Coupon 101 Tips

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In the below sections, I will explain how to start couponing.  These tips and tricks are essential to becoming a successful couponer!

Coupon Organization

First and foremost, organization is key to being a successful couponer.  You will need to create a way to become organized. Once you start couponing, you may find other organization methods might best suite you.  Don’t be afraid of change or reorganizing your method.  It is good practice to re-evaluate and reorganize your coupon organization method every six months.

There are several ways to organize your coupons:

  • Coupon Binder – Use a binder and sheet protectors to build a coupon binder.  Sheet protectors come in different sizes.  You can use baseball card sheet protectors or bill collector sheet protectors that workgreat to stuff coupons in.  This method requires a lot of time clipping and organizing your binder at the comfort of your home.  If you stay on it and do it weekly through a routine it is easy.  If you let the coupons pile up for a couple a week it becomes a lengthy project to organize your binder.  There are other methods which require less time to organize but will require more time when you are at a store.
  • File Box Method – Use a file box to sort your whole Sunday Coupon Inserts whole and your printable coupons whole.  You will sort your inserts by insert type and date.  On the spine of your coupon inserts is the date and type of insert.  This method means it is a clip-less method which makes organization time shorter.  However when in store, you will spend more time hunting a coupon you may need down.  You will also need to bring scissors with you to cut coupons in store.   This method is difficult when you come across in-store specials and clearance but a Coupon Database will become your best source to help you find your coupons.
  • Plastic Box method – This method is using a plastic shoe box with big index cards to create divisions of categories and filing your coupons per category.  This is a clipping method that works well.  It takes less time to sort than the binder method.  If you have more than one like coupon you can staple or paper clip the like coupons together to make it easier to flip through in store.

The method you decide to use will need to be part of your weekly routine.  You need to stay on top of yourcoupon organization and take out expired coupons to lighten your load.  Remember to not throw away your expired coupons, you can mail them to military stationed in foreign countries. Military overseas can use expired Manufacturer’s Coupons up to 6 month past the expiration date at Commissaries and Exchanges.

If you have unwanted coupons, find the coupon basket and table at your local Commissary.  Donate your unwanted coupons to the table and basket.  Also look through the coupon table for coupons you may want to take.

General Couponing Tips:

  • Newspaper subscription – Get a subscription to the local newspaper.  Email for an exclusive deal in your State/City!
  • Reading – Every coupon has different terms and restrictions; therefore, reading your coupon in its entirety including the fine print is important.  Most times manufacturer’s put a picture of the most expensive or most popular qualified product as the picture on the coupon.  Therefore, training yourself to not shop off pictures but to read the entire coupon is essential.
  • Size – You will check the coupons for size limitations. Some coupons will state ANY with no size limitations which means cheap or FREE travel size.
  • Limits – Looking for limits on coupons.  There are key words in couponing
    •  Shopping Trip – every trip inside a store is a shopping trip
    • Transaction – receipt
    • Purchase – item
    • Person – each person in your group
  • Behave ethically when couponing.  Couponing is like a game and we must follow rules.  Every coupon has rules and every store has rules.  
  • Never Copy a coupon it is FRAUD, a Felony, and a punishable crime.
  • Stockpiling –  No reason to stockpile for years, most things will expire.  A good goal is to have a six month stockpile.  We are couponers not hoarders!  We like deals but know our limits.  Remember most things have expiration dates.  Evaluate how much of the one product you will actually use before it expires.  Also, remember sales have cycles.  You want to buy enough to stockpile until the next sale cycle.
  • Expiration Dates – Check the expiration date on items you are buying.  If you are buying several and the expiration expires soon, you might actually be wasting money in the long run.
  • Shop clearance sections and match clearance items with coupons.
  • Have and iPhone or Android?  download apps GroceryIQ and to print two coupons from each app for a total of 4 like coupons per devise.
  • Money Makers – an item that you get for free plus additional money to purchase.  These help reduce the cost of the items you really need to buy, like meat, milk, eggs etc..
  • Goals
    • 1-3 months – save 30% off grocery budget
    • 3-6 months – save 50% off grocery budget
    • 1 year Coupon Anniversary – Budget should be $100 per person in your family per month!

Coupon Terminology:

Difference between stacking, doubling and piggy backing.

Stacking Coupons – the use of a store coupon stacked with a manufacturer coupon.  Research your store policy if they allow stacking.  The Military Exchanges allow stacking.

Doubling – when a coupon is scanned it will automatically double in value.  Research your local store policy to learn if they allow doubling.  Kmart allows doubling during certain weeks they call Double Coupon Week.  Every store has different rules so make sure to learn the policy.

Price Matching:

We have all hear of price matching but it should be something we should become very familiar with.   I recommend bringing your sales ads with you when price matching and creating a section within your binder/file box to always have all the store sales ads with you.  You never know what great deals or coupons you might stumble upon.  One thing to note about price matching is every store has its own price matching policy.  Price matching is using other stores sales ads to get the same deal at a different store.  Not all stores allow price matching but Wal-Mart, Target and the Exchanges do.  Price matching can only happen if you find the same advertised deal at the other store.  The product must be the same as in size and description.  At all stores, you will price match first than use coupons.

If you have questions or comment feel free to comment below!

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