I wanted to share a few tips for coupon beginners just in case there is anyone out there who is just finding out the bargains that couponing can present! I recently joined the “coupon world” myself, and I have to say I’m loving it. Saving five or ten dollars off your grocery bill every now and then is a great feeling, and when you get really good, you can knock off thirty or more dollars from your total bill with coupons! Here are my top tips for coupon beginners.
1. Where to Find Coupons
One of the most important tips for coupon beginners is knowing where to find good coupons! I find mine through various means. The Sunday paper is always loaded with coupons, so start there. Next place to check is online. Through websites like coupons.com, moneysavingmom.com, swagbucks.com, and others, you can print off the coupons you need for free! Remember to check store websites as well, for coupons specifically for their store. Another place to find coupons is in your mailbox. Sign up to receive coupons from your favorite stores by asking the cashier for details or checking websites. Grocery stores will do this as well as retail stores! Last but not least, keep your eyes peeled in-store. You may find coupons in the aisles under the promoted product, or there may be coupons that print off at the register. Other hotspots to check occasionally include magazines and email inboxes.
2. Stack Your Coupons
In order to maximize your savings, try to stack your coupons. This means that you use more than one coupon for an item! Now you can’t use the same coupon (unless a store allows for coupon doubling) but you can use a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. You can even use special promo coupons from the aisle to stack with a coupon you already have on hand!
3. Don’t Use Coupons You Don’t Need
When you start out using coupons, remember that you don’t have to use a coupon just because you have it. It’s not a good use of your money to use a coupon for an item you don’t need or won’t use. Saving a dollar with that coupon isn’t worth the other five dollars you still spent on the product. Clip only coupons you will use and leave the rest for others.
4. Combine Coupons with Sales
One of the best ways to get the top over-all deals and really save on your grocery bill is to combine coupons with store sales. Watch your local grocery stores for items that go on sale each week, and then use coupons for that item if you have some or find some along the way. If you know a certain item goes on sale every other week or so, save any coupons you might have this week for that particular item to combine them with the sale next week!
5. Do Multiple Purchases
Here’s a method many hard-core couponers use to get those deals you see on reality TV shows like Extreme Couponing. Make multiple purchases and combine your coupons. It takes more time, but it’s worth it when the store ends up owing you money in the end! You will need a coupon for each item you are buying (most coupons allow up to four per customer) so if you have twelve bottles of shampoo and a coupon for each, you could make three purchases using your coupons, each time to keep getting more and more savings. Don’t forget to combine the coupons the register prints off with these purchases! Your best bet would be to go when the store is running a promo and gives you coupons for a few dollars off your next purchase at the register or front door.
6. Get Organized
This is my best tip for couponing because it really helps cut down on the time you spend in the grocery store! Before you head out, sit down with your coupons. Sort them out and separate them into categories like dairy, frozen, pets, personal hygiene, household, canned goods, etc. Next, sort through and take only the ones you plan to use on this trip. Finally, put all of those in order of which aisles/sections you intend to shop first. This way, you can fly through your shopping and easily flip through your coupons as you go!
7. Be Courteous
The number one thing to remember about couponing, no matter what, is to always be courteous. Be courteous to the cashier, the store manager, other shoppers, and so on. You don’t want to have service refused to you! And of course you want to be welcomed on following visits. If a coupon is denied, ask why, and if it’s not a simple fix, you can either pay full price or request to have the item removed from your bill.
With these tips in mind, I hope your next grocery trip can be a success with using coupons! It can be overwhelming and a bit confusing when you start out, but just take it slowly and you’ll be a pro in no time at all! Do you have any tips for using coupons? Please comment below with your own thoughts!