Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Couponing, Where do I start?

I here this a lot. Friends and Family telling me they wish they could coupon but they don't know where or how to start. Successful couponing just takes a little bit of organization and time. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Follow these easy steps to get you started with successful couponing.

Step 1, Coupon Organization:
  • Organizing your weekly coupon inserts. You need something to separate your weekly coupon inserts. I use a file box with dividers and file folders. I label each divider with Sundays date each week and place the coupon inserts in folders labeled by insert type, SmartSource, RedPlum, P&G etc.... that way when a product goes on sale I can easily find the coupon insert that contains that products coupon. An accordion file would work good also.
  • Organizing your clipped coupons: You will need something to organize your clipped coupons. I use a binder with clear pocket pages and dividers. I have my binder divided by category, HBA, household,  pets etc... I divide my grocery coupons by sub categories, frozen, dairy, meat, bread etc... or you can organize your binder by your stores aisles. A binder is so nice because you can easily flip to the category to see what coupons you have. You can also use a coupon organizer file. These are small accordion files that fit easily in your purse. You can label the dividers as you choose just like the binder
  • Clip your coupons and organize: I clip at least one of each insert and put the coupons in my binder. The remaining inserts go into my file box. You can start off by just clipping the coupons that you know or think you may use and file the rest away. NEVER THROW AWAY A COUPON! you never know when that coupon could potentially become a moneymaker or freebie, even if it's a product you don't use, if you can get it for free you can donate it.
Step 2, Getting your coupons:
I often get asked, "Where do you get all your coupons from?" These are the 4 main ways I obtain coupons.
  • Local Newspapers: Where I live we have 3 newspapers, one for our city, and one for each of the major cities north and south of us. I purchase a minimum of 1 of each every week, coupons vary by region and the coupon inserts from the major cities tend to have more coupons in them then the smaller cities. I will go through each papers coupon inserts and decide if I need to purchase additional papers for specific coupons or if I will use a clipping service, which brings me to my next way of obtaining coupons.........
  • Coupon Clipping Service: If there is a specific coupon that I didn't receive in my papers, or I need a larger quantity of a certain coupon for a sale, I will purchase them from a coupon clipping service. I use Coupon Carryout, they are cheap, easy to work with, and ship fast. You also earn points for each purchase you make, and points can be redeemed for free coupons! They generally always have the coupons I am needing in stock, and they stock Sundays coupons every Monday, so you can order on Monday for a current sale and have your coupons before the sale is over! The best thing about a clipping service is the coupons arrive already clipped and ready to put in to your binder or file, and you can go back and order coupons from previous weeks or months that you may have missed. 
  • Printable Coupons: Probably about 50% of the coupons I use are printable coupons. There are new printable coupons released everyday! If I see a coupon for a product I use or may use I will print it and hold on to it for a sale. Printable coupons don't last a long time, they have print limits on them, so if you see one you think you may use print it, you never know when that awesome sale will come along to go with that coupon. Printable coupons can be found multiple ways.... on brand websites such as Kellogg's, coupon websites like coupons.com and RedPlum, on your favorite products Facebook pages, and on your stores website. You can print 2 coupons per computer with the majority of websites. Some of the best coupons are printable coupons, keep an eye out on the blog for postings of great printable coupons as I find them.
  • Digital coupons: Digital coupons are coupons that can be loaded directly to certain stores customer loyalty cards such as Kroger's and Rite-Aid. Digital coupons are great because you don't have to clip anything, you just log into your account, click the coupons you wish to load to your card and that's it! Coupons are automatically applied at checkout. Digital coupons do not double so if there is a paper coupon of the same offer that could potentially be doubled in your store use that instead and don't load the coupon to your card. Digital coupons cannot be stacked with paper coupons in most stores, unless you are purchasing multiples of the same item then you can use paper coupons for the additional items.
Step 3, Using your coupons:
So now you have your coupons and your organization systems in place its time to use those coupons and save! Keep an eye on the blog for money saving deals and coupon match ups to help you plan your shopping trips. Here's a few extra tips to help you maximize your coupon savings.

  • Shop at Drugstores: if you don't already, start shopping at drugstores. Walgreens and CVS are my two most favorite stores to coupon at. They offer rewards on purchases and have great sales on everyday items. Most of the free items I get are from Walgreens or CVS.
  • Shop weekly: Plan a weekly shopping trip to take advantage of each weeks sales. Purchase items that are on sale and have coupons even if you don't need the items at the moment, you will be happy you bought them on sale when you finally need them.
  • Take your coupons everywhere: I carry my coupons on me at all times to all stores, you never know when you might come across a good deal.
  • Shop Clearance aisles: Check out your stores clearance area often, I have gotten so many great deals on clearance items that I had a coupon for.
  • Familiarize yourself with your stores coupon policy: Print off a copy of your stores coupon policy and keep it in your binder or file. Different stores have different policies so it's a good idea to know what to expect in your store. Also, by having a copy of the policy on hand if you run into any troubles with a cashier at a store you can easily reference the stores policy.
  • Have fun: I think of couponing as a game. How much can I save today? There's nothing better than the rush you get when you walk out of a store with bags of items that you paid pennies on the dollar for.
So that pretty much sums it up. I could go on for awhile about couponing, but this is a good start. I will continue to post tips and suggestions so keep an eye out. Remember to have fun and enjoy the savings you get with using coupons. Have a tip you would like to share? Please feel free to comment below.

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  1. Great information! I think you answered all the questions I normally have about couponing. I'd love to start, so I need to try this out!

  2. OMW all of you with these awesome tips to starting couponing. THANK YOU!

  3. WOW! Quite the amount of work you put into it.. :) Your savings must be unbelievable!

  4. I love the digital coupons. I wish they were all digital coupons that we could put on one card and carry that card around to different stores and use it. Just think how great that would be!

  5. This is a great post. I'm one of those "what do I DO" couponers, to the point I have given up for a while now. It seems that things I buy never have coupons and I don't have a store near me that doubles or does all that fancy stuff. However, I do like to see how others get it to work for them!

  6. Great tips. I will have to use some

  7. Great tips on better couponing - thanks!

  8. This was a great (easy to read/understand) post! Thanks for sharing! I will be checking out Coupon Carryout!

  9. I used to be so so so good at couponing, but I've slacked off way too much in the last couple of years. These are all good tips.

  10. Thank you for this! It can seem so overwhelming!

  11. Great ideas! Thanks for encouraging me to shop smarter:)

  12. Great tips! These will be very helpful to beginner couponers

  13. Great posts. Simple and to the point!