5 Tips for Beginner Couponers!

I’ve been couponing for over a year now.  I spent hours and weeks and months learning the ins and outs of couponing.  I built up my stock pile before Rae was born.  Then took a break, something about taking 2 tiny children to the grocery store was hauntingly terrifying to me.  But now I’m back.

Couponing CAN be a time consuming task.  But if you know a few simple tricks, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

5.  Find coupons.  Coupons.com, redplum.com, couponnetwork.com all have great coupons you can print for free without buying a newspaper.  HOWEVER, a lot of these coupons values are not as great as the coupons you can find in the newspaper.  I usually will get a newspaper (or 2 or 3 or 4) depending on what coupons are in the inserts that week.  Don’t want to buy the newspaper?  Ask people to save their coupons for you!  If you’re really brave, dumpster dive.  I’ve never done it, but I’ve heard you can have lots of luck finding awesome coupons that people throw out.
Some coupon values will be greater than others.  But don’t throw out that seemingly low valued coupon right away!  A lot of the time, you’ll see a coupon for $1/2 and think it’s a pretty crummy deal, but save it!  Wait for BOGO deals and use them then!

4.  Know the store deals/policys.  Personally, my favorite places to coupon are Harris Teeter, Giant and Target.  These stores usually have the best deals and the best coupon policies.  Harris Teeter and Giant will DOUBLE any coupon valued at 99 cents or lower EVERYDAY.  Harris Teeter also has coupon events once a month, that lasts for a week.  This week, they had Super Doubles in which they will double any coupon, newpaper or printable, with a value of $2.00 or less.  They also have Triples, every other month, in which they TRIPLE coupons valued at 99 cents or less.  Target has a coupon policy of allowing you to use a manufacturers coupon (one from an internet coupon database or newspaper) AND a target coupon for the same item.  Target coupons can be found in their ads and on the target website.
Also, KNOW THE POLICIES.  I know people who will keep a copy of the coupon policies on hand when going on couponing trips just to avoid confusion with cashiers who may be new or not used to the couponing techniques.  Go for the young cashiers, they tend to be very friendly and patient with couponers!

3.  Write to companies.  Write to every single company you can think of.  My absolute favorite brand of bread is Wonder bread.  So I went to their website, found the “Contact Us” button and wrote them a very nice comment about how much my family loves their bread.  I made it personal and said that Little S has his daily PB&J on their bread every day.  Blah, blah, blah.  And guess what?  They sent me 3 coupons for free loaves of wonder bread.

I will basically do this with every single product I use and try.  Not so fond of a product?  I’ll write a comment making suggestions of ways I think the product could improve, try not to be rude.  These people probably read tons of nasty emails a day and you’re probably going to be rewarded for a nice email rather than a negative one!  I’ve never once written to a company and not received a coupon.  This is a great way to get coupons for products that don’t usually have coupons out.  Also, if you really want to try a product, write to them and ask for a sample, usually they’ll send some coupons your way too!

2.  Do the math.  Whether you plan your couponing trips before hand, or impulse buy in the store, do the math of exactly how much you should be paying at the end, BEFORE you check out.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the register and ended up overpaying, only to look at my receipt and see that coupons weren’t doubled or tripled or weren’t even scanned at all.  If you know your total before hand you can help prevent these mix ups and avoid paying more than you should.

1.  STOCK UP.  This is the most important tip.  See a great deal and have plenty of coupons?  BUY THEM.  BUY 10 OF THEM.  Last summer I bought about 30 boxes of pasta, over 40 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, 20+ body wash, 100+ razors and deodorant, 14 bottles of laundry detergent.  And spent next to nothing on them.  And now, 14 months later, I’m finally running out of my stock pile of laundry detergent and pasta.  I still have over 60 razors and 10 bottles of shampoo and conditioner.  It’s fantastic to stock up on stuff that does not expire when it’s for a great price, because then, when you need to take a little break from the couponing, you’re still reaping the benefits of all your hard work.  I won’t have to buy razors or deodorant for at least another year (unless I see a fantastic deal).

Lastly, here’s a breakdown of some of the deals I got at Harris Teeter this week.  These deals are STILL available until Tuesday!  So go give it a try!  Let me know how it goes!!
Every single one of these items I used a printable coupon for and linked to the coupon site that you can print them from!  If you get every single item I did, you’d save over $80!  Retail value of $100.27.  Total cost to you, after card, evic and coupon savings $17.47.  That’s an 83% savings!!

Here’s the breakdown:

Homestyle Mac and Cheese: Retails for $2.79. $1 off coupon, doubling to $2.  Making this item $0.79. Find the coupon HERE.
L’oreal Shampoo and Conditioner:  Retails for $4.99.  On sale for $3.99.  $2 off coupon, doubling to $4.  Making these FREE.  Find the coupon by signing up HERE.
Arnold Sandwich Thins:  Retails for $3.89.  On sale BOGO, making them $1.94.  $1 off coupon, doubling to $2.  Making these FREE.  Find the coupon HERE.
Reynolds Parchment Paper:  Retails for $4.99.  On clearance for $2.49.  $1 off coupon, doubling to $2.  Making it $0.49.
Balance Bars: Retails for $1.45.  On sale for 10/$10.  $1/2 coupon, which doubled to $2.  Making them FREE.  Direct link to the coupon HERE.
Birdseye:  Retails for $2.39 each.  On sale BOGO.  $1/2 coupon, which doubled to $2.  Making them $0.18 each.  Direct link to the coupon HERE.
Wholly Salsa:  Retails for $2.49.  $1 off coupon, doubled to $2.  Making them $0.49 each.  Direct link to coupon HERE.
Chex Mix:  Retails for $2.89.  On sale BOGO.  Used a $0.60 off one and a $0.50 off the other, both doubled to make it $2.20 off.  Making each bag $0.10.  For the 60 cent off coupon, sign up for their rewards program HERE.
Duncan Hines Brownie Mix:  Retails for $1.55.  On sale for $1.25.  Used a $0.35 coupon, doubled to $0.70.  Making this $0.55.  Direct link to coupon HERE.
Pampers Pull Ups:  Retails for $11.59.  On sale for $9.99.  $2 off coupon, doubled to $4.  Making them $5.99.  This was a total impulse buy.  But $5.99 isn’t a terrible price for pull ups!  Find the coupon HERE.
Motts Apple Juice: Retails for $3.99.  On sale for $2.99.  $1 off coupon, doubled to $2.  Making this $0.99.  Find the coupon HERE.
Honey Nut Cheerios:  Retails for $3.89.  On sale for 2/$5.  $1/2 coupon, doubled to $2.  Making them $1.50 a box.  Find the coupon HERE.
Maxwell Instant Coffee: Retails for $4.19.  $1 off coupon, doubled to $2.  Making this $2.19.  Find the coupon HERE.

Share the wealth by sharing this page!
And let me know how your first trip goes!

Good luck!!
M

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