, of course we will…

Organize your Coupons: We are organized with the mass coupons we have now acquired. This organization will make us effective as we…

Focus on One Store: We spent time understanding the importance of the policies for each store and have questions to ask so that we are informed couponers.

I'm sure you have heard this quote: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Planning not only helps your performance, but it fattens your wallet and increases your efficiency while shopping!

Before we step foot into that “one” store, Planning Your Purchases is essential. To help simplify this, I have my 3 Simple Steps to Save:

List It!: Shop with the weekly store ad, and a list of items to include:

Non-negotiable items that you need for the week/month. Some general things that are always on my list: milk, produce, formula, eggs.

Sale items. Find the items in my weekly Snack Summary with coupon matches that you want to get at this sale price. During this part of the list-making, be sure to also consider any store promotions or Catalina offers currently running. Sometimes these promotions pay you to shop!

Stockpile items. These are those sale items that are priced super low to purchase mass quantities. Buying Coupons on Ebay and Clipping Services is a great way to get multiple items on the cheap. Just remember my tips on doubling that were discussed in Focus on One Store. More information on Stockpiling will be shared in the next baby step.

Clip It!: Get your coupons together:

Binder Method: Pull all matching coupons according to what is on your list.

File Method: Clip all matching coupons according to what is on your list.

Shop!: With your:

List and Weekly Store Ads


Place all of your pulled/clipped coupons in a marked envelope or folder for that store (those who use a binder will have a place in there). At the check-out, review your coupons to ensure everything still matches what you actually purchased. Hand over your coupons and be glad :-)

Your Excitement

You have just saved yourself time AND money! Way to stretch your hard-earned MOOLA!

That's it for my 3 Simple Steps to Save!

Trust me, these steps will help you SAVE so much!! Planning your Purchases takes minimal effort and it will pay you big dividends! This takes your couponing efforts to a different level. You are not only shopping for your family's consumption needs, but you are shopping with a focused mindset to plan each purchase in order to save and stretch every single penny!

I shared my personal shopping strategy in a previous Q&A Snack here. You can read first hand the method to my Mommy Snackin' madness :-)

Read all of the steps in the Beginners Guide to Saving.

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  1. A Mom with Money Saving Ideas says:

    Very helpful article with great tips. I will link to this article next week in one of my posts. Thank you!

  2. amischnick says:

    I’m finding the most time consuming part to be flipping through the circulars to find the coupons I’m looking for (I go off your list or the Grocery Store Game so I know what week and circular it’s in, but it still takes tons of time!) Any tips on streamlining this part???

  3. Andrea @ Mommy Snacks says:

    amischnick – the only thing I can share is that with time it is streamlined by habit. If you are a file-by-insert organizer (like me), having the insert date written on the front of each insert does help save time too!

    You can see my method and process in the Q&A link above. As I am preparing my shopping list for the week, I immediately pull the coupons and clip them together for each store.

    I've found doing this does help me List it and Clip it in about 30 minutes to an hour (for 4 stores). And, my shopping is another 2 for those 4 stores.

    It really does get faster as you go!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Andrea –

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve used coupons for years, but NEVER like this!!! I do miss super double coupons. Seems like it’s been forever.

    OK, now that I’ve tried this a couple of weeks I need some help. I have my coupons in hand but then have a hard time getting organized at the store… knowing what coupons I need to get from the Walgreens flyer, how many of something I need to buy to get the deal, what e-coupons are going to apply so I can be sure my final price is correct, etc. What does your “shoping list” look like?

    Thanks – KB

  5. Andrea @ Mommy says:

    KB – my list is in an excel spreadsheet and is pretty detailed (to the penny really). It has each item with the price and the coupon value beside it being deducted. I do this for each store I shop.

    I have all my coupons clipped together and placed in a hand-held binder that has dividers for eash sorting and store organization.

    I can email you a copy of the savings spreadsheet and weekly list in excel if you are interested. Just email me and I’ll shoot it off!!


  6. tyson & jhanna says:

    for some reason i couldn’t email so i thought a comment would work ok…i saw you were willing to share your shopping list spread sheet example: [email protected]
    i have a 19 month old little boy, shopping is already “fun” so anything to make it easier and more organized would be a BLESSING!! thanks again

  7. Thanks! Couponing has affected so many facets of our life. Your site is such a help!

  8. Katie Pannbacker says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I just came across your site, and being a mother of a 4 month old I find it incredibly difficult to remain within my weekly budget (even with using coupons). I just wanted to thank you for the advice and for sharing all of your tips. If you have any others for mommies with young children please share!! Thanks again!


  9. Thanks so much for all the valuable info you share with us. I saw you offered to email someone a copy of the Excel spreadsheet you use. Would you mind sending it to me as well. I hae gotten very serious about a budget and think this would be a great help in the grocery dept. Thanks again.

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