How to Start Couponing: A Guide for Beginners
Many shoppers that used coupons saved $30 per week. While $30 per week might not sound like a lot, how does $1,560 sound?
That’s $1,560 saved every year that you can have family fun with, invest, or do something else with that money. In fact, you’re still getting what you want—you’re just using coupons when you get it.
The truth of the matter is that lots of people would love to save money using coupons, but they aren’t sure how to start couponing.
We are here to help you get started, Continue reading this article to learn the best couponing tips, so you can save money and still get what you want.
Don’t Worry About What Other People Think
If you get caught up in what other people think about your couponing, you might not do it. Some people think couponing is for broke people, but that’s simply not the case.
Using coupons just means that you’re a savvy shopper. Most people wish they could use coupons, so it’s not unlikely that they are going to ask you to give them a few pointers when they see how much money you’re saving on things.
Do I Have to Be an Extreme Couponer?
You might have heard the term “extreme couponer,” and you don’t want to be associated with an extreme couponer. The truth is that there is no difference between a couponer and an extreme couponer. They are just people that use a lot of coupons and are usually very organized.
If you don’t want to be super organized and use a lot of coupons, you definitely don’t have to. It’s just the more that you do, the more that you save.
Learn the Basics of Coupons
Some of the things you need to know when it comes to coupon basics are things like:
- How to redeem coupons
- How to read coupons
- How to understand coupon policy
These are pretty basic things you need to get out of the way first. Once you know these things, you can move on to some of the strategies of couponing.
You can learn these things by checking with the stores you shop at regularly and seeing what their policies are. As far as reading coupons, it just takes a little bit of practice. Once you’ve read a few and redeemed coupons, you’ll soon understand how everything works, but we’re going to help you out a little.
Before you start throwing out coupons, here are some of the things you might see on a coupon and what they mean.
The manufacturer coupon means a coupon from the people that make the actual item. Most stores will take these coupons, but check your store policy before trying to throw them down.
Store coupons are for a specific store. So, you can’t use Walmart coupons at Food City.
Another thing you need to look out for is the expiration date. Coupons don’t last forever, so if you find a coupon in a drawer, you might find it’s no longer valid.
Another tip is to read the coupon vs. looking at the photo on the coupon. They might have an outdated photo or a photo of a different product. Read the coupon and see how many you need to buy and which products are covered by the coupon.
The last thing we’ll point out is that there is usually a limit listed on the coupon. It is likely to say something like a limit of one per customer or something similar.
Where to Find Coupons
You might have seen your parents clipping coupons out of the newspapers, but where do you find them? You don’t read newspapers.
Yes, it is true that newspapers are a good place to find coupons. Honestly, having a subscription to a newspaper primarily for coupons isn’t unheard of. As long as you’re saving more money than you’re spending—it makes sense.
You can also find coupons through websites that offer printable coupons. You’re likely to find hundreds of these coupons, but many of them aren’t going to be for anything you’d really want to buy. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of buying things you won’t use.
Coupons are often found in magazines as well. You can get magazines at a good discount and then clip coupons out of them.
You can even get coupons right from the people that manufacture the products. Look through all of the things that you normally buy and go to their website and sign up for their email updates. It’s likely they will send out coupons at some point, so get ready when they come through.
Look through the weekly grocery store ads to see if there are coupons there as well.
Look Out for Store Sales
When you really want to save money, you want to look for items that have coupons and are on sale. Using coupons on sale items is like putting your strategy into overdrive.
You might be able to go on a site and look at target deals today and use multiple coupons to get a great deal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Overbuy the Good Deals
If you find a really good deal on something, you should stock up on those items. Keep in mind that most sales cycles are six months, so you should buy up enough to last you until the next sale comes up.
If you map out the things that you buy often, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. It pays to have a little calendar to note when those sales are going to come around again.
Organize Your Coupons
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to want to organize your coupons. Organizing your coupons is a wise move, so you know what you’re working with.
If you don’t organize your coupons, you might know that you have a coupon for something you see is on sale, but you can’t find it.
Your organizer doesn’t have to be large, loud, or announcing to the store that you’re there to coupon. You can even use a little book that looks like a small photo album or something similar.
The main goal is to make sure that you can find the coupons that you’re looking for when you need them.
Coupon binders are the best if you do have time to do it. Make sure you use a binder that makes it difficult for your coupons to fly out and cause a mess in the store. If you drop your binder, you don’t want to spend ten minutes trying to gather your massive amount of coupons.
When you’re organizing your coupons, you should think about the categories of coupons you want to have. You might make categories like meat, household products, or clothing.
Whatever categories you choose to make, make sure it works for you. You don’t have to do something a certain way because you saw it online or in a book.
Speak the Lingo
If you’re trying to get help from the couponing community, it is wise to have an idea about what all of the terms mean.
Some of the most common terms you’re going to hear are as follows:
- BOGO – Buy one get one free
- Cash Register Tape – Your receipt
- Blinkie – The coupons that come out of the on aisle blinking machines
- Cellfire – Websites that have electronic coupons you can load to a club card
- Double Coupon – When stores double the value of your coupon
These are some of the most common and most important couponing lingo examples. Next time you’re talking in an online group, you can use these to figure out what’s going on.
The best way to learn what everyone is saying is to go on the forums, into the groups, and just start talking to people. As you’re reading through things, you’ll start to understand what is going on because of the context of the conversation.
Getting involved with the community can allow you to network and exchange coupons and information with other people that are interested in saving money too.
How to Start Couponing Like a Pro
Now you know how to start couponing like a pro. Instead of feeling like you are overwhelmed and underprepared when you go to the store, you know what you’ve got to do to save money using coupons.
Do you want to learn more money-saving tips and other ways to keep more money in your pocket? Our blog has everything you need, so keep reading.