Couponing For Beginners: How to Slash Your Bills in Half

couponing for beginnersMost everyone loves the idea of saving money.  However, not everyone has the patience to sift through the Sunday paper with a pair of scissors and a calculator in hand or browse through a ton of websites.  If the prospect of saving money on anything from groceries and toiletries to clothing sounds appealing to you, then a lesson in couponing for beginners might be just the thing your bank account needs.

Couponing can seem overwhelming at first, but it can be a lot simpler than you think with the right kind of plan.  If you have not the slightest clue where to begin, we are going to help you get started with couponing for beginners.  This simple four-step start to couponing will help you start racking up your savings.

Step 1: Preparing your coupons

Make a list:  Before you go to the store, you will want to have a ready-made list of what you need to purchase.  Start each month of making a list with two columns.  Under one column, have a section for the products that you buy every month, and in the other column, list the products you need to replenish every 3 to 5 months.

Be brand flexible:  There is no doubt that brand name products are more expensive than those which are not.  The less brand loyalty you have, the more money you will save.  On your list, circle which products you absolutely must buy brand-name so that you give yourself more buying options with non-brand name products.

Know your stores:  Depending on where you live, you probably have certain places that are your go-to places for products.  Make a list of the stores you visit and write down the products that you buy next to them.  This will help you when you are organizing your coupons.

Get organized:  The process of couponing has the potential to get messy, so before you get too into it, pick up a coupon organizer.  This can be a small folder with various expandable sections so that you may sort your coupons by their expiration dates.  Buy a separate folder for each type of coupon you have.  For instance; a folder for grocery coupons, one for car parts, and another for household services.

Get a printer:  Couponing these days is more than just clipping out coupons from the paper.  There is a whole world of online couponing, which makes having a printer an essential part of the couponing process.  However, if you do not have a printer, a smart phone can also come in handy.

Step 2: Coupon Terminology

Understanding the lingo that goes along with couponing is helpful for couponing success.  Be familiar with these terms as you start couponing for beginners.

  • Double coupons:  This allows you double the value of a coupon up to a certain number.
  • Triple coupons:  This allows you to triple the value of your coupon.
  • Rainchecks:  Rainchecks allow you to go into a store and use a coupon on the sale price of an item when it is restocked.  Be sure that the store does not specify “No Rainchecks”, or else the purchase will not be valid.
  • Know these acronyms: Buy One Get One free or half off (BOGO), On Your Next Order (OYNO, and Mail-In Rebate (MIR).

Step 3: Online Couponing

Check for Val-Pak:  Check to see if your area has a Valpak available.  Visit Valpak.com and look for your city.  Valpak specializes in gathering coupons for different products and services specifically in your area.  The site also gives users the option of signing up to receive a coupon book each month with the discounts in their city.

Sign up for email offers:  Refer back to the list of stores that you made that you plan on visiting.  Go to those stores’ websites and see if they give you the option of signing up for coupon newsletters.  This is an easy way to receive coupons online without having to search for them every month.  You will have to enter in some details and provide the company with your email.

Search coupon websites:  There are a lot of websites that are specifically for coupons.  For instance, try going to: CouponNetwork.com, Coupons.com, SmartSource.com, and RedPlum.com to look for any deals that may be relevant to you.  Click and save the coupons that you are interested in, print them out, and sort them by product and expiration date.

Visit blogs:  There are extreme couponers out there, and a lot of these individuals have online blogs.  Visit their blogs and read through them to get a sense of how they go about organizing their shopping trips.  You will be surprised how serious some people can be about couponing.

Visit Facebook:  Believe it or not, you can probably find some deals via Facebook.  A lot of companies offer deals or coupons by simply “liking” their Facebook page or by leaving a comment on a Facebook post.

Step 4: Newspaper Couponing

Newspaper couponing is the tried and true method of couponing that you may have grown up with.  Do not discount newspaper couponing, because it can still be relevant today.

Know your newspaper:  Some newspaper companies have a weekly special “coupon special” in their paper.  Know what day this happens so that you can purchase your newspaper if you do not subscribe.  Also determine if it is helpful to buy multiple copies of your newspaper.

Ask around:  A lot of people do not use the coupon sections of their paper.  Feel free to ask your neighbors for the coupon section of their newspaper after they are done with them.  Also, many towns or cities have their own local newspaper that come with inserts or coupons pertaining to your town.

Increase your subscriptions:  Different newspapers offer different subscription options, so it could be helpful to subscribe to more than one.  Once you do subscribe, if you do not feel like you are reaping its benefits in terms of couponing, do not be afraid to cancel.

Couponing Tips For The Road

couponing for beginnersAs you get more familiar with couponing, you will develop your own strategies and tricks overtime to make the process easier for you.  In the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Buy in Bulk:  Just because you do not have a membership for a Wholesale stores does not mean buying in bulk is not an option.  Being a savvy shopper means stocking up with the item is good, and this will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Forgo brand loyalty:  Although you may feel an attachment to certain brands, if you want to get the best deal for your money, you are going to have to try out different companies and possibly gravitate towards lesser known names or store-brand options.  Remember, this does not mean they are not as good.
  • Read the fine print:  A lot of coupons are too good to be true.  For example, just because you see the words “free” may not necessarily mean there is nothing attached.  For instance, some coupons require that you buy more than one thing before you receive a free item, or require a mail-in rebate before a price is discounted.

Slash your Bills in Half

If you keep up with television shows, you will know that there are people out there who have learned to save hundreds of dollars through analyzing, organizing, and applying couponing practices to their daily lives.  Take these steps in couponing for beginners, and enroll in this extreme couponing course to get in on some secret couponing methods and techniques.