Couponing 101

05 Jul

Written by popular demand – many have asked me “how do you do that”?  Well, here you go. (Sorry it took me forever to get it written and posted) I would not call these words of wisdom or anything, lol. Just someone who also got hooked on the show “Extreme Couponing” I watched, it intrigued and now I am running with it. It is a challenge to me, and anyone who knows me knows I love a good challenge. Each shopping trip is different and the outcome will come out different each time – as in each trip you’re going after is a different deal and it will probably be different savings – hopefully you save more and more as you keep doing it. I have 🙂 and I am determined to save 50% – 75% most of the time. I have read on several blogs now and heard anything more than that is unrealistic. It can be done – but not all the time. Most of the people on the show – those were their biggest hauls, and they will tell you that they do not always shop like that or have that much savings. It is very rare to get coupons on meat, bread, milk or produce. It is possible if you have a great store that doubles coupons with other great deals. It is a bigger challenge to me because I live in an area there is no double couponing, no small town grocery stores that offer personalized incentives like seen on the show. Everything around me is a corporate chain. However, I have still been able to snag some good deals.  Who does not like FREE toothbrushes or $0.25 tubes of toothpaste? In addition, if you live in an area like mine with no special incentives – you will be able to save too. Even if you just save 10% – 20% – that is something, right? A penny saved is a penny earned!! Do not get discouraged when you first go out. You have to learn all the lingo and tricks and that comes in time. Besides reading blogs, I did not have anyone to coach me through this. No friend who personally took me out there and showed me the ropes. Like most I did not even know this was possible to save like this. I did not know all the rules. Like staking coupons (when you use a store coupon like Target with a manufacture coupon, kinda like a double savings) I can’t believe all I have missed out on.

Couponing is simple really, and you can also start anytime, there are no membership fees, it is not required to start on the first of the month. However, it is time consuming. I will not lie. I already have a busy life. Some days I can get by with a slower day, however most days I need a few extra hours to help get stuff done, especially with my kids out of school for the summer, (if couponing isn’t hard enough, I have to master this with three kids in tow) and now I’ve added something that consumes an extra couple hours a day I already didn’t have, but really who needs sleep? LOL 🙂 If you want something bad, enough you go for it. In addition, I want to save my family money!!! Some may think wow that  is a little extreme for me, but really I’ve got it all set up that I can read the deals and get the links to the good coupons all on my facebook. I do not have to go to 20 websites a day. I have become VERY addicted to couponing. I went shopping this morning and really, I could go out again to snag more great deals. The satisfaction I get when coming home with stuff I did not pay full price for and find room in my now awesome stockpile is amazing to me. A lot of the work is already done for me – all the deals and matchups are done for me. (When I say “matchups” those are when you take the current ad and sales and match them up with the current coupons out there). This itself saves a lot of time. If you start to “like” all your favorite products and other couponers on facebook – your wall will be filled with deal after deal…however sometimes it gets a little hard to see my “real” friend’s posts. Facebook is a GREAT place to get coupons and deals though. I would suggest start to “like” various products that you buy a lot. They do not all offer coupons and promotions all the time, but when they do they are usually big. Bounty gave away $5 coupons each Friday in June to the first 10,000 or whatever people who clicked the link and filled out the info form when they went “LIVE”. Pantene just gave away 100,000 coupons FREE BIG bottles of their products.

Coupons online aka, Internet Coupons are for the most part are reset the first of the month. Certain ones get reset and become available again – another great reason to like other couponers because they will post the links to these new coupons. So make sure to get online on the first – the good ones go fast sometimes and feel free to try different zip codes – like 90210 lol. You will also have to install a “coupon printer” – if you stay on the recommended sites, they are safe! However, make sure, before you print that you will use them within a timely manner. They do not say expiration dates on them until after you print…but most are good until the end of that month. Ink costs are high so make sure you weigh out the savings vs. ink/paper costs. In addition, black and white coupons are accepted they do not have to be color so change your printer settings. (I did not know this until recently) This will help with cost too. Most of the coupons have a 2-coupon limit per computer. Therefore, if you have five computers like we do you could print up to 10 of each coupon – if you needed to. I do not have a wireless printer so I really only have two computers that have access to my printer. I print a few coupons off online, but I typically stick to the Sunday paper inserts, clipping service and eBay. (eBay is also great to get rare hard to find coupons, or even higher value than what you got. In my paper, I received $1 off two boxes of cereal and on eBay, I found $1.50 off two, much better savings) I also use a clipping service as well. You can always trade coupons. Many of the coupon bloggers have a “trade section” that I have used (I clip EVERY coupon that comes to me for this reason) When I have enough people reading this I will try to set one up. Alternatively, you can trade with friends and family. One of the biggest things is you need to be willing to try different products. It seems that most of my products I like only issue small coupons like $0.25. I love Tide…I have used Tide for years and have such sensitive skin and a history of allergic reactions I am scared to try other detergents. I may if something is cheap enough. I just have to wait until a really great sale or I can stake a coupon of higher value with it. I have now bought different brands of razors instead of the one kind my husband typically uses because I got them for close to nothing ($2.00, $0.99 and this week I am going for FREE)!!. I will continue to post helpful links on here later (like sale cycles, bottom line prices, and store policies). I have dragged my feet for to long on this blog I want to get it posted. I have started so many times and each time I sit down to type, I have new thoughts, or a different way to word it that I have typed this 10 different times now. I hope that what I am saying makes some sense. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer them. Especially if I am talking in a circle and not really getting my point across to make you understand what I am saying. 🙂

