Top 12 Tips for Couponing
- Never go out of your way for a deal and don’t leave home without your coupons. With the price of gas these days it doesn’t make sense to go out of your way for a “deal.” Pick up items while you’re out during the week running to doctor appointments or soccer games, school etc. (This will help with tip #8) Remember, there will always be another deal next week. It’s also inevitable that you’ll remember something you’ll need or someone will call and ask you to pick up something, so be prepared. Always have your coupons with you so you never pay full price for anything.
- Make use of all sources for coupons
- Sunday paper (buy several), Magazines, Allyou.com, Coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source.
- Coupon inserts in boxes or on the inside of the carton or product, e-mails and newsletters to different companies like Proctor and Gamble, Con Agra Foods, Pillsbury etc., Manufacturers websites, In ad store coupons, “Peelie coupons” – coupons directly on the items you are purchasing, In the mail, Catalina Coupons (printed off at registers when you pay for your items.)
Helpful hint: Ask for any coupons at your dentist and doctor’s office and check aisle promotional displays in grocery stores for coupon booklets – like with back to school shopping or Super Bowl events. Dental and doctors offices usually have pain reliever and mouthwash coupons and snack coupons are always available when back to school shopping starts around August/September.
- Be organized! Coupon Organization will save you time each week on your shopping and that means more time for family and other fun things. (The important things in life!) I use a 3 ring binder with baseball card inserts, or you can use a weekly expandable file folder – find out what works for your level of couponing and stick to it. Levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced (See my video on coupon organization)
- Try new products. Scrap brand loyalty! Coupons come out for new products all the time – be open to new food and products. If you must be loyal to any one specific brand or product (I understand I have kids too!), stock up on coupons for those items so that when they are on sale you can stockpile so you won’t need to purchase them again until the next sale. Consider e-mailing the company quarterly asking for coupons for a “must have” item.
- Stock up! If an item is on a great sale and you are getting that item for FREE or at very low cost then purchase as many as you can so that you don’t have to purchase again until the next sale on the item. Don’t get caught “needing” an item or product when it’s not on sale.
- If it’s FREE or there is overage on a product/item then BUY IT. Overage is when the product cost less than the value of the coupon – example: Ray O Vac 2pack battery sale for $.50 and I have a coupon for $1.00 off per pack gives me 50 cents in overage toward another product. So if the product is FEE or there is overage then BUY IT.
- Look for the smallest size of the item/product. Purchasing a smaller size on sale will frequently allow you to get a FREE item or only pay pennies. Example: snuggle fabric softener coupon for $2.00 off 1 item. The 80 pack for that product will be about $4.00 but the smaller 40 pack at Walmart is only about $1.87 – FREE with overage after my coupon.
- Keep couponing easy and simple. Solicit help from the rest of your family! My kids help clip coupons and I clip coupons while watching tv or taking long road trips in the car with my husband. I feel more productive when I’m multitasking and it keeps my hands busy. When shopping with my teens, I hand them several coupons and ask them to find those items while I’m comparing other items. (extra tip: give them coupons for items that they use or will consume!)
- Plan out your shopping in advance. Advance planning saves time and money – a valuable resource for every family. Look at your calendar and notice when you’ll be passing by which stores this week. What stores will your spouse be passing to and from work this week?
- Open a separate e-mail account for coupons and loyalty programs. A separate account for newsletters and products offers and coupons will keep couponing separate from your personal, family life. That way when you have time to coupon you can go into that e-mail account and don’t have to sift through coupons and offers to get to your personal/family e-mails. Remember family first!
- Stack coupons when possible. Stacking is using a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon on 1 item. This is frequently possible with Safeway, Walgreens, Target, Giant and sometimes possible with ACME & Rite Aid.
Helpful hint: Print out a copy of the stores coupon policy (see links to coupon policies on www.familyfrugalfun.com) and keep it with your coupon binder in case you are dealing with an inexperienced cashier that denies your coupons.
- Sign up for all loyalty, rewards programs, birthday, and anniversary clubs! Keep these cards and clips on a separate key ring and in a separate card holder. You’ll be amazed at all of the FREE offerings and coupons you’ll receive and all the loyalty clips on your key ring. Be sure to sign up each of your kids too! Each of your children will need a separate e-mail address. This will make a special day out on the town cost considerably less and give more special day options.
- Sign up for a coupon class: Maggie teaches coupon seminar for just $12 per person for a 2 hour event and it will really cut down on your learning curve! Contact Maggie here.