Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's all the fuss about Coupons?

Coupons- are a mystery to some and lifestyle for others.    For me- I've always done what I now call "Coupon Lite".  I'd see a coupon here and there for something I use and I'd clip it and dump the rest.    Then we started getting all these $5 off coupons for various restaurants in our area so we started saving them and trying new places or simply enjoying old faves.     $5 is $5 so I thought the coupons were kind of cool but not a big a deal.
Quite often, I'd go to the grocery store and totally forget the coupons I had clipped.  My thoughts- "Oops- oh well- maybe next time."   

My sister-in-law Becky- has it going on in the coupon arena.  She can go to Kroger and pay only half, possibly less of what the average shopper would pay.  So last time I visited, she showed me her coupon organizer that she's used for years.   I thought- okay- that's easy enough.  So I ordered 'THE COUPONIZER' (sounds tough doesn't it!)

The Couponizer is a great organizer if you are just starting to coupon.   It has prelabeled areas and is easy to throw in your purse.  I keep mine in my car all the time!  When I'm running into the store I grab it- toss it in my purse and can easily match coupons to sales as I shop.   This system- has saved us a lot of money.
I'm currently using a different system which I will share in another post, but this is a great place to start.

Here are some tips for those who are just beginning to coupon- or for those who want more info to coupon more efficiently:

1.  Utilize websites that match up sales to coupons for you. (they do the hard work for you.) I will list some great website resources at the end of this post.
2. Get a coupon holder that is easy to transport- start small- this will create a "habit" of couponing.
3.  Attitude is everything-  Coupons are not just pieces of paper- They are MONEY in your pocket and in the stores pocket.    When you hand a coupon to a cashier- you are handing them 25 cents- 50 cents or more, they receive the amount on the coupon from the manufacturer.   
4. Only buy things you will use or donate or you are not really saving any money.
5. Stockpiling is good unless you stockpile more than you can use in a lifetime!!!  The REASON- a majority of couponers stockpile is healthy and logical.   You will begin to shop from your stockpile for what you need.  You'll shop at stores for whats on sale or free.   That's how you get to a point where you don't HAVE to get deodorant unless it's free, because you have plenty in your stockpile (3 to 6 months worth) to last until the next sale.
6. Things go on sale in cycles- most items go on a great sale every 3 to 6 months- so when you find it on sale you purchase enough to last until the next sale.
7.  At first you may spend a little more- because you're building up a lil stockpile.
8. Buy more than 1 paper. (I get 4)  Why?  You need to have multiple coupons to match up to sales so you can buy enough to last till the next sale.
9. STOCKPILE- don't let this word freak you really don't need "extra" space for this usually- unless you become an organized hoarder and go crazy clearing shelves when there's a big sale. (don't do's a sickness...if you find yourself doing that..don't let TLC film you doing it..that's just embarrassing!)  If you buy 4 deodorants for free- those don't take up much space.  Tomato sauce, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap etc... many of us already "stockpile" these to some you'll just be strategically purchasing these items for next to nothing or space, for most people isn't going to be much of an issue.
10.  Check out some of these websites...
        a.  The Krazy Coupon Lady  this site has a wealth of info and great coupon matchups.  Watch the videos they have available and read their beginners info.
         b. Fabulessly Frugal  another great site.   Their video is alright but you can get the information for free at Krazy Coupon Lady and other sites.
         c. Coupon Mom  Not the best name if you're a guy..but a great resource none the less.  This is one of my favorites- because I can pull up a specific store- specific to my area-- and print a list of the deals I want to get at that store. They match the sale to the coupon here just like the above sites.

All the sites I listed have links to Printable coupons. These are a great resource and most stores take printable coupons.  The links to printable coupons on the above websites are reputable so you don't have to worry about fraudulent coupons.

I hope these tips help someone. I'm just beginning to learn the true value of utilizing coupons.  Just yesterday- I purchased 2 tubes of toothpaste, 2 deodorant, 2 cans of shave gel and bag of flossers and made $1.50 to spend on my next shopping trip!  That's ALL FREE plus $1.50 for my next trip.    This was a first for me and it was so easy to do.    I'm a beginner- but I'm steps!  My biggest hurdle- was honestly- just remembering to use the coupons I'd I'm getting stuff for free, that's just fun.