Full disclosure right off the bat, I am NOT an expert couponer NOR am I an extreme couponer. But, I do have experience with practically saving money using coupons and I’m happy to share some tips. I figure that there are those out there that have made a resolution or goal to save money this year and using coupons is a great way to do that.
- Subscribe to a newspaper that has coupon inserts. Back in late summer, a college student was going door to door in our neighborhood selling Sunday only subscriptions to the Atlanta Journal Constitution for $.50 per week if you paid a year up front. I had been kicking around the idea of couponing again, so I spent the $27.50, I think it was, with tax, and the subscription started soon after that. I don’t know if that deal is still going on or how to get it, for you locals, but it might be worth checking into because I’ve already saved more than that amount in coupons in only a few months’ time. It’s very convenient to have the paper delivered every Sunday and just get the coupons that way. If you choose to use more than one set of coupons, you can typically buy bundled papers at the local pharmacies and grocery stores. I used to buy several, but now I just stick to the one set.
- Organize coupons in an accordion binder. I got one that has several pockets in it. All I do every week when the paper comes is get the coupon inserts out, label each with the date, and file complete sections by date in the accordion folder. I do not cut individual coupons until I actually need them and this saves me time and effort. The folder I have is a thin, but durable, plastic material with several pockets in the inside and a latch to keep it closed. My coupon inserts date back to 9/11/16 in it and I still have several pockets of future inserts before I need to reorganize it. Just as a matter of personal preference, I keep store coupon inserts in the front all together just for the sake of simplicity.
- Visit websites like CouponMom to build your grocery lists and coupon pairings for each week. There are others sites that are great, but I honestly just use CouponMom as a one stop shop for my coupon shopping list. It’s super easy and you can print your list right from the site for various stores.
- Clip only the coupons you need per shopping trip. What I do is make, say, my Publix list from CouponMom, clip the coupons needed, get my coupons together with the list, and put them in an envelope. As I go through the store and collect each item, I just make sure I have the coupons in the envelope. If, for some reason, I don’t use a coupon for an item, I just remove it from the envelope. Then they are all ready to go to the cashier when I am ready to check out and pay. Super easy! You can also transition the ones you use into a zipper bag if that’s easier to do.
Every store has their own coupon policy, so if you’re going to use them, be familiar with what the policy is for that store. For the most part, I find Publix to be very coupon friendly and I save a good bit there when I hit their BOGO sales with coupons. Again, I don’t go in with a ton of coupons for multiples of each item because I only get one set of inserts per paper per week. Still, I do manage to do well and save 30-60% per coupon shopping trip, depending on what all I buy there. Using coupons is a good way for us to save on items like dish detergent, laundry detergent, toothpaste, body wash, etc. It’s also nice to use them if you want to donate to food pantries because you can often find shelf sustainable goods for lower prices using coupons.
I hope these tips are helpful. Like I said, I’m no expert, but I know what works for us. If I can help further, please post any questions or comments.