Learn to Coupon

When I was in college we would get those mailers that were full of coupons.  One time I spent the time to cut out some coupons I thought were awesome.  I went to the store, bought all the items I had coupons for, and was majorely disappointed when I had about $1 taken off my total.  “That’s dumb.”  I thought.  “Why would people even bother with this!”

I didn’t think anything about couponing for several years until my sister got into it.  It was crazy the deals she was getting.  Crazy, I tell you.  She finally took me to the store with her one time and when I saw what she was doing my head about popped.  So I was hooked.  My first trip was to Kroger’s.  My sister checked out first, and then I checked out.  I was sweating to death as I watched my total get to $270… I was thinking I was going to have to just run out to the car and leave my cart there because I didn’t have that kind of money.  Well, the sale items came off, and then I added my coupons that I’d been clipping for a few weeks.  My total was $70.  I couldn’t stop laughing as I walked out, I was estatic at my savings.

So, here is how you start:

Start somewhere.  Anywhere.  But just start.  I would start with one store, one deal, and some printable coupons.  Go in the store, get the exact items, and check out.  Watch the savings.  It’s pretty cool. Word of advice though: if it’s going to be free… throw something like a pack of gum in there.  If it’s free, the cashier will probably freak out.

Start buying the Sunday paper, or ask your friends and family to give you the coupon inserts if they don’t want them.  I have 1 delivered every week, and if I want more, I get one another.  I just found out my street vendors here don’t have coupon inserts in their papers.  Whaaaat? Strange! So just check before you buy.  How many papers should you get?  Well, I used to do 3 papers, but I am very, very well stocked on a LOT of items so I am getting just the 1 right now.  For a family of 4 I would consider doing 3 papers… for a family of 9 my sister does at least 6, if there are crazy good deals she buys additional.

Figure out how you would like to be organized.  The binder method? The file method?  Alphabetized or by sections of the grocery store?  I personally like to cut out all my coupons, put them in baseball card holders and put them in a giant 3 ringed binder (that has a zipper).  I can take that to the store with me when I go, if I find the Yoplait on clearance I can pull out my Yoplait coupons!

Start reading deal blogs.  People used to pay for things like The Grocery Game to match up everything.  Now all of that information is available for FREE on so many blogs.  My personal favorites are:

MyLitter.com

Iheartthemart.com

Give yourself some time to figure it out!  It is new, it is a little frustrating, not everything works out perfectly.  I have gone to the register countless times and realized I made a mistake in calculations or the sale ended yesterday.  Oops.  It happens. Just don’t freak out.  Take a deep breath… and try again.