Wednesdays are absolutely my most favorite day of the week. Why, you ask? Because that's when the new sales flyers come out for the week! Seriously, it's like Christmas every week for me. Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Food Lion all start their new sales on Wednesdays. And even Kroger, whose sales start on Sundays, puts out a special mid-week flyer.
The first order of the day for me on Wednesdays, is checking my inbox for emails from Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Food Lion. You can go to their websites and sign-up to have the sales flyers emailed directly to your inbox. Beats waiting for them to arrive in the mail, which is sometimes one to two days after the sales have already begun. And not only can I view the flyers on-line, I can also generate my own shopping lists.
As I go through the ads, I click on the items I know are good deals (freebies and overage items are definite for the lists), needed items and "wishlist" items, which I may or may not get depending on if there's room left in the budget. I'm also thinking of possible meal ideas for the coming week based on the sales. For instance, Harris Teeter has fresh cucumbers on sale for .50 this week and Athenos feta cheese BOGO. Combined with the free whole wheat rotini and Italian dressing I got a few weeks ago, it has the makings of a great pasta salad.
Next, I start matching up items on my lists with any coupons I have. You get the most savings with your coupons when you match them up with items on sale. I browse couponing boards like Hot Coupon World and Savvy Dollar (NC based deals) for deal discussion. I also check out Sue Stock's Taking Stock blog for her Wednesday's deals, which provides a match-up of sales and coupons in our area. You can also find similar match-ups at Coupon Mom (free) and The Grocery Game (fee based).
Once I've made my lists, I gather up my coupons. Some are already clipped and in my binder. Others are whole inserts that I've dated on the front and placed in a basket in our bedroom (for clipping at some other time - usually when everyone is asleep). And then with my cash grocery envelope in hand, I'm off to do my shopping for the week!
One more important note - budget and use cash! Coupons are great tools for saving money. But it is very possible to overspend on good deals. By using a budget, I really have to discern what deals are going to benefit my family the most. Sometimes I have to walk away from deals, which is really hard! But as a couponer, I've come to learn that I don't have to buy EVERY deal and that sales will come around again. I just hope there's room in the budget when they do! And for cash, well as Dave Ramsey says, it hurts when you have to spend cash! Once the cash grocery envelope is empty, the spending stops!