If I can not find a way to make the installments on "The Basics of Couponing" page appear on my home page also, I will try and remember to copy and paste it here. This is the first installment.
Couponing has become almost an art and a way of life for many. It enables us to experience many things that we could not have done previously. For instance, since I started couponing, I have donated hundreds of dollars worth of name-brand products to churches and individuals in need. My family has tried a variety of new foods, and I always have food on hand. I have a stockpile of food and toiletries that will last me several months, if need be.
On this page, I will attempt to teach you the easiest and most profitable way to get started and be successful. I will try and cover a different aspect of couponing each day.
The average couponer saves about 65%-70% on their groceries weekly and much more on their toiletries and household items. Do not be discouraged if you are not saving that much right away. It does take a little time. Here are some important things to remember.
1. Be diligent…make couponing a way of life. Get your coupons every week. Ask friends and family to give you theirs if they are not planning to use them. Never throw one out just because you don’t think you’ll use it. You never know what may go on sale. Register on manufacturers’ websites. Sign up for samples and subscribe to their newsletters. A lot of manufacturers send coupons by email or snail mail. Print from internet. There are 3 major coupon sites. They are coupons.com, smartsource.com, and redplum.com. Most of them update at the beginning of every month, though red plum is likely to post throughout the month. You can usually find more coupons on these sites by experimenting with different zip codes. You are usually allowed to print 2 copies of each coupon per computer. Never photocopy coupons. This is coupon fraud and is illegal.
2. Be flexible…be willing to try new things and new brands. You are going to find that in many cases you can buy name brands much cheaper than store brand by using coupons.
3. Set aside time for couponing. Even if it is just 30 minutes a day, it is important for you take the time to plan.
4. Match coupons with sales. There are a lot of websites that do this for you. My personal favorite is southernsavers.com.
5. Shop stores that double coupons.
6. Stockpile: Always buy as many of the item as you have coupons, without cleaning out the shelf, as long as it won’t go bad before you can use it. Most stores run on a 6 to 8 week cycle for sales.
7. If an item is free after sale price and coupon, buy it. If you don’t use it, you can donate it.
8. Take full advantage when “staples” go on sale and/or have coupons as this does not happen often. Flour, sugar, corn starch, mayo, ketchup, etc.
9. There are seldom coupons for “real” meat. So only buy it when it is on sale. Buy enough to last about 4-6 weeks and freeze. For chops, chicken breasts, steaks, wrap individually with plastic wrap and then put into large freezer bag. This way, you only have to thaw what you need and it is easier to accommodate unexpected dinner guests. Buy beef roasts that are on sale and cut them yourself for stew meat, as stew meat is seldom on sale.
10. Do not think that you have to be loyal to a particular store. They need to “offer” you something to earn your business: good prices, good coupon policy, great sale prices.
11. Take your higher value coupons to the store that has the lower everyday price, if it is something that you need right away. If you can hold on to it until that item goes on sale at grocery or drug store, you could get an even better deal.
12. If possible, always take your coupons with you, even if you have a list and have the coupons you are going to use sorted. You never know when you may run into an unadvertised special. Always check clearance racks.
13) Practice coupon etiquette. Remember that you are not the only person who wants that deal. Do not make a practice of being the first one to get to the store so that you can clean the shelves. You only need enough to last until the next sale, which, on most things is about 6 weeks. If the store is out, ask for a raincheck.
14) Always remember that in many cases, a big portion of our savings actually comes from the special sales pricings at the stores. The trick is to match the sales with the available coupons. On my side bar you will see my savings for 2010. You will also notice that the sales savings was almost equal to the coupon savings. This is especially true for grocery shopping. We will get into drugstore-shopping in a few days, where the opposite is sometimes true. My totals include ALL of my shopping and even restaurant coupons. In the grocery stores in 2010 I saved a total of $4366.00, with $2033.00 of that being with coupons.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by clicking the "contact me" button on my sidebar.