Couponing 101

   COUPONING 101    
Welcome, your  hear because you either just startig  out and want to learn, brush up on your skills, or take them to the top saving  hundreds of dollars off your grocery bills.  This page will discuss the use of coupons, stock piling and how to make your own coupon organizer book. As a Coupon Mom there is a general rule that we use, or at least I use to save the most and put my coupons into full force and get the most bang for my buck out of it. It’s similar to baking, there is a science to baking and you try to stick with it so you’re outcome is scrumptious.

This section is going to deal with the basics of couponing, where to find coupons, stacking coupons , stockpiling and making your very own coupon organizer binder with out alot of cost.

This is a must read section for anyone starting out with coupons ! Read Here


Where to find coupons
Coupons can be found in varies places, the sunday paper has circulars in them. You can also print coupons from many legitimate online sites.  You can also go straight to company web sites and 99% of the time they have coupons to print. Look for tabs like "promotions" this is where you will find thier coupons. You can also send emails to companies and ask them to send you coupons, many times they send high dollar and even coupons for free items.

Stacking Coupons - Just what is this?
An item on sale matched with a manufacture coupon, matched with a store coupon generally gets you are really cheap item and possibly free item and/or money maker. If you can try to stick to this formula you will save money. The next rule is to be flexible; you need to get off the “I only use this brand” try others!  Each Sunday I grab my weekly store inserts, go through them, find the sales, match with my coupons and circle or make a list of what I am going into the store for. But on the flip side I always bring my coupons with me for those surprise non advertised sales that I might be able to match with a high dollar coupon to score the item for free or considerably less that paying full price.
Never leave a deal on the shelf, which is like leaving free stuff on the shelves.
Read your Coupon fine print. 99% of the time the idea is to get you to buy the larger sized items. But you will be surprised when coupons say good on any size. This means that if you can get the smaller size cheaper and with the coupon its free or for pennies, this is how you score free stuff. Match those with a BOGO Free coupon and you hit a grand slam in the coupon world, scoring both items free sometimes. Using the BOGO Free Coupon to purchase one and get the other free, then stacking another manufacture coupon for the item you have to pay for to get the free one. *wink

 Below is a picture of a shopping trip I did on 1/2/11 to CVS and ONLY Paid $3.12 using coupons!

Stock piling 101
You may share this article with others but must link it back to my site for credits.
After doing a lot of research on this topic, I realized that I have been stock piling for a while now without realizing there was a name for it.

The first thing you want to do is create a list of the items your family uses a lot of. I always start with toiittries. (Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soaps, razors, Q-tips, tooth paste, mouthwash, baby items, diapers, medications etc, etc)
Then I start with my foods list. Canned Veggies, soups, rice, instant potatoes, pasta, canned goods, sauces, cereals, boxed dinner mixes, soda, bottled juice etc. Freezer items, I won’t list here as this goes on and one.
Now the key also to this is to decide what you are comfortable spending a week on your stock pile. It can be as little as $10-20.00. You’re going to designate that money just to your stock pile list. So as your browsing the sale adds of your favorite store, you notice that a particular brand of shampoo is on sale at a great deal and you have coupons and you can print off more coupons. Perhaps maybe you can get that bottle of shampoo for free with coupons or little to nothing. Ok so I found shampoo on sale, I have coupons, and I’ve printed more coupons and realized I can get that bottle for .25 a bottle. Great stock pile item so I decide that since there is no limit to how many I can buy that I am going to buy 12 bottles for a whopping $3.00! Now you have started your stock pile for shampoo and 12 bottles can go a long way.  Keep doing this for items you find on sale that you can pick up for low cost or next to nothing. Decide what the limit to the item is that you want to stock pile. Perhaps you only want to have on hand a dozen of each item. That’s all up to you!
It does not hurt to have in your binder a list you created of your stock pile items. And keep notes next to each item of how many you have on hand. This way you can glance at it to see what you do have and what you’re wanting to stock pile.
I live in the cold country that gets lots of snow, so for me I love to stock pile stuff for the winter. Right now I have enough laundry detergent to last at least 8 months. Enough to get through the harsh winter. That is just one item for example. I know by the time the first snow fall hits, the only items I am going to need to pick up on a weekly basis is perishable items. I also freeze bread in the deep freeze and I also keep on hand stock piles of bread flour, yeast, sugars etc so that I can use my bread maker in the winter in case it’s just bread I’m in need of.
Either way stock piling or getting things for free to little cost using coupons saves your grocery bill. Last month I shopped and kept tally’s and with coupons  I was able to purchase all together $350.00 worth of items for only $32.00 – that was a savings of $318.00 not spent out of pocket !
I don’t feel silly purchasing 12 boxes of instant rice at one time when I can get them each for only. 12 cents! That’s a huge savings and that’s getting 12 boxes for the price of 1 making 11 boxes FREE all with the use of coupons.
Have fun and use what works for you! Please read my post about " Normal Stockpiling"

