You have already taken the first step to saving yourself and your family a lot of money! Everyone has their own story as to why they start couponing….but we all have one thing in common: We want to save money! How about MAKING more money? You can MAKE money by using coupons, submitting rebates and joining fun online communities!
It’s a really complicated and confusing world to enter. It can be quite overwhelming. We understand that, and will walk you through every step, so that you can have as much fun saving money, building a stockpile and couponing the SMART way, like we do!
If you joined us because you watched “Extreme Couponing” on TLC, and want to learn how to be like those ladies…..we can’t help you there. You can see from our MISSION STATEMENT that we are ethical and moral couponers, who respect other shoppers in the stores, the stores themselves, and the manufacturers that allow us to get these free and cheap products. We aren’t “extreme” couponers, but we DO have reasonably sized stockpiles in our homes, to sustain our families.
Let’s get started!
In order to “Coupon” (the verb) you need coupons (the noun!)
What ARE coupons?
The most common type of coupon is the paper coupon. These are those delightful little pieces of paper that manufacturers and stores produce to lessen the cost of their products for the consumers.
Manufacturer coupons are coupons that are released by the manufacturers themselves. These come in the form of cents off, dollars off and FREE product coupons.
Store coupons are given by a store, to be used in that store.
Catalina coupons are generated by machines near the register, after you have purchased a specific amount of a specific product in a single transaction. They are usually manufacturer coupons for cents off, dollars off, or FREE products.
ecoupons are digital coupons (electronic coupons) that are loaded to your shoppers reward card from a website. You can find ecoupons by clicking the following links:
Some notes about ecoupons: These are very handy, because you don’t have to keep track of pieces of paper coupons….however, you want to be sure you know exactly what coupons are loaded to your card. You’ll be able to print a list of these, from each site. You cannot “stack” an ecoupon with a paper manufacturer coupon. If you load 2 different coupons for the same item, there is no way to pick which coupon will be used by the cash register when your card is scanned. (If you load a $2 off Dove shampoo coupon from one ecoupon site, and another $1 off Dove shampoo coupon from a different site, you won’t have control over which coupon applies to your transaction.)
Some stores will automatically take the highest value coupon (whether paper coupon or ecoupon).
Where can you get coupons?
*Sunday Newspapers: Sunday papers are one of the BEST ways to get coupons and you’ll get new ones every week. The life of a coupon varies from 1 day to 6 months, but average is about 6 weeks. So, the sooner you start stocking up, the more you’ll have to use. Get your Sunday Newspaper every week. The first weekend of the month, you’ll find P&G (Proctor & Gamble) coupons galore!
For locals: The Seattle Times does not carry the Red Plum inserts, however, If you have access to the Skagit Herald, it does have these inserts and it’s well worth it! The Bellingham Herald inserts are often very thin, and although they do carry the Red Plum inserts, there is usually only a very minimal (about 5) coupons per insert.
***The Dollar Tree stores have the Sunday paper (Seattle Times) for $1, but they DO sell out quickly on Sunday mornings! They also have the advanced edition on Saturday! *As of early 2012, they have placed a limit of ONE paper per person*
Here is a little sneak peek of what inserts you’ll find in the paper each week. During HOLIDAY weeks, there are NO inserts! So when you see “Smart Source and Red Plum” that means that there will be TWO different packets of coupons in the paper. One is Smart Source and one is Red Plum (it says the name of the packet on the packet). You’ll know that you need to be finding two inserts or one insert or 3…. don’t forget that the Seattle Times does NOT carry RedPlum inserts, but the Bellingham Herald does.
8/4 – Redplum, Smartsource, Procter & Gamble
8/11 – Redplum, Smartsource
8/18 – Redplum, Smartsource
8/25 – Redplum, Smartsource
9/1 – Procter & Gamble
9/8 – Redplum, Smartsource
9/15 – Redplum, Smartsource
9/22 – Smartsource
9/29 – Redplum, Smartsource
10/6 – Redplum, Smartsource, Procter & Gamble
10/13 – Redplum, Smartsource
10/20 – Procter & Gamble, Smartsource
10/27 – Redplum, Smartsource
11/3 – Redplum, Smartsource
11/10 – Redplum, Smartsource
11/17 – Redplum, Smartsource
11/24 – Redplum, Smartsource
12/1 – Procter & Gamble
12/8 – Redplum, Smartsource
12/15 – Redplum, Smartsource
12/22 – No Inserts
12/29 – Procter & Gamble
* Printable coupons are awesome! You will be able to print coupons right here on our site (PRINT COUPONS tab). We will also post a link to each coupon we tell you about, and tell you when and where to use it.
