The Basics of Couponing
This photo is an example of what you can get for free or very cheap by clipping coupons.
Coupons. You wouldn’t think this word could bring out a strong reaction in people, but it does. One type of person refuses to use them because they consider them to be too much hassle or that it’s embarrassing to use them. Another type of person just doesn’t care about the money savings so they never think about coupons. The third type (which I fall into) enjoys using coupons, the thrill of the hunt and saving my family money.
I consider it a way for me to contribute to our family budget by finding things that we would buy anyway for free or really cheap. If you are not brand loyal it’s very easy to go years without paying for toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, makeup, cereal, razors and more. I also use my stockpile to share with family and friends.
Couponing doesn’t have to be hard, but it can take a bit to get the hang of what works for you and your schedule. Here are some tips on getting started.
- Find which stores in your region of the country have the best deals. CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and Walgreen’s all have great deals that combine with coupons each week.
- Search for deal sites and subscribe to their lists. They will do all the coupon matching work for you.
- If you can get a product you won’t use for free with a coupon, get it anyway. You can easily find someone you know who will want it. Or give to homeless shelters or crisis pregnancy centers.
- Don’t clear a shelf when you find a good deal. Even if you have 10 coupons, it’s polite to leave some for other deal hunters in your area.
- Rebates are great ways to try new things, but make a copy of your documents before you mail them in. This will guarantee that you will get paid.
- When I get the Sunday coupons each week, I put the date on the front cover with a sharpie marker. Then later when a deal source says (SS 9/29), I know that means the coupon is in the September 29th Smart Source insert. Then I don’t waste time each week cutting out coupons I would never use.
- SS stands for Smart Source, RP stands for Red Plum and P&G is for the once a month proctor and gamble insert. Almost every deal site uses these initials and dates to reference coupons.
- I find that sales/coupons go in a cycle and as you learn to coupon you will find the patterns in your area.
- I buy a double paper each week. Also my aunt and uncle give me theirs each week.
- Coupons don’t come out on holiday weekends, so don’t waste money on papers those weeks.
- It can be harder to find deals on organics and fresh food, but places like Sprouts have good sales and allow coupons.
Last of all, some things will always be cheaper at stores that don’t take coupons. I have learned over time what kinds of things are good coupon deals and you can too based on your family needs. Anyone else coupon? What are your best money saving tips?
Thanks for sharing Louanne. I have heard about couponing but not really gotten my head around it. In my country we do not have this.