Couponing 101

blogpage_couponing101

 

If you are interested in couponing, then you’ve definitely come to the right place! Couponing is so much more than what you’ve seen on TV. It is a great way to ensure you and your family are prepared for a number of emergency situations, all while keeping as much money as possible in your pocket. It is also a great way to give back to your community! Couponing can allow you to get a variety of products for little-to-no-cost, which means you can always look for items to donate to local charities. Here are some of the basic things you need to know to help you get started:

Store Policies:

These are extremely important pieces of information for anyone new to this couponing life. It is imperative that you read each specific store’s policy and please ask a store manager questions should you not fully understand the lingo. By keeping to the store policy you are creating a bond of trust between that store and the coupon world.

Here is a list of policies of some of the stores you will find featured in this blog:

Grocery:

  • Aldi – does not accept coupons since they only sell their own brand of products, however they are a great resource for savings on items like produce, meat, and dairy, which are commonly not found in the coupon world.
  • Fresh Market
  • Publix
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Whole Foods

Pharmacy:

  • CVS: Click here for the coupon policy and here for information on the CVS Extra Care Card program
  • Walgreens: Click here for the coupon policy and here for information on the Walgreens Balance Rewards program

 

Lingo:

One of the biggest things you will run across while couponing is a whole new world of language. From abbreviations to words that look made up, there is an entire lingo for couponing. While it can seem confusing in the beginning, it really is easy to pick up once you’ve been couponing for a little while. I found that the Krazy Coupon Lady has the best overall breakdown of words and phrases you may run into as a beginner, but always feel free to ask questions if you see something new!

 

Couponing Basics:

  • The first thing you want to do is decide how much money and time you are willing to spend to start your couponing lifestyle. In the beginning you may not see as much in savings as you wanted. You may become discouraged by the numbers. Try not to focus on this. Anything saved is money back in your pocket, even if it is only a couple of dollars. The more you coupon, the more you will see your total savings percent increase. When I started in 2012 I was only saving around 20-30% of my total bill. Now I save a minimum of 55%, with most of my receipts staying within a 60-80% range.
  • Coupons are your friends, not your master! Be careful with becoming obsessed! Just enjoy the extra pocket money and realize that buying every deal is not required. Try to only spend 10 hours or less a week getting your deals together. Also, keep in mind that the best way to start is by clipping coupons for items that you actually use. There is no need to buy 20 bottles of a shampoo you hate just because it’s on sale. You will end up just wasting money and pantry space. Unless you would like to donate the item, just walk away.
  • Organization is key! I keep a large coupon binder and (try) to keep it up-to-date as often as possible. Your binder should be separated by category to help keep everything easy to find. Also include a small notepad, pen, small scissors, small calculator, and some paper clips in a zippered bag. You will find those things are an asset when you’re in the middle of shopping! Check out my pinterest board for ideas on some of the best ways to organize your coupon binder.
  • Make sure you know your stores’ coupon policy and always ask a manager if you are unsure! Store managers can be another couponing asset and will usually be happy to help anyone who tries to coupon the right way. It only hurts you, your fellow couponers, and the store if you misuse coupons. It is a no-win situation and can even encourage the store to impose strict coupon policies. Some other helpful in-store tips are to have your coupons ready at checkout, giving the cashier a heads-up that you have coupons, and going to a register that will not hold up your fellow shoppers.

 

I know this seems like a lot. I remember how overwhelming starting out can be. I am here for any questions and I will be posting breakdowns of my deals to help you get the most out of this.Welcome, and let’s save some money together!