Couponing 101: Beginnings

Three weeks ago I started this new series with 5 tips on How to Cut your Grocery Bill. I also showed you this awesome app I found that makes menu planning and grocery list making so much easier!! Last week we talked about knowing your local sale prices.

This week, I wanted to address coupons. Few disclaimers:

- I am no coupon expert. Though I am new to couponing, that means the learning process is still fresh to me, so I can share baby steps to couponing.
- I don’t have all the answers or the perfect system, but I can show you what I’ve learned works for me and refer you to some “coupon experts.”

How to Start:

Many people start by clipping a few coupons here and there for things already on your list. This is a good way to start – slow. But, if you don’t move past this step, then clipping coupons is probably not worth the effort. Instead, base your shopping around what is on sale and what items have coupon matches.

Buy items only when they are on sale or match your buy-price list. It’s hard to do when you are just starting off, but once you have a stockpile, this will be much easier. This is the mindset we will be working towards. In this coupon series, I will show you step by step how to work towards this.

 

Week One: Get to Know Your Coupon Sources

There are 2 main sources of coupons: newspaper inserts and printable coupons.

It used to be that most coupons came from the Sunday paper, but that is no longer the case. I would estimate that at least 50-60% of the coupons I use each week are printable coupons. However, the Sunday paper is also an important source of coupons.

To find out what inserts your local paper is printing each week, visit Sunday Coupon Preview. They release exactly what coupons will be in the Sunday paper days in advance!! If you have more than one newspaper in the area, I would suggest you buy all of them one week and compare to see if one of them has better coupon inserts. When I first started out, I would buy the Sunday paper only when the P & G insert comes out (which is once a month, usually the first week of the month).

For printable coupon options, the main sources are Coupons.com, CouponNetwork.com, Red Plum, and Smart Source.  I get the most from Coupons.com personally.

Believe it or not, next to these website, Facebook is another great resource for printable coupons! Often, if you “like” a page on some product, you can print a coupon for that item. Many times in my Printable Pennies series I mention Facebook “like” coupons which are available.

 

Next time, Week Two: Coupon Lingo and a Few Tips & Tricks

© 2011 – 2013, Betsy Pool. All rights reserved.

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