Sunday, January 1, 2012

Couponing - Getting Started

If your resolution is to save money, today is the perfect day to start couponing! There are 4 inserts in today's paper and new coupons have been released on several coupon websites so there is no better day to start your stockpile!

I began using coupons early last year and it has been a huge blessing for my family. The only negative comment about couponing that I get is the lack of healthy food coupons available and I would totally agree, but most of my couponing is used on non food items. Probably 30% food, 70% other goods.

When the opportunity to get free or very cheap items comes along, I stock up. Items such as shampoo & conditioner, body wash, razors, shave gel, make up, lotion, deodorant, contact solution, diapers, laundry detergent, toilet paper, dish washing soup, paper towels, etc. I haven't paid full price for these items since I started using coupons. And many of these things I've picked up for completely free.

Each week I purchase 2 or 3 newspapers with change that Mr. G and I have been collecting for several years. We have a change jar in our bedroom that we joke never gets low. On Sundays (or Mondays) and the first of the month I also print out the new coupons from:

I also get coupons from:
Catalina - the machine that prints out coupons when you check out.
Packaging - certain items have coupons in the packaging. I look for the packages that say "Savings Inside." These coupons are great because they usually have a long life, meaning they don't expire for a year or longer.
Mailers - I sign up to get mail from my favorite brands. I love the Target mailers but unfortunately there is no sure way of getting them. I think I'm on the mailing list because I registered at Target for my wedding and when I was pregnant. So if you're not getting Target mailers, maybe create a registry and see if you start getting them.
Also, many companies put out coupons on their facebook pages each month and on their websites.

When I clean out and donate my expired coupons I also check my new coupons for match ups or "stacks." At Target you are allowed to stack a manufacturer coupon (MQ) with a Target coupon (TQ) on one item. This allows you the opportunity to get free or very cheap items. Read more about stacking here.

Then I add the coupons to my folder. I organize my coupons with these categories:
Food, TQ Food, House, TQ House, Toiletries, TQ Toiletries, Hair & Makeup, Aaron, Toys & Medicine, Restaurant, Clothes & Other.
I put the coupons that I'm going to use for my next shopping trip in the front pocket so I don't have to search for coupons during the trip. I separate the TQ and MQ to make on the fly coupon searching easier.
This is what works best for me. I've tried using a binder with baseball card inserts but that was a disaster so I went back to my trusty $1 accordion folder.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, relax. The best part about couponing is you don't have to do much work at all. There are fantastic people who do it all for you! They find the coupons, tell you about any stacks, tell you what coupons will be in the paper, list next week's sales two days in advance, and more! These are my favorite sites:

Totally Target
Target Savers
Thrifty and Thriving
Money Saving Mom

That's a quick run down of how I got started and continue to coupon. I found my own method and do what works for me and my schedule. Best wishes to you on your money saving journey!

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  1. Went to the grocery yesterday and was AMAZED at the prices! Everything seemed to jump even higher if possible after Christmas! It's time for me to start doing some more couponing! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I need to start using coupons more. Thanks for the great tips.