Monday, August 8, 2011

I Heart Money Saving {Tips for Getting Started}

I am far from an 'extreme couponer' but I am finding ways to save my family money. Here are 5 things that have helped me get started couponing and staying organized {because it can and will get confusing out there but you can totally do it}.

1. Save your Sunday coupons.
I cut out what I know we use and will need but then I label the front of each coupon section with the date. I put the coupons in a protective sheet in a binder. This works well for me for multiple reasons. 1. When I see someone refer to a great offer and it says SS 7/31 {for example}. I can quickly flip to the SmartSource coupons labeled with the 7/31 to find what I need to clip. 2. It helps keep my coupons organized so they are not lying all around my desk. Which in the end would only lead to frustration and more work and wasted time.

2. Stores only allow one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per purchased item. 
For example, Colgate toothpaste is on sale at Walgreens 2/$6.  Walgreens has a coupon in their monthly store coupon booklet {found at the front of their store by the circular} for $2 off Colgate toothpaste when you buy two. Plus you have 2 manufacturer coupons for 75¢ off one Colgate toothpaste. You can use all of these coupons.

Here is how the scenario would play out:
Purchase 2 Colgate toothpastes for $6
Use the $2 Walgreens Coupon
Use 2 75¢ off manufacturer coupons
Final Price =  $2.50 or $1.25 for each

3. Collect coupons from family and friends.
As I said earlier, I am not an 'extreme couponer' {I believe that is a full time job and while I find couponing a fun challenge I'm not up for 40 hours a week of it-more power to those who are.}. Some people go out and buy extra Sunday papers for the coupons. I just ask people I see on a regular basis to save me their coupons when they are finished with them. It helps to have multiple coupons from each week when good deals come up like when you have to purchase two or more of an item {like the example scenario in #2}.

4. Organize your list and coupons by store.
I always write out a list for each store with how the deal will play out. That way I know how much I'm spending, how much I'm getting back with their store rewards for my next purchase and what coupons I need. I also purchased a coupon organized from the dollar spot at Target {I refused to pay $4+ for an ugly plastic organizer like I bought when I'm trying to save money}. I split the organizer up into the stores I frequent. That way all of my lists and coupons are with me and ready to go.

5. When you see a deal posted with an online coupon, print it right away.
Some coupons have limits to the number of times consumers can print them. There are two types of limits. The first limit, which is what I'm referring to in this tip, is when a manufacturer says they want to offer this great $1 off coupon but they only want to give 10,000 away. Hence the need to print it right away. The second limit is when you are printing coupons from an online coupon database like They may only allow you to print two of the same coupon from one computer before your personal limit is reached. 

So, if you follow me on facebook and I post about an offer, it is best to go print that offer right away. You may come back later and the coupon will be gone...which is a total bummer because some of the coupons that go fast are the moneymakers {where you get your item for free and then still have money to spend in the store that day}.

Those are just a few tips that I've learned. What else would you like to know? 

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