Thursday, August 16, 2012

Couponing Basics

I wouldn't say that I am extreme but I don't casually use coupons either. I plan out my shopping trips (which seems to take a really long time in the beginning). I know about how much I am going to spend and on what products I want to come home with (and hopefully not much else!) I rarely impulse buy because I know how cheap I can get things on I try to stick to sales and clearance. This does get hard.

It was more difficult for me in the beginning because I wasn't used to getting things cheap. So even though I already had 2 tubes of toothpaste, I would spend $1.00 total and get 4 more tubes for $0.25 cents each! When you are talking about spending $0.50 cents on something here or there or getting things 50-75% off, it doesn't seem like much at the time but it all adds up! I try to have self control and realize that it is only a true bargain if I actually need the product or if I would have bought that product anyway (like bug spray for summer camping, or ink for the printer). Especially if the items have a far off expiration date or if they don't expire. (:

Once you start buying things, you begin to know the prices and the sale fluctuations. So although 4 tubes of Colgate toothpaste may be a good deal for another couponer or mother with 10 children, I probably don't need to spend the extra money on it because I know that sale happens often where toothpaste is free/cheap all the time.

Couponing takes a while to get used to in the beginning. When I started, I created a junk email address which is what I use for anything that I sign up for regarding coupons or company mailing lists. Depending on how much time you have, you can use various programs to get free things. There are several companies that offer online surveys in exchange for rewards or even cash. Swagbucks, etc.

Another thing about couponing is that we eat what is on sale. We are not usually brand dependent because certain brands may or may not be on sale and have coupons in the time that we need to buy more. So you have to be flexible with what pasta sauce you have for dinner and what brand deodorant you use.

Here is my favorite beginner info for coupons compiled by
  • Make sure to read and understand the coupon lingo on Day 5. This is very helpful!
  • This is a great site to keep bookmarked to find out about the latest deals, free samples, coupon postings, and couponing tips.
Don't just use coupons because you have them. I recently let an $8.00 dollar coupon expire (although it was kind of hard, I won't lie!) for razor refills that cost about $15.00-$17.00 full price. $8.00 off would be wonderful to save on a product that I was going to buy anyway. But did I really want to spend even $7.00 more dollars just to save $8.00? Nope! I checked the sales and the price never went low enough for me to feel like it was worth it. So it expired. Oh well. There will be others.

Another thing that you can do is if you are not going to use certain coupons, leave them on the shelves close to the products for another shopper. I have found coupons for items that I did not have coupons for and it was so wonderful to know that someone was kind and generous! I love to pay these little things forward. 


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