** All About E-Coupons - Read More HERE

Make Your own Book- Coupon Organizer 101

This session is to teach you tips and tricks to getting all those coupons organized. We discussed Coupon Stacking in our last chat. But if you are not organized with your coupons using them can be a daunting job, not to mention you miss out on some great deals. You have to know what you have to be able to access them right away when the sales come around to jump on them. Also without organization you will find that a lot of good coupons that you could have possibly gotten an item for free and or extremely +reduced priced sat I n your pile and goes on to expired trash pile. Remember treat your coupons like you would money; you would not just toss your money in a box and forget it would you?

Many people use many techniques and ways to organize their coupons. Tonight I am going to show you how I do it, and then invite all of you to share with us here how you do it too!

When I first started I started basically with an envelope that contained my coupons and off I headed to the store. I soon found that I was having to shuffle through all the coupons to find just one I could use in the stores, my eyes began to bug out flipping through them, Idea drop them and loose them throughout the store. Arrive at the checkout and discovered I lost my coupon along the way. Purchased the item anyway without the deal, in turn did not save much money at all. So I vowed to find a way to get organized with this system before I went back to another store! The most important key here is to use and do what works for you and you’re comfortable with.

I decided to purchase a large three ring binder and baseball card inserts, the base ball card inserts have slots in them that you can put your coupons in to be able to see with the flip of a page- no more fumbling through stacks at the store. I also created section inserts that divided into categories. Soups, breads, shampoo, laundry, cleaning sprays, air fresheners, BOGO Free, BOGO Free w, Match Ups, FREE, etc, etc I then add these to the binder in alphabetical order so that when at the store and I’m in need of shampoo coupons to match the sales, I can flip to that page then see all my coupons right there in front of me. Makes for easy shopping and faster and not in the stores so long. I also created sections for each store I shop at. Let’s say Dollar General for example. I will clip their coupons and put in the divider sections and if I have manufacture coupon to go with it to make that product free or really cheap I add that coupon with that dollar general coupon, so I know exactly what I plan to buy on my trip to that particular store.

Once I created my divider tabs I took all of my coupons and began putting them in piles on the kitchen table. (Cheese, bread, soups, laundry soaps, etc) one section at a time I inserted them into my binder in the baseball inserts. If I have 3 of the same coupon then they get put together in one compartment and I note on the top one the first coupon (just write on it with a pencil) of how many I have of that particular coupon.

On my BOGO Free w/Match Ups ( Meaning I have a Buy one get one free coupon for a can of cat food, and I also have a $1 off coupon for that same coupon. I can use both of them for the two cans. I will put those two together in one slot.

Now on the store dividers, wall mart etc. I use clear full sheet protectors that I can slip that week’s sale add into or will make a list of what I am going to purchase into hat store and if I have a coupon for it and how much. This makes it easy because I have found once I enter the store I often forget what I went in there for an do not want to forget that I might have a $3 off Wisk Coupon and the Wisk is on sale for $3 meaning I can get it for Free. So I know exactly what I am going in the store to purchase. Now when in the store they might have a roll back on an item or have it on sale or clearance when I’m shopping, well it’s nice to be able to flip to that particular category. Let’s say I find Suave Shampoo on sale that was not advertised, well I flip to shampoos and Walla I have coupons for this making it a steal of a deal ! This also helps eliminate impulse buying.

