Hello guys and gals, are you still with me? It’s awfully quiet out there…
Let’s just dive right in today, shall we? The first thing anyone ever asks me when they find out I’m a couponer is, “OK, but how much do you really save?” and then their jaw drops when I tell them I routinely save anywhere from 40 – 98% on my purchases. Here’s proof:

That’s 98% off at Target folks. Now, I know what you’re saying to your computer screen right now. “Well sure Christina, you saved 98% on three of the same item. But what about big trips to the store?” Here’s the truth. I don’t make big trips to the store and I don’t spend my days running from store to store either. I simply don’t shop the way most people do and today we’ll take a look at the first step toward changing your shopping habits – matching your coupons to sales to maximize your percent off. 
Now, not every store allows you to use coupons on sale items (craft stores are notorious for this), but most of the time you’re shopping at places like Target and the grocery store for the things your family needs most and you can always cash in big at those stores by doing match ups. 
People always tell me they don’t have time to sit down and figure out what’s on sale where and which coupon to use and honestly, neither do I, but I do. If you really want to make this work, you will. And with a couple of secrets that us couponing mavens know, you’ll do it a lot faster than you think.
Secret #1 – Most of those coupons you’re clipping are already tied to upcoming sales. From the time you clip, there will probably be a sale on that item at one of your favorite stores (for me it’s Target and Wegmans) in the next two to four weeks. Keep an eye out for the items you use most. 
Take the example in the picture above. Back in July, Heinz put out coupons for a dollar off of one bottle of vinegar any size. I knew that was a pretty good coupon and I use a ton of vinegar so I kept my eyes peeled. Within two weeks, Target ran a sale on the regular sized bottles of Heinz distilled white vinegar for a dollar and apple cider vinegar for $1.07. I had clipped three coupons and cashed in big the next time I was passing by Target. I paid seven CENTS for three bottles! 
Secret #2 – While we may not have time to scour every sale flyer for sales and hours to match up our coupons each week, other people do. There are many, many bloggers out there who do this day in and day out to make sure you get the best deals. I use them religiously in addition to making sure I’m on top of sales at the stores I use most. (I generally make sure I at least do my own grocery match ups since grocery stores are regional.) Here are a few of my favorites (with more to come in upcoming posts plus a handy dandy resource list printable coming at the end of the month – I got yo back, y’all):
Totally Target (all things Tar-jay)
Wild for Wags (Walgreens deals!)
Addicted to Saving (Great if you live in the Southeast especially)
The lovely ladies who run those sites do all the leg work and put out weekly (and daily!) match ups that cut your time in half. All you have to do is make a note of the items you’d purchase, grab your coupons and go!
Final thoughts:
When you’re starting out, start small. Trips like the one I made above might not seem like much but if you can pick one or two items to focus on at a time (in the beginning) those trips add up! Some of the best advice I was ever given was not to think of that crazy percentage as a “total cart” percentage, but rather your percent saved on each item. If you can work in small trips where you’re matching sales and coupons and saving even 50% on each item in your cart, that’s a total of 50% off your entire purchase!
You can do this! 
Questions? Comments? I want to hear your feedback! Also, if you live in a specific region of the US and need help finding a match up site, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help out.

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