1) Stay Organized
Overall organization is critical to maintaining sanity and realizing long term value. There is nothing worse in couponing than going into a store unorganized. Have your list, your coupons, and know your sale. Leave the rest in the car. A little prep work in needed before you hit the stores.
2) Know the Code
There is a secret formula. A sale + a MFR (manufacturer) coupon + a SC (store coupon) + a CC (competitor coupon) = freebies, moneymakers, and cheap items. When possible combine these things. In addition to the secret formula, you need to know the acronyms (see my side bar for examples.)
3) Be Flexible
Break from brand loyalties, there are a lot of great coupons out there if you are willing to try new things. You will find when combining coupons you end up buying most of the brands that are most expensive for the least amount of money. Don’t worry about having to only buy the generic items.
4) Learn to Stockpile
When there is an amazing sale combined with a large coupon you must stockpile. Know your store sales, how frequently things go on sale and then save enough until the next sale. This might mean you need several copies of a coupon…getting multiple copies of newspapers is a good idea. A general rule of thumb is one copy of the paper for as many people in the house – four people in the house would mean four Sunday papers. If you find you are in a time when you can not coupon as much, cut back to two papers. You at least one two papers, so during B1G1 sales you have a coupon for each item.
5) Reward Cards Are Your Friend
Many stores offer great incentives only for those who are reward card holders. Sometimes it is best to get reward cards of stores not even in your area because some stores will take those competitors’ coupons that might come to your address for being a club/reward card member.
6) Understand the Fine Print
Make sure you read the details so you truly understand what is on sale and what items for the coupon will work. Most manufacturers display the most expensive item on face of the coupon. Consumers look at the picture and select that item. If you read the fine print there might be a cheaper item for which you could get the discount (one example is a trial size item.)
7) Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Frugal Coupon Living has done the work for you. Don’t get stressed trying to plan your shopping list. Use this website to see what is on sale each week and what is matched to a coupon. If you do not have the coupon, don’t buy the item unless your family is in need (sales are good, but they are even better with coupons.) Look at my shopping lists then create your own list.
8) Manage Your Time
I realize that gathering your coupons, list of sale items, etc can take some time and can make going to the grocery store difficult. If you are strapped for time, I encourage you to shop the B1G1 sales, items that are significantly reduced, and at least take along printable coupons attached to the lists provided on Frugal Coupon Living. Sometimes, I personally find, hunting for the coupon in my coupon binder can be more difficult than just selecting print on my computer. Do the best you can and don’t be hard on yourself for what you didn’t’ do, rather rejoice in how much you did save!
Couponing Acronyms and Explanations
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