With the popularity of TLC’s new show – Extreme Couponing – many people are interested in saving with coupons. But getting started may be intimidating. This is a simple guide to help you get started. Please understand this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but more of an easy to tackle starting point.
Beginner’s Guide to Couponing
How Couponing Works -
- If you pair a great sale with a coupon, you can often get items for a significant discount over full price. Sometimes free even!
Example: I often buy fruit snacks for my kids. They are typically $2.50 a box, but often go as low as $0.99 during King Sooper’s Mega Events. During those sales, I’ll use a $1 off 2 coupon and get fruit snacks for $0.50 a box – 80% off full price. If I’m lucky enough to have a $1/1 coupon then they are free!
- If you only have one coupon, then you only get one box of fruit snacks – which (in my house) lasts approximately 10 minutes. However, if you have a handful of coupons, then you can buy multiple boxes and stockpile them. Stockpiling is integral to really adding up the savings with couponing.
Example: Sure deodorant was recently on sale for $0.99 and I had $1/1 coupons making them free! Thankfully I had multiple Sunday papers and therefore was able to buy 3 for free. I know we’ll use them up, but even if I didn’t think so I would have purchased them and donated to the local food bank.
That’s pretty much the entire concept of how couponing works.
Now for the details you’ll need to get started:
- Coupons – popular recommendation is to have one Sunday paper for each member in your household. For me that is 5.
- Place to keep your coupons – I keep mine in a expanding file (see picture) organized by week.
- Space to store your stockpile.
- An extra 1 to 2 hours each week – it takes less time as you get more familiar with the process.
- A blogger that matches coupons to sales each week for your local stores.
Most of those are self explanatory, but here are some tips for where to find coupons and bloggers I recommend.
Sunday Paper - The Sunday Paper is by far the best place to get the widest selection of coupons. I just recently signed up to get 5 Sunday papers delivered to my house. But prior to this I would pick up some extras at the Dollar Tree – yep, only $1! I also asked coworkers to bring in their coupons if they don’t use them and then let them know how many items I donated to charity with the help of their inserts.
On-line – Here are some sites where you can print coupons or load them onto your store loyalty card. There are also periodic coupons on brand facebook pages etc, but don’t worry about those, the bloggers you follow will point them out if they are available.
King Soopers ecoupons
Safeway Just for U
Coupon Clipping Sites – There are multiple sites where you can purchase whole Sunday inserts or individual coupons. For right now (if you are a beginner), I wouldn’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do this.
All You Magazine – This magazine often includes $70 plus in coupons each month. I’ve seen a year’s subscription for less than $5 and would recommend waiting until you see a sale like that again before subscribing.
Others – Coupons are everywhere. There are tons of places to find them, but I don’t want y0u to try to track down every coupon and every sale in the beginning. Starting with the Sunday paper and starting to grow your coupon collection, plus printing those identified above from on-line sources is enough for now.
Coupon Mom – This is the site that first brought the concept of matching store sales with coupons to me. She was featured on Oprah a few years back, so I’d imagine she was the first many heard of this concept. I do check into her site still, but prefer the personal feel, attention, and location specific tips from individual bloggers.
Totally Target – Kerry is the hands down expert on Target savings and shopping.
Maven of Savin -Lynn has great suggestions and couponing tips along with a personal approach.
Savings Lifestyle - Andrea is an expert in the art of saving money. She is one of the first pioneers of blogging about frugal living and is a great, responsive resource.
Saving with Shellie - I love that she picks the best of the week’s deals so they are easy to find and I don’t have to dig through every single sale item to find the really good ones worth buying. I visit her and also a more comprehensive list too.
For those in the SouthEast try:
Southern Savers – Really professional, encompassing blog.
The Brick House - Tasha complies Winn Dixie and Publix weekly deals along with a few others.
If these bloggers don’t work for you, then please leave a comment and I’ll find one more specific to your location.