Home » Introduction to Coupons or Coupons 101

Introduction to Coupons or Coupons 101

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Coupons, coupons, coupons!!!  First off… ANYONE can be doing this and EVERYONE should be doing this!! But let me warn you it can become addicting in trying to get your saving skills better and better. Also, don’t judge yourself on anyone else’s savings… if you think it’s a great deal then at that point it is a great deal! You can only go up in how much you save and you will soon start to see patterns of sales at your favorite grocery and drugstores. You may think there are no coupons for the things you use… I bet there are. The variety of coupons that are  available encourage you to try new things that you may otherwise have not and you may find some new favorites! Be open minded. My sister and I put together a little bit of an introduction to coupons – some of the basics of couponing to get you all started on this wonderful journey of saving money. I hope this helps.

Sources for coupons – There are a lot of great places you can find coupons.

  • Sunday paper – Of course the Sunday paper is one of them! I myself have four subscriptions that I got 50% off by calling the paper! A good rule of thumb is to buy 1 paper per person in the household but always get an even number to make sure you have coupons for BOGOS.
  • Websites like coupons.com; redplum.com; smartsource.com, swagbucks.com are just the tip of the iceberg for obtaining printable internet coupons. Many manufacturers have Q’s on their websites like Betty Crocker, Kraft etc.
  • Facebook is also an excellent place to get coupons. Simply search your favorite products then “like” them and see what kind of offers they have.
  • Ebay – Believe it or not people sell coupons on ebay. If there is a coupon that you know will produce overage its worth looking on ebay to get multiples before buying a ridiculous amount of Sunday papers. My sister once got 20 Maalox coupons for $7.00 but they will create over $30 in overage. So it’s worth it to me to buy them.
  • Emails & Phone calls – Believe it or not emailing your favorite manufacturers is a great way to get FREE samples and coupons without even asking. Just write them a quick note about how you like their product or even tell them what you think could be better about it. Often times they will reward you for your time.

Organizing your coupons – Everyone has their own way of organizing coupons. Some may use a little accordion file, others a full blown binder. I like to use the full blown binder. I have my binder divided in sections. I also use baseball card sleeves to house my coupons nine per page. This helps me while I am shopping to quickly flip through my binder and pull out coupons as I use them. I’ve been a little lazy this month and haven’t clipped my coupons and have been using the insert method which is just keeping everything whole and not cutting anything until I need it. Every coupon site tells you where to find each coupon and in what insert to get it from.

Internet coupons – You will have to install a coupon wizard to print from smartsource and redplum. The wizard is for counting purposes as you are allotted two prints per coupon. If you have multiple computers in your house you can print two per IP address. You can even print from your iPHONE! Do NOT try copying the coupons as they each have separate numbers and cashiers are trained to check them and you will get caught!

Drugstores – Walgreens, CVS and RiteAide for those of you that have them are amazing places to save LOADS of money and lots of things but mostly health and beauty related items. I have paid very little if nothing for things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razors etc. As well as stocked our medicine cabinet for very very little money!! Check out the sites below in regards to the drugstores and see how their Register Rewards (RR) @ Walgreens; Extra Care Bucks @ CVS and UP rewards @ Rite Aid work. Once you learn to “roll” the rewards you will pay little to nothing for LOTS of stuff.

Stockpiling – No I’m not talking hoarding. What I am saying is if there are things you know you and your family will use, then why not get them when they are cheap!! Seriously! Some people stockpile for three months worth, others for a year. It all depends on the space you have available and what you feel you will actually use. A good rule of thumb is to have three months of supplies on hand so you can wait till the next sale and not have to pay full price. (Most sales cycle every three months.) Once your stockpile is established, you will really start to see your savings add up. Remember, sometimes you have to spend money to save money… but our goal is to not spend too much!

Overage – Overage is the #1 way to get your grocery bill down to single or double digits from triples! Overage works based on the face values of your coupons. MOST but not ALL stores allow for this overage so be sure to ask your customer service desk if they will indeed give you the entire value of your coupon regardless of product value.

  • example: There was a Maalox $5 off any product. Several stores have certain Maalox products for approximately $3.50. This creates $1.50 of overage you can apply to other purchases. Get 10 bottles and that’s 15 dollars of overage to spend on anything you want! This is where you can use your coupon money to buy things that don’t usually have coupons like meat, fruits and veggies.

Stacking – Stacking coupons is a great way to build overage as well and can be done at most stores combining a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon. Some stores (i.e. Publix) will even let you stack a Publix store coupon with a manufacturer coupon and a competitor coupon making for even greater savings! Just be sure once again to check with your stores to see who they consider their competitors. It’s important to note that you can only use one manufacture coupon PER item. Which means if you buy 3 bottles of Tide you can use 3 coupons. You may not stack the same coupon on one item. Also, certain coupons say LIMIT ___ coupons per transaction. That means you can only use said number per transaction. SO, break up your purchases if you have multiples.

  • example: At Publix, Huggies boxed diapers were on sale for 19.99 originally $25. In addition to the sale, Publix put out a $3 off coupon in the weekly advertisement. There are also loads of huggies coupons from the manufacturer and I had one for $3 off. In addition to that, Target.com had a coupon for $2.50 off. When I stacked them all together I paid only $11 for a $25 box of Huggies diapers. Cheaper than generic!

Saving coupons only for sales – Myth: If I have a coupon I should use it before it expires regardless of item price because I am still saving money. Fact: Yes, technically you are saving money… but not as much as if you wait for the item to go on sale before using the coupon. Yes, a lot of your coupons will expire unused but you will save more by waiting for them to roll in a sale. If you absolutely need the item of course it would be better to use the coupon then to buy it full price! But, when you can wait for a sale… WAIT!

Here are a few resources for you to visit online:

weusecoupons.com (My FAVORITE PLACE. This particular website breaks down like EVERY store on their forum and has LOTS of videos and useful coupon info.)

wildforwags.com (Walgreens)

simplycvs.com (CVS)

iheartpublix.com (Publix)

totallytarget.com (Target)

iheartthemart.com (Walmart)

couponingtodisney.com

hiptosave.com

Okay, last thing I want to touch on… some stores have limits on how many coupons you can use. If this is the case, break your stuff up into separate transactions. I know this is a lot of information… so please feel free to ask questions and do your own research. There are so many resources online and this is just the tip of the iceberg once again. I’m here to help if I can! Happy savings!

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