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Monday, September 29, 2014

How-to-start couponing tips and the basics!

So... today I thought I'd share with all of you how I do my couponing, I just recently started but I almost can't believe I never did it before!

Let me tell you some of the misconceptions I had about couponing:

1. It's like begging (oy!)
2. It's like stealing (oy! OY!)
3. It can't make that much of a difference unless I am a "crazy hoarder"
4. It's just for unhealthy items or things that I don't really need/use
5. It's too hard

Those 5 things I mentioned are probably only the "top five" of my long list of reasons why I didn't coupon before... Some of them you might laugh at and think I'm kidding or you might just feel identified and realize that you've had those thoughts as well...

But... I went to my library and started looking for books on the subject of "home management" and finances... The couponing topic came up and it caught my interest... Plus at the same time a dear friend of mine started posting pictures on fb and information on the things she was purchasing and how much she was paying after the savings/coupons.

So... about 2 months ago I started my journey into the couponing world and I am sooo thankful! What a great way to be a good steward of the resources God's given us! What a great way to also help my hubby with the load of the finances of the home. I used to want to get a "work from home" kind of job and I soon realized that I am now "making more money" (or at least saving it) for my family and I have my own schedule, ability, etc... and stress-free! (I find the coupon clipping actually quite therapeutic!)



So these are the basics that I suggest if you want to begin:
  1. Start buying the Sunday Newspaper (if possible, get a subscription and it will be cheaper)
  2. Save the "Coupons.com" and "couponmom.com" sites on your favorites (They are not paying me to advertise or anything like that... I just really, REALLY like them), "The Grocery Games" is a great site too but you have to pay for it and there's no real need to do that... couponmom.com does the same for you and it's FREE!
  3. The couponmom.com has a tutorial video on how they recommend you to organize your coupons, it doesn't require you to cut and clip all your coupons but I have discovered that I actually like going through them all, cutting and clipping them, organizing them in a binder so I can actually take the binder with me to the store and that way I never miss a great deal! So... that takes me to my next point
  4. Make your own binder... I got a 2" Binder to begin! And over 30 baseball card divider sheets plus some dividers with tabs to organize my coupons by category.

These are the categories *I* use... you can make/add your own accordingly:

  1. Produce
  2. Snacks
  3. Breakfast Cereals and Bars
  4. Nut Butters and Jellies
  5. Pasta/Rice/Soups
  6. Condiments/Salad Dressing
  7. Drinks
  8. Frozen
  9. Dairy/Eggs
  10. Baby
  11. Cleaning
  12. Paper Products
  13. Vitamins and Medicine
  14. Oral Care
  15. Hair Care
  16. Deodorants/Shaving
  17. Soap/Body Wash

Of course you can add whatever else you need... like Pets, etc... or even divide the categories into subcategories... It's YOUR BINDER... and it's YOUR brain... Customize it the way it makes most sense to you!


Maybe you won't even want to organize by category but by expiration date... (keep the expiration date in mind when placing your coupons in the binder, make sure it's in a visible place so it's easy for you to go through your binder and get rid of expired coupons).

I also suggest you go through your grocery stores coupon policies (i.e. You can't double coupon in Texas), also, make sure a "deal" is a real deal... sometimes there are some brand name items that are on sale and you have a coupon that you don't want to waste and still generic brand might be cheaper... or viceversa.. you might be surprised to find that some brand name products end up being cheaper in some instances when you match a sale with a coupon!

Make sure you get your "store cards" (rewards or loyalty cards) from whatever store you shop from... Check out the website of your store, you might be surprised to find the extra savings you can get online, Kroger and Randall's have a great digital-coupon program, you just load your coupons to your card and voila! The savings appear automatically when the cashier scans your card at the end!  And some of those stores also offer discounts on "Gas" after you get a certain amount of points in your card... Just yesterday we saved .30 cents per gallon of gas and we filled our tank knowing that we saved at least 5 dollars! (5 dollars is a lot of money, especially when couponing!)

My other tip for you is to avoid making a trip to the store out of "need" ... I mean, sometimes it might be inevitable... but those are the trips that hurt your pocket the most! Always plan ahead, make your lists, do your "homework" the sites I recommended do a lot of the hard work for you! Have your coupons ready and buy things when on sale! Stock up on those items that you can stock up on! And get a membership for stores like Costco or Sams (I recommend Costco the best) for items that no matter how cheap you'll find them in your regular grocery store... they'll never "beat" the price of these two! The items that I ALWAYS buy at Costco are:

- Toilet Paper (forget about the number of rolls per package, etc... make sure you know how much you are actually paying PER SQUARE FOOT!) - Marathon 48 roll package in Costco is THE best deal so far!
- Paper Towel (the price should also be calculated per square foot) - I love the Kirkland Brand
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and some Nut Butters (no sugar added!)
- Chia Seeds, quinoa and Hemp Hearts (yes, you can still eat healthy stuff and save money)
- Kerrygold grass-fed butter - if you're buying grassfed butter and you love Kerrygold as much as we do buy it at Costco, it is usually cheaper than in your local store (unless it's on sale).

And don't let a great deal pass even if you are "not needing" to buy an item! You'll be so happy next time you need a new bottle of shampoo and you can go to your very well stocked up cabinet for a bottle that you paid mere cents for!

And I guess that's it for now! You can do this! You're not begging nor stealing! (I still think things can be taken tooooo far) but... couponing allows you to make better use of your resources and even get a pair of earrings with the extra money... hey! Use a coupon and discount for those too!!!)

Just on Saturday we went to three different stores...  it was great to see the savings afterwards! I save at least 40% on each trip. It is a great feeling!



I'll be sharing more tips, secrets and maybe even some offers/codes too!

©  Paloma K.

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid or compensated by any of the sites/stores mentioned in this post. These are my opinions.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

This is encouraging...your numbers 3,4 & 5 are definitely on my list of why I don't coupon, but seeing you results is driving me to look at it again! I may just have to give this a try!

Susan Jeffries said...

Since moving, I have not been couponing and I miss it especially when I check out at the grocery! Hope to get started back! Thanks.