By popular demand, I bring to you some basic couponing tips!  A coworker of Hubster’s taught me how to coupon nearly five months ago and it has become a hobby of mine.  The following are tips that she taught me as well as things that I have learned since I started couponing.  Happy savings!

  • The most common coupon inserts are SmartSource and Red Plum.  These come out weekly.  P&G has coupon inserts every once in a while and they are packed full of savings. 
  • Not every newspaper offers both inserts.  It’s okay to check for the inserts before you buy; however, taking inserts is considered stealing. 
  • Depending how committed you are to couponing, you may choose to purchase more than one paper each week.  You’ll end up getting better deals when you buy more than one item.  I purchase two papers and have only missed out on maybe two or three big deals in the past five months by not having more than two coupons for an item.
  • Clip every coupon.  You may not think you will use that brand or item, but it may end up being a moneymaker one week.  You can always give that item to someone else!  (There are exceptions. For example, I don’t clip coupons for pet food, because we don’t have pets.)
  • If you’re committed to getting things for free or dirt cheap, you need to be open to trying different brands.
  • That being said, it is possible to get decent deals on brands you are loyal to, but the deals might only come along every few months.
  • Forget about monthly shopping trips.  When you coupon, you shop weekly and probably at a few different stores.
  • Manufacturers love consumers who clip out a coupon and run to the store right away to purchase that item.  Instead of saving only 25 cents, hold onto your coupons to match them with store sales.  You’ll get deep savings this way!
  • Clearing a store shelf is not good couponing etiquette.  This is a common complaint among the couponing community because it makes couponers look bad!
  • Most couponers are NOT like the ones on TV.  You don’t need to build shelving in your home to store 8,000 boxes of cereal, and you won’t save 99% all the time.  But you can easily save 50% or more.
  • Your grocery bill probably will not change much, unless you coupon for cereals or snacks.  You don’t really find coupons for produce or meat.
  • The best times of the day to coupon are when it’s not too busy – early in the morning or at night.  You’ll avoid hurried cashiers and customers.
  • Name brand items are often significantly cheaper than store brands when you coupon.

Here are some specific things I’ve found out through experience.  Thought I’d save you some time and money as you learn to bargain-hunt!

  • If you’re paying more than 75 cents for toothpaste, you’re paying too much!
  • You can easily get toothbrushes for free.  I have about 4 in our cabinet right now that I got for free.
  • I’m often able to stock up on feminine products for super cheap.  If you get into shopping at Walgreens or CVS, you will be able to get free items at least once per month.
  • I never pay more than $1 for shampoo, conditioner or deodorant. (Exceptions: medicated shampoos like Head & Shoulders)
  • I never pay more than 15 cents/diaper.  The best diaper deals can be found at Target.  You can pair manufacturer coupons and Target coupons with a diaper sale and save BIG.  I end up buying 2-3 jumbo bags or boxes at a time.  My best deal was 8 cents/diaper at Target!

The Krazy Coupon Lady is the site that I use to find the best deals.  You are able to use their site to search weekly deals at your favorite store.  I subscribe to the site in my Google Reader and am able to quickly scan all new posts for things that I can use.  Couponing has helped me to save a significant amount of money and contribute to our budget.  It’s the equivalent of a part-time job and, as a SAHM, I love being able to contribute in that way.

Be sure to check out Couponing 201 for further couponing tips!

5 thoughts on “Couponing 101

  1. Those are some great tips. Although I am not yet to the level you seem to be I do enjoy couponing and saving 20-30% on my grocery bill. I’d like to learn more about getting shampoo cheap. I usually get them BOGO but it’s still usually over a dollar. And I have a hell of a time getting toothpaste I like. I can always get the latest and newest.

    I am getting much better at it thanks to blogs like yours and tips pages.

    1. Isn’t saving money fun? 😉 Thank you for your feedback – I will definitely get more specific about saving money on certain things like shampoo in my next post. It is sometimes difficult to get your favorite items for free or dirt cheap. I also end up buying a variety of different toothpastes. Toothpaste seems to be a trickier item to coupon. I end up going several weeks to a month between toothpaste stock ups.

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