Monday, May 30, 2011

How to coupon - a refresher course on my 101's

Getting coupons
  • Online: Install the coupon printer... you will be prompted to install it if it is not already on your computer. It uses cookies, but that is to prevent coupon fraud. Many people dont like to install them thinking it is collecting personal data. What it collects is how many times you have printed a specific coupon and stops you after hitting your limit. You can use multiple computers though to get more prints. I have a list of places you can print coupons from on the left hand side of my blog. Of course when I post a deal you will be directed to a link of where to print that coupon from.
  • Sunday Newspaper: You can get up to 6 Orlando Sentinels delivered to your home (currently for only $6.67 after a $10 Publix Gift Card - Expires June 6th when rates increase.) Request the El Sentinel (Saturdays) and you will get an extra set of coupons. Go Recycling for Sunday coupon inserts (it is legal in most areas to dig through recycle bins, call and ask if you are unsure.) Ask neighbors for their inserts when they are done with them.
  • Magazines: Get all of the free magazines you can. You dont have to read them, just glance through for the coupons. There are a lot of baby coupons in the free parenting magazines that your pediatrician gives you free subscriptions to.. those welcome kits, ya know.
  • FREE Samples: I often post FREE Sample offers. These samples often come with high-value coupons, so sign up every time. Create a secondary email account for all of your samples and freebies. NEVER EVER EVER EVER give out your real email address to anyone but family and work.
  • Email the company/go to their website: You know you want a specific product, go to their website, go to their facebook, then email them praising them for their product and (dont skirt the issue) ASK for coupons... DO NOT FORGET to leave your name and address. 
  • Junk mail: high-value manufacturer coupons have started to appear in junk mailers, so be sure to look before you toss
  • On products: look in and on the packaging of the products that you buy for special loyalty coupons
Getting Organized!
  • Using Envelopes: This is the method I used when I first got started. You would simply make an envelope for each of the categories you have coupons for (beauty products, baby products, pet food, laundry & dish, personal care, etc.) Then store the envelopes in a plastic tub. That inevitably leads to the accordion file.
  • Accordion File: This is part of the method I use now! You can purchase the small wallet-sized ones or the larger paper size one.
  • Box or a single file: My favorite way to store an insert, the WHOLE insert.... I take my stack of inserts each week and make a single mega insert for each (RP, SS, V, PG) Then when I make my weekly matchups and use the coupon database, I know exactly which insert on which date I will find my coupons and they will be ready for me to clip 8 at a time. With this method you are not clipping coupons you might not use... you also wont have to sort through your coupons to figure out if they are expired.
  • Coupon Binder: made by using a trading card holder, organize by category, alphabetically, by expiration date. CON - You miss out on some high valued coupons you might not generally clip, things that could be free or even give you overage on other items.
  • MULTIPLE Organizers. I use the file system for my inserts, the accordian foor my clipped coupons and a little coupon clutch for what I use all the time (coffee creamer, cereal, freebie coupons) and for current trips.
Get shopping!
  • Check the Ads: Sit down with your local grocery ads and see what is on sale. Try and plan your meals for the week around what is on sale. Now... 
  • SCREW THE ADS - there are many sites that GIVE YOU the weekly run down WITH the coupon matchups! *For the things you need to search for use a database like the one HERE (look for the drop down on the menu bar)
  • Coupon Match-Up: Obviously the best scenario is to get something on sale and use a coupon for it! There are many coupon databases available. You type in the TYPE or brand of product you want, all the possible coupons that are current and in use pop up. Print straight from there or search your inserts. 
  • Write a List: Writing a list will make your shopping trip easy, and keep you from impulsive shopping. You know exactly where things are in your store and you are less likely to browse! Several of the website I link to use a click and print format. Click the items you are interested in and at the bottom you can click print nad you get a personalized list of ONLY the items you want WITH the coupon matchups!
Get Stockpiling!
  • Find a Place to Store: Designate a place, cabinet, etc. to store the extras you will buy. If you have a designated place, it will help keep you organized and keep you from being stressed out about where you will store your extras when you get home.
  • Find the Best Price: Each week when the ads come out, sit down with them and see if something you frequently buy is on sale and then see if there is a coupon that matches up to it. If there is, that’s the time to STOCKPILE! 
Other Stockpiling Tips - 

  • Do Not Stockpile Noodles: Unless you have the room to freeze them a few days and then keep them in the refrigerator, just keep a couple of boxes on hand, They seem to go on sale every other week. If you have ever had weevils, you will never again stockpile noodles.
  • DONATE: Every few months (or weeks if you are a crazy couponer) go through your stockpile and what you haven't used at all in the past 3 months, donate the oldest half. You can give it to a shelter or a church or a friend in need... even friends NOT in need... just make sure there are no weevils. 
Other 101's I have posted -

Portraits for Cheap - 101

Coupon Fraud - 101
Coupon Fraud - 102
My Coupon Sites - 101
Coupon Stacking - 101
Starting to Coupon - 101
Stockpiling 101
Organizing 101
Walgreens - unraveled - (101)
Rebates - 101
Budgeting Basics - a 101
Couponing 101 - for the organized couponer...
Coupon Printing 101

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