The Art of Couponing: What You Need to Get Started

Aug 21

The Art of Couponing: What You Need to Get Started

With the rise of popular couponing television shows as well as the effects of the recession, grocery stores across the country have seen a huge increase in couponing. Shoppers that utilize coupons swear that they save enormous amounts of money in the stores. To get started, there are a couple of things you need and some fundamentals to learn. Before you start stockpiling, make sure that you have available space, like your garage, and put up the necessary garage shelving for when you get home with your massive grocery haul.

1. Newspaper Coupons
Of course the most important part of using coupons is to actually have coupons. The Smart Source coupon packet comes in almost every Sunday newspaper. Proctor and Gamble coupons are delivered in the newspaper on the first Sunday of every month. Red Plum coupon packets are typically delivered in the Tuesday newspaper or straight to your mailbox.

2. Printable Coupons
Another popular way to get coupons, especially if you do not want to purchase a newspaper subscription, is to print coupons. Printable coupons are easy to obtain from coupons.com, smartsource.com, and redplum.com. However, it is important to watch the expiration dates of coupons because they often expire 30 days after printing.

3. Coupons in Your Mailbox
Many shoppers do not realize that coupons can be delivered straight to your mailbox. Some of the best coupons often come with free samples that can be requested online. In addition to coupons in samples, companies such as Proctor and Gamble allow you to order coupon books online for free that will be mailed straight to you.

4. Coupon Organizer
It is not good to have huge piles of coupons, but no organizational system. The main ways to organize coupons are the booklet method, the binder method, and the shoebox method. In the booklet method, the coupons are not cut before planning a trip, but the date received is written on the coupon booklet and they are filed by date. In the binder method, the coupons are cut before going to the store and they are stored in baseball card collection sleeves in a binder. The shoebox method is similar to the binder method, but the coupons are kept in envelopes in a shoebox.

5. Store Coupon Policy
Another important component to couponing is to know your store’s coupon policy. Some stores double coupons and some stores do not. Some large national grocery stores accept both manufacturer and store coupons for one item, while some more regional grocery stores only allow one coupon.

6. Store Sales Flyer
The main way that extreme couponers save so much money in the grocery store is by combining a sale with a coupon. Many of these shoppers hold onto coupons until there is a sale. It is important to keep your eye on the weekly sales so you know when to make a trip or to use a certain coupon.

7. Price List
To make a price list, go to the various stores in your area and write down the prices for some common items that you buy often. Also, write down whether it is the sale or the regular price. Then when an item goes on sale at a store, you can quickly check your price list and see if that sale price is the cheapest in the area.

8. Coupon Database
The best thing that has happened to couponing is the evolution of coupon databases online. In a coupon database, you just search for the item you want to buy and it will tell you if there is a coupon available for your item. The database will tell you the coupon booklet and date of the coupon.

9. Coupon Blogs
In addition to using a coupon database, following a coupon blog can be very helpful, especially for the newbie couponer. These popular coupon blogs will alert you to a sale before anyone else knows about it or will post a link to a great new coupon. Some of the most popular blogs are Coupon Mom, Money Saving Mom, and The Krazy Coupon Lady.

10. Patience!
Finally, the most important necessity for someone learning to coupon is patience! It will take time to develop a system and learn all of the coupon policies. Not all of your coupons will work every time and sometimes grocery clerks will have difficulties. With couponing, even if everything does not go smoothly, you will still be saving quite a large amount of money.