1. Always get a Sunday Newspaper–There are two important pieces of information in your Sunday paper: the coupon inserts of course, and also your sales circulars.
2. Check the sites with printable coupons often–When you print from sites like Coupons.com, Coupon Network, Smartsource, and Redplum, you usually are limited to a certain number of prints. Most often that limit is 2. While each person is limited to how many times a coupon can be printed, there is also a total maximum number of prints allowed. When that number is met, the coupon is gone. Check those sites often, especially at the beginning of the month, for new coupons so you don’t miss out.
3. Get more coupons–Ask friends, family, and co-workers for coupons they aren’t using. Statistics show that most coupons are not used so you are bound to know some people that are just throwing out those inserts. Ask around and maybe even start a coupon swap in your office or at church. It’s also good to always be on the lookout. You can find coupons in magazines, convenient stores, at doctor’s offices, at the store on tearpads or coupon dispensers. I once found a coupon for propane at Southern States as a sticker on the front of the newspaper. Keep everything while it’s in date because you never know when it will go on sale and be worth buying and stocking up.
4. Organize your coupons–There are several ways to do this and you can find the one you like best. But the main thing is to be organized so that when you are ready to shop you know where everything is. I personally use the binder method which you can read about in another post. I find that going through my coupons and filing them in the binder helps me to better know what coupons I have so that when I see something on sale I think “Hey, I’ve got a coupon for that”. The KEY TO SUCCESSFUL COUPONING is using the coupons when the product is on sale at its lowest price!
5. Sign up for store Loyalty Cards–Many stores have loyalty cards or frequent shopper cards that you should sign up for at every store you shop at. These are almost always free and allow you to get extra savings as well as other perks. Kroger, CVS, Rite Aid, and Sears/Kmart are all stores that have loyalty cards. Not only do you get to take advantage of sales but you can earn points with these that earn you discounts on gas, future purchases, and special Internet/email coupons. Some restaurants also offer these loyalty cards too!
6. Sign up for email and mailing lists–Visit the websites of your favorite stores and products and sign up for any mailing lists or online accounts they may have. Everyday I get coupons and special sale notices in my email. If it is an account that keeps track of things like your birthday they also tend to send you coupons for FREE STUFF! On my birthday this year I got bonus points at Speedway, $3 Free at CVS, a Free pastry from Panera Bread, $1 off at Wendy’s, and several other coupons.
7. Check your sales circulars–Many people spend their Sunday mornings reading the newspaper. I spend my Sunday mornings going through the sales circulars and making notes of things on sale that I know I have coupons for and/or that I know I need. There are many sites that have the circulars ahead of time online and have lists of deals already written up for you to take advantage of. These are great ways to save time and know the best deals. Other sites like www.weusecoupons.com offer a COUPON DATABASE so if you see a sale, you can check their database to see if there is a coupon out there somewhere. They also have great forums where people posts great deals that they know about or have already taken advantage of.
8. Make your shopping list–You can go to the store and meander through the aisles and shop, but if you are like me you get home with a cart full of groceries but still have nothing to eat in the house. Menu planning and list making are essential in saving money at the grocery store. And it helps to create your menus after you’ve looked through sales circulars using the products that are on sale. As you make your list it is good to go ahead and pull out the coupons you know you are going to use. I usually put all my coupons from my list in an envelope marked with the store name. This way if I have multiple stores I’m planning to shop I have a list and envelope for each store. Once you have your pantry stocked up (this only took me about 1 month of couponing) you can focus on just the GREAT sales and save even more by not have to buy staples every shopping trip.
9. Know your store coupon policies–There is nothing more frustrating than having a shopping trip all planned out and then paying more than you expected because you didn’t know that the store didn’t take certain coupons or they have put limits on how many items you can buy. Some stores have their policies printed on their websites. It’s a good idea to print these out and carry them with you when you shop. Other stores have more generalized policies which may change on the whim of managers. Policies seem to be changing frequently right now with the popularity of “Extreme Couponing” so it is a good idea if your store doesn’t have a written policy that you check with management before you start shopping.
10. Be prepared for those unexpected DEALS–Always take your coupon binder with you when you go shopping. You never know when you might see something that is on sale that wasn’t advertised. The real pot of gold in any store for a couponer is the CLEARANCE AISLE! You never know what bits of treasure are going to land on clearance and many times you’ll have a coupon for an item that is already drastically marked down.
*BONUS TIP* If you are shopping online be sure and check out sites that have coupons codes like Coupons by Answers.com to save on everything from clothing to electronics that you buy online!
These are just a few of the many tips and tricks I’ve learned. It takes a little bit of time but in the long run you can save A LOT of money!