Couponing for Beginners

Below are step-by-step instructions for beginning the process of saving.  You do not need to accomplish and conquer each step immediately.  Start slowly so that you don’t get overwhelmed.  The goal with couponing is to have a huge stockpile of coupons to use.  That way, each week when your grocery store or drugstore releases their weekly sales, you will have enough of a stash to go through in order to match the sales with coupons.  If you are just starting cut coupons now, it will only take a few weeks for your coupon stash to be all encompassing.  As always, email me or post any questions you might have.

Step 1: Gather at least 2 newspapers every Sunday.  I personally will have at least 2 Sunday papers, but when I feel particularly adventurous, I will get 4 or 6 sets.  Always get an even number of papers so you have an even number of duplicate coupons.  Also, save all of your coupons since you never know when you can use your coupons with an excellent sale to score dirt-cheap or even free items!

Why do we need an even number of duplicate coupons?  When Stores have a B1G1 sale, you can use two manufacturer coupons.  For example, if toothpaste is B1G1 and you have two $1.00 off 1 tube coupons for that particular brand, you can use both coupons.  You will not only get one tube of toothpaste for free, but you will save an additional $2.00 on the purchase!

                                              Mathematical example:
                                              Colgate Toothpaste is B1G1 (reg price per tube $3.50)
                                              With B1G1 sale, price for 2 tubes is $3.50 (you save $3.50!)
                                              Using two $1.00 off coupons, price for 2 tubes is now $1.50 (you save $5.50!)

Save all of your coupons even if you don’t need them right away.  You never know when you will be able to get free stuff using your old coupons!  If there is a great sale and you can get free cookies or fabric softener using coupons, you will regret having thrown away the coupons because you thought you won’t need them!  So, save them until they expire.

Step 2: Print out coupons online.  Most websites allow you to print out two coupons per printer/computer.  Simply hit the back button a few times and a new coupon will print out.  **Tip – print in black & white so that you don’t use color ink.  Only print out the coupons you will use so as to conserve ink & paper.  When you first realize the vast amount of online coupons at your fingertips, you may be tempted to print out each and every one.  However, you will see that only high value coupons need to be printed out right away (they go fast).  There is no need to print out and waste paper and expensive ink on hundreds of coupons that will expire and go to waste.  So, print out what you need and the high value coupons.

Some of the many sources for online coupons:

coupons.com

redplum.com

pillsbury.com

smartsource.com

bettycrocker.com

Step 3: Gather store magazines.  Many stores distribute store magazines which have valuable coupons inside.  Many stores have magazines right by the main entrance.  The nice thing about these magazines is that often the coupons are store coupons not manufacturer coupons.  This means, you can use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon towards one item!  Save these coupons and use when the item is on sale to maximize your savings!

                                                Mathematical Example:Walgreens has Colgate B1G1.  Price is $3.50 per tube.
                                                Price for two tubes of toothpaste w/ sale: $3.50
                                                Walgreens monthly coupon book has a 50 cents off 2 tubes coupon (store coupon)        
                                                You clipped two $1.00 of one tube coupons.
                                                Total price for two tubes: $1.00!  (**This makes the tubes 50 cents each!)
 
 Step 4: Buy or trade coupons online.  I know this seems counterproductive – Buying coupons to save money.  But, when there is a great sale, sometimes buying or trading for additional coupons is extremely beneficial.  There are great websites you can go to to either buy or trade coupons.  (**Tip: trading coupons is an excellent way to get rid of coupons you don’t use!!  Trade them to people who do use them for coupons that you need!)

Step 5:  Gather Blinkies & Tearpads.  These are coupons you will see throughout the store.  As you walk down aisles, you may see tearpads where you can tear off a coupon or blinkies which are the little canisters that spit out coupons when you pull one.  I will always take one or two of these coupons when I see them and will hang on to them until the item(s) go on sale.

**Random side note: You will also see coupons attached to items throughout the store.  These coupons are called “Peelies”.  There are many aggressive coupon bloggers out there that will peel the coupons off of items and save them until they can use/match them with a good sale.  Ethically, you need to decide if this is appropriate.

Step 6: Purchase a subscription to All You Magazine.  I pay for very few magazine subscriptions.   However, All You Magazine is worth the subscription price as it is jam packed with manufacturer coupons.  You can also buy this magazine in Walmart.

Step 7: Check the items you already have in your home!  I very often will find a coupon inside of cereal boxes or toothpaste boxes.  You just have to look!

Step 8: If you sign up online for a sample of a product, once you receive it in the mail, check for a coupon.  Usually companies will send samples with high value coupons.

Step 9: I know of many bloggerswho email their favorite companies and give positiveor negativefeedback on their products.  Very often, they will receive coupons in the mail for free products or high value money off coupons.  This is a couponing technique I have not utilized myself yet.  However, it’s on my list of things to do once I get this blog up and running!

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