About 4 years ago I caught the "coupon bug". I was newly married and we had just moved to South Florida. At first, I'd only use a few coupons in the newspaper but when I realized how much I was saving combining in store promotions and clipped coupons the craziness began!
Today, I proudly carry my circled and highlighted grocery store ads along with my coupon organizer and I no longer feel bad about the grumpy people in line behind me in the checkout giving me the stink eye. Come on people I'm saving $80+ here!
So here are my tips on how to get started in the Coupon Craze. Before you know it you'll be saving a bundle too!
I get the majority of my coupons out of the Sunday paper.
Last week there were 4 coupon inserts with more than $100 in coupon savings.
On a week like that I buy a few papers.
There are a few determined coupon lovers out there that scour the recycle dumpster or make a deal with their local newspaper distributer to give them the leftover coupon ads from the unsold papers. Crazy or Smart? You decide!
How far are you willing to go to save?
Image from tlc.com
Just remember if you get 20 newspapers that's a LOT of hours you're going to have to spend every week cutting out and organizing coupons! But is it worth it to save hundreds???
Where to find coupons:
The newspaper isn't the only place to find coupons!
Many stores have weekly coupons in their print ads. Even if you don't shop at that store cut them out! Check with your local grocery store- they may accept competitors coupons! My grocery store, Publix accepts all other store coupons- and not just grocery stores. I've used Albertsons, Target, even Dollar General coupons at Publix.
BONUS: Publix also let's you double up on coupons if you have a competitor coupon or a Publix coupon. For example if you have a reg coupon for $1 off a can of soup and then you have a Target printed coupon for 50 cents off the same soup you can combine them. With any luck that item will now be just a few cents or even FREE.
The pro couponers plan out their shopping trips according to the weekly grocery store ads. If their store has buy 1 get one free cereal for example they will make sure they have numerous coupons for that cereal and stock up for a few months. They end up getting the cereal for next to nothing! They only buy the products that they have coupons for (except produce and meats). For me this is a little tricky since I don't want to start stockpiling my garage with 40 boxes of cereal but that's how the pros save hundreds and get a lot of free products!
Check out magazines:
Women's and cooking magazines tend to have multiple coupons in each issue.
Don't forget to clip these!
Target.com has a great listing, usually updated every week (scroll down to the bottom right of the home page and click "coupons"). Also check out: http://www.weusecoupons.com/ , http://www.coupons.com/ , http://www.smartsource.com/ , and http://www.redplum.com/ .
Free Gift Card Savings!
Sometimes stores will advertise free store gift cards with purchase. I am all over these.
The circled ad above for instance is for razors. My hubby needed razors and I had two coupons so I bought 2 razors that were on sale for $9.89 and saved $6 with coupons and then got a FREE $5 Target giftcard! Score!
Publix sometimes has $10 off a BP or AMEX gift card of $50 or more. I buy a few of these and use them to pay for my groceries or fill up my tank. Hey, you were going to spend the money anyways right? Why not take the extra step and buy the GC and save?
Coupons on products!
Be sure to check in store products. Many offer coupons taped right on the product!
Always visit your favorite companies website and join their email list. I often get free coupons and gifts in the mail from companies that want to thank me for being a loyal customer. Or sometimes they want me to try a new product. Or I enter a recipe or giveaway contest on their site and even though I don't win the big prize they still send my product coupons! It's a WIN-WIN!
BONUS: Same goes for restaurant websites. I'm a member of 20+ restaurant email lists and I get free coupons and discounts constantly for my bday, anniversary, holidays or just because!
For the last few years I've kept my coupons in a small wallet sized coupon organizer ($1 section at Target!).
But now I think I'm ready to move up to the big leagues!
I'm puting together a coupon binder which will be bigger yes, but by labeling and organizing coupons in clear business card holders it will be so much easier to sort though (not to mention look nicer!).
Do you want a stockpile room?
Image from tlc.com
Check out TLC's addictive new series, Extreme Couponing.
Some of it may be a little over the top (and boardline hoarding) but truly it's an inspiring show that has some great savings tips for all of us!
Still have questions or want to learn more about couponing? Here's a great video I found featuring Nathan from TLC's Extreme Couponing .
~NicolePin It Now!