How to Coupon

Couponing 101:: How to Coupon

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New to Couponing?? You’ve found the right place! I’ve put together a list of tips to help people who are new to couponing and/or want to learn how. Remember, to ask questions, and make this fun!

Ready to learn how to save money with coupons? Learn the tips, tricks and secrets that the pro's use in this Coupon 101 post!

How do I use coupons??

You can use one manufacture coupon (which can be used at ANY store), and one store coupon per item. You can also stack mobile rebates on top of these to maximize your savings. An example of how to stack manufacture coupons, and mobile rebates is this deal scenario here.

Where do I find coupons??

You can order coupons in bulk or individual coupons if you really want to stock up on a certain product from places like Klip2Save, The Coupon Clippers, and Coupon Things by Dede. There are also various places to print coupons. Of course, my favorites are here at Frugal Finds During Naptime (shameless plug). You can see where to find more coupons here and what the difference is in them. 

Besides paper coupons, there are also coupons you don’t have to clip! That’s right, no clipping involved yet you can still save money! These are in the form of eCoupons, mobile coupons, and rebates to use with coupons.

If you are looking to see if there is a coupon available on a particular item, you can check out coupon database here. Just type in the  name of the product, hit enter, and it will pull up a list of available coupons for that item. Here is a master list of over 100 places you can find coupons. Here are some ways to save money on coupon inserts.

Now that I have coupons, what do I do with them?? 

There are a few methods to couponing. You can either use a binder with baseball card sleeves and dividers. When you use this method you organize your coupons by category. You use the dividers to make different categories. When I did this method, I used this binder. One side was non-grocery items and the other side was grocery items. You can read how to organize a coupon binder here.

Since I run this site, I have little time to clip a lot of coupons; however, I still LOVE to save money. I started organizing my coupons like this. I still have inserts, I still print the hottest printable coupons, and I still have the store coupons. I just clip the coupons I need BEFORE I go shopping. Of course, I can view the match-ups from each individual store easily make my list before heading out.

Whichever way you decide to organize your coupons, is up to you and what works best for you. There is really no “right” or “wrong” way. 🙂

What is all that small print on those coupons??

The small print has the restrictions of the coupon. It will tell you how many of the “like” coupons you can use in one transaction, if you can use the coupon on trial sizes or not (most will not).  It also has the expiration date, and exactly which product(s) the coupon can be used on. Make sure you are using them correctly. If you have a question on what it can be used on, it’s better to ask and be sure than to use it wrong.

How do I know if I’m getting a “good deal”?

Anything 40% off or more is a good deal. Of course, free and money makers are better! Just know that if you have a coupon, you do not have to use it right away if there is not a sale to stack it with. Know that the coupons will come back around again.

Frugal Finds During Naptime has coupon match-ups each week. You can view the current list of stores (with the current match-ups) that we have here. You can see what is on sale, what coupons to stack with it, where to find those coupons, and you can even make your list while viewing the match-ups. You can also score a FREE stock up price list HERE so you know the stock up prices of diapers, deodorant, pasta, and more!

What else do I need to know? 

You need to familiarize yourself with store coupon policies. Each store has a little bit different policy. This is set up based on each individual store. The coupon policy will let you know if the store doubles coupons {and the amount they double up to}, how many coupons they accept in one transaction, if they accept competitor coupons, how they use coupons with price-matching, and little details like that. I will not bore you with all of the store policies, but just know that each store has one. You can see some of the store policies here.

Also, there are sales cycles. Know that everything will eventually go on sale. When it does go on sale, use coupons with the sale to snag it at a rock bottom price. Stock up while it’s at it’s rock bottom price. It will not only save you a trip to the store, but will save you some money.

You need to change the way you “think” when it comes to grocery shopping. You don’t make a menu for the week, and then go grocery shopping. You see what is on sale at rock bottom prices, and make your menu around the store sales. It changes up traditional grocery shopping. Of course, when you are making your list, I know there will be items we need each week like milk, bread, etc. Milk will be on my list each week. That’s OK because milk hardly ever goes on sale, and it’s a necessity in our house. {Thank goodness I can type it in on my list, since it’s never on sale.}

Don’t be brand specific. If you want to save the most money, let go of brand loyalties if possible. Yes, I understand you will always have one or two. For example, I have “difficult” hair, and I can’t use the shampoo that I can get for free so often. I have to use a certain kind. My girls have sensitive skin, and we can’t use the store brand wipes. I have to wait for Huggies Wipes to be just 1¢ each and I stock up! I just mean to let go of as many brand loyalties as possible.

OK, this seems like a lot. Where do I start?

Don’t get overwhelmed! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were extreme couponers! 🙂 Start small. Start with one store (you’re favorite), learn that store, it’s policies, and coupon there first. Once you have that store “conquered”, move on to another store. The easiest thing to do is to find a deal on an item you need, and try it. Once you’ve done a couple of trips, you will get the hang of it.

Make it a fun thing. Clip coupons as a family while you’re watching a movie, have your kids help, go with a friend, and just make it as fun as possible. Once you start seeing the savings roll it, it will be a fun thing and you will enjoy it!

Couponing is like anything else. It takes a little bit of work. The work is worth it. You can then use the savings on your grocery bill to pay off debt, or perhaps save enough to become a stay at home mom.

I want to learn how to coupon at a specific store. Where can I find out how to coupon there? 

I’ve written guides for shopping at the different stores. You can choose from the list below and see how to shop there.

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