7.22.2011

Saving Money in Med School: Coupons 101

In case you haven't realized it yet, I am a teensy tiny bit frugal.   I've always been very money conscious (probably thanks to my parents taking taxes out of my allowance as a kid!), but when we got our first tuition bill for med school, I had a minor conniption.  Since then, I've been tightening our budget as much as possible by cutting out the excess, waiting for stores to have deals and using coupons.  If there's a dollar to save, we save it.  Since many of you are wives of medical students who are in the same boat (or maybe are just looking to save some money!), I thought I'd share what I've learned thus far in a few posts throughout the next couple of weeks to maybe save you some hassle.


Disclaimer for this post: I totally don’t claim to be an expert in saving money or couponing by any means, but I have saved almost $2000 in the past nine or so months by using coupons, stacking coupons, and matching the coupons with the store sales.  We’ve also been subscribing to get the Sunday newspaper for a while now, and the cost of the subscription each week is easily compensated by the amount I save by clipping the coupons from the inserts!  I mostly save the big bucks on toiletries, cleaning products and paper goods, since the bulk of the coupons are for processed/convenience foods, which the Hubby and I don’t normally eat.  But there are some good coupons out there for certain food items we use – coffee, occasionally different brands of produce, cereal, pasta, yogurt, salad dressing, etc.


Finding Coupons
The first thing you have to do is get your hands on some coupons!  Like I hinted above, the Sunday newspaper is going to be your best source.  You can also print many coupons online (as well as find a coupon code for practically any website you're ordering from online).

Here are some of my favorite websites for printing coupons.  You will have to download their printing software once.  These are all for manufacturer’s coupons, so coupons directly from the brand:
They update these websites periodically (maybe once a week, with a big update once a month?), so there's always new coupons to print. 

Stacking Coupons
The biggest way to watch the savings really rack up is to know that you can use a manufacturer’s coupon (so a coupon actually from a company, that says “manufacturer’s coupon” on the top) AND a store coupon (a coupon you print off of a store's website, that says “Target Coupon” or “Meijer Coupon” on the top) at once on one single item.  If you have one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon, and the item is on sale, you are golden!  This is what to look for to see the biggest savings. 

So let’s say that Crest toothpaste is on sale for $2.00 at Target, and you have a manufacturer’s coupon from Crest for $1, and Target coupon for $1 off Crest…that means you can use the sale price and stack both coupons to get free toothpaste!

Store Coupon Printing Websites
There are two websites that I use to get my Meijer coupons (sorry if you don't live in the Midwest and don't get to experience the glory of Meijer...you truly are missing out!):

  • http://www.meijermealbox.com/ (If you click in the little box on the right hand side, the tab that says “specials” you can choose coupons there. To print them, click on the “shopping list” tab and then “print.”  You can stack these with manufacturer’s coupons).

  • https://www2.meijer.com/mperks/ (You don’t have to print these out!  Just log in with your phone number to “clip” them to your account, and then when you are checking out at the store, you just hit the mPerks logo on the credit card screen and punch in your phone number and it should automatically deduct any applicable coupons).  

And Target shoppers, you can head to this site to print coupons: http://coupons.target.com (Sometimes Target will have manufacturer’s coupons on their website as well as Target store coupons – so you just have to check to see if it says “store” on top to see if you can stack the coupons!  They will also have coupons for apparel and accessories, and often baby goods).

That's where I get the vast majority of my coupons and how I use them...Hopefully you found it helpful!  I've got a few favorite general money saving websites that I'll share with you soon. 

5 comments:

  1. MJ - Do you use www.Mint.com? It's the most comprehensive, free and easy budgeting website. It pulls all of your financial information automatically and categorizes all transactions and creates budgets for you (and allows you to create personalized savings budgets, etc.) Highly recommend if you are interested!!!

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  2. Great post! Now to get our darn printer working. :P

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  3. Thanks for the heads up! And glad you didn't just post about crazy couponing! YOu are a practical couponer- which is something I am trying to be as well! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. You have no idea the pain I feel when you speak of Meijer! I am not a fan of Walmart and the Kingman Walmart is the king of them all!! Oh Meijer, how I miss thee!
    Love you MJ!
    Susie

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  5. I do use Mint.com, Liz, and I LOVE it!

    Practical couponing is the best...as is Meijer!

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