Wednesday, January 07, 2009

how to get started

So what's the deal with this coupon stuff anyway?

Want to get started but not sure how? With a little organization, you'll be there in no time.


Where do I get coupons?

- The Sunday paper. With the exception of holiday weekends, multiple coupon inserts can be found in the paper. The ones we reference are SmartSource (SS), RedPlum (RP), and Proctor & Gamble (PG). Don't forget to flip through other parts of the paper, because sometimes really good coupons can be hiding inside (like Publix $/$$)

On really good coupon weeks (we'll let you know), it is often worth it to get more than one copy of the inserts from Sunday's paper. You may find it worth your while to actually go buy another copy of the paper. You may know of someone who receives the paper that doesn't use the coupons.

- All You magazine. Available at Wal-Mart, this magazine has great coupons.

- In store displays. At Publix when you enter (usually near the foyer) there is a kiosk with sales flyers and pamphlets. Some are quarterly or monthly and go fast, so always keep your eyes peeled for these! These are very valuable because you can COMBINE store coupons with manufacturer coupons for more savings. The best scenario is combining a store coupon, a manufacturer coupon, and an item on sale- this is where you really see the savings start to add up!

- Blinkies, peelies and tear pads. "Blinkies" are the little automatic coupon feeder machines found throughout a store. Keep in mind that even though they are found in the store, they are still a manufacturer's coupon so can be used anywhere. "Peelies" are found on the product themselves (save $1 now!) and you "peel" off the coupon. Tear pads are available throughout the store as well. Be courteous and don't take the whole tear pad, empty the blinkie machine, or take peelies if you are not buying the product they are on. Save some for the rest of us!

- Online. Manufacturer's websites often have printable coupons. Sometimes you may have to sign up for an email newsletter or provide an email address. I recommend having a separate email address for thing like this.
There are numerous coupon sites out there, I like New coupons are put up monthly, and sometimes the good ones go fast! You can hit the "back" button on your browser and be able print a coupon twice usually. Remember, having two coupons are ideal for BOGO sales!


When I first started trying to use coupons, I found myself clipping out anything and everything. I quickly learned that I was losing track of my coupons and needed a better system. I have to give credit to Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living, for I started with her system and it has solved my organizational issues. In short, the system works like this-

DON'T CLIP. What's that? No clipping? That's right. Take your inserts and 3-hole punch them. Take a sharpie and note the date of the paper they were in on the front (for example, 3/1). Organize them according to date in a 3-ring binder, newest coupons at the front. I recommend a large binder, 2" minimum. That's it, you don't even need to look at them right now if you don't want to.

When you have your list (see step 3), this is when you clip. Don't remove the inserts from your binder, just turn to the page you need and clip the coupon. Place your coupon in the envelope you will be taking to the store. I recommend having a different envelope for each store.

There are some cases when you have to clip, or you may not use the a coupon that you clipped. Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living recommends an accordian folder. I did not have one of these, but instead I have clear inserts in the back of my 3-ring binder. I have one for each category:

Baby items
Cleaning Products

I also keep a clear insert for loose store coupons (CVS, Publix, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.)

I recommend sorting these by expiration date within the inserts. I group all my coupons together by the month they expire. When coupons expire, don't throw them away. You can donate them to military families who can use them for up to 6 months past the expiration date.

Click here for a list of places you can send expired coupons.


You want to plan your "attack" on the store. Get in, get what's on your list, and get out! Impulse buying hurts savings, so try to avoid it at all costs. With the help from the internet (and sites like ours) a big part of the planning is done for you. You will find lists of what is on sale each week per store, along with coupon match-ups for the sales. Often there are opportunities to get items for free or even MAKE MONEY with the right sales/coupon combination.

Stockpiling is important. When something is on sale and you have a coupon that makes it a great deal, it's time to stock up! There may be days when dry pasta is on sale for literally pennies on the dollar, this is a great stockpile opportunity. After that, you're good on pasta for a long while! Plan for it to take a few weeks to really start to build your stockpile, but with the way the sales cycle through at the store, you will quickly find you are stocked on a wide variety of items. You will be able to plan your meals based off of items in your stockpile. It will be easy to throw together a quick dinner with items you already have on hand than having to run to the store every time you need to cook - this was what I was doing!


In no time you will see the savings start to pile up. We love to hear about the great deals people are getting!

1 comment:

  1. I have saved $34.03 this week and I have only shopped CVS and Walgreens. I only bought what I needed. It may have taken me 45 min. to clip the coupons and another 30 mins in the stores.
    A great investment of my time and great savings.