“How to” Guide to Couponing
The secret to maximize your savings is to USE YOUR COUPONS WHEN THE ITEM GOES ON SALE. And of course, the item must be something that you need.
Some couponers want to have a stockpile of items, but this isn’t something that’s absolutely necessary. Sales usually cycle around every 3 months. If you buy enough to last you through that time then you will be fine! This is why you’ll notice that couponers tend to buy multiple items.
Where to get Coupons
- Sunday Newspaper. The paper comes with coupons inserts and the number you receive depends on the region where you live. For example, I only get the Smart Source (SS) in the Sunday paper and once a month I get the Proctor & Gamble (P&G)… Sometimes I get two different SS inserts (but that doesn’t happen often). You could subscribe to the Sunday paper or you could pick it up at the dollar store on Sunday morning (EARLY before they are gone!).
- Junk Mail. There is a third insert called the Red Plum (RP). In Las Vegas, this insert arrives weekly with the store ad’s on Tuesday or Wednesday. You may get the Red Plum in the mail, but some regions get it in the Sunday paper. My mom in Texas gets both the SS insert and RP insert in the junk mail.
- Printable Coupons. There are several coupon website that will give you free printable coupons. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know the sites now because I will always give you a link straight to the printable coupon. When it comes to printable coupons, there are a couple things you should know. PRINT FAST. Coupons run out after a certain number have been printed. If you wait until the last minute the coupon may not be available. Also, SOME COUPONS REQUIRE A ZIP CODE (some products are only available in certain areas but as long as you know that zip code you can still print and use in your city). When this happens, I’ll give you the zip code. Side note: you won’t use as much ink as you think you will- I’ve been printing on with the same ink cartridge for the past three months.
- Other coupons. Keep your eyes open at the store. Sometimes coupons are placed directly by the products and even on the products (called peelies). If this is a product you use often, take a couple with you especially if the expiration date will last a while. Magazines have coupons. I subscribe to ALL YOU. You can buy it at Walmart or subscribe for cheaper.
Organizing your Coupons
If you’ve ever watched Extreme Couponing, you’ll notice that they may carry HUGE binders filled with coupons. You could do this if you would like and I’ll admit that a binder system can come in very handy when you’re out shopping and find something on clearance. Side note: you CAN use coupons on clearance items. In fact, Target has some GREAT clearance sales often that are often coupon items.
Let’s talk about the system that I use and recommend. I use a filing system.
That’s right. It is just what it sounds like it is. Every Sunday when I get the newspaper, I pull out my inserts and I date them. If you look closely at the spine of your insert you will see a date. I put that date on the cover of my insert. I file that bunch in a dated filing folder and that’s it! There is no clipping required and that’s what I love about it.
If you plan to use a filing system you should know this:
- When I post a deal, I will ALWAYS tell you the name of the insert (SS, P&G or RP) and give you the date. At that time, if you choose to buy the product, you simply pull out those inserts and clip the coupons for the products you need.
Tips For Using Coupons:
- Read the coupon carefully. Look for expiration date, how many items you need to purchase and limit to the number of coupons you can use in one transaction.
- The coupons will tell you how many items you need to purchase with that one coupon. For example $1 off 1 OR $2 off of 2. In the second example of $2 off 2, you must purchase two of the same items to get $2 off.
- Sometime there are limits on how many coupons you can use in one transaction. For example, most of the time the P&G insert (Procter & Gamble that I get in my Sunday paper once per month) limits you to using 4 coupons for the same product at one time. The coupon states the limit.
- There are two types of coupons: Manufacturer and Store Coupons (ex: Target Coupons, CVS coupons).
- There are times that you can “stack” a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for even more saving.
- Some stores will not allow you to “stack”. Either you use the manufacturer coupon OR the store coupon.