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Practical Tips to Start Using Coupons

Practical tips to start couponing

It does take a some time to plan shopping trips, but boy, is it worth it!  As a “fair-weather” coupon-er, I saved a little money, from time to time, when it was convenient and I remembered to do it.  About 5 years ago, I discovered that many families have been quietly and creatively using coupons and saving oodles of money – almost like they didn’t want anyone else to know that they were on to something. I have since learned how to get the biggest bang for every hand-earned buck when I shop for groceries.

Lesson One – Make every attempt to buy items that are not only on sale, but also have a coupon.  This is the most important concept to master.  There will always be something that you need when it’s not on sale, but everything else gets couponed.

For example, Publix has wonderful “Buy One, Get One Free” (BOGO) items every week.  So here’s the math – Spaghetti Sauce X is $2.99, BOGO = $1.49/jar.  Use a coupon worth $ .40 off each jar = $1.09/jar.  Publix also happens to DOUBLE coupons up to $ .50, so you get another $ .40 off each jar making them $. 69/each!  This is the week you want to stockpile spaghetti sauce.

Watch for similar deals on the things your family uses the most.

Lesson Two – Grow a coupon collection.  How?

1) Get the “Double Deal” on the Sunday paper.  Heck, get 5 “Double Deals” – suddenly you have ten of every coupon in the paper that week for about $12.

2) Pull coupons out of those blinkie machines at the store.  Even if the product isn’t on sale now, it likely will be soon.

3) Look for tearpads in the store and peelie stickers on the product itself.

4) Hit the web and get on company mailing lists.

5) Print coupons from the internet – think kraft.com, Nabisco.com, coupons.com, smartsource.com.  Most products will have a website with some sort of promotional coupon.

6) Buy coupons on ebay or from a clipping service.

7) Trade with family and friends or simply ask them to save theirs for you.

8) Don’t forget to look inside packages and in magazines.

9) Try putting coupons on your cell phone or store loyalty card.  (cellfire.com and Kroger.com)

10) Many stores will give you Catalina coupons with your receipt – you know, those extra things that pop out of the receipt machine.  Don’t toss them too quick! Some are simply regular coupons, but many times you’ll get something free or straight up money off your next order.

Here are a few more resources and suggestions for places to find coupons and some great couponing sites.

Couple of extra tips:

*Don’t forget Rainchecks.  If a store is out of a product in your master plan, don’t scrap it – just get a Raincheck and buy it later.

*Visit sites like hotcouponworld.com or afullcup.com for tons of couponing info.  Thecouponclippers.com are a great clipping service and will show you a couple of days ahead of time, what coupons to expect in upcoming Sunday paper.  (There is a lot of coupon lingo on these sites. If you need a little help deciphering them, try this article.)

* Learn about rolling and growing CVS Extra Care Bucks and Walgreen’s Register Rewards.

*Take advantage of rebate opportunities to add to your savings.

*Learn which of your stores will price match, accepts competitor’s coupons and/or will stack a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon.

* Watch the cashier for correct pricing and to ensure that all of your coupons scan.

*Start slow.

*Have too much?  Got something for free that your family won’t likely use? Donate it!


Stay tuned for more tips and strategies to help you get started saving money.

Do you have any super couponing tips we could all use?  What’s your favorite couponing site? Be sure to share in the Comments.