When I set out to do just coupon shopping that’s what I am doing. I look at the store sale ads, do I have a coupon that is going to drastically reduce the price of an item and allow me to get it nearly next to nothing or possibly free. That’s what I get.  Perhaps I have 10 cans of glade air freshener already, but hey the store has it on sale and I can pick it up for free or .25 a can?? Well that’s a deal and it goes to my stock pile at home. I do this with many non perishable items, and perishable food items, well if it can be frozen then it gets frozen. Last week I was able to get 14 Tubes of toothpaste free with my coupons and store sales. I have enough toothpaste for a year. If I can get it free I will continue to do so - rule of coupon thumb - never leave an item on the shelve at the store you can obtain for free. You can pass these free items onto your kids that are in college, have families or other family members, you can donate to shelters, send overseas to military. So much!  Let’s face it, coupon shopping is a way to reduce your grocery and household items down drastically as well as a hobby that we all enjoy or none of us would be reading this right now!!

Next thing - Go to your local dollar tree store and for $1 purchase a kids zipper pencil holder pouch that has the three rings on it for the front of your binder. This is where you put the coupon when in the store that you’re going to use after you have found your product for the check out. That way when you get to the check out all your coupons are ready to hand to the clerk! And I ALWAYS gives my coupons to the clerk after she has rang up all my items so I can watch as she scans them and takes them off the bill. Too easy for them to slip up during each transaction! This way I know what my subtotal is, how much I saved with coupons in total!! And I also make sure the clerk does not drop one or have two sticking together. Another hint, always hand the clerk the store Coupons first to ring up, then after that hand her the manufacture coupons you have to match those . Many stores will accept their store coupon and a manufacture coupon too for same item! That’s called Coupon Stacking along with using a BOGO Free Coupon. You can use the BOGO Free Coupon and then a single coupon for the item you purchased, because technically the FREE one is for the second item, not the original first one you purchased to get the second one free.

Ok so let’s recap what items you need to create your own personal coupon organizer:

1. Large Three Ring Binder
2. Baseball Card Inserts
3. Three Ring Binder Inserts with Tabs to create Categories (breads, shampoo, laundry, meats etc)
4. Plain Sheet Protectors for three ring binders
5. Kids Zipper Pencil Pouch for very front of Binder.
5. Note Pad for Shopping List / Store Sale Match ups - Know what you’re going for - stop impulse buying!

Once you get organized it’s easy to clip those Sunday coupons, online printable coupons and insert those into your binder. Keep up with it. Once every two weeks I go through it and remove the expired coupons. I also have used the tab posty notes to mark the ones that are ready to expire and need using if a sale comes along. I will make a list of those so I know when browsing the stores big sale add to see if that product is going to be on sale or not.

You do not have to go purchase expensive coupon organizers made by someone else when you can make your own relatively cheep! Once organized the savings you get with using coupons will quickly pay for what you invested in to make your organizer.  Think if you can go to the store and purchase $100 dollars worth of groceries and pay only $10-20.00 out of pocket and you save $80.00! The first time you do this you will be hooked and never shop again without a coupon! I get to the point where I have stock piles of laundry, dish, soap, toiletries, food etc that the only things I have to purchase weekly might be items like bread, milk. And even bread I will buy from a bread outlet and freeze when I can get loafs of bread for 4/$1 . Yes bread products freeze wonderfully!

Remember using coupons in a good honest way is important, you can never ever copy a coupon that includes ANY coupon even if the coupon does not state it on itself. Take a few minutes to read my post on Coupon Ettiquette 101 (click here for post ) if you are new starting out and even a seasoned coupon user.

Then my shopping trips are the fun trips and coupon trips only to get items for free or up to 90% off the price!
Happy Couponing !