Coupon 101

If you’re a newbie couponer, then I’m guessing you may feel a tad bit overwhelmed! I actually feel overwhelmed half the time and I’ve been couponing for quite a while. When I started out I jumped full force in to this great hobby! I collected and clipped every single coupon, went shopping all the time and tryed to snag every single deal. Well, I definitely learned my lesson because after a few months I was tired and burnt out.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s alright to NOT clip every coupon and NOT snag every deal. When you’re started out it’s best to take baby steps and slowly ease in to what will work best for you. As I’ve said before, couponing is like learning to read a book. It takes time and patience, but it’s well worth it in the end… and once you’re a coupon diva, there is NO turning back!

Here are a few little tips I wish I had known when I first started using coupons:

Don’t feel like you have to clip or save every single coupon. There are so many coupons available, so to clip and save all the coupons you find would take way too much time and definitely make you feel overwhelmed. Plus, what I found happened is that I had huge pile of expired coupons on a monthly basis. If you have lots of expired coupons leftover, then that means one thing, you’re clipping and/or saving too many!

When clipping coupons ask yourself these questions–Will my family use this product? If we can snag it for free will we use it? Can we donate it? If you answered no to all those questions, then don’t save the coupon.

Do NOT feel you have to use every single coupon you clip right away. This is what the manufacturer’s want you to do. If you use a coupon when a product is not on sale, then you’re usually not getting a good deal at all. In fact, it’s most likely less expensive in this situation to buy the store brand. So wait for a sale and then use a coupon or better yet use lots of “like” coupons to start stockpiling!

Building up a stockpile is the biggest key in my opinion to really seeing a HUGE reduction in your grocery bill! When an item is on sale and you have a coupon for it, then STOCK UP. I don’t mean by 3… I means buy as many as you have coupons for. If that’s 10, then great. The more you stock up, the less likely you’re ever going to have to pay full retail price again. Once you build a well rounded stockpile you’ll really only need to spend money on produce, milk and any other perishables.

Most of the time it’s best to buy the smallest product you can find and pair it with a coupon. When I first started using coupons I did not realize this. I would buy the biggest bottle of Laundry detergent, the family size shampoos and conditioners and then wonder why my bill hadn’t really gone down. Lots of times the smallest size products will be FREE after the coupon! Free is FREE and regardless if the product is smaller- it’s still FREE! If you have lots of coupons and buy enough of the smaller items, then soon enough it will add up to the larger item… BUT you will have paid a lot less! I always do this with travel/trial size products. As long as the coupon doesn’t exclude travel size, then you can use the coupon. I actually have a basket in my shower filled with travel size shampoos, conditioners and body wash. I LOVE getting to change up the products I use on a daily basis and with no cost at all to me!

Do you all have any advice you’d give someone just starting out?
Any great tips?