Getting Started

To be successful with couponing, you’ve got to start with leaving behind your usual way of shopping. Not to worry, I am here to help. So get ready to start a new adventure in shopping.

Where do I find all these great coupons?

  • Newspaper Inserts: The best place to find coupons is in the Sunday paper. There are three different inserts that come out on a regular basis: Smart Source (SS), Red Plum (RP) and Procter & Gamble (PG). I suggest buying 2 Sunday papers each week at a minimum, but 4 is ideal. If you have family members or friends that buy get the Sunday paper and do not use the inserts ask if you can have them.

Odds are the local store you buy your papers at will have several Sunday newspapers available and the coupons in the inserts in each will likely be slightly different in either the value of the coupons or will not have a coupon in one that was in an insert from a different paper. You will need to pick up a few different ones in the beginning to see which ones work the best for you.

  • Blinkies: Manufacturer coupons dispensed by coupon machines found in grocery aisles next to products. Recognize them by the blinking red light. Dispenses coupons one at a time. Manufacturer blinkie coupons may be redeemed at any store, not necessarily the store in which you found them.
  • Peelies: Manufacturer coupons found on products in the store. Peelies are often good on a wider selection of products than the one it is stuck to. Be sure to read the fine print on the peelie to discover if the coupon may be used on a smaller size or different variety of the same product, to allow you to maximize savings.
  • Tear Pads: Manufacturer coupons that can be found in many areas throughout a store. I have found them next to the product as well as an assortment sitting on counters.
  • Printable Coupons: There are so many ways to get printable coupons – from Coupons.com to Red Plum to Facebook to manufacturer websites. The best part about it: they’re free. Of course you’ll need a computer and a printer, and you’ll have to download a bit of software. But rest assured, printing coupons from your home computer is safe and easy!
  • eCoupons: eCoupon is just a shortened word for electronic coupon. These coupons are loaded onto your store loyalty card via your phone or computer. Several grocery stores have eCoupon programs, like Tops, Price Chopper and Rite Aid to name a few. To access eCoupons, head to your store site, register, add your card number to your account, peruse the coupons, click the ones you want and load them to your card. To redeem, just swipe your card at checkout and the discount is automatically deducted from your balance. The coupon policy for each individual store will apply to the use of ecoupons.
  • Mobile Coupons: There’s a new way to save that’s even easier and faster than newspaper and printables. Mobile coupons — coupons you get through your “mobile” phone.

You will also find coupons inside some product packaging. You will soon see that they are everywhere!

DO NOT EVER PHOTOCOPY A COUPON! You typically are allowed 2 prints per computer for internet coupons. Copying a coupon is considered coupon fraud and we don’t want manufacturer’s to take away a good thing.

Programs and apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, Savingstar and others allow you to acquire cash back savings after you’ve purchased a product. This is yet another great way to save!

Now that you have gathered all your coupons you will want to have a method of organizing them that will work best for you. When I first started I kept mine in an envelope which lasted about a month. Then I went to an expandable organizer with dividers so I could separate by category. That system probably lasted me 2 months when I finally went to the binder method in combination with the whole insert filing method which has now been what works best for me for the past 3 years. You will find many different methods online and I say use what works best for you because the organizing method you use will either make or break you couponing experience.

When and how to maximize those little pieces of paper:

Just because you have a coupon does not mean you have to use it! Timing is the secret to success when using coupons.

  • Match Coupons with Sales and Promotions: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is using a coupon just because you have it. The key is to wait until that item goes on sale, until you find a store coupon or a mobile coupon to go with it or when the store runs a promotion. Unless of course you have an immediate need and cannot wait for a sale.
  • Stack Your Coupons: Stacking simply means using one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon together on the same item which is permitted by most stores. Remember, you can never use two manufacturer coupons on one item. Stores like Target, Rite Aid Price Chopper & Tops Market, just to name a few, all issue store coupons and allow them to be stacked with a manufacturer coupon.
  • Double Coupons: You’ve probably heard about stores that “double” coupons, meaning they accept your coupon at twice the face value. So, for example, if a coupon is $0.50 off one item, the store will honor that coupon at $1.00 off unless the coupon manufacturer has stated “Do Not Double” on the face of the coupon in which case the store must follow the rules on the manufacturer coupon. (Note: you will find that some coupons that have “Do Not Double” printed on them do indeed double automatically when scanned at stores that double – these coupons usually have a 5 at the start of the bar code)

The absolute perfect scenario is when more than one of the above couponing uses comes together. Imagine: A store promo + a manufacturer coupon + a store coupon + a Savingstar offer! That’s right. The savings just exploded. In fact, that’s exactly how you end up bringing items home for free, or better yet, how you leave the store with more money in your pocket than you started with!                      

Start with mastering one store that you frequent. Print out their coupon policy and carry it with you when you shop. You should know that policy better than any employee at the store. Always be pleasant and friendly with all the cashiers. Trust me when I say it will pay off with smoother transactions in the end rather than gaining a reputation as being crabby if a transaction doesn’t go the way you felt it should. Keep smiling!

Make a list of the items you want and the quantities with the prices.
Choose the time of day to shop. I have found that early morning or late at night works best since there are fewer customers. The less stressed your cashier is the easier the checkout process will be.

Understanding what stockpiling is. It is NOT hoarding. By stockpiling while something is at a rock bottom price, you won’t have to pay full price when you run out and have to have it. The best part about it is you can apply this principle to both grocery and retail. Stockpiling responsibly is what will make the difference in your budget. Keyword: responsibly. In order for stockpiling to really save you money try not to have on hand more than your family will use in 3 to 6 months. There are sale cycles so the sale you seen last week on Downy will more than likely be on sale again at that same stock up price in about 10 – 12 weeks if you are in the northeast, 8 weeks if you are in the south.

Do not feel you have to chase every deal at every store or you will soon feel totally burnt out. Do not purchase just for the sake of purchasing just because you have a great coupon. Set a time when you will work on cutting and organizing your coupons. Do not let it take over your life – trust me it can – in the beginning I was like a kid at Christmas, seeing and chasing a deal around every corner. Now I know that there is a deal around every corner so if you want to take a month off go ahead. It will all be there ready to take up again when you are ready.

Rite Aid Video Values & Facebook Coupons:

You will need more than 1 Wellness card in order to get more than 1 Rite Aid Video Value coupon.  Ask your family members or co-workers if you can use thier cards if they do not use the video value online program.  You will need a seperate email for registering each card – video value coupons are not emailed to anyone, you print them right from their site so noone will be hassled with emails.

I will post Rite Aid facebookcoupons when they come up.  For the most part they have a 2 week life span but you never know.  To print more than 1, once you open the facebook coupon page where it is asking for your email address go to the URL address, highlight it, right click then hit “copy”.  Open a new tab in your browser and go to “Private Browsing”. Once that is open go to URL and paste in the address you just copied and hit enter.  The page asking for your email will open, put it in and hit print.  Now close that tab and reopen another, again go to “Private Browsing”, again once it is open in private browsing mode paste in that same URL address (you shouldn’t have to copy it again your computer will remember it the last thing you copied), hit enter. This time put in a different email address – doesn’t matter what email address you use just as long as it is not the same one you just printed. Again no emails are sent it is only for the purpose of printing facebook coupons that way they know there is only one facebook coupon printed per email address.  You may repeat this as many times as you want coupons and remember to use a different email address for each one.

Couponing not only becomes a way of life but it becomes a hobby – fun, enjoyable, thrilling and rewarding! So treat it as such and enjoy!

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