I started actually trying to use coupons about three months ago and since then it's become a lot easier. Here are some tips that I want to share on how to coupon with a toddler. Couponing with a toddler seemed impossible at first, but now that I know a little more about couponing things seem to be getting easier. I'm not sure if it's the meltdowns in the cookie aisle, the trying to climb out of the cart during check out, or the million "mama, mama" moments while shopping that make it hard or if it's just me trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing. The other day I took advantage of a coupon at target and ended up saving $26 from my $55 purchase and even though I followed all my suggestions below I was at the check out stand sweating because I never know what my little guys going to do. So here you go, my 5 tips on couponing with a toddler.
1. Be organized
I think this goes for any couponer but for couponers with a toddler, this is key!! I am a fan of Facebook pages such as The Krazy Koupon lady ( http://thekrazycouponlady.com) and Hunt 4 Freebies coupons (http://hunt4freebies.com) and there are many more on Facebook, these sites tell you exactly what to do. They list what and how many items to purchase along with the coupons you need or links on where to print the coupons. I usually can only make it to one target run a week and maybe one CVS or Walgreens run so I keep a list going throughout the week and which ever store has the most deals or savings listed wins a visit from me and my little guy.
2. Have a plan
Once I figure out where I'm going I start gathering my coupons using a paper clip. I make my list of the price, coupon amount and any other rewards or bonuses so that I can follow along as I shop to make sure the prices are close to the same. I put all of the coupons for a trip to the particular store together, paper clip them and then put them in an envelope. The list is my plan.
3. Check it twice while shopping
During my shopping trip I track my items on the list and as I find the items I take the paper clipped coupons and move them into the envelope so that I can double check that I have the coupons needed for the actual items that I am buying. Sometimes I don't end up using all the coupons due to items being out of stock, unavailable or priced higher than I planned. I still take my big stash of coupons just in case I see something that would be a good deal but I rarely have time to browse and shop just for the heck of it. My little guy can only handle so much before he's ready to be out of whatever store we are visiting.
4. Pay attention during check out
Normally my little guy gets very antsy during check out so being organized, following my plan and checking my coupons as I shop makes the check out process so much easier. I usually have to place my items in the counter and carry my little guy because he tends to want to get out of the cart by this time. Paying attention to what items are ringing up is very important. In my recent Target run my $3.49 bag of coffee was ringing up at $12, huge difference, which thankfully I caught before I finished the transaction. I've had many issues during check out due to being preoccupied with my little guy. If he hasn't snacked during the trip this is a great time to give him a snack or maybe get his favorite car or toy from your purse for him to use during this time. During this particular target trip I even took a lollipop thinking that would help, but no, he doesn't usually get candy and it didn't phase him he licked it once and he was done.
5. Check your receipt in the car
It's happened several times to me, I'm checking out and can't pay attention to what everything is ringing up as. I always have a general idea of how much the total should be and when I get to the car I double check prices and sure enough I've found some mistakes. Checking in the car is easier for me because if it doesn't get fixed right then and there I know I probably won't have time to come back again and get the price adjusted.
As I mentioned I'm super new to this and I'm still learning but I'm really enjoying this new "game." I love seeing how much I save my family. So far I've been able to save us a good amount in groceries so that our diapers are paid for with our allotted grocery money instead of spending an additional $60 a month. I've found that I can find coupons for some stuff mostly snacks and toiletries and I've started bargain hunting for meat and produce. It does require me going to at least two grocery stores when I go on my grocery shopping run but it's totally worth it and with a toddler breaking the trip up into two smaller runs makes things a lot easier.