Everyone wants to save money, but learning how to coupon can seem like too much work. We’re here to help show you just how easy it really is to learn how to coupon and save.
Couponing can save you so much money if you only take the time to do it. Couponing itself isn’t actually difficult. You just need to take some time to gather the deals you want to use, organize them, and plan to use them on your regular shopping trips.
What is Couponing?
Couponing refers to the practice of gathering, organizing, and using coupons to save on all your shopping. Anyone can learn “to coupon” and start saving on groceries, clothes, household goods, and so much more.
If you’ve never couponed before then you might have no idea where to start or how to coupon in the first place. Luckily, it’s a very easy process. Couponing isn’t supposed to be a hassle, it’s supposed to be something for you to take advantage of.
Before you start finding and using all your deals, let’s go over some couponing 101 so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Basic Coupon Vocabulary
Here is the only place where couponing gets complicated.
It’s a good idea to know basic coupon vocabulary in order to know a bit more about what you’re doing when you take all your clippings to the store.
Coupons often come with their own fine print with key words that are good to know if you’re going to use coupons more often. Below we’ll go over a few examples:
Manufacturer coupons are a type of coupon that can usually be used anywhere that item is sold. These are the bread and butter of professional couponers.
This type of coupon can be found and used online. You might find codes you can use on online orders or barcodes to scan at the store from your phone.
Print coupons are coupons you find in paper form often in the newspaper or magazines. You can also find print coupons online and print them from home to cut out and use later.
“Limit one coupon per purchase”
This term means that you can only use one coupon for one item. For example, if you have two of the same coupon and only one of the right item, then you won’t be able to use both coupons on that one item.
“Limit one coupon per transaction”
This term means that you can only use one copy of a coupon during the entire transaction. For example, with the previous term you could buy three of the same item and use three of the same coupon for each one. But here you would only be able to use one of these coupons during the entire transaction.
“Redeemable only at . . . “
This term means that this coupon can only be used at certain locations and not just anywhere the item is sold.
“Only at . . . “
This term means that the item the coupon covers is only sold at the select locations outlined on the coupon.
Store Coupon Policy
Each store has a coupon policy. Find the policies from the stores you shop at most and take some time to read them. This will help you know what you can and can’t do with coupons where you like to shop. This will then keep you from wasting your own time with couponing that is against store policy.
How to Start Couponing
Let’s start with couponing for beginners. You don’t have to start with a million coupons and a giant bulky binder you take with you to every store.
Instead, start with finding a place or two where you get your coupons and start by collecting a handful of useful coupons for your regular shopping trips.
You want to get into the habit of incorporating the basic couponing process into your existing shopping routine:
Step 1: Find Your Coupons
The very first thing you need to focus on doing is getting the coupons you want to use. There are some key things to remember when doing this.
You don’t want to go shopping to use your coupons. You want to find coupons that work with the shopping you already do.
Create your shopping list before you go coupon hunting and then look for ways to save on the things you already know you need. Likely, once you find the manufacturer’s coupons that work with your existing shopping list that resource will become one you use over and over again.
Step 2: Organize Your Coupons
The next step you want to take is to organize all your coupons somehow. Folders, binders, envelopes, and wallets are great places to keep and organize your coupons.
Divide your coupon organization system of choice into sections like household, groceries, eating out, clothing, and other.
If you’re only using a few coupons then you might be fine using a small wallet or small folder to keep in your purse. If you’re using a lot of coupons you might need an entire binder or filing system to keep them all organized.
Step 3: Plan Your Coupon Usage
Shopping is always the most productive when done with a plan. Otherwise, we end up buying more than we need, forgetting something important, or going over budget.
Spend more time planning your shopping then you spend shopping.
You’ve probably heard the advice out there to not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach so that you aren’t inclined to buy more than you need because your stomach is doing all the shopping.
The same principle exists for shopping with coupons. Go to the store with a specific plan in mind so you’re prepared. Know what you’re going to get and have the coupons you want to use ready.
Extreme couponing refers to the more extreme usage of coupons to save even more money on everyday shopping. Extreme “couponers” might have an entire binder dedicated to organizing all their coupons.
The key to being a successful extreme couponer is organizing and planning.
Some extreme couponers will even go so far as buying the right tools to really up their couponing strategy like binders and printers.
How to Get Coupons
There are many places to find useful deals, promotions, sales, and coupons.
Go to the websites of the stores where you shop the most and see what store savings they offer. They might have memberships that can help you save or they might have store sales or coupons to offer on their site.
Anyone can coupon! It really is that easy. There are millions of sales and deals out there waiting for you to find them, use them, and save money.