Getting Started with Coupons
Finding CouponsWelcome to the world of coupons! You don't have to be an extreme couponer to save money with coupons. You just need to find sources of coupons, organize them, match them to current sales, and only buy what you need.
To start, you need to find some coupons. I find that the best place for coupons is the Sunday paper. Get at least one subscription to your largest local paper. For me, that means the newspaper from the big city, not my home town. The big city newspaper contains more coupons than the local paper in inserts such as SmartSource and RedPlum. However, the local paper does sometimes contain different coupons. You may want to get multiple newspaper subscriptions as you get more into couponing. I find that the coupons matched with deals from my local store will pay for the newspaper. Don't just limit your search to the Sunday paper. I found some ice cream coupons in my Wednesday paper this morning.
Another great source for coupons is the Internet. Brand Name Facebook pages and product websites will often have coupons and samples. You may want to consider setting up an email address just for couponing. Remember that these coupons will have to be printed and not all stores will accept printed coupons. Consider the cost of paper and ink and check out your stores coupon policy before you start to print coupons.
Other sources for coupons: Coupon blinkies and tear pads (found in stores near products), coupon booklets (found in various locations), hang tags and peelies on products, and in your mail/email.
Keep your eyes on watch whenever you enter a store! You may be surprised where you find a great coupon.
Other Coupon Sources
If your grocery store offers rewards cards, make sure you sign up for it. They do track your purchases, but in doing so, you may recieve coupons in the mail based on what you buy most. There are also a lot of online coupon sites that allow you to electronically add coupons to your shoppers card. Here are a few sites to load coupons from (signing up is required. Note that these coupons do not usually double even if your store doubles paper coupons. Some of these websites reward your savings as gift cards or college payment plans):
Do you know of any others to share?
Get Organized - Prices, Stock Piles, and Coupon Holders
Knowing PricesOne of the first steps to being successful at couponing is working with the sales at the stores you shop most. That means knowing when they have your favorite items on sale and when they will be the lowest price. In other words, you need to learn the sale cycles of the products you buy most often.
Take a little notebook with you when you go shopping and right down the product, date, and price for each item you would like to track prices on. Start with a few of your homes staples and build your list as you learn more about each item. You should notice that most products have about a 3 month sale cycle. Every 3 months they will be at there lowest price and will increase inbetween the months to their highest price. Think of it as a frequency wave. Some items have longer sale cycles such as seasonal items (fruit, veggies, back-to-school items, etc.)
Once you know the product cycles of your families most used items. Try to buy only when they reach the bottom price. Buy enough to last you through to the next sale cycle if you can and if it will be shelf stable until the next sale. It's time to start a stock pile.