Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Couponing 101

I have my first success story. I have been working with my neighbor to help her save money. They both work and have two small children. At the end of last year she had unexpected gall bladder surgery. Even with healthcare there were still out of pocket expenses they needed to pay which put a strain on their budget. I was telling her about the extreme couponing show and how I started using coupons. Then shop the sales at stores and match them with coupons. She doesn’t have time to make several trips to each store so she brings in the ads with her to Walmart to price match and does all of her shopping there with her coupons. It may take her a little longer to check out, but it is worth it. She is so excited to be saving money.

Now she gets the sales papers on Tuesday and goes through them to pick the items she wants and then finds coupons to match up with the sales. The entire kitchen table is hers on Tuesday nights so she can plan. She makes out her list and what stores have the sales. She is organized when she checksout so she does not miss anything. Normally she will go shopping on Saturday or Sunday with her coupons and ads in hand ready to save.

Everyone can save money you just need to know how. Here is my Couponing 101 guide:

Why Pay Full Price?

Do you always pay full price for your clothes? Or do you normally hit the sales rack? Then why pay full price for food? You can shop and get twice as much for half the cost. Every week the grocery stores put items on sale just like the department stores. Look for the weekly flyers you get in the mail and probably toss out as soon as you get them. See if there are any items you use on a regular basis. If there is an item on sale and it is a good price instead of purchasing just one of the item why not purchase as many as you would need for a 3 to 4 month supply. Now see if you have any coupons that match those items to get a further discount. As you shop you will learn the sales cycles for the stores.

Most of you wonder how do you have time to shop all those stores in one day? I can normally do all my shopping in about an 1 hour and 1/2 with little face in tow. I usually hit three stores. He is such a trooper. You can do it too. I have been teaching a friend of mine who has a full time job and two kids how to do this. You will have a list of items you want to purchase and your coupons. And those are the only things you buy that day. This makes the trip to the store very quick.
Coupon$ = Printed Money

Try taking a look at those sale items. Are there any items that are buy one get one free? What if you had a coupon to go along with that deal? Since you are now getting a better deal why not stock up and buy four, six or eight of that item? This would be cheaper than the store brand. That would last you until the next time that item goes on sale. Some stores even allow you to use a coupon on the free item. But check your stores coupon rules before you try this. Kroger allows it, but Tom Thumb does not in the Dallas area. Stores also reguallary change their coupon policies so check back often to see if things change. Kroger will double coupons up to $0.50 and triple up to $0.35 in the Dallas area for three like coupons. Tom Thumb will do the same except for only one like coupon. You may need to check out three or four times at Tom Thumb in order to get the best deals.

How Can I Get The Most For My Dollars?

Most products are on a quarterly cycle or bimonthly for sales and so coupons will print close to those sale to increase a company's sale for a particular item. Also another reason an item may have a great sale is the packaging has been redesigned and need to clear all the old product off the shelf so the new packages will fit. A product may not be moving and instead of throwing away all that food they will reduce the price to get it to move. On non food items this is great to stock up, however, beware on perishable items. Check the date to see if it is going to expire before you will have a chance to use it or if it is already expired. I have gotten a few items for free only to discover they were past their expiration date. If this should happen to you can call the company and they will likely send you a coupon for a Free item.

How do you get coupons to buy something?

1. Ask your friends if they are going to use their coupons in their Sunday paper. If not ask if you can have theirs.

2. Purchase 2-6 papers. So you can have muliple sets of coupons. Why so many? If there is a good sale on a product you will want to buy as much of that product as you can to have enough to last you until next time that item goes on sale.

3. Places of business. Check with your local coffee shop, auto care center or dr. office to see if you can have the coupons from the Sunday papers they receive.

4. There are several sites you can print coupons from and some even reward you for printing and using a coupon from their site. I use quite a few printable coupons every week. Sometimes they are a higher dollar value than the ones in the papers. Go to SwagBucks and signup. You will get rewards for using coupons.,, Red and Target are other great resources for coupons. You can normally print these coupons twice. You will need to go to another computer to print more coupons.

5. Facebook is a great resource for coupons. Many times if you like the page of a particular item you can then get a printable coupon from them. Please note they will then want access to your friends and your information. After you like them and print your coupon go in and remove that program from your apps to prevent them from gathering your information and your friends information.

6. If you have a favorite product visit their site to see if they have coupons available to print. Check back once a quarter to see if they will refill the coupon prints. At the start of a quarter they will usually reset the coupons for you to print.

7. Call or write the company and tell them how much you enjoy their product. Sometimes they will send you coupons to get the item for free. I know several people who do this and get free items for even meat products.

Let me know if you have any questions. I am working on improving this page.

How To Organize Your Coupons?

Now you have a ton of coupons, how do you organize them? There are several theories as to which is the best method. I will explain several to you.

The CLIP and go System

The filing system is one of the easiest to get started. Take your inserts from the paper and put them in a hanging file folder. Label the folder with the date of the inserts. This is easy and I fell this is the best way to get started so you don't feel so overwhelmed at first. You just pull the insert from the folder and go to the coupon you want and clip it.

Baseball Card Binder System

The second way is the Baseball card holder/Binder system. Purchase basball card plastic holders and place them in a large binder. You will need at least a three inch binder or bigger and a lot of baseball card holder pages. Cut coupons you would most likely use. File them in baseball card holders. I have seen several different methods used for this.
·         Alphabetically by product name
·         Grocery aisle
·         Catagorized by products ie (healthcare, cereal, dairy...)
There are several options on how to then file with baseball holders. One way is to put all like product coupons in one envelope. Then you can organize them by expiration date. With the one expiring earliest on top. Therefore you can use that one first. Or you can just put each like coupon in a pocket. This just depends on how much time and energy you will have to devote to this.

Combination system

Clip the coupons you are most likely going to use and file them according to the baseball card/binder system and organize them. Then the left over coupons you can file in the clip and go system for deals you may still want to get on items you may not normally buy, but you may need later. This is great for seasonal items. I like to wait until a good sale to stock up on.


  1. Great Couponing Information! Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you for stopping by and participating in the Get Wired Blog Hop. I am following you.

    Have a great day!


  2. Thanks Vickie. I am now following you too. Stop by on Friday to Link UP here.

  3. This is a Great Places to Visit
    Thanks! For the Link up and for visiting my Blog Links.

  4. So much work!! It really is a full time job couponing, isn't it??

  5. @ Rose thanks for stopping by. Come back on Friday to link up any saving you may have.

    @allenaim it can be whatever you want it to be to save money. I enjoy it because I am amazed at how many things you can get for free.

  6. Ha Ha- I just posted about how I need to get my grocery bill down! I feel like I bleed cash when I am in the store. Can't wait to pick up some tips!
    I am stopping by from the Thursday blog hop. Follow back if you like. :-)

  7. Thanks Sarah. Let me know how I can help. I will give you some private coaching if you would like. My husband is surprised at how we can eat off of only $60.00 a week.

  8. Great idea for organizing coupons. Thanks!
    Following you via Mingle blog hop. Can't see your GFC I don't know what googles problem is but they need to get it fixed.
    Stop by and follow my blog however you like.

  9. Thanks for stopping by Patricia. I thought maybe it was just my computer. I can't see them anywhere either. It makes it hard to follow people this way.


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