Sunday, April 1, 2012

Couponing: How to get Started Part I

So I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about the way I've been couponing this last year...and I've been changing my method of coupon organization.  I'm still getting the same great deals, I'm just not spending all that excess time clipping EVERY coupon EVERY week.  I don't have time for that and it was giving me a headache, plus it made me frustrated...which is never fun for a couponer because sometimes that gets us a little discouraged.  SO, I changed my ways.  I was doing the binder method for a long time, and it works...REALLY REALLY WELL...just takes more time than I have.  So now I'm back to saving the inserts every week and just clipping them as I need them.  It takes a little time to find them, but that's why you use a coupon database...like the one over on the Hip2Save site. Collin from Hip2Save is the reason I got into coupon heavily and have saved so much money and have so much food in the fridge, freezer and cabinets!  We always have choices of food and I'm not spending a lot of money.  I've actually paid off 3 credit cards (they had low balances and I never paid interest anyway, but never the less they're done with!) and I'm working on getting rid of the rest of my debt.  So, enough jibber jabber let's talk about how to get started in couponing.  I will probably reference back to old posts I've made, so feel free to read those as well.

  • Where do you get coupons from?
    • Sunday Newspaper (generally not the small town newspaper...think big city!) -- the larger the city you buy from, the more likely you'll have a better assortment of coupons and larger values.  As you will notice in my weekly report of the coupons that I always say "coupons vary by region" and it's very true.  Just because you buy a newspaper in Memphis does not mean that someone in L.A. will be getting the same coupons...their's may actually be a little bit better.  Either way, you're getting the best coupons for your area!
    • Online -- there are a TON of places online to get coupons from...
      • RedPlum, SmartSource, Coupons.com, and Coupon Network are the big name places, and they generally update frequently.
      • Facebook -- check out the different manufacturer's pages.  They're trying to lure you in to buy their product and a lot of times they will offer coupons right there on Facebook!
      • Manufacturer's website -- just like I said before about Facebook...except on their normal homepage.
      • Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Kellogg's are some other great sites to find a lot of coupons on.  You will need to sign up for an account though.
      • Grocery store website -- Walgreens, Target and Walmart all have coupons that you can print...some are store coupons (except Walmart) and others are Manufacturer coupons. This means that you can stack coupons!  Woohoo!  We'll get to what that means momentarily.  Also, sites like Kroger have coupons that you can load to your FREE membership card.
    • The Grocery store and Pharmacy Store
      • Look for peelies on the products themselves.  The manufacturers stick these on their products for you to use right then and their!  Just make sure you read them, because sometimes you have to buy more than one item to use it.
      • Look for blinkies.  These are those little machines that you see hanging off the shelves that blink and when you take a coupon a new one spits out for the next person.  These are also sent from the manufacturer and will be set up by the item that the coupon is for.
      • Look for tearpads.  These are similar to blinkies, except their on a tearpad.
      • Look for monthly coupon books...like at Walgreens.  These are located at the front of the store near the weekly ad.  If you don't see one...ASK!  These change every month and are STORE coupons...which means that they can be stacked with a manufacturer coupon!
      • Seasonal coupon booklets.  The pharmacy stores love these.  They'll either be at the beauty counter (spring/summer months) or the pharmacy counter (fall/winter months).  Now the times of year may vary, but that's generally when you'll find them.  You almost always have to ask if they have any since these generally are not displayed.  A lot of times they'll have a coupon booklet as well for baby items.  Just ask!
    • Coupon Clipping Services - if you've watched Extreme Couponing on TLC you know that's one way those people got so many coupons.  It's nice to use them also, when your area doesn't get the same value coupon.  Just remember you have to pay for the clipping service and for the shipping...so you'll have to decide if that's worth it to you.  You can also find clipping services on eBay...I've bought some through there as well...you just generally have to get 20 of the same coupon!  Try the Coupon Clippers as a starting site.
So that was a lot of information about where to get your coupons.  I think we'll wrap it up there so that you can digest all of that.  Be on the lookout for Part II where we talk about how to organize all of your coupons.  Until then, do some searching on the web for coupons and see what you can find.  There are all kinds out there...even coupons for eggs (found here).  So, there ARE coupons out there for healthy items and not just junk food as many people believe.

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