Ever since I was a little girl I can remember getting up on Sunday mornings eating breakfast and clipping coupons with my mother. Once the coupons were clipped they were placed in a cute blue wallet holder with a pair of scissors on the front. Inside there was an accordion file that divided the coupons into sections; produce, cleaning products, frozen foods, meats & etc.
Fast forward to today and I am now repeating the same learned habits of budgeting that I was taught many years ago! I now have my own subscription to my local newspaper and every Sunday I am up rummaging through the paper looking for the next best deal.
Instead of a cute little coupon wallet I have adapted a 3-ring binder (see above picture) that is equipped with baseball card sleeves to hold my coupons divided into sections (Beauty, Dog products, Home Care, Food) to stay organized while shopping! In the front pockets I keep the sales flyers of the stores I am going to visit.
I have even recruited some of my coworkers and friends to go shopping with me after work or on the weekends! And inevitably someone will comment “How do you coupon” or “Where do you get coupons” and “What can you save money on”!
So the purpose of today’s post is to address some of those couponing questions and even some of the myths about couponing! Maybe after reading this I hope this will encourage you to start your own coupon saving habit!
Where do you find so many coupons?
- My favorite place to find coupons is in the Sunday paper! It’s the easiest place to find coupons. All that is required is that you purchase a newspaper from your local store. Over time, I would recommend getting a subscription to your local newspaper. This is much cheaper than buying an individual paper on Sundays! Additionally this will allow you to stock up on coupons weekly!
- Coupons.com. This is my second favorite place to find coupons because it allows you to be pickier about the coupons you clip! On this website you “clip” the coupons by clicking on the link “clip”. The positive side to coupons.com you get only the coupons you want, need and will use. Versus the newspaper version that includes coupons from many companies, which you may never use!
- Check the website of your favorite stores. Target, CVS, Walgreens & Rite-Aid (some of my favorite stores) offer their own coupons that can be used in their stores only on many products! For even more savings, you can use the store coupons to “stack” with your manufacturer coupons from the newspaper & coupons.com Also, you can use coupons in addition to their sales! The coupon section is often located at the bottom bar of the website.
But do you really save money?
Yes! You can save A LOT of money (Think Extreme Coupon on TLC)! But here are some helpful tips when starting out!
1. Go to the store with a plan! It helps to write a list of what you want to purchase. Also don’t forget to take the sales flyer with you as sometimes the items may not be marked as listed on the flyer!
2. Stick to the budget and the above mentioned list! Don’t get distracted! Stay on task!
3. Only buy the items that you have a coupon for! If you stray and buy additional items you will go over your budget!
4. Combine those coupons with sales an other store offers to maximize the dollars you save! For example if your store offers $5 off of a $15 purchase! You can combine that store coupon with your other clipped coupons to get additional dollars off.
5. Get to know your local stores’ coupon policy! Many stores will double coupons up to $.99. (That means if you have a $.50 coupon that it will double and give you $1 in savings!) BUT many stores will also limit the number of coupons that they will allow to double. So CHECK THAT COUPON POLICY!
6. If your store has a rewards card be sure to get one as soon as you enter the store! These cards are great because stores will offer discounts to their “members”.
Couponing takes time! Be patient! When you start out you may only save a few dollars BUT once you start clipping coupons, learning what your favorite stores are for deals and their sales cycles you will get the hang of it!
Hopefully, this helped you get started with budgeting by using coupons! Post your comments and other questions below!