As the economy gets tighter, many families have come to find that couponing is the only way to get what they truly need while sticking to the family budget. If you have wanted to get started using coupons but aren’t sure where to start, this quick-start guide is just for you.
Step 1: Get Your Coupons
There are many sources for great, usable coupons that will save you big. Try these for starters:
- The Sunday Paper – Get the paper with the highest circulation for the biggest variety of coupons. If you are serious, buy one paper for each family member.
- Friends and Family – Ask your loved ones to save any unwanted coupons for you. They will probably be happy to do so.
- Hit the Internet – There are thousands of printable coupons on the Internet. You can find them on couponing sites or on manufacturer sites.
- Use a Clipping Service – If there are current coupons that you could use in multiples, ordering from a clipping service could save you quite a bit in the long run.
- Check Your Stores – Many stores have coupons available. All you have to do is ask or look around.
Step 2: Get Organized
Your organizational system will depend upon your style and preferences. Here are some possible ideas to get you started:
- Envelopes – For beginners, a check file or a set of envelopes will suffice. As your operation grows, however, you will probably need to change your system a bit.
- Electronic Organization – For the least amount of work, file your coupon inserts by date and then locate the ones you need through an online database of coupons.
- Binder – One of the most effective systems for serious couponers is to use a three-ring binder with baseball card holders. Simply take your binder with you every time you shop.
Step 3: Learn Your Store’s Policies
For maximum savings, you will need to know your store’s policies on coupon redemption.
- Loyalty Card – Many stores offer a loyalty card that offers special savings. These cards are free, so make sure to get yours.
- Doubling or Tripling – Many stores will run double or triple coupon promotions. Find out when your store does so and shop on those days. You will also need to know the maximum double and triple amounts as well as how many coupons you can use during the promotion.
- Stacking – Check to see if your store will allow you to combine store and manufacturer coupons on the same item.
- Competitor Coupons – Many stores will honor coupons issued by their competitors and will also match advertised sale prices. It is worth your time to know which stores do so.
Have a Plan
To get the most from couponing, you must have a solid plan. Make a list before shopping and try to use coupons on items that are on sale for the highest savings. Check weekly ads and make sure to ask for a raincheck if an on-sale item is sold out. Just be sure not to buy an item you don’t need just because you have a good coupon. After all, couponing is about saving on items you would buy anyway, not spending unnecessarily.
About the Author
Kevin D. is a writer for HowDoIbe.com. This is a site that can help you learn how to save money, and even learn how to become a investment banker. You will learn more about couponing, and save more than before.