Here is the step by step on what to do now:

  • Subscribe to your Sunday newspaper if you do not already. Most do not know but subscribers get their coupons first. So if there is limited stock on coupons on any given week the ones sitting in the stores or coin machines are last to get inserts in the papers. It is said that you should get one paper for every family member. I have five members – I get at least five papers every week, unless there are no coupon inserts (there are inserts every week unless it is a holiday weekend, also you can go to to find out what is supposed to come out that week. Please note NOT all areas get the same coupons and inserts). I currently get one paper delivered every week and that is about to change. I am tired of running to Wal-Mart every Sunday to grab more papers and wasting gas, AND I have pay tax on those papers. We do not have coin machines here. Thanks Florida 🙂 If you call or email your paper, they will most likely offer a multiple copy discount on your papers. Mine cost $2 a piece and got an email today that said if I prepay for 13 weeks in advance they are $1 each. So I will call them to set that up…it is like a B1G1 (buy one get one, none as a BOGO)! HOWEVER, BEFORE you subscribe…make sure your paper gets coupons (some do not), and has decent ones. If it does not like example the P&G (Proctor & Gamble) coupons are in select areas. You can do a couple different things. One is look at the coupon preview…I have several on facebook who post the links days in advance. You can ask a friend or family member in an area that gets good coupons to buy a bunch for you and you send them the money for the papers and postage. ALTERNATIVELY, you can buy only the coupons you need off a clipper site (they sell whole inserts and just clipped coupons), or eBay. If you purchase off a clipper site or eBay make sure you get those coupons in time if you are trying to score big on a current sale and of course, before they expire. If relying on a friend/family that does not coupon make sure, they know it is time sensitive and those coupons have to be put in the mail that Monday!!  In addition, if you buy from a clipping service or eBay check that they are reputable. Good feedback for eBay sellers is necessary. DO NOT over pay for the coupons either. If you are paying $0.75 for each $1.00, coupon that is not much of a savings. and are my two go to sites for clipping. You pay per coupon for these vs. having to buy 10 or 20 (eBay) of one coupon and that is only good if you need that many.
  • Next is “like” your favorite stores or any stores in your area that you would consider shopping. Your favorite hair care products, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, body wash, salad dressing, etc etc etc. I cannot think of any company or product that does not have a facebook page at this point. When I have gone searching I have found what I am looking for, and you can go through friends who coupon as well and “like” their favs.
  • Add these pages to your facebook – The Krazy Coupon Lady, Save the Coupons, Klippin Krazy! These three ALL post the match ups for that week. They do not do any of my grocery stores, but they do Walgreen’s, CVS, and Rite Aid. As well as Target, Wal-Mart, and Kmart. They all have blogs and post their links onto facebook. All their sites are VERY useful. I will try to keep up as they do and just repeat the posts on here. I would read all their matchups. Sometimes they all have different deals. I have many others who are also great under my “likes” that I would suggest you add as well. If you don’t like them you can always “unlike”. You can also check out sites like (CVS), (Walgreen’s), (Rite Aid), (Wal-Mart) and (Target) these sites have past, present and future ads. (Helpful to know that this week is a good deal and not better next week or even available again next week). You need to read the blogs of the extreme couponers from the show – the link is bookmarked to the right. They all have favorite sites, advice, and most if not all have their own sites. Ask anyone else you know who coupons for advice and tips.
  • I have not shopped CVS in years, and never shopped Walgreen’s but you will find most of the best deals here for stockpiling. (toothbrushes, mouth wash, toothpaste, shampoo, etc) Get an Extra Care card (CVS) if you do not already. In addition, the Up Card (Rite Aid, I think that is what it is called, I do not have those here) Walgreen’s does not offer a card. (Which I love, they can’t limit me to just one item, which I hate) Also I’ve read that Rite Aid offers survey’s on their receipts or something and if you do those you get money back…so survey away 🙂 I will post a 101 guide to these stores soon! They can be tricky with all their rules. Check out their websites as well…they have their own coupons on there. I know CVS and Walgreen’s do – unsure about Rite Aid. Also Walgreen’s has a coupon book that comes out each month that is located in the front of the store with their sales flyers. Pick one up and look through – GREAT for stacking coupons 🙂 I got Carefree panty liners free a couple weeks ago, and big bags of M&M’s for $1 this week.
