Getting started with couponing
First things first...
Don't get overwhelmed
Don't try to do it all in one day...it's a process (I speak from experience on this one).
Avoid coupon burnout or obsession (once again...experience talking). It does not have to be all or nothing. Find what works for you.
Let's get all of the excuses out of the way...
- It's too hard...no, it's not. You just have to have a desire to learn and to save money.
- I don't know how...that's what I'm here for, not to mention tons of other resources that are available to help you.
- It really doesn't work...yes, it does! Just try it and you'll see for yourself.
- I don't have time...everyone has the same amount of time each day. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Qubie was made just for that purpose. To make it easy for everyone.
- I can save more buying generic...nope, not really! It's hard to beat free.
Couponing will not only change the way you shop, but also the way you cook and plan your meals. Stockpiling is the key.
Before I began couponing, I would make a menu and a grocery list. Then I would go to the store and buy everything on my list. I would try to buy the cheapest products or generics, but what I had done was made a list for everything that was not on sale.
Now, I look in my fridge, freezer and pantry and decide what we're going to have based on what I have stockpiled. Most items run on 6 week cycles. So when you find what you need and what you know you will use over and over, get enough to last you for 6 weeks.
Let me give you an example. Chips, they are almost an entire food group in our house. They are definately the perfect side to almost any dish. Before I began couponing I would buy 2 bags of chips a week. Full price, they cost $4 a bag. That's $8 a week or $48 for 6 week. Are you kidding me, for chips!!
Now, I only buy them when they are B1G1. I immediately save $2 a bag. So now it's $2 a bag x 2 bags a week x 6 weeks = $24. Add in coupons and the real magic begins. If I use a 50cent coupon per bag that doubles to $1.00 off per bag, I spend $1 a bag x 2 bags a week x 6 weeks = $12. I just saved $36 for potato chips - that's $312 a year!
Apply this to any item that you use and you can quickly see just how fast and easy it is to make a huge difference in your grocery budget.
How do I get my coupons?
- Sunday Paper Inserts- this is a great place to start. Ask your friends, neighbors and family if you can have theirs too if they don't use the coupons. Of course they will want to keep theirs after you share all of your success with them!
- Coupon Groups - share coupons with people you know, start a group at work, form a group at your child's atheletic practice, your church or sunday school class. Not everyone likes the same things or uses the same coupons-spread them around.
- Internet Sites-there are tons of sites that you can subscribe to get email alerts when new coupons are released to print.
- Internet Store or Product sites-you can subscribe to specific store sites, or product sites to get coupons. For places you really like to shop or for products you really like to buy.
- Facebook - "Like" a product site and many of them will give you a coupon. There are also great couponing resource pages that may be specific to your area.
- Magazines-lots of magazines have coupons in them, once you learn to start looking for them, you'll be suprised at how many you see. A great one that is chock full of coupons is "All You" sold at Walmart.
- Inside packages-make sure you check all of your packages before you throw them away. There can be coupons on inserts or printed on the inside of the boxes themselves.
- Blinkies-these are the crazy little machines mounted all over the store that spit out coupons at you when you walk by.
- Peelies-coupons that are stuck to items in the store.
- Tearpads-also found hanging around in store aisles.
- Store fliers-lots of stores have their own circulars, fliers, coupon books. Ask for them at the customer service desk, look for a place to sign up for a mailer on the store website, check their weekly fliers of sales items.
How do I organize my coupons?
Hmmm....Qubie, Qubie, Qubie!
Organization is they key. This is why Qubie is here. Use the system. The whole system.
How do I use my coupons?
There are two types of coupons. Store coupons and manufacturer coupons.
- Store coupons are only good at that particular store
- Manufacturer coupons can be used anywhere.
You can use both coupons on one item at the same time (this is called stacking your coupons). You cannot use 2 manufacturers coupons on the same item or 2 store coupons on the same item. Each store will have different coupon policies, so make sure you ask the manager for a copy of their policy or most stores post it on their web site.
The ideal situation in which you can save the most money and get the greatest savings is an item that is on sale "B1G1" (buy one get one free). Most stores that does not mean that you have to buy 2. It means that each item is 50% off. Then use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon and you just got a steal! You can use a different coupon for each item.
Next best and the most likely way in which you will save money is that you shop the B1G1 with a doubled manufacturer coupon. Same scenario as above with out the store coupon:
- A bag of salad is regularly priced at $3 a bag
- It is on sale B1G1, so it is now $1.50 a bag
- You have a manufacturer coupon for 50cents off ( that the store doubled to $1.00 off) now it's .50 cents!!!
About those doubled coupons - every store is different in their coupon policy, so check with each store first. Some will double up to 50cents, some up to 60 cents, some you have to spend a certain amount and then they will double a certain number.
Find the store that's the easiest and best for you and that has the best coupon policy.
Special coupons - this also covers specific store rewards deals, rebates, etc... Many of the pharmacy/drug stores have their own incentives to keep you coming back and shopping - it may be register coupons or store "cash".
There are lots of deals to be had if you spend some time learning the ins and outs of your favorite store.
What do I do with all of my deals?
Enjoy your savings! Save for a big purchase or vacation. Some couponeers actually put the amount they saved into a separate account to save up.
Spread the wealth - give to family or friends that could use some extra help, donate to local food banks or church ministries. Free or nearly free items are great ways to help people in need.
So what are you waiting for? Get going and start saving with your Qubiebooks!