I love a good bargain, and I’ve always been pretty budget conscious, but couponing has taken my budgeting and savings to a whole new level. It started during my senior year of college. I was sharing an apartment with a couple of my friends and none of us had much in the way of money so we had to get creative when buying food and supplies. I would check the weekly circulars for deals and clip coupons for the things we needed. When one of my roommates had their hours cut back at work, I stepped up my couponing efforts to help save a few more bucks.
I researched best couponing practices. Some worked, some didn’t ,so you’ll want to consider whether a deal is really a good deal for you. For example, my local grocery store offered a “ten for ten dollars” deal on avocados. Since I was the only one who ate them, most of the avocados would have gone bad before I could eat them all. With that in mind, here are my suggestions to get started couponing.
- The Sunday paper! If you have access to a free copy even better. If not it’s worth the investment. I was lucky my mom gave her copy to me.
- Online! There are hundreds (probably thousands) of couponing sights. I love couponing sites; they are a fast and easy way to find all the coupons I want. Here’s a list of legitimate couponing sites.
- Coupon packets. Every month I receive a packet in the mail full of coupons!
Always read the fine print on the coupons. One time, I made the mistake of not reading the fine print on a couple of coupons, I got all the way to the register and the cashier refused my coupons because I didn’t have the correct sizes. Always check flavors, sizes, quantities, etc. against the coupon requirements.
Keep your coupons organized. For physical coupons I like to keep my coupons in clear plastic sleeves in a 3-ring binder and take them out when I’m ready to go shopping. For online coupons I take screen shots and save them on my phone or through apps.
Everyone’s heard the expression “There’s an app for that!” This is also true for couponing. I’ve recently started using a few apps with some success.
- I really like Target’s Cartwheel app. I can search for what I need, tag it ahead of time and then shop.
- I recently downloaded a coupon app called Ibotta. It received some great reviews, so I’m really looking forward to checking it out.
- SnipSnap is a large database of coupons. One really cool feature on the app is the rating. You can see how successful others were when using the coupon.
- RetailMeNot. I’ve used RetailMeNot in the past and found some features helpful.
Finally, come up with your plan of attack. Make your shopping list and check store circulars for those items on sale. Match that against your coupons. Now you’re ready to go to the store.
Remember to stick to your list and only purchase what you planned for. I immediately noticed a savings of 20-40% on my grocery bills. Before you know it you’ll be a “super couponer.”
Are you a coupon pro? If so, please feel free to share your tips or your favorite app in the comments section.
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