In the Beginning….
I still remember the day it happened. I was standing in the grocery store complaining to a friend about the high cost of, well everything. I was a stay at home mom with 2 small kids and money was tight to say the least. My friend said she just took a workshop on something called “couponing”. This was before TLC introduced the world to Extreme Couponers and way before it was a fad. She explained some, told me about a website to check out and we said goodbye. I was skeptical to say the least. No way in this world to get something for free! But the more I read, the more I was convinced I had to try. My first trip to Harris Teeter saved $65.00. I was hooked. I had to do more. Not just groceries, but everything. With some experience under my belt, I went back to that same store and got $135.00 worth of groceries and after coupons the store owed me $10.00.
I began with clipping the coupons from the Sunday newspaper, and putting them in a binder. Some people choose to clip them as needed before the store trip. This is a matter of preference. Different stores also have slightly different policies, so in the beginning it is easier to pick one or two stores you prefer and learn them. Now for the negatives, I know, I know, no one wants to hear this part, it does take time. Clipping will become faster the more you do it, and enlisting the help of children and spouses is always acceptable 🙂 Is it worth it? Absolutely. I have been able to save thousands myself by couponing.
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Couponing – The Basics
Getting started with your coupons is not nearly as overwhelming as it seems. Coupon collecting usually begins with the Sunday newspaper – Redplum, Smart Saver, and Coupons.com. Then add a few from printing at the bottom of this page at coupons.com, the printed ones at the grocery store and the ones that you receive in the mail, and before you know it you will have a stack of coupons that will need serious organization! Then comes picking an organization method that works best for you.
The binder method – this is the method I use. You use a large zipper binder and put plastic baseball card holder inserts inside. Clip the coupons and divide them up by meat, cleaning, pasta, etc. File your coupons in each slot. This is the more time consuming method but it will keep all your coupons with you for the last minute deals at the store.
The Clip and File method – file all your coupons for the week in file together. Before going to the grocery store, clip only the coupons you need to take with you. Unfortunately, using this method you won’t have your coupons and will miss some deals. However, it will save time. So, pick the one that works best for you.
A Little Coupon Lingo
- $1/2 = One dollar off two items
- 2/$1 = Two items for one dollar
- B1G1 / BOGO = Buy One Get One Free
- Blinkie = The little machine on the shelf that dispenses coupons
- CATALINA = Catalina coupon that print out while you checkout
- ECBs = Extra Care Bucks (Reward program from CVS)
- IE = Internet Explorer
- MIR = Mail In Rebate
- MQ = Manufacturer Coupon
- NED = No Expiration Date
- OOP = Out Of Pocket
- OYNO = On Your Next Order
- P&G = Proctor & Gamble (Newspaper insert)
- Peelie = Coupons that found/attached on the product
- PSA = Price Starts At
- Q = Coupon
- RRs = Register Rewards (Reward program from Walgreens)
- RP = Red Plum (Newspaper insert)
- SS = Smart Source (Newspaper insert)
- Tearpad = Pads of coupons found in the store
- UPC = Universal Product Code. It is barcode on the product.
- WSL = While Supply Lasts
- WYB = When You Buy
Any other questions just let me know!