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At least once a week I receive an email from someone who's seen Extreme Couponing on TLC or just heard that couponing can save you hundreds of dollars each month at the grocery store, but they're not sure where to start. The truth is, saving oodles of money using coupons can happen, however it takes a lot (a LOT) of work.
And, coupon shopping trips on TLC aren't always a great example of reality tv. 🙂
However, I promise you can save every single time you shop with coupons if you follow these seven simple steps to strategic coupon shopping, and transform your family's finances. We're not talking anything extreme, we're talking simple, doable methods that will help you save a bundle every time you head to the grocery store.
Let's get started, shall we? 😉
1. Learn the lingo.
When you're looking at coupon sites some of the terms that seasoned couponers use may not make sense at all. Go HERE to learn all the coupon abbreviations so that you understand what folks are talking about and don't get overwhelmed before you even start.
2. Start finding coupons.
There are tons of coupons you can easily use if you just know where to find them. I print most of my coupons (that way I can choose the coupons I want), however you can also find them in your Sunday paper, at your local grocery store (these are called peelies, blinkies or tearpads), and even sometimes in fliers mailed out to your home.
Also take advantage of ecoupons available at many large grocery chains, including Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Target, and many more. These are a great way to save when you don't have much time to clip coupons, and usually can be downloaded to your smartphone.
3. Choose one store to use coupons at, and read every thing you can online about their store coupon policy.
Once you've chosen the store that you feel offers the best deals in your area, learn every single thing you can to find the deals there. While I love sharing as many deals as I can with you here on PPP, do your research and a little google searching to learn as much as you can about shopping that one store with coupons. There are tons of great forums out there (Hot Coupon World has always been my favorite), so be sure to check those too and see what people are chatting about in the store you've chosen.
We share store coupon matchups here on Passionate Penny Pincher for 25 grocery stores, so check to find your stores coupon matchups before you shop (you can even create a free printable grocery list to make shopping easier.) If you have a store in your area that doubles coupons I recommend trying to learn their coupon policy first, as they should offer some pretty extreme savings especially when you combine those double coupons with a few sales.
4. Organize your coupons before shopping.
I've tried every method of organizing coupons known to man, but different methods work for different people (and what works for you now may no longer work in a few years!) Here are three different methods to try:
I currently file my coupon inserts by date, but actually use printed and e-coupons for most of my shopping trip, because those work best for me right now. Find which method works best for you, and stick with it once you've started!
5. Shop the sales ad (and don't use a coupon just because you have it.)
Instead of going to the store with the mindset that you need certain items on your grocery list, plan to shop as much as you can based on what's on sale along with coupons. If Saltines are on sale but Ritz crackers are on your list, you may need to change which item you purchase to get the most bang for your buck.
Eventually you'll get a decent stockpile by shopping what's on sale, and can “shop your stockpile” once you've rounded out the deals. Your goal is to buy as much as your grocery budget can afford when you combine a sale and a coupon to stock up on great deals. (Don't have a grocery budget? Take a minute to check this out.)
And remember that while a high value coupon is exciting, you want to wait to use that coupon when the item is also on sale at its lowest price, so you “double dip” on your savings. Have a high value coupon but don't know where to find that item on sale? Check out this database where you can type in the item you're looking for and it will tell you which stores have it on sale this week. Easy!
6. Take advantage of coupon “apps” to help you save even more, every time you shop.
In addition to coupon savings, you can save a bundle using coupon apps. Go HERE to see my favorite apps (and don't miss this video on how you can save $250 each year with the Ibotta app alone!)
7. Know your prices.
I know I've said this over ~ and over and over and over again, but it's something I just don't want you to miss. When you go into the grocery store, you have got to have a basic idea of what regular prices are on the items you purchase every week. This is the only way to know if a “deal” in the store really is a deal (so many stores inflate prices, so it's hard to really know what you're getting!)
Print your free copy of my Stock Up Price List (it needs to be updated, but will give you a good starting point!), or create your own list with the items you buy each week using this printable price book form.
Ready to shop?
Okie dokie, this week I'm challenging you to choose only three deals at your favorite store to try and score with coupons. To help make life easier, these lists may help:
Are you ready? Let me know which three deals you get, and determine to change your family's finances today!
Looking for more posts like this? Here you go . . .
- 20 Items You Need To Buy at Aldi
- 16 Items You Should Be Buying on Amazon
- What To Buy at the Dollar Tree
- What To Buy at Costco
- What To Buy at Sam's Club
- The Power of $3 a Day (How $3 A Day Could Save You $45,000)
- 8 Items You Should Always Buy Generic
- How To Keep Your Flower Beds Weed Free
- 16 Easy Ways to Save $1000 On Your Next Road Trip
- 20 Items You Need To Buy at Aldi
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