Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Couponing for Beginners: Six Simple Steps to Begin Saving Money with Coupons

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I have been using coupons to save BIG since I became a stay-at-home mom over a year ago. I don’t think I will ever go back to life without them. I rarely go to the grocery store without saving MORE than I spend! It’s very exciting J Here are just 6 quick steps you can take to begin saving some cash with coupons right away!

1)      Get the Sunday paper! - Yes, there are TONS of printable coupons available online, but Sunday paper coupons are a solid foundation for your new money-saving hobby. I get two copies of the Sunday paper and find that some Sunday’s one set of coupons more than pays for my subscriptions. I also do a happy dance when I see those bonus $10 off $50 store coupons grocery stores love to slip in the paper to entice you to shop at their store. Sunday papers are definitely the way to go.

2)      Find out your grocery stores coupon policy – that way you can play by the rules and feel more confident about what you’re doing. If you are ever unsure if you can use a coupon with a specific sale or promotion, ask customer service or a manager. It’s that easy. Don’t be shy. They appreciate questions rather than check-out line arguments and are usually happy to help.

3)      Get organized! – Pick up a binder, some clear sheet protectors, sticky notes and you’re on your way to keeping your precious coupons in a neat, organized place. Simply take your coupon inserts from the Sunday paper and place them into the sheet protectors. Write the Sunday’s date on the sticky note and you can easily reference the coupons you need to those coupon match-up sites (more about those sites in the next step).

4)      Get familiar with couponing websites- I just want to hug the people who spend time putting together the deal match ups! They save me SO much time when I’m trying to match my coupons with what I need. As a busy mom, this is what makes saving big money possible for me. The trick is to never pay full price for the majority of your products and to stock up on items when they are on sale AND you can use coupons. Things like cereal or laundry detergent are perfect examples. Couponing websites are perfect for highlighting good stock-up prices so you can pay pocket change for products you used to shell out a whole lot more for. Two of my favorite go-to sites are: www.krazycouponlady.com and www.iheartpublix.com

5)      Make a list of things you NEED or plan to buy – reduce the impulse purchases! You will save a lot of money with this along. A list is great to organize your coupons with what you’re buying. If you happen to have an item on your list that’s not on sale, you can check the printable coupon database or your Sunday paper coupons to see if you can make your own deals.

6)      Make check out less of a flustered experience – Ask the cashier if they prefer the coupons with the items or all in a pile at the beginning. This gives the cashier a heads up on what they need to look for and they appreciate your willingness to make the process as smooth as possible. I always thank them for their patience at the end (sometimes it is a LOT to sort out), which we easily can forget to do when the savings are flashing before our eyes.

Once your groceries are loaded up in your car, take a moment to check your receipt. Look at how much money you saved and give yourself a pat on the back. You did it! Saving money is always worth it in the end. Remember, it’s a learning process and some weeks have better deals than others. Keep track of your savings and you’ll be surprised to see just how much your savings are adding up week by week. Oh- and have fun J Happy Couponing!

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