How to Coupon for Beginners
I don’t know about you, but I swear my food budget gets smaller and smaller each week. And I’m sure you probably feel the same way, right? As a Mom, it gets tough to feed a family the healthy meals we need on a shoestring budget. So, how do I make my food money go a bit farther? I use coupons! how to coupon
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Where to start
Just think about all those coupons! You can save 30-50%, just by using coupons. So, how can you save using coupons?
Coupons are designed to sell a certain product, however, if the item is not one you use, then saving money on that item is a moot point. Also, keep in mind what you can reasonably use. You don’t need 12 bottles of mustard (unless you’ve got a lot of picnics to go to!) or 100 tubes of toothpaste. Please don’t go extreme couponing here!
Where to find Coupons
Coupons can be found in a lot of places:
- Sunday Newspaper Inserts: I’m a little old school here; this is my favorite
- Online Printables: Try places like here and here
- Mailers: Some promotional mail contains coupons for items you may use
- Catalina Printouts: these are those coupons that print at the store checkout
- Tearpads/Blinkies: The coupon machines next to the product in the store
- e-coupons: Coupons loaded into store apps to use by scanning your phone
- Some public libraries have a coupon swap box. You could also choose to swap with friends or find online coupon swap groups
Organize your coupons before you head to the store is very important. Some people like to put coupons in notebooks with baseball card sleeves. I prefer a small Expandable Coupon Organizer
Weekly before I shop I go through and check for expired coupons. I hate picking up several items just to find my coupon is out of date.
When to Use Coupons
Now that you have some coupons, let’s talk about how to make the most of your savings.
Use a Price Sheet
You need to start making a price sheet. This is a sheet that lists items you buy on a frequent basis and how much they cost at each store. Don’t go crazy here. Pick the items you buy most frequently or the most expensive. Not all of these products will have coupons.
Wait for a Sale
When you combine regular coupons with sale prices, you’re becoming a super saver. Wait to use your coupons when an item is on sale if you can.
How to Use Coupons
A few stores will double manufactere coupons up to a certain amount, usually 99 cents. Sometimes stores will run “super double coupon sales” where they will double the price of the coupon up to $2 (so a $2 coupon will get you $4 in savings!). There are triple coupon sales as well. This is the absolute BEST time to stock up staple items.
There are a few websites that list weekly sales and matching coupons. This one’s my favorite. Some even go the extra mile and list grocery store circulars during these special “super double” sales and provide a list of items on sale with coupons. It’s like hitting the money-saving lottery! how to coupon
A competitor coupon is a coupon issued by a specific store that you will use at a different store. For example, using a CVS coupon at Walgreens. Some stores will accept competitors coupons, just make sure to check if you can use them with sale prices.
Stacking coupons means you will use 2 coupons for one item – a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon. Be careful that you are meeting all the requirements of both coupons and check the store’s policy. Remember, you can never use 2 manufacturer coupons for one item.
Bonus Savings Opportunity
Some stores also offer a rebate option in addition to coupons in their app. Make sure you don’t miss these savings opportunities. I’ve earned several hundred dollars back from a store that offers to refund me the difference if the app finds a lower advertised price.
If stretching your food dollar is your goal, I hope you now know how to coupon using these tips to help you save more money. Also, remember you can use coupons to pick up food to donate to the local food pantry.
Looking for more savings ideas? Save money while dining out or workday lunches? Here’s more tips on how to save money on groceries.
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