Thursday, February 26, 2009

Couponing 101

Wow! I can't even tell you how overwhelmed I am by all the great deals going around the web right now. Companies are really starting to fight for business which means great deals to get you in the door.

I have been asked several times this week how to get started. I know it can be overwhelming and I think my #1 piece of advice would be to START SMALL. When I first started couponing, I started with 1 item, and 1 rebate for the entire month. I am going to start trying to share deals that you can do each week to help you start to save money. Here are a few basic guidelines.

Don't think that you are going to start off and save $60.00 at Walmart your first week. That will take time, and I believe it will eventually happen, but you will have to be diligent. Instead, Determine that you will start off by using coupons on items you already buy.

Sit down each week before you go shopping and go through the newspaper inserts and clip coupons for things on your list. If you do this you can save $5.00-$10.00 on a weekly shopping trip.

If you don't currently subscribe to the Sunday Paper, then make an effort to go to the gas station each Sunday and purchase a paper. Be sure to check for the inserts before you purchase it to make sure they are included. This is the easiest way to start accumulating coupons.

One of the first things I started doing was Saving my inserts in a file folder with the date on it. (The date the coupons were in the paper) Most websites will tell you the insert date when listing a coupon and if you have these saved by date you can easily go back and find the coupons you are looking for.

I have found that you can never predict what items will be on sale, and what you will be able to get for FREE if you have the right coupon. By saving inserts you will be able to get things for free or cheep that you otherwise wouldn't have gotten.

Many people receive the paper on a weekly basis and never use their coupons. This is an easy way to get extra inserts without having to purchase extra papers. For example, my Mother In Law gets the paper for the Sports Section. She uses a few coupons each week, and then saves the inserts for me. I file them, and I have them when I need extra coupons or find a good deal.

The best way to start saving money is to stockpile. The idea is that if you buy a lot of something when it's on sale you slowly reduce your weekly expenses. It's unrealistic to think you can purchase an entire stockpile in even a month. However, if you start with the best deals each week then you will slowly begin to see margin in your budget that can be used to stockpile even more until you are ahead and only purchasing perishables and great deals!

I am going to try to highlight each week the items I think you should take advantage of. This won't be all of the best deals, but it should be the ones I think are the most helpful for those of you who are beginning to stockpile.

Rebates are a great way to MAKE MONEY! That's right, you can actually make money with Mail In Rebates. If the product price is $9.99 and you have a coupon for $2.00 off then you only pay $7.99. With most Try Me Free offers, or a Mail In Rebates you will receive back the item price of $9.99 so you make $2.00!!!!

I always print try me free offers when I come across them on the web, because I often can't find them when I need them and most rebates have long expiration dates. A great example is this Just for Men Rebate (here) it doesn't expire until the end of 2009. Print it out and save it for a great deal down the road.

Saving Money is a process. It's something you have to commit to over time. That being said, I don't think it has to take a lot of time. Even Saving a little can add up over a long time, more than a lot saved once.

I hope this helps!!! I will be back later with a few GREAT deals you can do this week!
Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any other questions, I would love to be able to answer these for you.

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