I have been couponing for over a decade. I have saved thousands. I wish I would’ve been meticulous about tracking how much I have saved, but an estimated guess would be that I have easily saved over $25,000.00 in the 10 years I have been couponing. Right now, I save about $200-300 a month, which is over $2,400 a year. So in case you haven’t gotten into couponing yet, now is a great time. This is a couponing for beginners article. If you are already a seasoned pro, I offer my online video training course which outlines my efficient step-by-step couponing system which will save you $45.00 in 35 minutes of couponing prep or less. (Order by clicking here).
Before I got started there was a lot I had to learn. These were the days before the popular TV show Extreme Couponing came on TLC. I didn’t have as many resources as there are now. I would have to say getting started now is a great time to start because of all the technological advancements that make matching sales and coupons so easy. Not to mention the huge amount of printable and online coupons and discounts available now that weren’t then.
Have I convinced you to start couponing? If so, let’s get started. Here are 11 coupon basics that you need to know no matter which store you shop at:
#1- Coupons have expiration dates and must be used before they expire. They also have other restrictions that need to be followed: size, quantity, brand, make, etc. Just think of it this way: the Big Print Giveth, the Small Print Taketh Away. For example a Pampers coupon will say $2.50 off in big print. At the outset that seems like an awesome deal. When you read the smaller print it will say off two boxes of Pampers Swaddlers Diapers. The boxes are pricey and it’s usually always a better deal to buy the smaller jumbo packs and use a high value coupon on those. The small print just took the $2.50 and made it not such a great deal after all. Read each coupon carefully.
#2- Coupon websites that match sales with the coupon are the best way to go when planning your shopping trip. They do most all of the work for you. They find the sales and then they find any available coupon for the sales and match them up. It’s awesome! A few that I have been using with a lot of success are:
Favado.com – The coolest thing about Favado is that it is an app for smart phones and can go with you into the stores. It is VERY accurate and free! Using this app saves me anywhere from $50.00-$200.00 a month!
Another great all around match up site is www.grocerysmarts.com. I love this site.With Grocerysmarts.com you can highlight just the stock up prices (I’ll mention more about those below). You can also easily list all the grocery stores in your area on one page. Awesome- especially for price matching. I use this website in conjunction with Krazycouponlady.com and the Favado phone ap.
Another amazing website that you can often find awesome, typically unadvertised, and all the best deals is thekrazycouponlady.com. I love this site!
Quickly checking at least two and usually three different sources before going to a store ensures that I don’t miss an amazing deal.
Finally, an awesome app that works for just about any popular grocery store and some retail stores and theaters allows you to earn cash back is called Ibotta. In the first 3 months of using it I made $77! Ibotta is like a mobile coupon app/rebate machine. When you buy something being sponsored by Ibotta and the store you bought it at you will earn cash back. At the end of your shopping trip to redeem an item you need to follow a quick process of learning a fact, watching a short clip, or sharing it on Facebook. After that, you simply take a quick photo of your receipt and the product you bought and the cash will be credited to your account. Plus, if you sign up and redeem 10 purchases with over .25 cent rebates you will receive a $10.00 bonus if done in the first 30 days which is a pretty great deal! Click here to sign up for Ibotta and be sure to redeem to earn your $10.00 bonus.
Another free app is called Checkout51. It is very similar to Ibotta but it can be used with any store. I’ve tested it and It works great! Plus, unlike ibotta it isn’t store exclusive, which is great for people who live in smaller towns and that don’t shop at big chain grocery stores. You can get cash back on milk, eggs, and other everyday groceries. I use this and ibotta together and sometimes get items for free! Sign up for Checkout51 here!
#3- You can print off coupons online. Most all coupons can be printed 2 times per computer. If you have a laptop and a desktop you can get 4 coupons to use. You simply either need to hit the back button after a coupon is done printing and it will reprint or you will need to go back and re-select the coupon and print again. These are some of the best resources to find online coupons:
a. Coupons.com—is the largest database of online printable manufacturer coupons. You can often just go to coupons.com and find items that you may have on your grocery list and print them off there. A more efficient use of time is to search on hotcouponworld.com for the items on your grocery list instead of sifting through all of the coupons on coupons.com.
b. HotCouponWorld.com—Is a huge coupon search/database that can search for almost every coupon out there in the USA. Once you are at HotCouponWorld.com, click on the coupon database and search for items that you need. It will show you if there are any coupons out there (printable, insert (non printable), etc.) available for that certain item. (The database doesn’t work with smartphones. You will need to use desktops or laptops to search for coupons for specific items.)
#4- If you use over 5-10 coupons each shopping trip, buying a Sunday newspaper subscription will save you money. I tried both couponing with and without the newspaper. I saved much more by having a newspaper subscription. I actually paid for all 4 of my newspaper subscriptions in the first 3 weeks I had them by using the coupons I found in them.
- Right now there is a special deal for Utahans, Nevadans, and Californians on newspapers (for other states you may want to try googling to see if you can find good deals): Utahns (click here) (Utahns in Box Elder, Cache, Weber and Davis Counties click here) Las Vegas Review Journal LA County Metro LA County Inland San Diego Union Tribune Press Enterprise It is important to note that if you ever don’t have the newspaper arrive, are missing inserts in your paper, or get the wrong quantity delivered, the newspaper company will credit you for an extra paper at the end of your subscription. Although this rarely happens, if it does you need to call and notify them each time. Also, when you buy the newspaper call them and tell them you do not want the special editions (as they cost additional money and will cut your subscription short).
#5- Coupons come in the mail and newspapers. The main mailer is an insert called Red Plum. In some areas Red Plum also comes in the Sunday papers. The abbreviation used for Red Plum on most all couponing sites is RP. Smart Source ( SS) comes in the Sunday papers. Proctor and Gamble (PG) also comes in the newspaper (usually the first paper each month). Side note: another few abbreviations are BOGO ‘buy one get one free” and MM which means it is a money maker. A money maker, in most cases means that by buying the item (which is free) you will have extra money through its purchase to use toward another item in that same purchase. OOP means total out of pocket money you will need to purchase the transaction/products.