I am a wife, a student, and a busy mother of two very young children. My house is small and has limited storage space, my hands hurt when I clip coupons, and I pride myself on couponing ethically. So how do I manage to use coupons to save up to 90% on my groceries and other household goods? It has taken me two years of practice and dedication to become as coupon savvy as I am. Couponing allows a person to be generous with money or goods; I would like to be generous with my knowledge, so here is a tutorial on how to get started with some basic, money saving couponing.
Couponing Requires Coupons
There are many ways to get what you need, there are thousands of printable coupons online and the Sunday paper almost always has several coupon inserts (booklets) that are very helpful. The best way to get the newspaper coupons is to ask family, friends and neighbors who receive the newspaper if they would give you their coupons. Most people throw away these coupons and don’t mind saving them for you.
When it comes to online coupons, using a coupon database is the best way to know what is out there and how to get it. Many websites offer databases that provide links to, and descriptions of various online coupons in an organized and easy to use list. Don’t print every coupon you see, just the ones you need.
Organization is Key
The fastest method for coupon organization is the filing method. It saves you from weekly clipping marathons and is easy to use. Using manilla folders, organize your coupon inserts by date and brand (Red Plum and SmartSource are two brands). Keep every insert until the last coupon inside is expired or used. By filing by date and brand you will be able to find and clip specific coupons quickly before you go shopping.
Use blogs and websites to plan your couponing trips. Below I have some couponing blogs and webpages that I recommend for guiding your shopping trips. These blogs will tell you what the deal is, which coupons to bring, and any other important details. Most blogs use the same abbreviations (WYB is “when you buy”, RP is “Red Plum”, etc.) to explain the deals. Dates are provided so you can more quickly access the needed coupons. Read the blogs, choose your deals, locate/clip/print the needed coupons, make a list, paperclip the coupons to it, and bring your confidence to the store!
My favorite coupon websites:
Don’t Spaz Out!
When I first began couponing I tried to coupon at every store recommended by the blogs, tried to get every deal, and tried to compete with veteran couponers. What a waste of energy! Get only the deals that are products you use and like, pick only one or two stores to learn how to coupon, and don’t worry about getting forty-seven bottles of mustard. Couponing should be fun and helpful, not stressful and expensive. Sales usually cycle around every three months, so if you miss out on the $0.28 deodorant this week, in a few months it will probably be that cheap again! Don’t. Spaz. Out.
I love couponing. It is a hobby in which I put a lot of time and effort. My husband loves my couponing! I feel like I am contributing something valuable to my family when I bring home cheap or free items for which we used to pay full price. I will never again pay $2.59 for toothpaste, as a matter of fact, I will never again pay more than $0.75 for it! Follow my advice and you might fall in love with coupons too.
About the Author
Valerie Moreno is a 28 year old wife and mother of two living on a single income. "We make sacrifices so I can stay home with the kids and only work for extra cash when we need it. When I do work, it's one day a week as a substitute teacher, focusing on special needs students. I love art, creativity, crafting, and family time."
Valerie Moreno (pictured left) and her two daughters love to have fun.