Lets get started........
Types of coupons:
There are several types of coupons you will you will come accustomed to hearing. You have Manufacturers coupons, store coupons, internet printable coupons, & Catalinas.
Manufacturers coupons: This is kind of a no brainer but if you really want to know what they are, they are coupons that come from the manufacturers! They are designed to get your attention, lure you in to purchase their products, which is fine for me. They can be used at any store that accepts coupons. They are most often found in the local newspaper.
Store coupons: These coupons are issued by a particular and intended to be used at that store only, but there are some exceptions to this rules because some store accept competitors coupons ex. Walmart.
Internet printable coupons: When using these coupons you want to be sure you print them from a reputable site such as I have listed below, because there are some fake coupons out there that could get you into some big trouble. You can also print coupons from manufacturer sites when available and on their company facebook page which is a great way to land some good coupons. You can only print 2 printable coupons per computer.
Catalinas: These are coupons that are printed at a seperate printer when your receipt print as you check out in the store. These coupons can sometimes be combined with a manufacturers coupon if they print out as a store coupon. If they print out as a manufacturers coupon no matter what store you received it from you can use at any store that accept manufacturers coupons. So don't throw them away!
Stacking: Stacking is a term you will often see on coupon blogs/websites. Stacking is when you take a store coupon (such as Walgreens) and combine it with a manufacturers coupon. A lot of stores will let you you stack coupons esp. drug stores. This is a great way to get really cheap or even FREE stuff!
Looking for Coupons? The main source of coupons come in your local Sunday paper. You usually find Smart Souce, Red Plum and Proctor & Gamble (P&G). Sometimes depending on the area you live in the Red Plum will come in the mail. You can also buy coupons from clipping sites like "Coupon Clippers". Dont forget about online sites such as Ebay or Craigslist. People sale coupons they don't use or need for little or nothing at times. Check with your friends, family and neighbors. If they don't use their coupons ask them for them. They are just going to throw them away anyway which disguise me, so tell them to hand them over. Internet sources are also a great way of scoring good coupons and check the All you magazine, which is usually found in your local Walmart. When you are in the grocery store, look around. There are always "Blinkies" full of coupons and peelies usually on products. If you are not buying the product, I don't recommend you take the Peelie. Facebook is another great way of getting coupons. "Like" the product manufacturer and a lot of times they will give you coupons, just for liking them.
Getting organized:When it comes to coupon organization, you definitely have to do what works for you! Coupons are crazy and overwhelming enough and then to try to organize them! There are several ways to organize your coupons. I started out using the envelope method.
Envelope method: You buy a box of envelopes, make an envelope for each category (ex. meat, detergent, toiletries) clip all your coupons and separate them and file them into the envelopes. This method didn't last long with me, because I need to see my coupons.
Accordion style method: Check out Tipnut.com for a visual of accordion. The accordion method could be very useful because it has tabs. Allow you to label the tabs and file your coupons accordingly. To me its better than the envelope method because everything is in the same location.
Index card method: This method is pretty much the same as accordion but you use dividers to separate you coupons. Easy to carry with you into the store and can be very compact.
|Five Star with 2 Front pockets|
This where I keep my pulled coupons and shopping list
|I use dividers to categorize and baseball card holders to hold my coupons. I have a special section in the back just for store coupons|
My method of choice. I started out with a vinyl durable binder that broke after 2 months and when i was in the grocery store or if the kids picked it up coupons would fly everywhere. I have not upgraded to a zipper binder. The binder is very simple. I store my coupons in baseball card holders and separate the categories with dividers. There are several different category ideas such as...........Frozen food, Canned food, Meat, breakfast, bread, dairy, drinks, household, cleaning, Medicine, baby items, Toiletries, Make up, Misc, etc. Be sure your binder has a pencil holder inside larger enough to be able to carry a pair of scissors, and ink pen. I have a pocket in the front of my binder that I put my grocery list along with the coupons for the items I plan on purchasing. I also keep a price list of items I frequently purchase, store coupon policies and a calculator.
Other ideas that may work for you is organizing by expiration date or alphabetical order. The idea is to find out what's the best method for you!
Let me guess, you don't think you have time to do this!
NOT TRUE! I am married have 3 school age children who play Volleyball, are in Girl scouts, Dance, active in church and after school activities, I work full-time as a nurse plus have a part-time job on the side and I still find a way to do my coupons and give my family the TLC they need. You have to be able to multitask and figure out whats the best time for you to clip and organize your coupons. Find a Reliable blog to join such as 757Discount Diva and get updates on your grocery store match-ups, new printable coupons and all the local deals. This save so much time. Let someone else compare ads and tell you which coupons to use and how much it will cost you out of pocket. If you don't want to clip coupons contact a clipping service, they are very affordable. I haven't tried it but I have friends that have and they are satisfied with it. Try clipping your coupons together. This is what I do on Sunday, take all of your smart source, stack the like pages on top of each other, staple each coupon then cut them out together. Fast and easy and you don't have to worry about cutting the bar codes off by mistake because they are stapled in place all you have to do now is file.
Coupon Policies: Get to know your store coupon policies. This is very important because every store have their own policy. Most stores have a copy of their policy at the customer service desk or you can always ask someone in the store or look it up online. Knowing your policies will make your shopping experience more pleasurable. I think one of the worse things is being in line and the cashier tell you they can't do something because its against their store policy. Keep a copy in your binder for quick review.
Coupon Clipping: You definitely have to a time saving strategy. What I do is take all of my coupons and match up the inserts by laying all like inserts on top of each other. I staple of my like coupons together and then I cut all like coupons at the same time. That saves me a lot of time and definitely beat cutting one at a time. That can take all day.
I think as a couponing you must find a reliable blog such as 757Discount Diva to help you with time saving strategies such as match ups, deals and just to keep you in the know. It's nice to follow a couple of different bloggers because everyone has something different to bring to the table. I hope Couponing 101 help you out with the basics.