Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Beginners Beginning Guide to Couponing

Let me say, right off the bat, that most of the information here comes from a coupon workshop I just took led by Jenny Martin from Southern Savers and from the information on the website. So jump on over there and check out her easy to navigate site. (Uh, right after you read this post.) I am receiving NO compensation from Jenny or Southern Savers by writing this post.

I've been clipping coupons for my grocery shopping ever since I got married over 20 years ago. However, in the last month, I think I've realized how to save money more effectively with coupons.

Excuse me...did you just say, " I don't have time to clip coupons?"! (Yes you did. I heard you.)
That's like saying "I don't have time to save money" which we all know is just stupid. As with any new activity, you're not going to be proficient right away. It takes practice. But I betcha if you do this ONE time and save a significant amount of money, I saved $100 at the grocery store on my first try and now I can't wait to go play the "grocery game" again.

It's super simple.

You are going to maximize your savings by buying an item on sale and pairing a coupon (or two) with it. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Now if you're going to do this, here are some basic things you need to know.

  1. You need coupons.
  2. You need to know what's on sale.
  3. You can't have brand loyalty.
  4. You don't HAVE to go to a bunch of different stores to save money. (But you might want to go to more than one.)
Coupons: Find them in the Sunday paper (larger city papers have the most to offer) or online at sites like, and You can also buy coupons online. One reputable source that I'm most familiar with is The Coupon Clippers . Now why in the world would someone BUY coupons?! Yeah. I wondered that too, so I asked. Here's what Rachel from The Coupon Clippers said: "Well, because many places the newspaper costs $2.75... if someone wants, say 10 of one item (i.e., 10 packages of Marcal toilet paper), they'd have to spend $27.50 buying 10 Atlanta Journal and Constitutions.... and then do all the pulling out of the coupons and then the cutting. Whereas, they can just pay us $2.00 and we'll ship them 10 coupons for the $2 off Marcal Toilet paper. So, it saves them time and money. Instead, we buy the papers and do the cutting.

If you spend $6, you're going to save $60 at the store, if you do not double the coupon value."

Knowing what's on sale: What I love about Southern Savers is, Jenny posts the absolute best price on items. She doesn't just list items in the sale flyer, because not every item in the flyer is really on sale. She's doing the work for you.
Items are usually on sale once every 6 weeks. This is called the sale cycle. So when you find an item on sale at it's lowest price, you will buy as many as you need to last you six weeks, making sure to pair a coupon with each item. That might mean one box of cereal or three, depending on your family.

Now there are slightly less than a jillion ways to organize coupons. My favorite lazy way is to get my coupons out of the Sunday paper and write the date in marker on the front of the insert and file it in an accordion file according to month. Each week, I check Southern Savers for the grocery specials which lists the coupon needed for each item and then I go through my inserts and cut my coupons. Easy, peasy, lemon cheesy.

Hopefully, this has piqued your interest and encouraged you to TRY. It is not hard. It takes a little time and a little thought, but it is SO worth it.

If you're curious to learn more, go here for Jenny's Get Started Guide.

I'm betting the first time you save some money or actually get something FREE, you'll scoot over here and tell me and the rest of the world about it, won't you?


I thought so.


Michelle said...

I am obsessed with coupons and saving money on my grocery bill. I strive to save at least 50% on my bill between coupons and sales, and frequently do just that! I am so addicted to it. I look at it as a game!

I saw the ad for the seminar on Southern Savers and wanted to go, but it was on the same day at the same time as my birthday party.I am hoping there will be another one soon!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I have awarded you on my blog! C'mon over and see what it's all about!