Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fundamentals of frugal shopping

This summer, I'll be teaching two community education courses at Waubonsee Community College: Public Speaking for Career Advancement and The Secrets of Savvy Shopping. Teaching a public speaking course is fine. I've done it before (for credit courses for four semesters) so I'm not worried. Teaching people how to get the deals is new to me, so I'll be bouncing a lot of my ideas and material off of my good readers.

Starting with:

Amanda's Five Fundamentals of Frugal Shopping (doesn't that sound snappy?)

1. Shop sales and use coupons to get the best deal.

2. Take advantage of all customer loyalty programs and rebates whenever possible.

3. Stockpiling: when something goes on sale, buy as many as you can reasonably afford, use and store.

4. Don't bother with brand or store loyalty. Buy the best deal and shop where the deals are.

5. Prepare for each shopping trip with a plan/list and stick to it!

In class, I'll cover the different rules of each area grocery/convenience store, when a warehouse club makes sense (it often doesn't), how to find and organize coupons for maximum efficiency, how to get many items for free or next to free at CVS and Walgreens, and how to tell if the deal is right for you.

Over the next few days, I'll focus on my coupon organization system...because that's where I'm having the most problems. My current system is featured above, and while it worked nicely for several months, it's no longer adequate. I'm working on one a little more Martha-worthy.

Join me as I sort this mess out.


Chicagolandia said...

Wow - looks like you'll have your hands full. If there's any help you need, just let me know. This is so exciting, someone who can teach actually teaching a couponing class!

teryn j. said...

I think this will be a really informative class, and knowing your personality, I think you'll make it really fun for your students. :)

I want to play devil's advocate, though... How does this work (especially the grocery shopping) for people who want to buy things that are organic, locally grown, and/or all-natural? What about people who object to shopping at Big Box stores, like Walmart, and/or who want to support local/small businesses, especially in this bad economy?

Amanda said...

Thanks for your encouragement! I almost have the coupon system in place--wait until you see what I ended up with. :)

Oh, the organic issue! I'm glad you are making me think about this now, before I get in the classroom and while I still have plenty of time to prepare. Finding coupons for organic stuff that is found at the big grocery stores is not difficult. Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen and Wild Harvest (Jewel) brand coupons are easy to find. I also come across coupons for produce and other healthy items fairly often. However, when it comes to where you shop, I can't help too much with that. All of my grocery shopping is done at Jewel and Dominicks, with the occasional trip to Super-Walmart and Super-Target thrown in. For local and locally-grown, I'd recommend joining a CSA. Or shopping at Woodman's, if you're in my area.

This gives me a ton of research to do--off I go!