With a slower economy, it’s natural that many of us have an increased interest in saving money with coupons. If this includes you and you don’t know where to start, try some of these great couponing tips for beginners.
1. Where to Find Your Coupons
There are more coupons out there than ever before, if you know where to look. We always find our best coupons in:
- Newspapers: Coupon inserts from Smart Source and Valassis are in your local paper every week. You will find inserts from Proctor & Gamble at the beginning of every month. This accounts for 80% of coupons on the market, but there are lots more out there.
- Magazines: Most of the popular women’s magazines, including Family Circle and Women’s Day, have several manufacturer coupons per issue.
- In-Store: You can save a lot of money by finding coupons on the shelves at your grocery store. Be on the look out for coupons printed on your receipts. These tend to be customized depending on your purchases, so a receipt coupon might be especially valuable to you.
- Online: Sites such as CoolSavings.com have a lot of coupons you can print out. Your store may not accept all of them, though.
- Junk Mail: It’s tempting to just pitch the junk mail, but scan it quickly. You often can find very high value manufacturer coupons in here.
- Mailings From Your Grocery Store: If you have a frequent shopper card for your grocery store, they often will send out great coupons to you.
- On Grocery Products: Take a look at the products you buy, because there often are nice coupons on them.
Other strategies include signing up for manufacturer newsletters on the Internet. Go to the manufacturer’s website and see what they have. Often great coupons are included in a monthly newsletter. Or, these days you can have coupons even sent to your cell phone.
We also have even tried calling manufacturers at their 1-800 number. This can net you some really great savings, too.
2. Keeping Your Coupons Organized
There are almost as many ways to keep your coupons tidy as there are coupons. You just need to find the organization approach that works for you. You can just clip the coupons that you use, clip all of them, or leave the entire coupon insert untouched, and clip them as you need them.
Whichever you decide, the next step is to organize your coupons in these ways:
- Determine a filing system: We tend to organize our coupons by category: produce, frozen, dairy, breakfast, baking etc. It’s more convenient to us to have them organized by the way the groceries are grouped at the store. But you can organize however you wish.
- Buy a coupon organizer: You also can use a shoebox, recipe box or whatever you choose. We find that a dedicated coupon organizer works best for us.
- File ASAP: When you have a pile of coupons, file them immediately. Little pieces of paper scattered around the kitchen get lost. Also, by doing it routinely, you save yourself the chore of filing 100 coupons at once.
- Purge: Coupons that are expired just take up space. Set up a monthly schedule so that you throw away any expired coupons.
3. How to Boost Your Coupon Savings
Try to shop at grocery stores that offer to double your coupons. Also, try to keep your coupon book with you all the time. Finding a great buy does not help you if your coupons are not with you, or in your car. Be sure that you know the coupon policy of every store at which you shop. Last, get creative to maximize your savings.
For example, you can boost your coupon savings by adding a store coupon on top of a manufacturing coupon. Even better, you can combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a sale, rebate, and a store coupon.
Another idea is to use a coupon when you run into a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale. You can actually get additional savings by using a coupon on each item.
Talk about savings!
4. Coupon Secrets!
There are a few coupon secrets out there that many people don’t know. For instance, did you know you can find coupons for meats? How about coupons for seafood? Wait, there’s more (really)! Wine coupons? Beer coupons?
Yes, indeed, there are coupons for just about everything!