Coupon 101

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Couponing 101

Anyone can cut a coupon and use it, but if you want to maximize your savings here are a few tips.

1) Collect your coupons.

  • You need to get a few Sunday papers a week.  You can do this by of course paying full price for them or by  asking friends and family members to save the coupon inserts for you. Checking your local Dollar Tree . My Dollar Tree sells Sunday papers for $1.00. I have heard that some Walmarts also sell the Sunday paper for $1.00, so check there too.  Last resort you could always go over and check out your neighbors recycling bin!
  • Your local grocery stores normally offer coupons in the little blinky machines on the shelves.  Also, check items before you buy them for the “peelie” coupons.
  • The internet is the best place to find coupons for those items you need now.  You can go to one of the million coupon blogs, or coupon websites like Smart Source, Red Plum and almost all manufacturers offer coupons on their websites (Pillsbury, Colgate, etc) . Be careful printing coupons.  You can go through A LOT of ink fast. Make sure you are really going to be using the coupons before you start printing them.

2)Organize.

  • You have to have a way to organize all of your coupons.  A seasoned coupon shopper suggested I get a 3 ring binder and baseball card holder/sheet protectors.  You can find the protectors at most big retail stores. They are normally toward the front of the stores where all the baseball and trading type cards are kept. I keep all my coupons separated by the way the items are kept in the store, like frozen/dairy/baking, then I break them down even more into categories like ice cream/frozen dinners/frozen veggies.
  • Accordion type files and file folders are useful to keep your coupons in.  You can keep the coupons in the accordion file sorted by store and topic.  You can use the file folders to keep uncut coupons.
  • They also sell the Cadillac of all coupon organizers.  I posted a blog about it…check it out!

3) Know your store policies.

This is very important.  You need to ask your stores what their coupon policies are.  I’m sure you can check online as well.  It would be a good idea to have store policies in writing.  It never fails that you will have to go back to the service desk to get something corrected because the cashier doesn’t know the correct store policies.  Sometimes the managers don’t even know.  Some of the coupon blogs have store policies on their sites.

4) Be friendly!

  • Cashiers normally dread when they see me coming with my big’ol coupon binder.  I just smile and ask them how their day is going.  If someone gets in line behind me with a couple of items and I have a ton of coupons that day, I will politely let them know it may be a few minutes in-case they would like to pick another line.

5) Make sure to check for sales!

  • This is the way to save the most money. When an item goes on sale, and you have coupons on it making it a great deal, STOCK UP! Make sure to check your favorite coupon sites daily for the most updated sales flyers.  They usually post the flyers days before the sale starts, this gives you time to collect your coupons.  This is how you start to save on your grocery budget, one item at a time.  I will not have to buy toothpaste, deodorant, Shout, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, toothbrushes, and a few other items for the next year! Remember I just started using coupons a couple of weeks ago, and I do not go everyday.  I try to hit each of my stores once a week.  It just takes some planning.

I hope this information helps you start saving.  Once you start getting items for free you will be hooked like me and wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along !

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