How does couponing work? It’s not as hard as you think. I promise. I’ve been saving my family money by couponing for several years now and it literally comes to me as second nature. I don’t even think about it anymore. In fact, if I don’t use a coupon when I buy a product these days, a little angel in heaven loses its wings. Something breaks inside of my soul and all the flowers wilt outside of my house. Catch my drift. I HAVE TO COUPON otherwise it’s not OK. You won’t be able to NOT save money after getting into this routine. How does couponing work? Because you make it work.
Two EASY THINGS TO REMEMBER. You have to catch a sale and you have to have a coupon. If both of these things aren’t happening at the same exact time, then you don’t buy the product. Just use that as your general guideline for now and you will be golden. As you get a bit fancier, you will be able to figure out what are the best deals without any overgeneralized rules, but for now – pop that puppy on a poster and hang it in your kitchen.
I actually enjoy cutting coupons and finding a great deal. I genuinely do. It’s like a game. Once you start, you will never pay full price again. Are you ready for that life change. This is like the Matrix. There’s no turning back…
How Does Couponing Work?
First of all, couponing works if you have coupons. So, you need to sign up for some sort of newspaper delivery system. I only get the weekend edition. I get two papers sent to me. It’s not worth it if you buy them at the deli on Sunday because the price is HIGHER that way. You have to add up all your costs. So, by signing up for delivery, you are actually saving money in the long run.
Also, if your parents, grandparents, neighbors, brothers – etc – all have papers… ask them for their inserts if they don’t mind. Don’t feel funny about it. They aren’t going to use them and it really won’t matter to them to put their coupons aside for you.
How Does Couponing Work?
Secret in the sauce time!! Are you ready for this!!
To get a good grip on couponing, you have to be willing to store items for a rainy day. You don’t buy shampoo when you NEED shampoo. You buy it when it’s on sale and then you stock up. That’s the point.
In theory, if you buy shampoo with a coupon, you are doing a good thing. BUT if you buy shampoo with a coupon during a week when it is buy 1 get 1 free — you are REALLY saving. Timing is everything. You have to be patient and you have to work a little at getting organized.
I also have a little storage area set up in my basement for my coupon supplies. Yes, it’s ridiculous to have this much shampoo at one point. But guess what? I paid probably $10 for all of that shampoo TOTAL. And guess what else? When I was placed on bed rest for 5 months because of pregnancy complications, my husband did not have to worry about any shopping for my family for the entire time. I had everything done already – it was all waiting downstairs for us. One less thing to worry about. God forbid you get fired, something horrible happens to your family, you get placed on bedrest yourself – who KNOWS what comes up! There will be one less thing to worry about. Couponing is a good thing. I cannot say this enough.
Now, let’s talk about getting your coupons organized. It’s one thing to know about when the sale is happening and it’s another thing about knowing where your coupons are! How to coupon depends on both of those factors!
I’ve gone through several different scenarios with my coupon binder set up. I’ve made three different videos in my life and have posted them above for your reference. Coupon binders are usually three times the size of a regular binder.
You will also need to pick up a pair of small scissors, a coupon plastic envelope, a hole puncher, a pad and a black marker. This list contains affiliate links.
Coupon Binder Shopping List:
- Heavy Duty binder
- Coupon holders – for internet print outs
- Smaller sized coupons – for newspapers
- Coupon holder – for when you are in the store and actually shopping
COUPONING TIME COMMITMENT:
To really get the true benefit of couponing, you have to spend a little time looking through the circulars. Truthfully, it took me about an hour to work through CVS and Target. HOWEVER, the good news is there are PLENTY of sites that will do this for you. These women DO THE CIRCULARS so you don’t have to! I know a coupon blogger who pays $75 to someone just so they can write up those posts for her. They take a LONG time.
Why not use the sites and save yourself the effort? I did it because I wanted to understand the process a bit. Moving forward, I am going to lean on coupon bloggers for the flyer breakdowns. But truth be told, I did have fun searching out my extreme couponing deals.
Just search coupon blog, coupon deal sites, deal sites, deal blogger, deal blogger sites in Google and see what you come up with!
LETTING GO OF BRAND LOYALTY WHILE COUPONING:
Here’s the part that my husband is NOT going to be happy with. If you truly want to learn how to coupon, you have to let go of your brand loyalty. I’m not saying you can’t continue to buy your favorite coffee beans or yogurt. If you TRULY LOVE IT – then of COURSE stick with it. HOWEVER, every other product has to now be opened to sales and coupons.
So, no more staples. CVS had a sale on Wisk this week. I bought it last night during my 10PM run. I got 2 Wisk HE detergents (32 loads) for $10 but then I also incorporated 2 $1 off coupons. In the end, I paid $4 each. If you look at the green box, you can save even more by purchasing $25 worth of items. CVS will give you $10 in extra bucks that you can use during your next purchase.
This is how it begins to add up. So, why not buy 4 Wisks and some paper towels (with another coupon) and then get that $10 bucks for FREE. In the end, the second set of Wisk bottles were FREE because they gave you $10 towards a future purchase.
COUPONING TIPS For beginners:
I can be a bit manic, so couponing can get dangerous for me. I might one day come home with 56 tubes of Polident just because it was on sale! So, I’m taking deep breaths and I am TRULY only buying things that we need. This is important. Don’t start buying cat food because you can. UNLESS you have a church that you can donate it to – or a neighbor – or a shelter! Do good if you can. But don’t just do it and then be stuck with STUFF.
COUPONING Tip 1: Don’t purchase things JUST BECAUSE they are on sale.
- I’m not going to start buying potato chips because I can get them for a true bargain. That would defeat the purpose because then I will be spending more money than I would have if I was just shopping like a regular consumer.
