1. Let go of excuses and take the initiative to start couponing if that is what you really want to do! You can find a million excuses as to why couponing is not a feasible option for you and your family to save money. Couponing is just like any other task, job, or hobby that you could take on- you must have some patience because nobody starts out as an expert. It does take some time, I don't know why people say it doesn't. That doesn't mean you can't break it up and do a bit today and a bit tomorrow. How much time it takes depends on many things, if you follow a blog to help you in the stores you shop at, how many Sunday papers you are buying a week, etc. You must be patient and persistent! In couponing, patience is definitely a virtue! (see the following tip)
2. Patience is indeed a virtue (as you will find out)! One thing you must know before you start to coupon is that you shouldn't expect to get 50 dollars worth in groceries for 3 dollars after just clipping one Sunday paper's inserts! This is a big misconception. It is probable that you might be able to use those coupons and get items at a fraction of the original cost, but that is not how you find the great deals. Really good deals are usually (but not always) sales on items that have matching coupons from past inserts. Some of them might be from inserts 2 months prior to this! You must start a binder and keep your coupons; these items might be on sale down the road. Patience! Another reason why one needs to be patient is because sometimes, you might have a coupon for an item and it sounds like an alright deal. Well, you could just go ahead and use it...or, you can hold on to it and you might be able to get it for free with an upcoming sale!
3. Do not get discouraged! We've all experienced a trip that didn't go as planned, that embarrassing trip where everyone gave you evil looks, and the time you left your coupon book/binder at a store and was never able to get it back. At first, you might get so hyped up about sales and have your coupons ready only to find out that the sizes don't match or the products the coupons are for aren't in the sale. Bummer! This, I'm pretty sure, happens to every beginner. You just have to take it as a lesson. Maybe that means you have to take 5 extra minutes to check that coupons and sales match up (or check a blog for match-ups!). With, and only with, experience comes knowledge. And as your knowledge increases, you'll find that your check-outs are more easy flowing (which would mean less dirty looks!). A few months ago, I lost my coupon mini binder and was devastated, as lame as that sounds. So many good coupons gone....forever! One day I just realized how dumb I was to not be as resilient as I should have been and decided to start another one. Now, I'm much more careful and ALWAYS check the shopping cart to make sure I do not leave it there again.
4. Follow a couponing blog or website! This, I find, is a must to see better results in a shorter amount of time! Following couponing blogs/websites will make it much more easier for you as it provides real life examples and scenarios! Not to mention, they make it "easy peasy lemon squeezy" for you because they do coupon match-ups!! I, for example, shop primarily at Publix. I follow Michelle's website at www.iheartpublix.com and then I check how my fellow couponers do by clicking on their links when they share their weekly trip. There are literally thousands of websites and blogs to follow- there is no reason why not to! Of course, I'm not saying that if you want to coupon, you won't make it without doing this but your outcome will be better. It just makes sense.
5. Take advantage of BOGO sales! Bogo (Buy One, Get One) sales are the best! These are already savings of 50%, so if you purchase bogo items and use coupons for these, it makes for stellar savings! Stores like Kroger & Publix have great bogo items but my absolute favorite is Publix, as I had previously mentioned. The reasons? They have GREAT bogos weekly! Yes, weekly! On top of that, you can use Manufacturer Coupons and (this part is crazy!) on top of that, you can stack store coupons on these items as well! Is that crazy or what!? Now, let me blow your mind, these "store coupons" don't even have to be Publix coupons! They can be from whichever store your Publix considers a competitor! For example, my Publix considers Target as a competitor (you can find out yours by asking an employee or checking for the store's sign in the entrance) so I can use either Publix or Target coupons on top of my manufacturer coupons. You just can't t use both, Publix and Target, in one same item. Let me give you an example/scenario for all of this info you just read:
** Suppose Ritz crackers are on bogo- $3.09. This price would usually be per box but since it's bogo, it's the price for two of them. And suppose you have a manufacturer coupon of $1 off 2 Ritz boxes (and the sizes match). Also, suppose that your Publix accepts Target coupons and you found a Target coupon online that is $2 off 2 Ritz boxes. This would mean that you would get 2 boxes of Ritz for only 9 CENTS!
Ritz bogo at $3.09
minus $1.00 MQ
minus $2.00 TQ
Final Price: $0.09 for two!
6. Organize your coupons and have them ready before you go shopping. The reason why is very clear. This makes for a faster trip and a trip in which you actually get all the things you were supposed to get! It keeps you from wasting time at the store and holding up lines. Many people think that couponers hold up lines. With this, you can prove this wrong and help yourself at the same time.
7. Get to know your stores' coupon policy and how their sales work. Not only are their differences between different stores (i.e Kroger and Publix), but there are also differences between the same stores (i.e a Publix in Savannah, Ga. and a Publix in Rome, Ga.). Actually, there could be differences in two Publix's only a mile away! So you must always get to know your store and follow their policy! One of these differences might be their bogo sales. Some stores' bogo sales might mean that you have to buy one item at full price and get the other one absolutely free (this is referred to as "true bogo") while others might interpret bogo as buy any 1 item at half price. My Publix, for example, doesn't have true bogo which means that I don't have to buy 2 of the items to get the deal. I can just buy 1 and I get that at half price. This is great because sometimes, you have an uneven amount of coupons or your coupon requires you to buy an odd amount of products.
8. Make sure you buy the Sunday paper with the P&G inserts! These P&G (Proctor & Gamble) inserts, only come out once a month. The first Sunday of the month or the first Sunday before the month starts. These are really good coupons and expire after the month ends. People tend to buy more Sunday papers when the P&G are in it because they are great coupons and also cause it has an extra insert for the same price.
9.Take advantage of the weekly ads for various stores that can be found in your Sunday paper. They are already in your paper, might as well use them. Use them to compare prices, examine the deals, and now, you can use them to price match at Walmart. Even if you don't regularly shop at that store, with the new implemented Walmart match it policy, you can use it solely to get that low price at Walmart.
10. Organize your coupons. There are so many ways to do this. Some people organize them by expiration dates. I organize mine by putting them in categories: "food & snacks", "health & beauty", "household items", "pet items", etc. I also organize them by stores. I have a folder for Walmart, Publix, Kroger, CVS and Target. I place the coupons in the folder of the store I plan to use them at. This way, I am always ready for whichever store I have to run to. Some people have a different binder for each store and within that binder, divide it into categories. You find a way that works for you because every person is different.