Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Couponing 101

     Part of living graciously is saving money on the necessities, so that you can afford the occasional extravagant delight! We all want to be good stewards of our money, and enjoy the best deal we can, right? Now as a disclaimer, I am still totally a coupon novice, but I'm delighted to share what I've learned so far. Ready? Let's jump in.

Ok, first let me start by saying that this requires some time and patience. But if you're willing, the payoff is great! Following are some tips that have helped me:

1. Gather as many coupons as you can for things that you use on a regular basis. Don't just get your Sunday paper and clip one .50 coupon for dogfood. Call your friends who also get the Sunday paper (and don't care about coupons) and see if you can have their inserts. Some Dollar Trees also sell your local Sunday paper all week for $1. It could be worth a couple of extra copies if it will save you significant $$. My library gets a copy of the paper, and every Monday I go and clip their coupons (hear that everybody: Stewartsville is my territory :-)). Print coupons from online sources (SmartSource, Red Plum, Most will let you print each coupon twice for each printer you have.

2. THEN look for e-coupons. Here in the mid-south, Kroger is the best source for those. You can get coupons loaded directly to your Kroger Plus Card (comes off automatically at checkout). Look at:,, and BEST PART: you can use BOTH e-coupons AND paper coupons on the same product!!! So for example: DH and I are currently in love with Nature Valley Nut Clusters. They are regularly $3.79. Kroger had them on sale for $2.19 a few weeks ago. I had an e-coupon for $1, and a paper coupon for $1, so I got them for .19. Not bad, huh? You can also "stack" manufacturers coupons and store coupons at some stores. Target included (where I got my Kashi motherload).

3. Some stores will double all coupons that are .50 or less. Find and shop at stores that do this (here it's Kroger). E-coupons are NOT doubled.-

4. Because of these double coupons and the opportunity to stack coupons, most often you can get better deals at grocery stores than you can at discount/volume stores. You can also frequently get better deals on name brands (b/c of coupons) than you can on store brands (which rarely have coupons).

5. Check websites of your favorite'll often find coupons hiding there. - Just recently got a coupon for $3.95 off my Nutrish Dogfood from R*!

6. Save your coupons to pair with a good sale, then stock up when it hits. It helps if you have food storage areas/pantry and a nice sized freezer (but I don't - you just make do with what you have)! Back to my Kashi example. Target had Kashi crackers/granola bars on sale for $2.59. They were ALSO on sale Buy 4 Get 1 free. I had Target Store coupons saved that were for $3 off 2 Kashi products and $1 off 1. I ALSO had manufacturers coupons from Kashi that were $1 off 1. Add that all up, and I got them  for basically .27 each.

7. Find some good couponing websites and check them often. They help you pair up local coupons and sales. For the mid-south, I like: the best. There are tons of blogs out there though...just look (especially for ones based in your general area of the country)!

8. When you're redeeming your coupons, hand the cashier a few at a time - instead of one big pile. It's easy for them to stick together, and you could be loosing $1 here and $1 there. Also, check your receipt afterward to make sure your e-coupons come off. Occasionally (it's happened to me only twice I think), they don't. If that happens, just go to customer service and let them know. They'll usually just give you cash back for the amount.

9. Write to companies of your favorite products and tell them how much you like them! They'll often send you a coupon (sometimes even for a free product) and maybe even a sample of the item you love! It never hurts to try!  :-)

Hopefully these tips can help get you started on your merry couponing way!!

*This is a repost from Windy Poplars