The Essentials of Couponing
Short Quick Lessons to help you get started in Couponing
There are many different ways to coupon. The first step you need to take is to decide your goals. (Do you need to live in a smaller budget, are you trying to save money, are you trying to redirect some of your funds?)
If you are not sure, which most of us are when we start, then start simple. Even though couponing can be easy, it can also be very overwhelming and time consuming if you are not careful.
Hopefully that last sentence did not scare you away as I am going to help you by making it simple, easy, and fun. To me saving money and getting a great deal is always fun!
First question to ask yourself, are you Brand Loyal on any items? By this, I mean do you always buy the same brand of an item? If so make a list of these items (toothpaste, diapers, soda). Now, review your list and ask yourself if you are willing to be more open-minded about any of these products. The answer will help you decide how to start couponing.
If you answered I am completely brand loyal to most the products I buy, you can still coupon. What you will do, is look for the coupons for those brands. When you get the coupon inserts, go through them and cut out all the coupons for these brands. You will want to carry these with you to the store each time you go. (I will discuss organization systems next week). What you are doing is looking for your brands to be on sale (many times there are unadvertised sales) or on clearance. If you have your coupons, you can take advantage of these situations and get your favorite items for great prices.
If you answered, I am willing to try some new products, but there are some that I have to have – then you have a little more freedom with your coupons. You will also want to cut out your loyal brands each week and carry them with you to the store. However, you also want to keep your eye out for the great deals on the items where you are willing to be more open. Next week I will discuss a few options for organizing the coupons for the brands you are not loyal to, but are willing to try.
If you answered I am loyal to the deal, then you have a few options. Next week I will discuss the differences between cutting all coupons when you get the inserts versus storing the inserts whole, but you do not want to lose any coupon. Instead, you want to keep every coupon you come across. You never know when a great deal will happen. I have been amazed at how many brands we now love thanks to coupons. Even if you are always looking for the deal, I am sure you have a few favorite brands. You will want to have these coupons with you each time you walk into the store. I still give myself a hard time for not having my ALL laundry detergent coupons with me about a year ago in CVS. True, $.75 per bottle is a great deal, but $.50 is much better!
Spend the next week deciding which style fits you and your family (though I am always hunting for the deal, there are few items I will pay for). Then start collecting coupons and reviewing the ads. This will help you build up your price knowledge.