So the next part of couponing is planning your trip. It does no one any good to have a huge stack of coupons and no game plan. You'll either make everyone in the aisles crazy because you'll see something and need to flip through your coupons OR (more importantly) you'll miss deals because you didn't know they were there!
Here is what I do...
1) Start Where You Usually Find Deals
I usually go through the Meijer, Kroger, and Target ads and then occasionally add drug stores. If I see coffee on sale for example for $7.99 and I have a $2 off coupon for it I'll write on my Meijer list:
Folgers Coffee $7.99 + $2off (5.99)
Then I continue on my search. But if I find that Kroger has it on sale for a better price, or if I have a store coupon I'll scratch it off my Meijer list and put it on my Kroger list. Sometimes if the price is the same and my coupons are good in both places I'll leave it on both lists and that way if I only make it to one store I haven't missed it!
2) Pull Your Coupons
In my book where I write down my shopping lists there is a pocket in the front. I pull all the coupons I think I am going to use on that shopping trip and put them in there. If I look at something and then decide that I don't really want to buy it, I move the coupon out of the stack. Then, when I get to the register I glance through one more time to make sure I have everything I need.
3) Print Your List
If you do an excel sheet or something similar, make sure you have an up to date list in your coupon book. That way if you see cake mix and frosting on sale and you remember you have a coupon for it, you can do a quick check to make sure it is the right brand then pull your coupon out!
4) Don't get distracted!
Getting distracted by things that aren't on your list will kill your savings. Ignore them. :)
5) Be willing to wait.
Just because something is on sale and has a coupon does NOT mean it is a great deal. For example, Wheat Thins were on sale this week for $2.75 a box. I have seen them a few times recently for $2 a box so I held onto my coupon knowing that I could most likely get a better price. I found them last week for $1.88 a box and paid a final price of .88 each for six boxes.