My list of Beginners’ Couponing Tips

3 07 2011

This is a list of tips I have put together for new couponers.  Allow me to clarify one thing, this is NOT a coupon blog.  My intention for this site is to provide a one-stop-shop for information relevant to raising children, and how to save money on baby care items.  However, since couponing IS a major help in baby-care savings, and many of my readers are not coupon savvy as yet… I thought it would be helpful to publish some basic couponing info to help get you started. So here it is… Enjoy!

Richelle’s Tips for Couponing

       Keep it simple, and make it your own. Don’t expect to be an expert immediately.  You will learn a lot with experience.  Someone else’s organizer does not YOUR system make.  Find an organizing method that works for your personality and your needs.  I use a three ring binder with baseball card holder sheets, and tabs for easy categorizing.  Some folks like to use a box system, or an envelope system.  There are lots of ways to store and organize coupons.  Use the one that suits you best.

Be Brand Flexible. You can either be serious about getting a certain brand… Or you can be serious about savings.   At the end of the day, does it really matter which brand of toothpaste you use?  My teeth say no!  There are times when (for medical reasons like an allergy) that you must stick with a particular brand of product.  That’s ok.  Just resolve that for everything else, you will NEVER pay full price again.  Besides the amazing savings, this type of buying allows you to try lots of products that you would normally never buy—because you get them very inexpensively (or free!).

If you don’t have one already, develop a budget.   Determine your grocery and non-food household purchase budget for each month.  You will probably find after a few months couponing—that your budget has leftover dollars at the end of the month, and you’ll have to find a place for that extra to go J.  The more you save using coupons, the more you will want to use them—which will help you to get good at getting deals in pretty quick order.  However, if you do not have a budget in place, you could fall into the trap of overspending just because you had coupons.  This brings me to my next point:

Just because you HAVE a coupon doesn’t mean you need to use it right away (or at all).  Usually during the life of a coupon, the best deals don’t come out until that coupon has been out a week or 2.  If you spend a coupon right after it comes out—you will likely miss out on a better deal that you could have gotten, had you waited another week.  Of course the exceptions to this are if you can get an item for free or better than free—take it, while the getting is good!  If you KNOW you will not use a product that you have a coupon for… Don’t even clip that coupon.  Put it aside instead, to send to overseas troops (ask me about this when you have a bunch ready to send).

Learn the Lingo.  Many coupon blogs (My faves are www.thekrazycouponlady.com, www.moneysavingmom.com,) have “coupons 101” articles.  They are brief, but offer an overview of couponing terminologies and abbreviations.  Read them, and get familiar with the terms so that when a deal comes available, you will understand it, and know how to get that deal.

Save ads and inserts.  In your Sunday paper most weeks, there are usually coupon inserts.  There may be one or more of the following in any given week: Smartsaver, Red Plum, P&G Saver (P&G is Proctor and Gamble).  These are the most common, but dig a little because sometimes there are others too.  In addition to the inserts, there should be a plethora of store ads.  SAVE THESE.  Store ads tell you what is on sale in any given week for your stores.  They also contain Store coupons (which can be used in combination with manufacturer coupons!).  Knowing what is on sale and when is the key to huge savings.

Know where to get coupons.  Coupons may be found in many places.  There are online printables at www.coupons.com, www.smartsource.com, www.redplum.com, and others.  Your Sunday paper  is also a great resource for finding coupons.  Some magazines have coupons too.  ALLYou is a coupon-full magazine that you can buy at any Walmart.  Grocery stores offer coupons many times too.  Among these are “Blinkies” (the ones you find in the aisles that come out of a blinking dispenser near whatever product they are for), “Peelies” (these are manufacturer coupons taped right to the products themselves.  They usually say something like “SAVE $1.00 NOW!!!”).  Then you have catalinas.  Catalinas are the coupons that print out when you have checked out. They are handed to you by the cashier—usually with your receipt.  There are also coupon clipping services available.  With the click of a mouse, you can order whole inserts, and/or clipped coupons for much less hassle than having to get them from the paper.  My favorite clipping service is www.couponsthingsbydede.com. She charges a flat rate $6.00 shipping charge (so order enough to make it worthwhile), and her turnaround time is really fast. Ebay is another great source for clipped coupons and whole inserts.   Some stores have their own monthly coupon books, full of store coupons (which, again—can be used WITH manufacturer coupons).  There are more ways to get coupons—but these should give you plenty to start with.

Check ahead and know what’s on sale, and when.   Through the magic of the internet, you can see what will be in the store ads—weeks ahead of time for some stores.  Here are addresses for Rite Aid and Walgreens advance ads: www.iheartriteaid.com and www.iheartwags.comWhen the page for these sites open, look to the right of the screen, and you will see a list of week-long date ranges.  Click on one of them and the ad will appear for that week.  Usually she has ads available 3 to 4 weeks before they actually come out—so it gives you time to gather all the coupons you will need to get the best deals on whatever you need.  www.weusecoupons.com is great for if you have questions about where to find the best deal on something.  There is a huge coupon forum there, with lots of veteran couponers who are more than willing to answer your questions.  They also have a comprehensive coupon database where you can search for coupons by product name.

Are you on Facebook?   If you are, then “liking” coupon bloggers (Like The Krazy Coupon Lady, and Money Saving Mom, and others) will help you to easily spot deals without having to search for them.  The deals will pop up in your live feed.  This is just a nice way of letting others do the deal-finding foot-work for you.

Walmart does not  always offer the best deals, but they DO price match and accept others’ coupons!  You will find that drug stores and grocery chains will house your best savings.  This is contrary to what you thought you knew about savings… But it’s absolutely true.  However, sometimes, if you go to a drug store and find that they are out of an item you had on your list, remember that Walmart price matches competitor ad prices… So you can probably go to Walmart and get the same item you were going to get at the drug store, at a similar price.

That’s enough to get you started for right now.  The most important thing is to HAVE FUN and save some bucks. Feel free to post your questions here, or you can visit my facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parentstop/185544684820528

 

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: