How To Start Couponing
Does the idea of couponing seem overwhelming to you? It did to me too! I wasn’t raised in a couponing family, and I didn’t get started with couponing until late 2007. But after a little practice it started to feel like second nature. Typically the only time I get frazzled now is when I am shopping WITHOUT my coupons.
So where do you begin? How do you get started? Hopefully I can provide some help to those of you who are where I was a year ago. Here are the steps that I recommend taking to begin effective shopping with coupons…
1) Get Coupons! You can’t “coupon” without coupons! You can find coupons in the Sunday paper, or you can print lots of coupons from Coupons.com, Redplum.com, Smart Source, and Coupon Network! There are all kinds of printable coupons available at various times, so make sure you also check out the the Printable Coupons section!
Most large-city Sunday papers have a couple of coupon inserts each Sunday. The most common ones are the Smart Source and Valassis (or Red Plum) inserts. Proctor and Gamble also puts out a monthly coupon insert.
2) File your coupons! My recommendation is to start filing your coupon inserts by date. I got a filing box and labeled the folders by date. Then I put the whole (not cut-up) inserts in the folder that matched the date of the paper. So the coupons from the 1/4 (January 4th) paper would go in the folder that was labeled “1/4″ or “January 4th”. Then when you see store coupon match-ups on Surviving The Stores or other blogs you can know exactly where to get the coupon that they are referring to!
It typically takes about 1-2 months of saving up coupons from the paper to really be effective at couponing. Don’t get discouraged during this time as you see deals and sales using coupons that you don’t have yet… they will come around again! Check out how I organize my coupons!
3) Get a subscription to All You Magazine! It will cost you less than $2 each month, and it seems to always be worth it to get it. File these in a separate folder in your filing box or filing cabinet.
4) Find the coupon matchups! Each week I provide the best coupon match-ups for several national stores including: CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Target, Walmart, Sunflower Farmers Market, Whole Foods, Tom Thumb/Randalls/Safeway stores and Publix.
On Wednesdays I provide a place here at Surviving The Stores for other bloggers to come and link up to their coupon matchups. The authors of the different blogs do the research and match up the weekly deals to the coupons from the inserts (they will tell you, for example, that the coupon for XX item came from the 1/4 (January 4th) newspaper Smart Source coupon insert). Most blogs will also tell you if there is a printable coupon that you can use for an item (along with a link to print out the coupon). You can view these Grocery Store Coupon Matchups HERE!
5) Make a list. From the deals that you find for your local store, make a shopping list and clip the coupons from your files that match.
6) Learn more! Be sure to also check out the other articles in the Where To Begin section!
Be sure to follow along as I share my top 20 Tips For Surviving The Stores Through COUPONING! Tip #1: You DON’T have to be an extreme couponer!