UPDATE: I can no longer recommend Money Saving Queen. Follow the link below for more information. I will update this post as soon as possible to new links for saving money with matchups.
I have been singing the praises of the Money Saving Queen for several years. I have lots of friends who say “I need to figure out how to save money at the grocery store like you do”, but when I ask if they use matchups, they don’t know what they are or how to use them.
Couponing doesn’t have to be complicated. You can spend as much or as little time couponing as you like. Anything you do that is more than you were doing before is going to help, right? I think that the biggest time savings in the least amount of time can be had by using matchups. And it can be as simple as scanning the matchup for your favorite store before you walk out the door on grocery day. Skim through the matchup for things that are already on your list, and for things that your family uses on a regular basis. Many items will include a link to a printable coupon – so you can save even if you don’t clip coupons from the Sunday paper. Just click the link, print the coupon, and walk out the door.
Here is an example of what you might see when you look at a matchup on MoneySavingQueen.com. (excerpt taken from the Country Mart matchup I posted on MSQ last week). Matchups are available for many national chains like Target, Walgreens, and CVS, as well as many local stores for those of us here in Oklahoma.
Lean Cuisine Market Creations, 10-10.5 Oz. Select Varieties 2/$6
Lean Cuisine Meals, 5-11.5 Oz. Select Varieties 2/$5
$1/4 Lean Cuisine Varieties, 5-16 oz or 4/29 SS
=$9/4 – $11/4
New York Garlic Texas Toast, Twin Pack $3.99
$0.50/1 New York Frozen Product 7/22 SS Insert
Sister Schubert’s Rolls, 6 Ct. Or 11-15.8 Oz. Select Varieties 2/$5
Sister Schubert’s Sausage Or Cinnamon Rolls, 16-18 Oz. 2/$6
.50/1 Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls Product
It may look like a foreign language at first – but it’s really not that hard. The first bold line tells you the product that is on special this week and the price at the store. The second line (and sometimes more than one line) shows you what coupons are available. Some will be clickable links to coupons you can print, while others will show a date and code (SS, P&G, etc) which are coupons you can get from inserts in the newspaper. If you need a list of those codes and what they mean it can be found here. The last line is the cost of the product after the coupon (if purchase of multiple items is required it is indicated by something like “$2/2”. That means you have to buy two at a total cost of $2).
If you want to save a little more, just type the other items on your list into theCoupon Database. You can find out if any coupons are available for those items, and many of them are also printable. Click the link, print the coupon, and walk out the door.
Are you enjoying this game yet? It gets addicting. If you are looking for even more savings, check the Walgreens and CVS matchups as often as possible for toiletries. You can often get items like shampoo, toothpaste, and razors free or nearly free at these stores. Watch for the deals, and stock up when they happen and you may never have to run out and buy another full priced bottle of shampoo again!
And that brings me to my last tip about using matchups. Stockpile! That doesn’t mean hoard. I’m certainly not talking about buying 63 bottles of mustard or cans of corn. But when you see a really good deal on things your family uses regularly, get enough to last a month or two. That should carry you over until the next good deal comes along.