How to Coupon

Grocery shopping with coupons is one of the easiest ways to save money. Without much effort, you can cut $10–20 off your grocery bill a week just by doing the basics. That means you realistically can save thousands of dollars a year!

Getting Started

Now that you’ve decided to take the coupon plunge, here’s what you’ll need to begin:

  • Sunday newspaper - this is the most common source of coupon inserts. Most weeks have one or two inserts but once a month there may be up to four inserts. You don’t have to subscribe so just plan on picking up one (or more) each week for your local store or gas station. Learn more about Sunday coupon inserts.
  • Coupon organizer - a binder, folders, envelopes. This is often personal preference so use whatever you have available.
  • Local grocery store - you’ll need a place to use your coupons so hopefully you have a grocery store nearby. You’ll want to research each stores coupon policy to find the most consumer friendly (e.g. How many duplicate coupons can be used? Do they double coupons up to $1.00?)
  • Computer, printer and Internet access - Online coupons are readily available and completely free to print. This can be a secondary source of coupons to compliment coupon inserts. You can only print two copies of each coupon per computer (hint: use multiple computers).
  • Friends or coworkers - Anyone who likes to coupon can be a great source to exchange coupons.

When to Use Your Coupons

Timing and patience are the two keys to maximizing your coupon savings. Don’t just use them as soon as you print or clip them. Instead review your grocery stores sales each week to find items that are on sale and you have coupons for.

Stacking coupons on top on store sales can lead to huge savings. Some stores will also send you store coupons that can be used with the manufacturer coupons you get from inserts or print online.

Be sure to also research local drug store flyers as well since places like Walgreens and CVS have great deals on select items each week.

Building your stockpile

Couponers committed to maximizing their savings will often end up buying the same item multiple times. This approach often leads to the collection of a coupon “stockpile.” Stockpiles mostly contain non-perishable items but some people will use extra refrigerators and freezers to store their loot.

Extreme Couponing

An introduction to couponing can’t be complete anymore without a mention of extreme couponing. This term rose to popularity with the Amercian television show of the same name. the show documented shoppers using coupons to purchase hundreds of dollars of groceries for pennies.

Unfortunately this reality show is not as real as it appears. The couponers on the show have been accused of committing coupon fraud by using counterfeit coupons and breaking store coupon policies.

Most episodes also don’t address how the people obtain dozens of copies of the same coupon. It seems that some have questionable or possibly illegal methods for collecting coupon insets in bulk.

Learning More

We’ve written lots of articles about couponing so be sure to read through them when you are ready to learn more.

• Published: March 24, 2013
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