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5 Simple ways to get started with Couponing
One of the most asked questions I receive is “How do I get started with couponing?”
While I have been couponing since I was in Pre-School, couponing can be new and overwhelming for some. There is so much to learn about couponing! Store policies, coupon codes, coupon terminology etc. But once you get the hang of it, it will become easier and you will start to see the savings roll in!
Here are 5 basic tips to help get you started with couponing and saving money!
Coupons are everywhere now! You can find coupons in the newspaper, on the internet, Apps, Tear pads at the grocery stores etc. Some libraries even have a coupon bin that you can take coupons from! Also, ask your co-workers, friends/family for coupons. I recommend buying at least 2-newspapers a week to help build up your stockpile.
Internet Coupon Sites: Coupons.com, Red Plum.com and SmartSource.com for printable coupons
Money Saving Apps: Download Ibotta, SavingStar, Checkout51 and Fetch Rewards to your phone to earn cash back on your grocery store purchases.
Find an organization method for your coupons
With couponing, you will need to be organized or else it is not going to work for you. The two main ways that people organize their coupons is the binder method or Insert only method.
With the Binder Method, you clip and file your coupons into baseball card holders and use a soft zipper binder to hold your inserts. I have been using this method for the last 6 years.
You can find binders at Target, Office Supply Stores and even on Amazon. Back to school time if the best time to buy one.
This zip binder is only $14.99 on Amazon (With Prime Membership or on orders over $49) and comes in several colors.
With the insert only method, you only clip your coupons that you need for your trip. There are pros/cons to each one but it is whatever works for you. I tell people to start with a small coupon organizer and work your way up.
Pick ONE grocery store and ONE Drugstore to start out with
Many think that they need to shop at every single store to get the savings. But are you really saving money with all the gas, money and time that you will be spending? If you mainly shop at Food Lion, for example, stick with that store. If the nearest Target is 40 minutes away, it is worth the drive if you are only buying 3 items? The drugstores have some of the most complicated coupon policies so it is best to one and stick with that store. I love CVS because they have the simplest coupon policy and I score the biggest freebies there!
Match store sales with coupons!
To maximize your savings, you want to buy an item when it is on sale and have a coupon for that item. Items typically run on sales cycles. For example, If you see General Mills Cheerios on sale this week, you will see it on sale again in 4-6 weeks.
Cheerios Regular Price is $4.19 but if it is on sale for $1.99 and you have a $0.50 coupon that doubles, you are now only paying $0.99! If you have (4) of those Cheerios coupons, then that is (4) boxes for $0.99 each which would have been the same price for 1 box at regular price! And now you have enough to last you until the next sale.
Know your Price Point
You want to stock up on items when they are at their lowest price. You also want to know the base price of items to make sure that you are not paying too much. For example, I know that bananas cost $0.49/lb at Martin’s, Kroger and Food Lion. Canned tomatoes around $0.60/can, Greek Yogurt Cups $1 each etc.
I have created a spreadsheet that lists typical items that everyone buys and my “Not Pay More than” prices. The spreadsheet is updated frequently so make sure to save it to your computer and print a copy to take with you to the store! This spreadsheet is on Google Docs so if you have the app on your phone, you can just pull it up while shopping! It is also a good idea to make a price points list of 20 items that you buy the most and track the base price and stock up price. You can do this with pencil or paper or do a spreadsheet.
Now time to get started with couponing!
If you are interested in learning more about couponing, I teach Coupon classes (Groups or one-on-one teaching). Check out my post on my Coupon Classes or E-mail me for more information!
What other tips do you have to help those wanting to get started with couponing?
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