Couponing 101


We all want to save money unless we are quite rich but then we probably wouldn’t be looking at money saving blogs!!  Did you know that you can save thousands of dollars every year just by couponing?

Best Deal Scenarios

You’ll find the best deals by combining sales + store coupons + rebates and possibly double coupons.  Only certain states do double coupons and you won’t find all the above scenarios all together.  The most common scenario would be to find a store that has a sale, also has their own coupons and you can find a manufacturer coupon.  Most stores will let you combine a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon found in Sunday Newspaper inserts or printable coupons found on the internet.  It is common to find FREE items combining coupons.  Of course I will let you know if that happens!!

Where to find coupons

The best place to get the most coupons is your Sunday paper from a large city area.  The Sunday papers have inserts from different companies like Red Plum (RP), General Mills (GM), Proctor & Gamble (P&G) and Smart Source (SS).

There are gazzilions of coupons on the internet and just by searching and reading this blog you will find many for your needs.

Coupons.com has about 160 coupons at any given time.  I will have a post soon on how to use coupons.com so you can get the most out of the site.

RedPlum.com is like coupons.com but doesn’t offer as many.

SmartSource.com is a lot like RedPlum.com.

All You magazine is put out by Walmart and you can only buy it at Walmart if you don’t have a subscription for it.  You can get subscriptions at Amazon for a great price especially if you apply for the Amazon Prime card and get it FREE possibly (that’s what I did, a FREE subscription for a year!!).  Of course I will let you know of any scenarios that come up.  All You magazine is chock full of coupons.

When you are in your favorite grocery or drugstore keep an eye out for a blinkie machine that spits out coupons!!  These are little red (usually red) machines that are attached to shelves in the stores that have a blinking red light on them.  You can find fabulous coupons this way.

Your favorite grocery store or drugstore may have coupon books of their own.  These are great to use by combining with manufacturer coupons.  These are usually at the front of the store.

Do you have friends or family that don’t use coupons but they get the Sunday paper?  Ask them for their coupons.  It’s great to have more than one copy of a coupon especially if you start to stockpile when you find the best sales.  You can even meet up with friends and have a coupon swapping party!

Many times you will find coupons on products that are called peelies.  These are small in size and offer the coupon to use right away on the item you find it on.  Keep an eye out for these, sometimes you can get an item for free by doing a rebate.

Some stores like Safeway and it’s affiliates use member cards.  If you use your member card you can get discounts on products.  At the same time you can upload e-coupons to these cards which will act just like coupons except they are electronic and the card automatically takes the amount of the coupon off the bill.  For example one of my stores I use is Safeway which has e-coupons available on their website from other web sites like Cellfire and Shortcuts.  Know your store and see if they have member cards to upload e-coupons onto them.

Stockpiling

Stockpiling is adding onto your inventory by shopping great sales so you don’t have to buy that item for a while.  When you shop a great sale and know there won’t be another sale like this down the road for a while or you haven’t seen a sale like this before take advantage of this while you can and get as many of those items as possible.  That way you have started building up your stockpiling and won’t need to spend a lot of money on that one item.

Some grocery stores sell items by discounting them if you buy a lot of them.  This may be a great time to start your stockpiling.  You don’t have to go out and buy a whole bunch at once because then you may not be saving money by not shopping the best deals.  Take it slowly, shop for what you need and then if you have savings left over you can start your stockpiling.  You don’t have to get everything at once.  You can start by getting one item a week.  Do what feels most comfortable for you.

Organize those coupons

This subject gets a lot of attention especially if you have just started.  You need to find out which works best for you.  I use a small accordian style coupon organizer.  It has several tabs to organize certain coupons like a place for Safeway, foods, dairy, pet supplies and beauty products.

I only cut out coupons that I think I will use or I just plain old like the product.  I only use the coupons I cut out when I want the product right away or when they are close to expiring.  I leave the rest of the coupons in the Sunday inserts if I feel I won’t use them if a sale doesn’t come a long.  If a sale comes a long and the price is good enough for me to purchase that product along with a coupon I will then cut out that coupon and use it.  I keep all my coupon inserts from the Sunday paper until all the coupons have expired.  I still have inserts from November of last year.  If a rebate comes along then I still have coupons to use with that rebate and probably will make money when I get paid for the rebate.

Some people like to cut out all their coupons, not me, there are just too many and I just won’t use them all.  It takes up a lot of time to do it this way and you may be wasting time if you don’t use those coupons.

Others cut out coupons and organize them in baseball card holders.  The plastic ones that store about 8 on a page.   The coupons are organized by subject or price or by expiration date.  I find this doesn’t work for me because they are bulky and I can’t bring them into the store with me.  I bring my organizer everywhere I go because of clearance sales we may not know about a head of time or we may see a product that has an unadvertised deal going on.  Safeway is good at that.  The other day I was in Safeway with a friend and they had Crackerfuls on sale for $2 each.  I had three $1 coupons to use and got so excited because I was going to get each box for $1!!  My friend was disappointed because she had used up her coupons on Crackerfuls at Walmart when they were not on sale at $2.86 a pop.  I got such a great deal.  I just won’t spend money on a product if I feel it is too expensive, even if I love that product.  Now I am so glad I saved those coupons until the right time.

So organize your coupons the way you like.  It may take time to find your niche, it did for me.  I just hope I could help you with different examples of how others and I do it.

Couponing Lingo

You will find abbreviations for things around the couponing world.  Here are some to get you started.

When I list a stores sales and match them with coupons it may look something like this:

Crackerfuls $2
Use $1 Crackerful coupon 1/17 SS
Use $1 Crackerful coupon 2/7 RP
Final Price = $1 each after coupon

  • This means that Crackerfuls are on sale for $2 each.
  • You can use a $1 coupon that is found in the Sunday Smart Source insert  from the 1/17/10 paper.
  • The next line states another $1 coupon from the 2/7/10 Red Plum Sunday insert.  This doesn’t mean you can use two manufacturer coupons on one item, it just lists two in case you’ve used one of them already or you want to buy two items.
  • Next line advises how much the item will be after the coupon(s).

BOGO= Buy One, Get One
B1G1= Buy One Get One
SS= Smart Source Sunday Newspaper insert
RP= Red Plum Sunday Newspaper insert
P&G= Proctor & Gamble Sunday Newspaper insert
RR= Walgreens Register Rewards
ECB= CVS Extra Care Buck
IVC= Instant Value Coupon
WYB= When You Buy
OOP= Out of Pocket

If you have any questions or concerns please leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Even if you have a deal to post about let me know.  I want to do everything I can to help out as I really enjoy doing this blog.

2 responses to “Couponing 101

  1. Thanks for teaching me about couponing. I’m going to try to do some clipping and check out what you have on your site. I remember seeing a lady in the grocery store. I laughed when she pulled out a wallet full of coupons. I stopped laughing when I saw her total. It was about 40 bucks @ she had a lot of stuff. Not to mention we were at Jewels

    • You will be that good too!!! We will do our best to help and if you have any questions please feel free to ask, I’m here to help.

      Carol

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