New to couponing and overwhelmed? Don’t give up yet. Give it time, start small, and be patient. That is the best advice I can give anyone who is just starting out. I know the frustrations of couponing first hand. I live in a very small town with a Shaw’s and a RiteAid. That’s it! I have to drive 30 minutes just to get to a very small Walmart and an hour if I want to go to a Walmart SuperCenter, a Target and various other grocery stores, so sometimes it isn’t worth it with gas prices being what they are, but make no mistake about it…. I know coupons and I know deals, so I can definitely point you in the right direction and live vicariously through you!
There are some acronyms that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with, I’ve listed them below:
RP~ Redplum Insert found in Sunday’s Paper
SS~ SmartSource Insert found in Sunday’s Paper
P&G~ P&G Insert found in Sunday’s Paper
WYB~ When You Buy (ie. Final Cost $1.00 WYB two.)
DND~ When referring to a coupon, this means Do Not Double
CAT or Catalina~ This is the coupon that prints at the register that they hand to you with your receipt.
For those of you just starting out, here are some tips to help you out along the way.
1. You can only use one Manufacturer’s Coupon per item. So if you have a coupon for $1.00 off two Ronzoni pasta, you must buy two of the Ronzoni and only use one coupon.
2. A lot of grocery stores (like Shaw’s) will double coupons with a value of $.99 or less. Thus being said, if you have a $.55 off coupon for a certain item it will double to $1.10 unless it clearly states DO NOT DOUBLE or is coded with the number 9 at the beginning of the barcode. Shaw’s will only double 4 Like coupons per transaction.
3. You are allowed to use a Store Coupon and a Manufacturer Coupon for the same item if the store does have their own coupons, like at Target just make sure you look at the coupons that you print off of Target.com to make sure they are Store Coupons, sometimes Target will put up Manufacturer Coupons on their site as well. If Target has a store coupon for $1.00 off SoftScrub Cleanser and you have a Manufacturer Coupon for $1.50 off of that same cleanser, you are allowed to use both for the same item.
4. Stock up whenever possible. If a grocer has split chicken breast for $.99/lb or ground beef for $1.89/lb, then you’ll want to stock up at these prices. Sales usually go in cycles, every 3-6 months or so. If you are able, you’ll want to stock up until the next sale. Now, being that my family lives week to week, this is very hard for me to do. I am NOT an “Extreme Couponer” (although I know how to be), my stockpile isn’t what you see on T.V. …but I make do with what little resources I have. (Shaws and RiteAid and a trip to Walmart and Target once a month or so). With that being said, make no mistake about it, I know how to save money and where the best deals are even if they are not in my area.
5. Print high value coupons as soon as you see them, as they often go quickly, (I will label these as *HOT* on the site). Manufacturers usually only allow a certain number of coupons that will print in total. So, if Coca Cola puts out a coupon and only allows for 25,000 to print off, after they have reached their limit, the coupon will disappear. So I recommend printing the coupon when you see it, even if you can’t find a sale to pair it with that week. Sales change weekly at all stores and you never know what will come up on sale for the following week. Coupons usually expire one month from print, sometimes longer, so we should be able to find a sale for that coupon before it expires.
6. It is a very good idea to always bring a printed copy of the stores coupon policy with you. I have had to use it many times. It saves a lot of time and frustration. It seems coupon policies change often, so be ready and don’t be pushed around.
7. Lastly, keep your chin up and don’t get discouraged. Ask questions as often as you feel the need. Don’t be shy. Go to the service desk and ask if you can use a certain coupon for a certain item. I have done this many times and I still feel the need to do it sometimes. This blog is always open to questions, however silly you feel they are. Just remember, everyone who uses coupons starts at the exact same spot, and chances are, I’ve asked the exact same question somewhere down the line. I am a self-taught couponer. I had no idea that blogs like this even existed until I had been couponing for 3 years or more. So please, just relax and have some fun. It’s a little scary to start out, but it WILL be very rewarding in the end!