What is Couponing?
Couponing is the art of matching a sale with a coupon to get the best possible price on the things you buy. You can’t believe what you can get for cheap or free with coupons! And after you do it, you’ll never want to pay full price for anything again!
Where Do You Get Coupons?
I buy 4 Sunday papers each week. That’s the best place to start. There are lots of other sources, too, most of them online. Internet Printable (IP) coupons can be found at the following sites:
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the sites I use the most.
Coupons can also be found on tear pads or blinkies in the stores, in magazines, tucked in with free samples that you sign up for, and even right on the packaging (maybe printed on the inside of the box!) of items you purchase. Some friends, family, and neighbors are happy to give them away, too. Keep your eyes peeled! You never know where you might find a valuable coupon.
If you are making your grocery list every week and using a coupon here and there when you happen to have one for an item on your list, you’re missing out. The key thing to remember is, when you want or need something at the store, chances are it won’t be on sale. So, you have to buy it when it is on sale, and don’t just buy what you need for that week. Stock up! Buy what will last your family for a few months, so that you don’t have to buy again until the item is on sale again.
You’ll need a place to store and organize all your goodies. Hence, the term stockpile. Keep it organized so you know what you have. I happen to be organizationally challenged. Amazingly, my stockpile is in perfect order.
How Do I Get Started?
I won’t lie. Couponing can be overwhelming at first. It gets easier as you perfect your own method of clipping and organizing your coupons. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me stay somewhat sane:
- Start with just one or two stores. Don’t try to drive around to 10 stores each week. I’m quite sure you have better ways to spend your time.
- Get familiar with those stores’ coupon policies. Print a copy and take it with you when you shop.
- Stay organized from the beginning. Don’t end up buried in a mess of coupons. Trust me. It’s not pretty. Get yourself a binder or recipe box, something to keep and organize your coupons in. Check out my post on using a coupon binder here.
- The first thing you can do to see a big difference in your grocery bill quickly: Make your shopping list based on the weekly circular, buying what’s on sale and/or what you have coupons for. Then make your weekly menu from what’s on your list. Most of us do it the other way around, making the menu first. This one change can make a big difference. Give it a shot!
- Don’t feel bad about using coupons. Stores get reimbursed for the coupons you use, so they’re not losing any money. Coupons are just like cash for them. Hold your head up and coupon away!
- Accept the fact that you are not going to score every deal every week. There will be coupons that meet their unfortunate end, expired in your recycling bin by the curb, never to have met the loving hands of a store clerk. Breathe. It’s okay. There will always be another sale and another coupon to pair with it. Check out my post on Couponing For The Troops to see how to help our military families with your expired coupons.
- Remember, it’s only a good deal if it’s something you need. Buying stuff that’s cheap but not useful to you or your family is only spending money that you don’t need to spend.
- You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I’m here to help, and there are lots of other fabulous couponing and deal-finding blogs out there that will do your store match-ups for you and tell you about all the best deals.
- You’ve got friends. If you find yourself awake, alone, midnight, clipping coupons on the living room floor, I’ve been there. It’s completely normal. Right?
What else do you want to know? Send me a note here and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!
Happy couponing, everyone!