I’ve always had the best intentions when it comes to coupons.
Yes, I’m going to clip coupons for the brands and products I regularly buy. No, I’m not going to wait until they expire before I remember to even take them to the store with me.
Definitely not going to do that.
Everyone’s been there, right?
You watch your mom diligently clip coupons and stick to her shopping list for years. But once you’re on your own, it’s all hangry shopping and impulse buys.
It’s like I needed a substitute mom to accompany me to the grocery store and keep me out of spending trouble.
And I think I found the perfect match: Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson!
Here are five reasons I love this long-running blog and shopping tool:
1. She Includes Chains I Already Shop
Coupon Mom’s deals are for stores where I actually shop.
Hooray for Target, Publix and CVS, instead of some far-flung specialty store I’ll never visit.
The menu across the top of the site makes it easy to find grocery, drugstore and restaurant coupons, and major national chains appear when you hover over the categories — no hunting and pecking required.
2. The Deals Are Easy to Get
I know I should be stacking my deals using extra reward programs, but let’s be honest.
Sometimes you have so much to keep track of you can’t imagine adding one more loyalty or rewards program to the list of logins you rarely remember on the first try.
So I’m glad Coupon Mom makes it easy to get the discounts she posts. A considerable number of the deals on Nelson’s blog are practically foolproof.
Sure, I can combine a mail-in rebate with an in-store discount to get a product for free. Easy enough.
And I can definitely flip through the coupon insert in the Sunday paper to take advantage of coupons for products — and then get an extra discount with my CVS ExtraCare card, for example. (I spend a lot of time at CVS. Now it’s time better spent.)
And since Coupon Mom does the math for me, I know exactly how much I’ll save.
No fuss, no muss.
3. She Reminds Me to Help My Community
Nelson explains in her FAQ that CouponMom.com is free in order to raise hunger awareness in our communities.
She doesn’t tell you what charities to support, but instead encourages you to get to know a food bank in your community.
Coupon Mom’s weekly grocery lists of deals at major stores includes items marked “charity.” They’re sale items like toothbrushes, diapers or non-perishable food ideal to purchase and donate to your local pantry or shelter.
“You will be able to feed the hungry in your community with some of your own savings!” she says, noting many of these charity-labeled items on the weekly shopping list are free — or nearly free — after applying a coupon.
If you’re saving big by pairing coupons with store sales, it’s likely you can spend an extra buck or two picking up a spare item to give to someone else.
It’s nice to have a small reminder to do good while you’re saving.
4. She Makes It Easy to Stick to My Grocery List
Forget dumpster-diving to get stacks of discarded coupons.
Coupon Mom’s system requires just an Internet connection, a printer and the coupons from your Sunday paper.
Yes, you have to invest about $5 on the weekly paper, but think of the perks.
You get the coupons, you stay current on local news and you can reuse newspapers for everything from a cleaning tool to wrapping paper.
When you go to CouponMom.com to check your store’s weekly deals, customize the list and print only the items you actually need.
Then it’s just a matter of using Coupon Mom’s simple coding system to pull the corresponding coupons from your newspaper.
You’ll need to save each week’s coupon booklets for a while to make the most of the coupons-plus-grocery-list equation, but it’s worth it.
Instead of binders full of tiny clipped sheets, you only need a manila envelope of coupon booklets.
5. I Get Coupon Email Reminders
There’s no email spam here.
Since signing up for Coupon Mom, the only emails I’ve gotten are actually about coupons — not about signing up for other websites or getting roped into weird deals.
Nelson’s team adds coupons to the website and sends reminder emails when the brand-categorized coupons have been restocked.
Click on the ones you want, print and shop.
I love to save money, but I don’t like to spend a lot of time searching for bargains. The grocery store is crazy enough without me standing in the middle of an aisle, sorting through a sheaf of notes and coupons.
Coupon Mom helps me streamline my shopping and get out the door quicker… and just a little bit richer!
Your Turn: Have you checked out Coupon Mom? What’s your favorite part of her site?
Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor and podcaster living in Washington, D.C. She’s never been great with scissors.