beginning couponing

Let me start off by saying that if you’ve seen the TLC show “Extreme Couponing”, that’s my goal here…at all!

A friend of mine called me up Thursday and asked if I was interested in learning how to coupon.  She just started, and her best deal thus far was 10 boxes of pasta for free.  What?  Okay!  I’m always game for saving money.  She showed me some sites for starting out and how to use them.  Once she left I began printing and cutting away.  So here’s what I learned for all who are interested.

This is the easiest site to understand.  .

Grocery Smarts

You can select your state go through each store and see what’s on sale, and if there is a non-expired coupon (from the Sunday paper or printable) it is listed with the final sale price after coupon.  It’s also categorized by stars (red being the best deals.)  It also lets you know what items are free.

On the top of the above link there are groups A, B, and C.  Go trough and print all the ones you want twice.  You do have to install a coupon printer, and make sure your browser is compatable (googlecrome is not).  I use internet explorer when I print coupons, and the other for when I’m not.

Here are some tips I learned in the last couple of days:

Ask neighbors and friends who don’t coupon to save you the Sunday paper inserts.  Collect as many as you can and buy a Sunday paper if you can (here they cost $1.50).  Keep in mind that you need a coupon for every item. ie If you want to get 5 free toothpastes you need 5 coupons.  This is why you should collect as many coupon packs from the Sunday paper as you can.  The printables are usually different from the paper’s and you can only print off two total from your house. (If you want more try going over to a friends and print from their computer and printer using a separate login ect.)

It’s more shameful to go into debt and not wear deodorant than to send your six-year-old into the town recycling bin to retrieve coupon packs (we found 4, and for the record there is nothing but newspaper in it…NO trash!)

Detailed list are very helpful when you shop.  (Name of item, sale price, price after coupon, total to buy.)

Bring a calculator and pencil.

Keep all your coupons with you, the store sale papers don’t list everything or account for clearance items you may have a coupon for.

Chat with other couponers at the store.  I met three, they were all friendly and I learned even more from each one.  I was even able to teach one lady a couple of tips.

Don’t forget to register your store club cards and load digital coupons on them.  Here Fry’s Food and Safeway often have the same coupons to load on your card as the printables (which means 3 coupons instead of two!)  Print out the loaded coupons list before you head to the store…you will be glad you did.

Check the isles for “blinkers” (coupons that are attached to the shelves with blinking lights)

Ask friends/family to save you coupons from boxes and packages.

Cut out all coupons.  If you don’t use it someone else you know does.  This is a great way to be able  to donate to food banks, jails, and homeless shelters, and nursing homes even when you are struggling yourself.

It takes organization and time, but if it didn’t everyone would do it.  Reap the rewards.

My first week deals:

Best deals:

2 bags of free romaine lettuce

5 deodorants for Nick .99 each (normally $4.50+ each)

I spent $47 at Frys, saved $40 and got a $5 gift card to Frys for my next visit.

More sites to visit::

Coupon Divas

Pinching Your Pennies

Coupons.com

Target

Be the best steward you can be.  Happy couponing!

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