To really save with coupons, you need to change the way you shop. We all make lists every week for the grocery store, well get ready to give up those lists!
With coupons you won’t be buying what you need or want each week, you’ll be buying what’s on sale and buying A LOT of it, or “stocking up” as I like to call it!
You have to make yourself committed to only buying what’s on sale. Even though this sounds a little crazy, just trust me when I say you have to stick to the plan. If you really want to save your family a ton of money, then you have to change your thinking and your shopping habits! Once you get a good little stockpile going, you won’t need to plan weekly meals or make a grocery list, because everything will be right at your fingertips.
In order to start saving with coupons, you have to collect a good supply of coupons first. You want to do this before you even think about taking your first shopping trip. Give yourself at least 2 weeks to collect coupons from the Sunday paper and online, so you have a good amount to get started with.
Five Easy Steps to Get Started
1. Get Coupons. The first thing you want to do is to establish where you’ll get your coupons each week. There are two main sources of coupons: the newspaper inserts and printable coupons. There are also some other sources you may find in the store, such as monthly coupon booklets, store flyers, coupons that come in a product (such as cereal boxes), and “peelies” (coupons stuck to products in the store). You will want to decide how you will get your coupons each week. I suggest that for the first week, buy a couple different Sunday newspapers and see which ones have the best and the highest value inserts. Here in New Hampshire, I find that the Boston Globe has a great variety of high value coupons, so I buy a few of those a week, along with the Union Leader. I also suggest that you get a newspaper subscription in order to save money. Most newspapers will offer 50%-75% off for new customers, so it’s definitely worth it. Another way to get coupons is to ask friends and family for their unused inserts. I get tons of inserts from family members who don’t use coupons. You could even ask local business to give you their leftover inserts as well. Printable coupons are also a great resource and one in which you will find many high value coupons. Some trusted printable coupon websites are: www.coupons.com, www.redplum.com, www.smartsource.com, and www.printhotcoupons.com. I use these sites every week! Keep in mind that you will only be allowed to print the same coupon twice per computer, so if you have multiple computers, that will multiply your savings! Make sure to print the coupons right away, before they are no longer available. Remember, to save a lot of money with coupons, you should buy multiple copies of the newspapers each week. I get about 8-10 newspapers each week. I have the Union Leader & Boston Globe delivered to my home on Sundays, I check the coupons to see if they’re good ones, and then I will go out and buy more papers as long as they have really good coupons. And I'm always printing coupons every single week!
2. Invest in a Printer. You will print a lot of coupons, so it will help you in the long run to invest in an inexpensive black & white printer. It may seem like a big investment at first, but trust me you will benefit from it! Printable coupons are becoming more and more popular, so it will definitely be worth your savings!
3. Get Organized and Stay Organized. Once you have a good supply of coupons, you will need to figure out how you will organize them. There are a few different methods you can use. One method is a Filing System. To set up this method you need a filing box with hanging folders. You can label each folder according to products or you can label it with the date and name of the coupon insert. For this method you can either choose to clip and sort your coupons by product categories, or you can file them by whole inserts. This method is easy, but will take you more time to go through each week and find your coupons. The method I use is the Binder method. For me this method works because all my coupons are clipped and organized into categories. Also, I can take my binder with me to the store and all my coupons are in one convenient place. For this method, you will need to get a binder. I suggest a soft cover binder with a zipper and handle, which is easy to transport. You will also need to purchase some clear baseball card inserts. You can find these at Target in a pack of 65 for only $9.99 in the Toy Department. They must be able to fit into your three-ring binder. Another method you can use is to get an accordion folder. These you can label by category also, but they are more difficult to organize and find the coupons you’re looking for. These are just my suggestions and what works for me. You will have to decide what works best for your lifestyle and how much work you want to devote to it each week.
4. Don’t ever buy or sell your coupons. There are so many websites out there that offer coupon clipping services, saying that they only charge for shipping and handling. You want to be careful with using these website, because buying coupons is considered fraud. You should never pay for coupons and always steer clear of those websites offering clipping services.