How to Use a Coupon and Tips – Coupons 101
First of all, what is "couponing"?
A lot of people do not understand how you can take a $ 0.50 off coupon and save so much money, get things for free, or even make money! It's possible, I do it all the time, and you can do it too. Here is the basic concept that has to be applied when using coupons: Only use a coupon when paired up with a sale! Here's an example of what this means:
If you have a coupon for $ 0.50 off Libby's Green beans and you take that to the store and pick up a can that is priced normally at $ 1.00, then you are going to pay $ 0.50 and therefore you will have only saved $ 0.50. NOW, lets say that you wait until you see those green beans go on sale for $ 0.50 (and they most likely will) then after your $ 0.50 coupon, you will get these for FREE! Also, if your stores double coupons, you will have just made $ 0.50 to go towards the rest of your order! So really, that's the secret to using coupons. I help make this easier for you by providing you with free lists of sales matched with coupons and post any good deals I find at stores with coupons.
You will find that you will not have to pay for many different necessities again! Such as, toothpaste, razors (even the nice ones), toothbrushes, deodorants, soaps and more! I remember when I first heard this and thought to myself "say what" ?! Yes, this is very true and the stores you will be getting them for free from are Rite Aid, Walgreen's, & CVS!
Where do I get my coupons you ask? Well, there are MANY different places to get coupons …
· Sunday Newspaper – These are the mega coupon papers! You will want to get one (or more) every Sunday. They will have coupon inserts in them including Red Plum (RP), Smart Source (SS), Proctor & Gamble (P & G). Occasionally you will get bonus inserts including, General Mills (GM), Target and more.
· Printable Coupons (from the Internet) – My favorite sites to print coupons from are Coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, and Target (yes, they have coupons)!
· Magazines – All You Magazine is a great one to get. You can find these at Walmart or you can get a subscription here. It is full of manufacturer coupons. Also, the Parents magazine is a great one that has good coupons for parents such as, Gymboree, Amazon diapers and more.
· Products you purchase – Keep in mind that on a lot of boxes of items you buy, there are coupons! For example, my box of Tide Laundry Detergent had $ 4 in coupons in the inside cardboard.
· Tear Pad or Blinkie – these are found in the Grocery stores and have coupons on them that you can take.
· Peelie – Coupon sticker found on the outside of a product.
· Catalina – These will print on the back of your receipt or with your receipt and usually for an item similar to something you purchased.
· Coupon Trains – Consider circulating and trading coupons via mail with family & friends.
Tips before hitting up the stores!
· Start out slowly and do not plan on getting in on every single deal or it will all feel overwhelming! When I first started, I would find a good deal and go out and get it but I found I was doing this way too often and really just using a lot of gas. Understand that you do not need to get every deal.
· Be organized! I shop one day a week and the night before my shopping day, I get my lists ready and coupons together. I choose Sunday because you will see that on Saturday I post the coupon matched lists and Sunday is when the new ads start (for drugstores where you will find a ton of great deals).
· Figure out a way that best suites you to organize your coupons. This is so important because if your coupons are not organized, you are going to get stressed out when you can not find certain coupons and using coupons to save money is going to take a lot more time. You can go to my Organizing section here to watch my video and read about the way I organize my coupons.
· Print out Store Coupon Policies, (which you can do here) and I highly recommend this in case you have a problem with a cashier honoring your coupons. If you have your store policy with you, you can just pull it out and it will make things a lot easier for you. Not saying you will have problems, but sometimes there are cashiers out there that feel like they are doing something wrong when you are getting items for free or close to it.
· Get your store's weekly ad circular. You can also view it online or it will come in the mail so that way you can match the items on sale with your coupons.
· Only purchase the items on your list !! Doing this alone will always save you money …. unless of course you find a freebie!
· Here's an important one … Sometimes a smaller sized item is a better deal! Some coupons do not have a size restriction (these are my favorite) so therefore you may be able to get that item in the travel section for FREE and if you have several coupons, you can stock up!
· Brand Loyalty is a no-no! Be willing to try out new products that you have coupons for. I use to never do this before using coupons and now that I do, I have actually found a lot of things I really like that I normally would not have tried.
· Overage = AWESOME! Understand what overage is and that it can dramatically lower your grocery bill. Lets say a product is on sale for $ 1 and you have a coupon for $ 2/1 for that item. After using your coupon, you will get $ 1 in overage, which will then be applied to the balance of your order! Do you see how that can really lower your balance … it's like getting paid to shop! Note: Some stores do not allow for overage.