Couponing Crash Course

how to get started with your couponing
step one: gather your information using sunday ads or websites based on your location: my personal favorite,  thekrazycouponlady posts nationwide sales, freebies2deals is especially good for UT. it’s a good idea to look into a few different sites to see which one you like best. also brands will post coupons on facebook or on their site as advertised on e-newsletters. a couponing email address is an especially good way to gather this research without clogging up your personal inbox.
step two: gather your coupons by subscribing to a sunday newspaper (multiple copies is highly recommended depending on the size of your household). you may want to wait for a good subscription deal or call the newspaper for a good deal of the sunday paper.
step three: organize the coupons based on your lifestyle and when you have time
note: you will need to have time to coupon well.
time-at-home shopper: some people have a lot of time to coupon and research but not a lot of time at the store (maybe you have kids with you) so they can be more organized when they go shopping. for these shoppers, I recommend researching online on a regular or daily basis and then going to the store with the minimum coupons you need for the sales you have found.
this is what I’m doing now with a baby.
you moms know how crazy it is shopping with an infant who is squirming around. I go into the store with a list and get out as soon as I can.
time-at-the-store shopper: some people shop for therapy and shop for a long time but do not have time to plan out their trips; for these shoppers, I recommend bringing all/most of your coupons with you in case you come across a sale that you did not realize was available. depending on your current schedule and demands, you will probably fall somewhere between the two types so tailor your own shopping schedule and organization to meet your needs.
 step four: know your prices and value of your purchases
most drugstores mark up prices compared to big box retailers. this is why, before couponing, you probably never considered buying shampoo, lotion and toothpaste from the drugstores. however, with coupons and sales you can now buy things for 50% off easily. but you should know what a good deal is. a comparison to the generic brands of walmart or target is a good way to start. you know that the cheap brand of shampoo is about $2 so when you can get a really high quality shampoo for that amount or less, that’s when you make the purchase! a lot of sites post the value of what they bought. the value of anything is what we place on it. one blogger might say that she bought a pack of disposable razors for only $3 that were originally $10. but they are worth $0 to you if you never use disposable razors. consider every item’s true value in your own book and don’t take someone else’s word. couponing is about timing more than anything. it is about “aligning the stars” to have a great sale, coupon (that is not expired!) and possibility of getting store rewards. as with anything, it takes time and patience but can be well worth the effort.
The best couponed item is the free one!

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