Question: What’s Your Top Tip For New Couponers?

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I received this question today from a new reader, and would love to hear your number one (and two, and three. . . ) ideas on how to get started couponing. Here’s what was asked:

 

I am new to this couponing thing. My husband and I are both full time college students and I also work full time. We have just got our own place and its hard making ends meet with only one income. I NEED HELP!!!! As you can see I don’t really have a lot of time to spend doing it…What can I do? Thanks!!!

 

 

So, what are your suggestions?  The biggest thing that I would suggest is to select one store and learn to coupon there really well.  What other ideas do you have?

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I would say for them to take their time, don’t just rush into it head on. You have to be patient & not get frustrated! It takes time, just start out small at one store at first w/ some spare time that you have & over time work your way up! :) I have seen alot of people start couponing because they wanna save money & 2 weeks later just give up & never try it again. Be patient! It’s all worth it in the end!

  2. My initial reaction was, go SLOW. Even with one store, don’t try to do everything at once. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up. I work full time and have three teenagers, you’ll find some time. Try to team up. Possibly ask your husband to clip the coupons.

    • Thanks for the encouragement that you can even do it working and w/ busy kiddos . . . that’s awesome that you can still find time (and getting your husband to help is a great idea!)

  3. Be open to trying new products and different brands of products that you already use. There are some products that I would have never tried before coupons and now I like them. Also, there are others that I’m glad that I tried them, however, I didn’t like it and wouldn’t buy it again unless it was free or better.

    • You’re so right Mary! I’m not very brand specific but I know many folks are … one of my good friends recently tried Wisk for the first time instead of Tide and loved it! :)

  4. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a deal. Deals come around all the time.

    Clip and organize your coupons whatever way is easiest for you. I have a friend who clips all of her coupons and keeps them organized by date and insert in baseball card holders. I don’t have that kind of time, so I just file my inserts from each week in a file, and keep everything together in a hanging file cube. No one way is right or wrong, just go with what works for you.

    Couponing will get easier. I used to spend hours trying to add everything up, knowing what coupons would double, planning my trips to the penny, etc… Now that I am faster at it (with practice), clipping my coupons and putting together my list only takes a couple hours.

    Find a buddy who coupons already that can help you get started. Having someone you can ask questions and lean on for advice is great! Or, you can do what I did, and use wonderful blogs like this for help :)

    • Thanks April! ;) It definitely gets easier, and eventually realizing that you don’t need to find every single deal is HUGE (it took me years to figure that out!) I love that it finally takes less time … and I realize which deals are worth it and which aren’t!

  5. Plan your food menu based on the sales and coupon match-ups in this site. It is a quick way to reduce your grocery bill.

  6. Read a good blog (such as this one) and pick a few deals to try and then go from there. I started just like that. A deal was posted for Kroger, I got it ready, went to Kroger and it worked. I was hooked but it still took a long time to master the coupon game.

    • Thanks Sheila! I’m always amazed at the grocery store by just how many couponers there are that don’t even know that coupon blogs exist… which is why I gave up couponing 15 years ago when I tried to do it myself! I don’t think anyone has to go to a blog, but I spend at least 6-8 hours every day looking at deals, so maybe readers can find an extra bargain or two (and so that they don’t have to spend that time looking themselves!) It definitely still takes time to figure it all out, but it gives people such a great headstart. (And there are so many great sites out there!)

  7. Jennifer B. says:

    Some great suggestions above!

    For their situation, my suggestion would be to puruse the online coupons (Coupons.com, RedPlum, etc.) before a shopping trip and see if there’s anything there you were planning to buy or would like to try. Printing the coupons out will of course cost some paper and ink (although you can recycle paper by printing on the back and print in black and white to save costs).

    I also like to use the coupon database to see if what I know I need to buy happens to have a printable coupon.

    I personally think you shouldn’t go out and buy lots of copies of the newspaper hoping to get some great coupons, especially when you are just starting out. There is a real monetary cost associated with that and the shear volume of coupons gets overwhelming very quickly . . . at least in my opinion.

    Sorry this is getting long, but another suggestion I have is to join the loyalty shopping programs at the stores where you shop. Kroger keeps sending me coupons for FREE stuff, based on stuff I’ve purchased there in the past, as well as some high value manufacturer’s coupons and some Kroger store coupons. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at the military commissary, so Kroger is not my main store, yet I still am “rewarded” a couple times a year with great offers via mail.

    • Great tips Jennifer – especially for speeding up the couponing process! I also agree that no one needs to go buy loads of newspapers, because there is real money spent there too. Great tips!

  8. I agree with everyone else, start slow and take your time. My suggestion is to take an inventory of what you have, then make a list of what you need. Then you can match your list with the local store ads and your coupons for the best deals. Buy 1-2 extras a week or more if it fits in your budget. It is amazing how fast it adds up. Also check with people that you know that get Sunday newspapers. A lot of people still do not use coupons. Maybe you can score some from them. Also watch the coupon websites for rebate offers. Buy those items if you need them and get the rebates in the mail. It wil be more money to add to your budget once it comes back. I love getting refund checks or free gift cards in the mail. It makes me feel like a kid again(that feeling you got when your grandmother sent you a birthday card in the mail with a couple of bucks in it)
    Also don’t forget to sign up for the free samples. You get to try new things and they usually give you a high value coupon too.

    Happy Couponing.

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