  • Do not write off any of your grocery stores! Before learning this, I did all my shopping at Target and for what I couldn’t get there Wal-Mart. BUT neither of those offer the great deals the grocery stores do like B1G1’s or 10 for 10’s. Look at all the sales – if you do not get them in your mail then go to their websites like, Food Lion has had great sales on cereal lately. If you do not have their store loyalty cards then get them. I HATE shopping at Kmart, however they have a rewards card and you get points for everything you buy…so if you have a decent and clean one in your area then go at it. I have also read recently they double coupons up to $0.99 and every once in a while they double up to $2. You have to look and see if they are participating in your area because it is not all of them. Mine shockingly does, however mine is just gross. So dirty and nasty. It is going to take one heck of a great deal to get me back in there. Go to your grocery stores websites – mine have coupons on there that can be loaded to your store loyal cards – they are called e-coupons. When you purchase the products and the card is swiped the discounts come off. Food Lion is great for this because if you don’t get the P&G coupons they have them available on their site. However, that only works if they have awesome sales on those items. Target also has a nice BIG selection of coupons on their site – scroll to the bottom of their home page. A lot of times they go with current coupons and then do a price cut. So wonderful if you have a Super Target by you too 🙂
  • Get a binder and the sport card pages (I will post a picture of mine) start getting organized! Make it, your own and create categories and make it something you will feel comfortable carrying around. Once you get it put together – take it everywhere you go. I refused in the beginning to carry that big heavy, attention getter everywhere, but then I was out, needed a coupon, and guess what? I did not have it. 😦 If you are going to take this serious, you better start looking like it. LOL I do not care who looks at me now…dare say something! If you are looking for category ideas go here – this is what I have and it is working great. I have them in sheet protectors and created my own with the stores I shop in the back – also added binder tabs.
  • VERY IMPORTANT – after you get your binder together you want to print out every store you shop at – coupon policy. If a cashier ever changes you, you want to know you are right. Please read over the policies. Do not just print and stick in the binder…lol. I will post links to these as well. Some of the stores do not have them available on their websites (why, I do not know but it is stupid) over the course of time, people have emailed for those policies and then posted them online. When I get those posted – if I do not include your store – please let me know and I can try to locate if for you! I also keep price matching policies handy like Wal-Mart and Target for that just in case incident 🙂 When reading over the coupon policies watch the wording, and what coupons they accept. (Competitors, stacking, overage, how they treat BOGO’s). No stores here except Wal-Mart allow overage. Example – if you have a $2 off coupon but the product is only $0.97. Wal-Mart will allow the $1.03 overage to go towards the rest of your bill or even cash back. Target will change the coupon to $0.97 and that is that. These coupons are known as “money makers” They are wonderful if you can get them. I had some last month for ANY Dial soap…I bought the trial size and for each of the 45 coupons I had for Dial soap I made $1.03 🙂 Nice right?
  •  BE HONEST! If the coupon states buy two of at least 40 count…then do not try and buy one 20 count. It is known as coupon fraud! If you are not caught the first time, you will eventually. Not to mention the stores do not make their money off the coupons if they do not sell what they are supposed to. The registers are pretty smart and good at pointing out those things too. Last thing you want to do is feel like an idiot. During the checkout process you are going to be wanting to pay attention to EVERY coupon that is being taken off. Make sure they are ringing up correctly, and that they aren’t missing any. Sometimes they stick together – especially the internet ones.

Stay tuned  – I will be continuing to work on this blog…keeping you all up to date and posting various helpful links and things to help you become more successful at extreme coupoining.

Happy Couponing 🙂

1 Comment

Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Couponing 101


One response to “Couponing 101

  1. Bonita

    July 5, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    For Grocery store match ups you can go to coupon divas…They have match ups for CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Food Lion, Publix, and a bunch of other Grocery stores. They are on Riane’s page and mine as well.

    Good Job Hooker…cant wait to read more…lol


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