In response to a couple of requests for ideas on getting started with coupons I am offering these tips that work for me.
I am a very imperfect person and organizing and using coupons is a constantly evolving process for me. I go through periods of time when I am totally on top of using coupons and always getting the best sales prices. There are times when I just use a few and am a minimal coupon user. Still there are other times when I skip them altogether.
So, how does someone who is new to couponing or who hasn't done any couponing in a long time get started? This is how I would suggest they get started:
1. Start out small. You don't want to get overwhelmed or burned out the first week!
2. Start out by getting one Sunday paper each week. Normally the coupons contained in the paper will more than pay for the paper. Better yet, if you know someone who will give you their coupon insert, take them up on it. Right now we don't buy any newspapers, but my mother gives me her inserts since she isn't into couponing.
3. To begin your coupon adventure, only clip the coupons you think you would use and file them in your coupon organizer. Label by date and keep the rest of the coupon insert.
4. There are many couponing blogs that give the best deals at drugstores, grocery stores and super centers. If you are planning a shopping trip to one of these, simply check to see what the sales prices with coupon match ups are for that store on one of these blogs. The coupon match ups usually state which coupon insert (by date and kind) the coupons can be found. This way if you didn't already clip the coupon, you can go back to your inserts and find it. In addition, if you want to print coupons from the internet, the blogs will give you a link to print it from.
5. Always keep your coupons with you.
6. When you are in the store, be on the lookout in the store for packages that have coupons right on them and also for the blinkies in the isle that dispense coupons for items located near them. Also a few stores have a scanner at the front of the store where you scan your store card and receive more coupons.
Right now I am going through a lull in my couponing. But, even without taking my coupon organizer into the grocery store I ended up using about $16.00 worth of coupons on a shopping trip yesterday afternoon. Here's how: I scanned my MVP card at the front of the Food Lion Store and received a $5.00 off my total order coupon; I bought 2 or 3 items that had coupons on the package; I remembered that I had in my handbag 2 coupons I received in the mail from Kelloggs for 2 free Kelloggs items up to $5.00 each. So of course I bought 2 huge boxes of cereal that weren't even on sale that I normally would not have purchased, but that we will definitely use.
7. Couponing blogs that I use regularly are: Money Saving Mom; 30 Dollar weekly grocery challenge, Southern Savers,Kingdom First Mom, My Frugal Adventures and Frugal Coupon Living.
8. There are certain items that can be bought free or nearly free if you keep on the lookout for them. Between Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS, there is a free tube of toothpaste on sale just about every week.
My deal of the week: At Rite Aid, I have a $1.50 UP Coupon (good on any non-prescription order) and a Rite Aid Single Check Refund for $4.69. I will buy a bottle of Contact Lens Solution for $7.99, apply these for a balance due of $1.80. Then the Contact Lens cost ($7.99) will be refunded to me in another Single Check Refund. When the check comes I will use it to buy another item that generates a refund or UP Coupon, etc.
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