COUPONING Tip 2: Be smart about the timing of things.
- We didn’t particularly NEED dish soap, but CVS was having a sale on Palmolive and I got 2 for free and one for $.49 because I used the right coupons during the right time. YES – I got 3 bottles of dish soap for $.49 – all because I was careful about when I used the coupons.
COUPONING Tip 3: Don’t clip coupons out of the flyers when you get them.
- Instead of making yourself a HUGE piles of coupons that you have to sort through, keep the coupons in their pamphlet form and punch holes in the paper. Store everything in your binder. This way you can easily flip through your coupons and cut them out when needed. Remove pages that have items you would NEVER EVER BUY – for me that was diapers, cover up, senior citizen items etc.
EXTREME COUPONING Tip 4: Shop AROUND
Here’s the thing with couponing – you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You have to be able to go to a few stores to really see results. I’m not saying I’m going to drive to another town to find a Pathmark, but I am saying that I will hit up Walgreens, CVS and Target once a week if I get a big enough bargain on an item my family uses.
Every store has sales that are meant to draw customers in with the hopes that they will purchase other items. Well, that’s for the rest of the world. Don’t get suckered into full priced items just because you happened to be walking around Stop and Shop!! Buy what’s on sale and then go home. Everything will eventually be marked down. There’s no point in wasting your money – especially in this economy.
PHEW!! How was that? Not too painful right? Do what you can and save where it’s possible. That’s all I’m saying.
Let’s save together in 2011. That’s my mission. I want to see how much I can save by the end of the year. Again, if you want to play along, start saving those coupons from the newspaper.
Where Do You Get Coupons From?
I buy 4 newspapers a week in order to clip coupons. I just started to do this a few weeks ago because I wanted to take advantage of multiple deals at once. When you only get one newspaper, you are limited to just one coupon. I spend about $2.50 on each newspaper, so that’s a $10 expense. BUT WORTH IT!
I get Newsday because I found it’s the best one available by me for extreme couponing.
Other Places To Get Coupons:
- Ask your neighbors to save them for you
- Drive around on recycle day and grab them – as per Extreme Couponing Show – I wouldn’t really do this
- Dumpster Dive – as per Extreme Couponing Show – I wouldn’t really do this
- Write to the company and request them
- Facebook Fan companies and wait for them to offer some
- The INTERNET! Once a day I post links to all the hottest coupons online. Yes, I do all the hard work for you.
- Each store has store coupons specific just to their brand. Visit each individual site OR get their flyer.
- Mobile Coupons – stores also offer mobile coupons and sits like CellFire and ShopKick have some as well
- There are also coupon clipping services that are available. For example, if you want 100 Vitamin Water coupons, you can BUY them online. Handling fees are required.
Are those reality shows realistic? How do they save THAT MUCH MONEY?
Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible. HOWEVER, these people are extreme. Get it! They spend 40 hours a week planning trips like that and most admit that those $1000 for $.67 trips are a once in a lifetime sort of thing. Don’t aspire for that. Are you willing to give up your entire basement for some BBQ sauce?
Also NOTICE what they are buying. Do you really want 87 jars of honey mustard? Not really! Couponing for your family should never be THAT extreme.
It also really depends on where you live!! I live in NY and you better believe that those sort of deals don’t EXIST. Sure, I can get my bill down to HALF – and when I do, I’m jumping up and down. But it’s an $88 dollar bill brought down to around $40. NOT $800 down to $.50!! Be realistic. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t reach their level. You aren’t spending the 40 hours a week that they are. Remember that.
How can I start stockpiling?
You just do. As you can see, my stockpile focus mainly on cleaning and beauty supplies. I really don’t do food except when the pasta coupons come out because you can always get that for free. Here is my mini stockpile. I don’t want it to take over my life. I want to save money for my family. When I see a good deal – I go for it! I don’t compare myself to anyone. I just try as hard as I can to save for my family. This also includes my extended family. My mother always comes over and gets stuff for her and my grandmother. Spread the love if you start doing this. Everyone can use the help.
For example, last week Wisk was on sale at Stop and Shop for $3.99. I had a $2 off coupon. Well, I had 4 of them since I get 4 newspapers. I went and I got them. Did I need detergent? NO! But for $1.99 – you better believe I’m going to buy it. Did I get it for FREE or did I make money on the sale? Was it truly extreme couponing? No. But I’m still happy with my bargain.
This stockpile was accumulated over 10 months. I buy about $40-70 worth of goods a week and spend under $5 for them. Slow and steady.
Where Should I Use My Coupons?
All of them. I will go to Walmart to buy 1 deal and then run to CVS to get another. I watch all sales. You can’t go to just one place anymore. If you really want to save, you have to go to where the sale is. Luckily, I live in a town that has EVERY STORE ON THE PLANET. Seriously. We have three MEGA MALLS within a mile from each other. It’s insane. So, it’s no big deal for me to head around and shop in different places.
Don’t go crazy and drive 50 miles for a sale. You have to count GAS in all of this.
Every Week I End Up Throwing Away So Many Unused Coupons!
Me too. I only use coupons when they are paired with a sale and really make sense. I used to be so upset about throwing them out – but now I realize it’s just part of the game.
And just a heads up, I heard there are government sites that actually take EXPIRED COUPONS for soldiers! I’ve been meaning to look this up because that is SO WONDERFUL.
But I Really Want To Coupon Like The People On Extreme Couponing!!!
I can’t help you with that. All I can do is show you every day what sales I think are worth your time. I hope you won’t get discouraged because it really IS worth your time. Saving money is ALWAYS worth your time.
I truly hope this post has helped you figure out how to use coupons! Let me know what you think!!