* Ask neighbors if they get the Sunday paper and if they don’t want their coupons. The more you get, the more you get, basically. We suggest getting multiple papers, because if a deal arises on an item at stockpile (the lowest) price, and we have a coupon – you’ll want more than just one of those coupons! If you are just starting out, grab 2 or 3 and see how that works for you. In the future, as you get used to the sales cycles and how to shop the stores, you may want to increase this amount.
* If you have a member card to a grocery store, (Albertsons, Fred Meyer, etc), you can sign up for websites that automatically put coupons ON your card for you. You have to pick the coupons, but once you upload them to your card, and you scan your card….you get those coupons automatically taken off your total. Be aware that you CANNOT use the “ecoupons” in conjunction with a paper coupon….so you’ll want to print a list of what’s on your card, before heading for the store.
Most will also allow you to print coupons from their websites. To find these, CLICK HERE and pick your store to go to their website!
* Email manufacturers! YES! You can email your favorite manufacturers and ask them to mail you some coupons! Some manufacturers will email you back, stating that they aren’t offering coupons via mail, but a lot of manufacturers will send coupons. Here is a list of 171 companies that you can email and ask them for coupons to be mailed to you!
* As you peruse the aisles of your stores, watch for marketing displays (usually a large, eye-catching display). They will often have coupons on tearpads that you can snag!
* Blinkies and Peelies – these are coupons found in the stores. Blinkies are those little black boxes that have a red flashing light. They “spit” out continuous coupons, as you pull a coupon out. Peelies are found on the products themselves, and sometimes offer a mail in rebate, cents off or dollars off your purchase of that product.
* Samples! When we post a free sample of an item, grab it! Not only will MOST manufacturers send a great product sample, but they will include a coupon for your purchase of a full sized item.
* Sales flyers – Check your store flyers! Not only will most have store coupons in them that you can cut out, they will sometimes have manufacturer coupons in them! You will be able to use these coupons at any store, because they are manufacturer.
* Drugstore coupons – Walgreens always has a monthly booklet of store coupons (located with the ad flyers at the front of the store). They will also have coupons IN their flyers. Rite Aid will have coupons in their ads, as well, and periodically releases store coupon books.
* Magazines! You can often find manufacturer coupons in magazines! If a company is offering a free subscription, take it! If it’s not something you will want to hang onto and read, just cut the coupons out and either recycle the magazine, or offer it to someone who would want it.
As you can see, coupons are EVERYWHERE! The best way to begin couponing is to keep your eyes peeled everywhere you go…..but don’t go overboard!
Organize your coupons. We, obviously, prefer the Coupon Binder method. If you want a more low-key way of doing your coupons, CLICK HERE and see the “file system” option. As your coupon habit grows, you may consider moving to the binder if you haven’t already. You’ll be collecting coupons and they add up quickly! We have suggestions for binders and binder organization that we will be sharing frequently on the blog and in classes. Head over HERE to learn how to buy, create and organize your new coupon binder!
Ok, now you have coupons and know where to get them. You also have an idea of how you can organize them. And that’s the biggest part! NOW for finding the deals! Check our blog frequently for freebies, samples, printable coupons, store deals, restaurant deals and more!! We match up the weekly deals with the coupons and show you a final price…noting what a “stockpile price” is. You can find the latest deals HERE.
KEEP IN MIND – Just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean it’s the right time to use it. You’ll notice the sales cycle pretty quickly after you start couponing.
**Be willing to go to a few different stores each week for the best deals. BUT if you aren’t willing….that’s okay! You’ll STILL save a lot of money by visiting one store! This is when we ask you to consider Walmart, because they PRICE MATCH!
Learn the stores around you. We always suggest printing the coupon policies (you can find them HERE) for EACH STORE, because they each have different policies.
Become familiar with the couponer’s lingo! CLICK HERE to see how we abbreviate couponing terms.
And that’s it! Baby steps to start! 🙂 Take a deep breath, get excited and let’s get to shopping! We are always here to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate! Welcome to the wonderful and exciting world of couponing!