It’s always great to get more for less. Couponing has recently blown up into this way of life where people get $900 worth of groceries for about $12, but that’s a little extreme for the average shopper. After all, who needs 200 sticks of deodorant?
If you’re looking to cut back on your budget, you don’t have to go big or go home. Couponing can be simple and relaxing once you learn a few entry-level tricks of the trade. With a little bit of planning and organization, you’ll be saving money in no time.
Before you head out to the store, check out these coupon sources for all your savings!
The most convenient place to get coupons is the Sunday newspaper. It usually has three different inserts, and they’re all manufacturer coupons. This would be the “clipping” method. Go through them and clip the coupons that are practical for you. Don’t feel pressured to buy something if you have a coupon for it. Unnecessary spending still hurts your budget. Also, ask your friends, family or neighbors if they use their coupon inserts. If they don’t, ask if you can have them for more savings!
The Internet has so many resources that can help you save money. Using websites like Coupons.com, ShopAtHome.com and RetailMeNot.com is extremely easy and convenient. It’s free to sign up, and you can snag great deals on groceries, household items and retail goods. Printable coupons are great for a beginner couponer because there isn’t much work for you to do except scroll through the savings and click print!
Since it’s 2014 and just about everyone is glued to their phone, why not download an app that will save you money? There are many mobile apps that provide you coupons, deals of the day, rebates and much more.
- Cartwheel: Target created this great mobile coupon app so its customers could save more. Cartwheel allows you to customize your interests so you only see the deals and savings you’d be interested in. Scroll through the offers in the app and add them to your cart. When you’re checking out, have the cashier scan your Cartwheel savings barcode on your phone and let the savings begin! This app is convenient, easy and extra awesome for people who are obsessed with Target.
- Shopmium: This easy-to-use app allows you to get cash rebates on all your shopping trips. Shopmium gives you the most competitive offers on the market. First you choose an offer from the app and find the product at any store. Once you’ve purchased the product, upload a picture of your receipt and receive a rebate that goes straight to your PayPal or bank account. Shopmium also gives you the choice of donating your rebate straight to the charity of your choice.
Once you’ve been gathering coupons for a while, you’ll notice it’s difficult to stay organized by shoving them all into your purse or coat pocket. The “shoving” method usually results in forgetting you had a certain coupon, meaning fewer savings. The best way to stay on top of it is to file your coupons in a file box or binder.
Using a file box is good for sorting coupons by product and date. Make sure your box has tab inserts or folders so you can label what you’re sorting. You should label by product, value and expiration date. A proper label would look something like this: “Chobani, 3/$5 7-24-14.”
Using a binder would be a more effective method to sort by category or store. Have a tab that reads “groceries,” then have subcategories within that. Have clear pockets to store your coupons so they’re easy to see. It’s important to throw out coupons that are past their expiration date so they aren’t crowding your binder.
Make a Game Plan
Never walk into a store and ask yourself, “What should I make for dinner this week?” Plan all your meals based on the coupons you gathered beforehand. Make a list before your shopping trip, and bring those coupons with you or have them within quick access via your mobile apps. Always stick to your list; it’s easy to buy more than you need.
Don’t feel rushed to use a coupon just because you have one. Look at store deals in accordance with what coupons you have. If General Mills cereal is already two for $5, and you have a 50 cents off coupon, you’ll receive even more bang for your buck. Couponing is simple and fun once you get the hang of it. Maybe you’ll even become an extreme couponer one day!
Have any more beginner couponing tips? Post them in the comments section below!