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Are you interested in trimming your budget? Want to save some extra money from your pay check?
Couponing can help you whittle down your budget easily and pad your wallet at the same time. Keep reading to learn about these 15 couponing tips for beginners!
The Logic Behind Couponing
Couponing is a simple idea to grasp. You save money off everyday purchases with the paper or digital coupons. When extreme couponing became the rage a few years ago, many consumers took to supermarkets and stores to get their piece of the pie, and try their hand at couponing.
The truth is, extreme couponing is very difficult. The end result shown in the media is that these extreme couponers get hundreds of dollars in goods down to a few bucks.
This can happen but not without a lot of hard work and effort. Many of these couponers are stay at home moms and take on extreme couponing as a full time job, literally. A 40 hour week of work is dedicated to each grocery haul.
Knowing how much time is required to save big, does couponing still look like a venture you can take on?
It puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, there’s a happy middle ground between extreme couponing and living a no coupon life. If you’re new to couponing or familiar with it, these groundbreaking tips will help you achieve your goal of saving money on your purchases. Take a look.
1. Take it Slow
Slow and steady wins the race with couponing. We get it, this is an exciting venture, the thought of savings hundreds or thousands of dollars with couponing. Take a breath and start slow if you’re a beginner. There’s a lot of information to take in and you don’t want to miss anything because it can cost you, literally.
2. Get Organized
Getting organized is one of the best things to do if you coupon.
You want to be prepared and not be the one to get “caught” at the register. Think about starting a coupon binder to hold all your coupons and get your deals in order. More on this down below.
3. Set a Couponing Goal
This is a great idea! Nothing will keep you motivated like goal-setting. Your couponing goal can be many things:
- A savings goal for each each shopping trip
- A monthly budget goal for groceries
- A coupon value you are striving to reach
Whatever your goal may be, the most important thing is to set one (or more) and stick to it!
4. Recruit Friends and Family to Help
Enlist the help of family and friends to help with your couponing journey. Your loved ones can help in so many ways, from being a support system to helping you clip coupons in your living room. It’s more fun couponing with others too.
5. Befriend Store Staff
This is a missed opportunity among couponers. Get friendly with store staff. The most successful couponers you’ll see are friends with the store workers.
There are so many benefits:
- Get possible insider knowledge when sales drop
- Get help at the register with coupon deals
- Get the scoop on what other couponers are shopping for and saving money on
True story: After watching a series of motivating couponing videos on YouTube, I came across a Dollar General deal that I could not pass up! It was a Wednesday morning and I hit my local DG to grab the deal, which was 50% off toys. This was during the holidays.
I picked up a cart full of toys and was pleased to see my total cut in half, with the sale. The checker was very friendly and even helped me grab some out of reach toys when I was shopping. At checkout, she shared a 25% off deal that another shopper did the day before and swiped a store coupon for me that knocked an additional $20 off my order!
This is a small taste of the many opportunities that may present by being friendly with store staff.
6. Join Couponing Groups
Couponing groups are going to be your goldmine! Not only can you connect with like-minded people in the world of couponing, but you’ll learn money-saving tips and get the insider news about coupon deals and events.
Here are some couponing groups that you’ll want to join:
The coupon groups above are online. You can connect by joining the groups on Facebook, and other Facebook coupon groups you’d like. It’s also fun to form and join in-person coupon groups with people from your local community.
7. Grab Several Copies of the Sunday Paper
The Sunday newspaper is a hub to some of the best coupons of the week. At just $.50/paper in most areas, grab a couple!
Sunday papers are an awesome resource for manufacturer coupons. Here’s the exact Sunday paper strategy to try:
- Buy a few copies of the Sunday paper
- Get extra copies from family/friends
- Print additional coupons from sources like SmartSource
- Consider investing in buying coupons, from Ebay
- Find more alike coupons here
- Search grocery websites for printable coupons
- Email manufacturers with compliments and receive free coupons
Grab your newspaper coupons and pair them with other coupons for stacking, to get the best deals.
8. Check Out Coupon Websites
Coupon websites are a great free resource to grab coupons for your grocery trip. Here’s a roundup of some coupon websites to check out:
9. Get Hip to Apps
Apps can help you save tons of money. They are free to get, easy to use, and a must-have if your goal is to save money with couponing.
Some resources to check out:
- 39 Twitter Accounts to Follow to Start Couponing and Finding Discounts
- Coupons.com Review to Save Money
10. Coupon Stack
Coupon stacking is the art of combining multiple coupons in one transaction for the purpose of getting the most savings off your purchase.
The idea to combine multiple kinds of coupons, like a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon, to reap the most benefit. It’s a strategy consumers have been using for years.
