Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Couponing 101

Coupons and talking about coupons is my favorite subject.  It is the only way I am able to have name brand items and have my pantry full and not have my wallet empty.  
I started couponing out of need about 9 years ago when my 1st child was born and I ended up being a stay at home mom.  I did not get into it seriously until about 6 years ago when we bought our 1st house.  It was then I buckled down and really started to coupon. 

Now I have a healthy pantry, a good stockpile “store” and am able to donate and give things away to people in need.  I have several people that always “shops” in my store and they are people that are on a very tight budget and is always grateful that I help them out.

You are not going to be able to get $500 worth of groceries for $5.  That’s just impossible.  Those Extreme Couponing Shows on TLC is not realistic.  But you are going to be able to save 50-70% off your grocery bill.  When I go to the grocery store, I usually save about 70% on average which feeds our family of 5 plus 2 dogs and a cat.

Where to get coupons
- Sunday Papers – every Sunday there will be inserts fill with coupons.  Some weekends there will only be 1 while other weekends will have 5-6 inserts.  Some weekends there is none at all due to holidays. 
- Online printables from,,,, other various online sites.
- Peelies – Coupons that’s on the packages.
- Blinkies – Coupon Machines in front of the products on the shelf.
- Store Coupons – There is a lot of ways to get store coupons.  They have them in the stores on a turnable or a display.  You can get them in the mail.

What you do to get started on couponing is just browse the weekly sales ad and do coupon match ups.  The best news is, there is a bunch of online sites that has already done that for you.  So all you need to do is go to that site, look and see where the coupons and deal is, clip/print that coupon and get it at the store.

All you have to do is google the store you want and the week it starts so for example Kroger Matchups 9/2 and you will have a bunch to choose from.  Here in the southeast, I use the following sites for my coupon match ups

(refundcents has an $12 annual membership fee which you will get back in tenfold so well worth it in my opinion)

You will need to look in your area to find out who has the best coupon policy and what that policy is.  Like for example, in my area – I find Publix to be the best for my grocery shopping.  They always double up to .50 cents, so that means my .50 cent coupon will be worth $1.  Publix also accepts competitor coupons.  You will have to go to your local customer service desk and find out who they consider their competitor.  Publix also allows a Publix coupon and a manufacture coupon to be used on the same item.  You will just need to go to the local grocery stores in your area and find out what their coupon policy is.  Each store will have a different policy.

For example – Publix has the GoGo Squeeze Applesauce pouches (which my son loves!) on sale buy 1 get 1 free (bogo) at $2.59.   There is a .50/1 printable, which my store doubles up to .50 cents so that coupon is worth $1.  I can use 2 of the .50 cent coupons because I’m purchasing 2 boxes of GoGo Squeeze.  So I will end up only paying .59 cents for 2 boxes which ends up being .15 cents a box!! 

You are allowed to use 2 coupons on a bogo deal.  Here in Georgia the bogo deals ring up ½ price.  So if you only wanted 1 item, it will ring up ½ price.  You don’t have to get 2 items.  Now in Florida, their bogo rings up 1st one at full price and the 2nd one at .00 so you will have to purchase 2 to get the bogo deal.

Handling your coupons

There is a bunch of different ways to store your coupons.  You will have to find one that meets your needs.

Binder Method – You can clip coupons and put them in a binder with baseball cards.  You will have to be faithful in cutting and sorting and going through to make sure they aren’t expired every week.
Insert Method – Have a file cabinet or box with file folders and just store the inserts in whole.  Once you need to clip a coupon, just look for the date and insert they will be in and go to that insert and clip it out.
Coupon Envelope – This is good for people that don’t have a lot of coupons to use.  But once you start couponing good and start saving more, you will need to go to a different method since the coupons won’t all fit in the envelope.

With couponing you will find that you have to grow a thick skin.  You will find cashiers and customers behind you in line complain and hassle you about using coupons.  Don’t let this affect you, you are not doing anything wrong as long as you are using the coupons correctly!!

This is one of my biggest pet peeve with couponing.  The cashiers or managers will say this “it’s limit 1 per purchase” which the cashiers think that you are only allowed to use 1 coupon for the whole transaction.  NOT TRUE!!  If you are purchasing 5 things, you are allowed to use 5 coupons as long as they are for 1 product not for $1 off 2.  The only time you are not allowed to use more than what you purchase if the coupons say “limit 1 per transaction” or “limit 4 like coupons”.  A lot of P&G coupons now say limit 4 like coupons, which means you can only purchase 4 razors and use 4 - $4 off coupons, but you can purchase 4 – Dawn Dish Soap and use 4 - .25 cent off coupons on that same order.  They just don’t want you using more than 4 of the same exact coupons in the same transaction.

I hope the things I explained makes it easier for you to get started or to do better. When you get started at couponing you won't notice much of a difference money wise for the 1st couple months, but you will notice that your pantry and fridge/freezer is getting fuller!  Once you get a good stockpile, then all you will need to do is replenish your basic items.  You will still be able to get stuff but they will be at a really low price after coupons and sales.

I will do another post on the drug store game!  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me and I will be glad to help!


1 comment:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Great tips. I've never been so good at couponing.