Welcome back to Give Me The Details! Today I feel very lucky because I’m talking to a lovely lady who is one of my own personal gurus! When my family moved to sunny Tampa four years ago I found that the grocery stores I was used to shopping at back in the Midwest did not exist here in Florida and it was all about Publix! I had been couponing for several years and wanted to continue to do so but I had no idea how to coupon at Publix.
I stumbled upon Cristina Morris’s website and Facebook page and it was a game changer! When I say that I religiously follow Cristina each week as a member of her Facebook group and on her website- I truly mean it! She does such a great job helping a new couponer learn and telling new and seasoned couponers exactly what’s on sale and where you can find the coupons for these items. She was the best help a new transplant to Florida could had wanted to continue to coupon in the beginning and still is now to me years later!
When I began couponing 5 years ago, it seemed overwhelming! It appeared there were so many rules, so much preparation and so much time involved in order to save a few bucks. I feel this is why many people decide to not even try-the whole process appears too much and some feel they don’t have the time or energy to put into grocery shopping trips. Some busy folks just want to run in and get it done already!! What if I told you I personally save thousands of dollars a year on my groceries…do I have your interest?
I reached out to Cristina because I wanted you to hear how to begin to coupon from the smartest person I know in the subject matter of couponing. I rely on her website to save me time and money! I feel honored that Cristina was willing to talk to me and I want to share some of her knowledge with you. So without further ado I give you my couponing mentor Cristina Morris:
Tell me a little about yourself and your family:
“I am originally from the Philippines. I am a stay at home mom to my 5 children, 4 girls and 1 baby boy. I homeschool my older children. My hobby is couponing and my children are my couponing buddies. I grew up very poor, we didn’t even have much of a house. It was a grass hut with holes in the roof and we’d have to rebuild each year when hurricanes would blow it away. I moved to the island of Cebu after graduation where I met my husband. He brought me to the US and I hardly knew any English. I actually learned most of my English originally from watching Judge Judy on television. I would watch her every day for months until I could say some words in English and understand them. I still struggle even now with some words.
My first shopping trip in the United States was a trip to buy some rice-a staple for all meals in the Philippines. The employees were so kind and friendly at Publix. To top that off it was the BEST rice I’d ever had! I fell in love with Publix right then! I shopped for 9 years at Publix without coupons but in 2010 things got tight at home and I knew I had to find a way to save money. One day, thanks to another show “Extreme Couponing” I had my answer. I watched a lady on the show get a car trunk full of Maruchan Noodles for free! I wanted free noodles too! I watched this episode over and over but they never mentioned that coupon blogs existed. I began to study the Publix website, made a few mistakes in the beginning but changed my focus to one or two items per week I could stock up on with coupons. This is where it all started.”
Tell me a little about your business:
“I have a couponing website, Publix Savings 101, https://publixsavings101.com/. I created this website and my Facebook page to teach people how to use coupons at Publix. I post Publix weekly sales and match those items with coupons for maximum savings. I find the deals by going in store and getting the ads as early as possible. The group continues to grow faster than I ever imagined!”
Why do you think so many people don’t use coupons and why should they start using them?
“I think many people don’t use coupons maybe because they think it takes time. Find a legitimate coupon blogger for a store that you like to shop at. Follow that blogger’s match ups and it’s pretty easy after that. If you have a Publix Super Markets near you, check out my website and I’ll guide you.”
What are some easy ways to save money on grocery shopping trips?
“The easiest way to save money is by using coupons. You can also start by simply watching the sale ad. At Publix most things that we need are often Buy One Get One Free in the weekly ad-from fresh meat to produce to household items.”
Are there certain coupons that you get really excited about?
“Any high value coupons get me excited, especially ones for laundry detergents or baby item coupons (diapers, wipes, formula, etc).”
How long does it take you to plan your weekly trip to the grocery? What do you like to be stocked up on in your home?
“Usually it takes me about 30 minutes if I have a lot of coupons. If I’m low on detergent I buy more if the price is low enough, that sort of thing. I’m not big on meal planning but I know many people who take that into consideration as well. I stock up on items that we really need like laundry detergent, body wash, paper towels and bathroom tissue. I also like to stock up on diapers and wipes.”
How do you organize your coupons for your shopping trip?
“I clip and print coupons that I need for that week’s trip. I have reached the point where I don’t buy much anymore since I’m pretty stocked up on almost everything.”
***Janet’s own tip as a couponer-sort your coupons in order of the aisles you’ll be visiting. Have two separate envelopes-one for coupons that you have the product for in your cart you’ll be buying and one for the aisles you haven’t hit yet. Once you get to the register one envelope should be empty and the other envelope will contain all the coupons you’ll be using.
Can you tell me something we wouldn’t guess about the behind the scenes of the website?
“You mean like the fact that I spent too many hours in front of the computer and staring at my phone quite a bit of the day? (Laughs). It can be exhausting, a lot of time goes into the website. I’m lucky to have admins on the site now helping out. The biggest challenge right now is the cost of running the whole business, it’s not cheap.”
Why are you passionate about couponing and what are some benefits of it for you and others?
“Saving money is very important to my family. I also feel good knowing that I am helping someone else save money as well. I feel the benefits of saving money on groceries for me and my followers is important because the money we save can be used on other things or just planned saved!”
CRISTINA’S COUPONING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
1. Don’t go shopping hungry. If you do you’ll buy more things that you don’t need or you weren’t planning to get.
2. If your store is out of a sale item, any advertised sale item from the weekly ad, or green or purple flyers-get a rain check at Publix. Then you can come back another day and buy that item at the same sale price by giving the cashier the rain check. Rain Checks are good for 30 days.
3. Buy newspaper coupon inserts in bulk, it may be cheaper than getting them from the Sunday paper. There are company’s out there that sell them-one is listed on the Publixsavings101 website for example. There’s also a coupon database on Cristina’s site that can come in handy, just type in the brand name you’re looking for and search.
4. Load Publix digital coupons onto your Publix account. Publix coupons do not double but this is a very easy way to start saving. You can sign on for digital coupons on Publix.com.
5. Look for hangtags (hung on the product), peelies (a sticker on the product), tear pads (in the grocery aisle), and blinkies (a coupon dispenser in the aisle) around your store while shopping.
6. Plan your trip! This is the part Cristina will try to make easier for you guys by telling you a few days in advance of the sale to get prepared so that you have your coupons ready and when the sale starts head on in.
7. Always notate the dates listed below the deal picture-make sure you know from what date to what date the sale runs. The weekly sale matchups run from different times than the purple flyer or the green flyer do.
8. Know your couponing lingo-for example BOGO means buy one get one free or PQ means publix coupon, GC means gift card, OOP means out of pocket. (You can find couponing lingo terms and what they mean on Cristina’s website).
9. You find even more tips for beginners at https://publixsavings101.com/beginners-guide-for-new-couponers/.
I want to say a huge thank you to Cristina for taking the time to talk to me today! If you’re interested in joining the Publix Savings 101 Facebook Group-here is a link to join myself and many others keen to save each week https://www.facebook.com/publixsavings101/. If one of your goals is to start saving money on groceries, I’ll hope you’ll step into September and try couponing out! Your wallet will thank you!
Stay tuned this month as I will continue to bring you ideas for Stepping Into September on your best foot! Janet