Are you overwhelmed by coupons? Are you new to coupons? Have you been using coupons but are finding the whole process difficult? I’ve got everything you need to know right here, broken down into 15 steps spread over this post and a post tomorrow.
If the whole idea of coupons overwhelms you, that’s ok. Even us veteran couponers felt overwhelmed, confused, and ready to throw in the towel in the beginning. Using coupons doesn’t have to be a mystery, however, and it can also be something that you can master because I’ve got everything you need right here.
I’ve got seven steps today and seven steps tomorrow that will walk you through the couponing process from beginning to end. And the best part? It’s easy to understand?
Are you ready to get started? Then let’s dive in. Whether you are new to coupons or not, here is everything you need to master the art of couponing.
(this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you)
1. First, you will need to gather your coupons
You can get coupons from newspapers, print them online, find them in magazines, on store websites, and even find them in stores at times. Coupons are relatively easy to find once you know where to look. For starters, coupons.com and redplum.com are two great places online that can give you some great coupons. Generally, you can print two of each coupon. Websites like MoneySavingMom.com and Hip2Save.com are great places that can provide you with coupon match ups for various stores every week. These websites will even give you the link to print the coupon off. Easy peasy.
2. Next, you will need to decide how you will store your coupons in an organized fashion
In my post, Coupon Storage, I walk you through three different ways that I’ve stored coupons over time, highlighting the pros and cons to each method. It even includes a video that shows you these systems in greater detail.
One major decision that you will need to make at this point is whether you will clip all the coupons from the newspaper or magazines as you get them or wait to clip them as you need them. Again, Coupon Storage is a great way to see the pros and cons to doing it each way.
3. Third, you want to match up what’s on sale at grocery stores, drugstores, and superstores each week with the coupons you have
This is where sites like MoneySavingMom.com and Hip2Save.com come in handy because they do all the work of matching these things up for you. Oftentimes there are more regional sites that will do some sort of matchup for stores in your area. You can find these sites simply by going a google search for something like, “coupon match-ups, Minneapolis (or whatever your city name is). If there is a site for this, you should be able to find it.
There are a few basic rules of coupons that you will need to know such as you can’t use more than one manufacturer coupon for the same product, however, you can combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon (something you will find on a store website like Target or even in the actual store such as in Walgreen’s coupon booklet), and you will need to use your coupons before they expire.
As part of this frugal series I will include some more of these “coupon rules,” but for our purposes here those are some great rules to get started with.
4. Fourth, be aware of each store’s coupon policy
Not all stores have the exact same policy as it pertains to how they will and won’t allow you to use coupons in their store. Go to the website for each and every store you intend to use coupons at, read the policy, print it off, and carry it with you. There are many times that either you will need to refer to that policy while in the store or you may need to respectfully discuss the policy with an employee there. Having it on hand will be worth the time and effort.
5. Next, be sure to read the fine print on any coupons you intend to use
Sometimes, coupons can be very specific. They can specify how many of the item you need to buy, what variety you need to buy, or how many of the same coupon can be used within a single transaction. Don’t just read the money off amount and stop there, read the entire coupon.
6. Pay attention to any store limits on products that are on sale
These limits can be found right in their weekly sales ad and also on the products themselves in most cases. If you are only allowed to purchase five of something at the sale price but you actually buy nine, you will be paying full price for the other four items. This is something that is often missed and can throw your grocery budget for a loop. Paying attention to any store limits is essential on every sale item you buy. At times you can buy more than the limit, but you will need to do so in a separate transaction.
7. Before you come to the checkout lane, be organized
Be certain that you have the correct products that correspond with the coupons you intend to use, make sure that you know if you will be having multiple transactions and have them organized and ready to go, and look over any deal scenarios you intend to use as they are often laid out on sites like MoneySavingMom.com or Hip2Save. Taking this extra step will keep you from getting flustered, keep the cashier from getting frustrated, and avoid the people in line behind you from getting downright angry with you.
Mishaps can happen even when you take this extra step, but many of them can be avoided by doing this. Do everyone a favor and take this step as a common part of adhering to coupon etiquette. I shared all kinds of coupon rules that veteran couponers know in Coupon Etiquette. It’s worth the read.
Are you looking to really take these concepts to heart, applying them in your every day life? If so, my ebook is just what you need!
This book is everything I’ve learned in 20 years of living frugal!