How to Start Couponing
Couponing is the practice of searching store ads, newspapers, and websites for discounts that are available if you produce a coupon at checkout. Television shows and articles on “Extreme Couponing” have shown people that learn to save money on almost every shopping trip by analyzing and organizing paper coupons. Learning how to start couponing can save you hundreds of dollars in grocery bills and services.
Follow these steps to become an official Couponer!
1. Make a sample grocery list. Devote 1 section to the products you buy every month and another section to the products you buy every 3 or more months.
2. Decide which name-brand products you need and which products on which you are brand-flexible. Usually, the best brand loyalty you have, the more money you will save.
3. Pay attention to product prices. If you are on auto-pilot when you go to the store, you may not know what the going rate is for a name-brand and discount-brand package of toilet paper, a jar of pasta sauce or bag of chicken breasts. To get a deal, you must be able to recognize a deal.
4. Make a list of stores in your area. You will be searching for coupons by store as well as a by-product. Add some stores that you think might be too expensive, in case they give extremely valuable coupons.
5. Buy a coupon organizer. Small expandable folders are a great way to sort by expiration date. Get a folder that is no larger than 6 x 9 inches (15 by 23cm) so that you don’t forget to bring it when you go shopping. Keep a coupon folder for each type of item you want to buy. For example, you can have a coupon folder for grocery shopping that you place in your car and a coupon folder for services, such as oil changes, tax preparations and carpet cleaning that you keep by the computer or phone.
6. Bring your own bags. Many grocery stores give discounts for bringing your own bag and it’s eco-friendly, but you may need to ask for the discount.
7. Buy a printer. This is an essential part of online couponing since you can do a good amount of couponing without ever subscribing to a newspaper. A smartphone can also be a helpful tool in modern-day couponing. You can search for an online coupon right in the store, compare prices with those on Amazon using an application called Price Check or send coupons by text message.
8. Understand coupon terminology. Double coupons mean that you can double the value of a coupon up to a certain number, and triple coupons mean you can triple it. Look for stores that take and advertise these kinds of coupons. Ask for rain checks. Rain checks allow you to go into the store and get a coupon for the sale price of an item when it is restocked. Some coupons specify “No Rainchecks” so you must get to the store early on in the sale to ensure the coupon will be valid for a purchase. Learn the acronyms that are frequently used with couponing, such as Buy One Get One free/half off (BOGO), On Your Next Order (OYNO) and Mail-In Rebate (MIR).