Saturday, September 29, 2012

Basic Couponing

When I first started to coupon many years ago, I didn't really understand it the way I do now.  I would get the Sunday paper, look at the sale ads, look at my inserts that were included in that Sunday paper and clip what I was shopping for that week.  Then I would stack my unwanted inserts and stack and stack and then they would eventually make their way to the trash can.

Now I do things so much differently now that I understand the concept of coupons and how to utilize them to my best advantage and savings.

Collecting your coupons

Subscribe to your local Sunday paper -You can ONLY get one paper delivered to your home address such as the Arizona Republic for example.  This is the easiest and first way to begin to collect your coupons.  If you choose not to subscribe you can always buy it (preferably at the dollar store) or have a friend/family give them to you. Some of the inserts you will find are Smart Source, Red Plum, P&G (once a month) or General Mills.

You can print coupons off reputable sites such as


Decide how you plan to organize your coupons to begin with.  ORGANIZATION IS A BIG MUST!!
Here are some helpful links (bottom of this page) to get you started on your preferred method.  I did a lot of trial/error on different methods and I found one that suits "me" who knows I might change it up again.

While scanning through the coupons ask yourself these questions:  
- Will I buy these products (personal/household/food) ?
- Will I buy them if they were FREE?
- Do I know someone who could use the coupons I don't want or need?

If you decide "yes" I like these coupons, then you can buy more (I usually buy extras at the dollar store).  I normally don't buy more than I can handle.  A good rule of thumb, buy one paper for each member of your household.

Once you have your coupon system in place, you are better able to scan the sales ads and look to see if you have a coupon to coordinate with that sale item.  I have placed a "coupon" tab for you to look at to see if there are "internet printables" to print in case you don't have a corresponding coupon.

My tips: 
*Get a separate email for couponing, this way you can sign up for special offers and it goes straight to your separate email.
*Label your coupon binder or coupon purse (if it gets lost hopefully the person who finds it calls you)
*Count your coupons before you hand them over to the cashier.  (Your coupons are like cash, this way you know if all your coupons were taken off your purchases)
*Scrutinize your receipt BEFORE you leave the store. (It's not a deal if you're not properly getting your sale prices and coupon deals)
My Current Method -This is the method I use (pictured here)  I clip all my coupons at once each Sunday and I file them away.  I weed out the expired ones out first.  After asking myself if I'm going to use it, get it for free, etc. I file it away in this organizer.  All the other coupons I know I don't want or use, I set aside to coupon exchange or give away (I'll explain in a bit).  I separate all my inserts and if I have multiple inserts I stack them together.  I staple (don't staple on barcode or expiration date) the coupons together before I cut them out, this way they are kept together and easier to file. Now on the coupons you set aside (after you have stapled and clipped them) put them in a baggie (buy cheap ones at the dollar store) and label them with the date & source right on the baggie.  File the baggies by date.  You may find you actually might need that coupon later if a good deal came ahead or for a coupon exchange, etc.
Check the tab "Coupon Resources" for information on how to order these coupon organizers.

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