You can get manufacturers coupons from these places:
- Sunday newspaper
- Coupon inserts in the mail
- Direct from the manufacturer
You get store coupons from the store:
- On shelves
- Received in the mail
Some stores to use coupon stacking:
- Dollar General
- Rite Aid
Get the entire scoop and tips about this coupon strategy to help you save the most money.
11. Don’t Miss Out on Bulk Savings
Buying in bulk is something I didn’t understand for years. Growing up I remember my best friend’s mom stocking up at bulk stores and I couldn’t understand how $300 grocery bills equaled money savings.
Today, as a young adult, it totally clicks and makes total sense.
Here’s how it works:
At bulk stores you will pay more, but paying more doesn’t necessarily mean spending more. A bulk item takes less packaging to produce and is cheaper to make than small batch items. That savings can be passed to you!
Still in doubt?
Compare it. Look at two products in the same quantity from your local grocery store compared to a bulk store and see which product is cheaper for the quantity.
The bulk store will win.
Try out bulk stores like Costco to start saving more money on your grocery and household goods.
12. Weigh Your Produce
Weighing your produce is a simple step that will save you big. Today, I hardly ever see people use the food scale in the produce department of the grocery store. They simply pick up 5 apples, a bunch of bananas, 4 cucumbers, or whatever quantity of produce they need, without using the scale.
Did you know that you can buy precisely how much produce you need?
- You can remove a stalk of grapes off your bunch to get only what you need
- Take off bananas from the bunch you don’t need
- You can weigh every piece of produce
If you start weighing, you can also keep better track of how much your family consumes.
Maybe they eat 4 pounds of apples instead of 7 pounds, like you’ve been buying, or maybe you find the bunch of grapes only half eaten before throwing the rest away.
Save money and avoid food waste by putting this into practice: start weighing your produce!
13. Build a Coupon Binder
Getting a coupon binder will help you stay organized and keep your coupons in order. It provides so many benefits including:
- Ease of meal planning
- Staying on top of expiration dates
- Sorting and filtering coupons
- Better organization
This is so easy. Get a cheap binder, like a school binder, with pockets and inserts and start organizing your coupons.
Follow these 3 easy steps to build your coupon binder:
Step 1.) Get a zipper binder (at least 3 inches thick)
Step 2.) Separate each section with inserts (grab free ones here)
Step 3.) Use sheet protectors
Your binder will make couponing stress free and fun, get you organized and produce better results with your money-saving efforts!
14. Don’t Forget about Digital Coupons
Digital coupons are a great source of money savings. Don’t miss out on these. Here’s where you can get them:
- Grocery Coupon Network
- Ready Set Eat
- Common Kindness
- Seventh Generation
Get more digital coupons at these 98 awesome websites.
15. Become an Extreme Couponer Without Going Extreme
You can become an extreme couponer! Ok, not really but you can get extreme savings without a ton of effort. Here are some tips to get you there:
- Don’t shop hungry
- Get in and get out
- Don’t be brand loyal
- Don’t buy it just because it’s on sale
- Get multiple copies of the same coupon
- Know store policies
- Use rebates
- Use savings cards
Never Shop Hungry
You want to avoid this at all costs. Make sure you are fed before you start your shopping trip or bring a snack along. Shopping while hungry will guarantee a bigger shopping bill every time. This can be avoided easily, using the tips above.
Get in and Get Out
The longer you spend in the store, the more you will buy. Make a list, buy the products you intend to buy, and make it a point to get in and get out.
Don’t be Brand Loyal
Forget about brand names. At the end of the day, you buy the brands that get you the best savings. Being brand loyal will only cost you more money. Don’t think about the brand, just think about the savings.
Don’t Buy it Just Because it’s on Sale
Just because an item is on sale doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good sale, or a good buy. If you are wondering about buying a sale item, calculate the savings with your coupons and see if it truly is a good deal.
Multiple Copies of Coupons
This is a must-do! Each coupon is for a minimum of one item so every coupon copy you have can be used. Real extreme coupons buy multiple Sunday newspapers and print out multiple digital coupons, if possible.
Know the Store Policy
Knowing your store’s policy will come in handy. If you are uncertain, just ask.
Can double or triple stacked coupons be used?
Does the store price match?
Are rainchecks given for out of stock items?
These store policies can help you save even more money, and save you if you’re at the register with an unknowing checker. Extreme couponers know their store policies inside and out, or at the very least, have a copy saved to their cell phone, for easy access.
Take advantage of rebates that many stores offer. Check online for rebate deals, call the store or ask in person.
Use Savings Cards
A lot of grocers offer savings or rewards cards. These free cards give you tons of cool perks that transmit to savings and money back in your pocket. A lot of rewards programs offer coupons in the mail, freebies and other rewards.
Couponing is an art and a skill. You can use these tips to become an extreme couponer without having to take the extreme. The more you practice couponing, the better you’ll get.
Do you have couponing tips or savings strategies to add to the list? Comment down below!