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Couponing 101: How to coupon (and save money) like an expert

Are you a couponing novice? If you're on the outside looking in, the world of extreme couponing can seem a little strange and overwhelming. Those on the inside though know a little time spent couponing each week can bring great rewards and a much happier wallet.

Even if you've never touched a coupon in your life, or just remember your mom clipping coupons when you were a kid, a few tips can help you start saving a little more each month. Here's how to coupon like the best of them.

 

Couponing basics

There are two different ways to coupon: digitally and traditionally. Try both. See which one you find more convenient and works well for your shopping style. If you always shop at one store, your might prefer coupons through the store's app, too. Use whichever method (or both) that helps you save money.

 

How should you organize paper coupons?

If you are using coupons you've printed at home, or clipped from store or newspaper flyers, They will only help you if you use them. You'll need to be able to see what you have and when they expire so you can save the most money.

  • An accordion coupon keeper organized by category (or by expiration date)

  • A large binder devoted to her coupons so everything is visible

  • A dollar-store photo album – they offer more slots than a coupon folder and make it easy to organize your coupons

  • A filing bin that holds all your coupons and you sort and select them before going to the store

Key couponing takeaway: While there is no one right way, find the technique that will enable them to be helpful and handy.

 

How much time should you spend couponing?

It depends on how much you want to get out of it. Expert coupon clippers can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours a week scouting out deals and organizing their coupons.

That can be a real time commitment, but online success stories show how worth it that time can be. Consider, too, how much your time is worth so that you are getting the most out of your efforts.

 

Where can you find coupons?

The Sunday papers are one of your best bets. If you don't plan to subscribe, ask a neighbor or coworker to save theirs for you. Couponers are always willing to share what they don't use, so if you have coupons you are not using, be sure to share them with others.

In addition, check out those offers in the mail that usually go straight to the recycling bin, and stay on top of the offers for store-specific loyalty programs.

Couponing websites are also a good source for print-at-home coupons:

You can also find more specific coupons based on your shopping preferences with a simple online search. Do also check out the websites of the stores you frequent. Many will make new coupons available each week.

 

Couponing apps help you save digitally

With digital couponing, you can also find extra savings through the mobile apps for the stores you shop the most. Check out these national chains, or download the apps for the stores in your community.

Kasasa fully supports shopping local whenever possible to help create strong, sustainable local economies. Please consider signing up for a membership card at your local grocer to support your local businesses and still save money.

Don't overlook couponing groups on social media. This may give you added savings that are worth the follow.

If you shop primarily online, take advantage of cash-back apps, such as Rakuten. If you are specifically looking for ways to save money at the grocery store, you can find links to cash-back apps that might also help save you money. Your internet browser may also have plug-ins that automatically load cash-back tools when you visit websites that partner with the cash-back companies.

 

7 couponing pro tips

That pretty much covers the basics of how to coupon, but extreme couponers pick up some more advanced tips. Here are a few pro-tips for more advanced couponing.

  1. Subscribe to multiple Sunday newspapers and make use of multiple computers.
    The appeal of extra newspapers is not too hard to see, multiple newspapers mean more coupons to clip each week. Be sure to factor in the cost of the subscriptions compared to your store savings.

  2. Print online coupons from multiple IP addresses.
    The computers require a little more explanation: some coupon websites place a limit on how many coupons you can print out from one IP address, so using multiple computers helps you get around that limit. If you don't have multiple computers, see if your friends are willing to let you use theirs. Or check with your boss if it's okay to print some from the office.

  3. Pre-game before every grocery trip.
    Make your grocery list first, and then collect all the coupons you can find for items on the list. Make sure you have the list and the relevant coupons ready before you make your trip.

  4. Calculate how much you expect to spend.
    If you have that list prepared and your coupons collected, you can use them to get a pretty clear idea of what you'll be spending on your trip. With that number in mind, you'll be able to catch it if one of the coupons gets overlooked during checkout.

  5. Use both store and manufacturer coupons.
    You can even often use the two combined on one item for extra savings.

  6. Don't take for granted that every coupon is a good deal.
    There's a difference between a good deal and an item that’s just a little cheaper. Don't just look at the amount saved, look at what you're getting for what you're spending. Calculate the cost per ounce or item. You might find buying a larger quantity of ibuprofen saves you more per pill than using a coupon for the smaller size. Also, if you are happy with an off-brand our house-brand, you can skip the coupon and possibly save more.

  7. Develop a routine.
    This is the best way to stick with anything new you try. Figure out your system and sit down to it once a week. The more you do it, the better you'll get at finding the best savings efficiently. If you have time, meal plan around store sales to increase your savings.

  8. Don't leave your coupons at home!
    Maybe this one's less of a pro-tip, but it's still super important and worth a quick mention. All that coupon clipping won't count for anything if they don't make it to the store with you.

 

Bonus couponing tips

Get couponing tips wherever you find them. Ask friends and neighbors where they find the best prices locally on meat, staples, and even fuel. Get the family involved and have kids use their math skills to find the best price. Using coupons takes a bit of time, but there's nothing wrong with saving a bit of money.

Tags: Budgeting, Spending