** So I started writing this, thinking I would get it all in one post, and boy was I wrong. My one post started to become to massive, and therefore I decided to post it in parts. The first two parts will be what I’ve learned about couponing so far, followed by more posts on specific topics or tips that I have found useful. So sit back, relax, and enjoy Part 1!
I’ve tried doing this couponing thing once before, and even though we did have one shopping trip were we saved almost 50% on our grocery bill, it all just fell apart. I think that was mostly because I got lazy, but it may have also been because of the system I was trying to work with. The organizing and planning was simple enough, but it didn’t fit me. I also started to get somewhat irritated that I wasn’t able to get deals other people were getting, so like I said, it fell apart.
Then just a few weeks ago I started getting back into it. Since then I have learned a system that I think fits me better, and I have already got some small, but very good deals (Free is always good!). So, if you are wanting to seriously get into couponing, I’m going to give you some tips and guidelines from what I’ve learned so far. Just remember, I’m not a pro at this… yet.
First I’ll start with what I’m doing now. I haven’t gotten back into buying papers just yet, and I’m actually debating on whether I want to even buy papers on Sunday, or purchase the inserts from websites (like couponsthingsbydede.com). That being said, getting coupons from the Sunday paper should be one of your biggest sources of coupons. Whether you buy the papers, or get the inserts online, be sure to get at lease 4 copies. This will give you enough of each coupon to stock up on items when they go on sale. If you need to buy more than 4 of an item, get more papers/inserts. Also, be sure to get the paper that has the biggest insert. In our area I have found the Birmingham News to be the best for coupons. Unfortunately O/A News is the worst…
But if I haven’t been getting papers, where have all my coupons been coming from? I’m glad you asked. Probably 95% of them have been printed online coupons. I’ve been able to get these from websites like coupons.com, allyou.com, smartsource.com, redplum.com and others. Also, I’ve found quite a few very nice coupons on manufacturer’s Facebook pages. The others I aquired either came from the All You magazines I subscribed to when I got into couponing last time, or from store coupon booklets. Publix is really good about putting out these coupon booklets, but many other stores do it as well.
So now to one of the main things I’m doing differently this time. Organizing the coupons. The first time I started I had a file box filled with folders which held all the coupon inserts I got, labeled by the week. I wouldn’t clip any coupons until I was ready to use them, and honestly this is an extremely simple way to organize them. Also, it’s recommended by two websites I learned from, southernsavers.com and savingfreak.com. For me though, it just didn’t work. In organizing my coupons this way, I was dependant on the sales that these bloggers posted on their website. In most cases this would make things even easier, until I started figuring out that because of regional differences in sales, a lot of the big deals I wanted to get were not offered in our area, or I just didn’t get the coupons I needed (also because of regional issues). So this time I decided to go with a coupon binder (krazycouponlady.com gave me this idea). I already had an empty binder with baseball card pages (always been a card collector), so it only seemed like the right way for me to do it. I actually just got finished organizing my initial coupons last night, and so far this method fits me a lot better for many reasons. One, if I go through and physically touch every coupon I have by clipping them, then I find it easier to remember what coupons I have without having to either put them in a database or actually look through them. Two, looking through them is as easy as flipping a page, and not pulling them out file by file. Three, I am a collector at heart. The more I can make something seem like collecting, the easier it works for me. So that’s why it works for me, but it may not work for you. The most important thing I can stress here is do what works for you. Don’t do it just because I do it.
Next we’ll get on to actually using those coupons… (Coming soon!)