If you’ve always wanted to save money using coupons but didn’t know where to start, here’s a list of tips to better understand how it’s done. This list includes my own methods as well as some suggestions from whatsyourdeal.com. Although this resource is quite helpful, it can seem overwhelming. To help simplify the process, send questions or comments to my Facebook page (Wyoming Penny Pincher ) and I will help you navigate the website.
So before you dismiss the concept of couponing as being too time consuming, read through this list first. It will give you ideas of how to make the process work for you. After all, wouldn’t saving money every week on what you need be beneficial to you being able to buy what you want? It works for me. It could work for you too!
1. Start small. Focus on 1 or 2 stores and learn their policies & procedures.
2. Organizing your coupons will either make or break your couponing experience.
3. Match your coupons with sales.
4. Stack your manufacturer coupons with your store specific coupons to have a lesser out of pocket total.
5. Before you leave the house, make a plan of what you want to buy. Write down the items, the prices and the quantities. If you are doing multiple transactions, separate the items into lists before ever leaving your house.
6. The less crowded the store, the less stressed both you and your cashier will be. I have found that early in the morning, early afternoon, or late at night is best for me.
7. If you have young kids like we do, shop at a time when they are at their best — in the morning or right after naps. Happy kids make a huge difference. Bring along something to occupy their minds or a treat to occupy their tummies!
8. Remind yourself that sales cycle. When you see an amazing deal, no need to drop everything, abandon your family and rush out the door in a panic. Instead, realize that the sale will come back around in a few weeks to a few months.
9. Prioritize. Set a time limit. Figure out how to incorporate savings into a reasonable amount of time each week and stick to it.
10. It’s important to maintain a positive working relationship with the staff and management at your local stores.
11. If your store is out of the sale item, get a rain-check! Go to customer service and ask for a raincheck for the item you wanted. They will fill out a piece of paper with the item details and price. Then you can come back another day (usually no more than 30 days) and buy that item at the sale price by giving the cashier the raincheck. This also gives you more time to gather coupons for the item!
12. Understand 10/$10 promotions. You do not have to buy 10 items to get the $1 price! The only exception to this rule is if the ad states that you must!
Stores will sometimes put limits on the item to make you think it’s a great price! If cereal is on sale for 2/$4 you might not even notice it. But if it’s on sale “2/$4 — limit 2!” then you will likely think it’s a great price since they had to put a limit on it!
13. If you have couponers in your area then it’s best to get to the store as early in the sale as you can!
14. When checking out pay close attention to the price screen to make sure everything rings up at the correct price. Also, make sure that the cashier scans all of your coupons.
15. Don’t buy a ton of everything as soon as you get started or you will blow your budget!
16. If an item goes on sale for a great price (or free!) then buy more than you need for just the week.
Typically sales go in 12 week cycles so you only need to buy enough for 12 weeks.
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