You have started getting coupons from the paper and printing them online, you have them organized in your favorite organization system…. now what?
Here is the #1 piece of advice that I have for new couponers: DON’T start couponing at all the stores in the same week (or even the same month!) You will quickly get overwhelmed, frustrated, and more than likely, will end up giving up.
The best store for brand new couponers to begin couponing at is probably Walmart. There are no “doubles and triples”, no store coupons, no coupons that print out after you check out. Walmart is very plain and simple: you buy the product at a certain amount and you give them your coupon for them to take off a certain amount. Simple! In saying that, the best deals to be had typically are NOT at Walmart, but it’s a great place to begin your couponing journey.
Your next step up on the ladder depends on where you want to start saving first. Do you want to focus on grocery savings, or focus on drug store savings? Personally, my BIGGEST money saver is not having to buy those “budget-breaker” items like makeup, razors, feminine products, etc… so when I was starting out I chose to learn how to shop the drug stores first.
If you choose to go with learning the drug stores next, make sure to choose ONE (either CVS or Walgreens) and get good at it. My opinion is that it’s easier to start with CVS. Take your time, and make sure you really have it down before you move on to the next one.
While saving at the drug stores has been HUGE for us, we have also been able to greatly knock down our grocery budget. The KEY here is not just buying what you have coupons for, but buying things when they go on sale AND you have a good coupon for it.
I have heard from so many people who have gotten frustrated with couponing because they do tons of work and only see $5 come off at checkout. Every time I ask, the problem is that they are buying what they normally would buy, only they are using coupons. Make sure to come check out the coupon matchups every Wednesday HERE to see what the BEST deals are for that week at your store. After a few weeks or so of stocking up on the best deals, you will have enough in your freezer and pantry to plan your menu off of what you have ON HAND, instead of planning your menu and THEN shopping for those items.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? I hope not! But I will go ahead and stop here and leave the rest for another post.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add or if you have any questions!
If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.