by DeShaun Silas
Over the past year I have picked up a new hobby but it has turned into more of daily routine. I love to coupon, it saves a ton of money and doesn’t have to be as time consuming as some people may think. I am not an extremist couponer, but I can tell you I can get pretty vicious with my couponing, my husbands knows not to ever touch my binder.
On average a month I can save about $200-400 a month on groceries and household items. My lowest total to date on a months worth of groceries is $36.92. With a busy work schedule and husband I can tell you it takes a little time and planning. A couple of weeks ago some of you may have read my article about meal planning, this is a huge part of how I coupon. Some people say coupon is a form of organizing hoarding, but I tend to agree and disagree. I coupon for items we use on a regular and if I see something that is a good deal for something we use I will stock up but not to the extent I am buy pallets of items. Max for buying products that are good deal is 10-15 of the same item.
For beginners I would start small before going big. By starting small you can decide on what type of couponer you are going to be. I would suggest getting a small pocket coupon divider, you can find these at most stores and online. Divide your coupons up into categories i.e meats, canned goods, toiletries etc… Most of the pocket dividers come with the categories for you already in them. The next few steps are where you have to do a little work.
- Set up a separate email address. You want to a separate email address, because you want to subscribe to your favorite products newsletters because they send out coupons and freebies. The email address also helps you keep better track of couponing blogs and websites you may want to become members of.
- Get your Sunday paper, if you happen to live in a city that puts out an early addition on Saturdays, grab your paper on Saturdays. Rule #1 check your paper and make sure all your inserts are in the paper. Smart Source and Red Plum are the two major coupon inserts. Some cities mail out the Red Plum so it will be in the mail rather then the paper. Now at the beginning of the month P&G and General Mills will also add an insert. Sometimes General Mills does inserts more than once a month. If your not sure how many inserts to look for you can check this www.coupondivas.com and their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CouponDivas?ref=ts she always post between Wednesdays-Fridays how many inserts to be on a lookout for she also just launched new Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/GroceryCouponDivas
- Clip your coupons by Monday and insert trust me you don’t want to put this off because they can really stack up on you and then you feel overwhelmed when you have 3 weeks of inserts, been there done that and it wasn’t pretty!!
- Know when your local grocery store changes their store ads. Here in Georgia Krogers ads change on Sunday and Publix ads on Thursday. This helps you plan when you need to get to the store and if you have time to order coupons. I will get into the ordering coupons next article, when you get to this level of couponing you need to upgrade to what I call the “Big Girl Binder” its serious when you upgrade to this level.
- Look over the sales ads and your current coupon inventory and see what you can match up and who has the better deal. Remember just because something says BOGO make sure you know what the price is for the free one and divide it by 2 and see if you are really getting a sale or not. Example Publix does this all the time they say BOGO Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice the list price is $4.29 so for two of them they are $2.14 and $2.15 plus tax, Krogers also has the same juice on sale for $1.99 each plus tax and you have a 2/.50 coupons that will double at both stores lowering the price even more. *These two stores will double coupons up to a dollar. Rule #2 Know your stores coupon policy!! In this example it best to get the juice from Krogers and buy 2 of them because its cheaper. I will talk about how to look at sale ads and prices and lingo in the next article but if you want to read up ahead of time you can check out my blog http://couponclippingsista.blogspot.com/
- Save your receipts you can decide if you are going to total up your savings totals every month or 3 months so you can see how you are doing.
There you have it Coupon 101 part 1, to help get you started in part 2 I will discuss about coupon lingo, creating a store price list, recognizing when your favorite products go on sale, coupon etiquettie and how to properly read coupons.