The Basics of Coupons

I love coupons. They are basically free money. Who doesn’t like free money? Every week I check the papers, and internet for new coupons. I get really great deals with coupons and my friends and family always ask me how I do it.

It takes some effort, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really pretty simple.

1. Get the Coupons. The first step is to get the coupons. The Sunday paper is great source. If you don’t get the Sunday paper, then just go pick one up every week. It’s worth it, trust me. You can also check websites like coupons.com and individual retailer websites as well. I know Target lists coupons available on their site as does Meijer.

2. Read the circulars. You could just go to your regular store on a random day and use your coupons on whatever items you buy. That would save you some money, but it won’t save you the maximum possible amount. Read the circulars for the week {you know those annoying ads that stores put out} – they’re actually really helpful! Stores often try to compete with one another to get the customers in their door that week. See who has the best deals on the things that you currently have coupons for. Then go to the store where you’ll save the most.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Coupon Policies. Every store is different. If it’s a store that you frequent I suggest giving their coupon policy a quick read before you start shopping. Keep in mind that shopping for food with coupons is very different than shopping for toiletries with coupons {we will discuss shopping for food with coupons in more depth in another post}.

4. Make a Plan. Always make a plan. Stores like Walgreens and CVS often offer register rewards for products. Plan out your transactions. Purchase anything that will give you cash back in your first transaction {be aware if you can get more than one reward per transaction}and then use the rewards on your next transaction. This saves you so much more money.

TIP: Check with your cashier first to make sure that it’s okay to conduct multiple transactions.

5. Be Prepared. Always have your coupons with you and in an organized fashion. I bought my organizer at Dollar Tree and set up tabs for the categories that I usually have coupons for.

My tabs are as follow: Toiletries, Food, Household, Make-up, Misc. 

I also have two extra tabs that are empty. One for coupons I will be using on my current shopping trip and another for restaurant and store coupons.

You never know when you may need a coupon that you know you have. Keeping them organized cuts down on time and gets you to your savings a lot quicker!

6. In-Store Coupons & Loyalty Cards. In-store coupons often come with having a loyalty card and can usually be combined with manufacturer coupons. Loyalty cards are awesome. They usually come with a lot of extra savings and perks. For example, at CVS they have a kiosk that spits out coupons when you scan your loyalty card. These coupons can be combined with manufacturer coupons and are often a significant amount of money off. Don’t skip this step!

7. Set Time Aside for Coupons. Decide on a time every week to sit down with your coupons and see what you have, match the best deals for the week and so forth.  This is also a great time to throw out any coupons that are expired and check to see which others are nearing their expiration date.

 

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