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Couponing 101Couponing 101 – Couponing Tips for Beginners

So you are a newbie to couponing? No worries, you have come to the right place, I will show you the basics you need to start couponing and give you tips and trick to use to maximize your savings. A Lot of people don’t bother with coupons because they think it is not worth the effort; well, would it be worth ½-1 hour a week to save half off on your groceries, personal needs and much more every week?

Coupons are a great way to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket. I’ll show how to get you on your way to save hundreds of dollars on product you use everyday.  Your ultimate goal is to stock up on products you need, when you can get them at the lowest possible price, and to purchase enough to last until the next “Great Deal”. Promotions and sales usually run in cycles of around six weeks. So the idea is to purchase enough at the lowest-price possible to last about six weeks so you never have to pay full price because you are out and “need it now”.

Obviously the first thing you need are coupons. The best place to start is the weekend paper. I suggest you start by purchasing at least two papers a week to maximize your saving. You might be thinking why two? Well, first you want to purchase enough of an item to last until the next sale cycle. Second, this also let’s you take advantage of 2 For and BOGO sales.

Let’s say your favorite brand of cereal is regular priced at $3.00 a box. It comes on sale for 2/$5.00 but only if you purchase two. So if you have two coupons for let’s say $1.00 off each, and you purchase 2 you are paying $3.00 for two or $1.50 each (which ends up to be half the regular price you would normally pay). If you only have one coupon, you will either purchase one box for $3.00 less your $1.00 coupon which equal 2.00 a box. Or you can purchase two at the sale price and with the one $1.00 off coupon you are still paying 2.00 a box. The same goes for BOGO SALES. If you only have one coupon you are not maximizing your saving.

You might be thinking “All this to save a few bucks”. Well in the cereal example, you would pay half of what you normally would, so if you apply this to as much of your purchases as you can, then you just cut your monthly household spending in half. This adds up to a significant amount of money every month. It could even help you fund your emergency savings, get out of debt or go on that dream vacation.

That’s not all….add in the store’s loyalty program rewards (such as Rite Aid Plenti Point or CVS Extra Care Buck, etc…), store coupons that you can stack with manufacturer’s coupons, and apps that pay you when you buy certain items or give you points just to snap pics of your receipts and you get  A WHOLE LOT OF SAVINGS. You don’t have to start big, let me give you an example of a small everyday trip to the drugstore I took today to see how much I saved.

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                            I purchased…

RA Shopping Trip 100315

                           and look at what I paid…

cp trip

Look at what I purchased! If I had paid regular retail price for the above items would have been $77.88.  I paid $29.44 OOP (out-of-pocket). That is 62.2% savings! That’s not all; I earned 1300 loyalty points worth $13.00 and $15.00 dollars added to my saving star balance. That is an additional $28.00 in saving; bringing the total for this trip to $1.44, which equals .12 cents an item!!!

Okay, so we have already established that you should by at least 2 weekend papers. I just want to add here that buying the weekend paper for one week and not having a ton of sale/coupon matchups is not uncommon. You need to keep at it and build your coupon stash. You have to hang on to those coupons until the products come on sale to get the best deals.

There are many other places that you can get coupons. You can visit manufacturer websites and sign up for their  program or newsletter and either print coupons instantly; or they will send you emails periodically when they have coupons available or send you free samples. Some companies will reward you with a coupon if you “Like” them on Facebook.  The most popular way is to go to coupon websites,  select which coupons you want  and print them on your home printer. Here is a list of the most popular coupon print sites.

Coupons.com

Red Plum

Smart Source

Hopster

Next you need to organize your coupons so that you can find what you need when you need it. There are many ways to do this such as grouping your coupons by category and filing them in separate envelopes, using an accordion file or keeping them in a binder with clear pockets inserts. I like to keep mine in a binder; I have separators by category so it is quick to locate what I am looking for. In my opinion, this is the easiest way because you can sit with your sale flier and binder side by side and flip through your binder to find the right coupons as you are flipping through the sale flier. Find a system what works for you and saves you time.

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Now before going out to on your first couponing trip you need to know your stores couponing policies.   Below are links to some drug stores couponing policies. If you do not see the stores you frequent often, all you need to do is google “(name of store) coupon policy”.

Rite Aid Coupon Policy

CVS Coupon Policy

Walgreens Coupon Policy

Lastly make sure you are signed up for store loyalty programs, if offered, at all the stores you shop at. Some stores only offer sale prices to members; so unless you sign up you will not get the sale price or loyalty rewards..

Now you are ready to start saving!!!

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20 Ways to Improve Your Finances in Under 20 Minutes

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