Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Top 10 Coupon Tips

1.  Think of coupons as money.  Those little pieces of paper with numbers on them really do save a lot of money if you USE them.  You would not throw money away,  why throw coupons away on things you buy and use. 

2. The easiest way to use coupons is if you have a filing system.  There are many different types of systems out there and you will need to figure out which works best for you.  My personal perference is the alphabetizing shoe box method. 
I bought a plastic shoe box either at Target or the Dollar Tree. I have plastic ABC inserts in the box. As I cut out my coupons (or pay my youngest daughter $1 an hr) I file them quickly and easily by the first letter of the product. 
Here is a picture of the dividers close up.  The coupons are a little messy at the moment but they do stay in the proper place.  I have all of my Target coupons in back and my catalinas in the front. 

3.  To save the most money, match your coupons to what is on sale each week.  Manufacturers  want you to use them right away even if the product is not on sale, but if you hold on to them for a few weeks,  the item will most likely go on sale. 
4. If you have multiple stores in  your area and the time to go to more than one,   use your coupons to buy the loss leaders at each of the stores. I often stop at 2 grocey stores and 2 drug stores depending on who has the best sale.   In this picture I pulled out the coupons I wanted to use at each store and put them in a separate paper folded in half.  It saves time at the store if you have the majority of your coupons ready.  I still take my box with me for deals that I find in the store.

5.  Many stores now have their own store coupons that  you can use WITH a manufacturer coupon.   You can find and print store coupons for Target ( Meijer (, Walgreens, (  and Rite Aid ( and more.    CVS has store coupons that print out at the store from  their coupon machine if you have and Extra Care Card.    Walgreens and Rite Aid also often print coupons in their ads that can be used with manufacturer coupons.

6. Keep your eyes open for coupons everywhere, they can turn up almost anywhere.    In addition to coupon inserts,  they can be found online,  on the store shelf,  peelies on the product, hang tags on the product,  in the box or bag, on the box or bag, in the mail, and from the register at check out.     Check out your favorite products websites and on facebook, they often have coupons that you can print.    Use coupon printing resources such as and red (both found on my website).   You can also print coupons at,  and     When shopping at your favorite stores you will often be asked to be on their mailing list.. SIGN UP because you will start receiving coupons in your email.  

7.  Another great resource for coupons are Val Paks and coupon magazines that come in the mail.  You will often find coupons for your favorite resturants,  hair salons,  oil changes and more.    Your favorite resturants also have websites and facebook pages with coupons to print before you go eat.  Join their rewards programs to have even more  coupons sent to you.  Fridays Earn More Stripes program is one of the best ones out there.  

8.   Use online coupon code sites when shopping online.   Use sites like Ebates
Shop at Home
or   to find coupon codes and to earn cash back when  you shop online

9.  Many stores now give catalina coupons when  you buy certain products each week.   Some of the catalinas are manufacturer coupons that can be used like the ones from the inserts.  The best type of catalinas are money off your next purchase.   Walgreens give Register Rewards,  Rite Aid give UP rewards,  CVS give Extra Care Bucks.   An example of of an  OYNO coupon is what I received  at Meijer this past week.  I bought 2 Gain Fabric Softener Sheets on sale for $3.99.  I had two $3 off Gain coupons, making them .99 each   Meijer had a promotion that if you bought 2 Gain products you received a $3 off your next order coupon.  I MADE money by buying those Gain products.  The only catch to this type of coupon is they usually expire in 2-4 weeks.  I consider them FREE money, so I  make sure to use them on something else that I need before they expire.

10.  Keep track of your progress.  As you see your savings grow, it makes you want to keep saving. 

I keep track in a notebook.  At the top I keep track of my grocery savings in coupons  and sales. I also keep track of my actual grocery spending. On the bottom half of the page I keep track of all other coupons at resturants, Target,  drug stores etc..     In the month of Jan.  I used $197.57 in grocery coupons and $191.67 in other coupons.    I also  earned $49.98 in catalinas that I used toward more items.   Using coupons in the month of Jan,  was like "earning"  $439.22.    Couponing is definitely worth it to me. 

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