I've been extreme couponing for 10 months -- 10 months! Can you believe that? In some ways it feels like yesterday, still new and a little overwhelming at times. In other ways, it seems like we've always shopped this way, because it's second nature to spot great stockpiling deals and pass on other deals that aren't really deals at all. What's really interesting is that after almost a year of shopping this way, I can still get excited about new ideas and new tools for extreme couponing.
Last week, TW sent me a link to a great idea for donating items that almost every extreme couponer has a large supply of -- granola bars, bandaids, toothpaste, chapstick. Create blessing bags and pass them out when the opportunity arises (or create that opportunity!):
You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.
Credit Image: JavaJoba on Flickr
And it's so easy to create these bags -- it takes a few minutes and a little of your excess stockpile. This is just so brilliant; we'll be making these bags and since Michelle will be spending next weekend in the city, I think I'll ask her to take some along and hand them out.
Great idea, right? Here's another interesting idea that caught my eye during last week's Extreme Couponing show.
Kelly was on the show last season and she was shown using her iPad to organize her shopping trip. I didn't pay a lot of attention, because it looked like a plain-ole-spreadsheet to me and goodness knows I do not need more spreadsheets in my life. But when Kelly was on again last week, they showed her using her iPad again and they called it an "app" -- well an app is not the same thing as a spreadsheet! While I'm anti-spreadsheet, I'm very pro-app.
So I sort of stopped watching the show and searched for this app she was using ... only to find out, it's not an app after all. Sigh. It's a spreadsheet. (Total letdown ...) But it's a very cool spreadsheet.
I downloaded the WorkingMomCoupons.com iPad spreadsheet (for Numbers) -- it costs $4.99, and I played with it for awhile. It really is very useful if you are hardcore about tracking your deals and your spending.
You enter the name of the item, the regular price, the sale price, the number of coupons you're using and -- because you've already provided the store's coupon policy -- it totals your out-of-pocket cost and savings. There's even a spot to enter your Register Rewards/Catalinas/ECBs for a final total. And, it will track YTD spending/savings.
If you are hardcore about tracking your shopping trips, your spending, and your savings -- then this IS a must-have tool. (You can also download an Excel version if you don't have an iPad or don't have Numbers installed on your iPad.)
Here's one last tip that I've been thinking about but haven't actually done -- Create Two Lists:
1. Must Have List (in the beginning this will be large) 2. Stockpile list (in the beginning this will be small)
This makes a lot of sense, and I almost wish I had started out this way. I was too busy dragging my feet about the whole stockpile thing that I didn't start out smart. If you're just starting out -- start smart. Make two lists!
I'm working on my two lists right now -- or more accurately, three lists. I'm creating a third list of stockpile items that we're running low on so I should keep watch for. (I can't help it, I like lists!)
Give these ideas a try and share some of your own ideas, please.
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