How to Coupon

Where can I find deals?

I’m gonna give you some websites to visit…first set are blogs run by people who do this everyday, they have blogs that will teach you how to do it and they are all a little different, key is to find the way you like to do it – and yes it can be done but don’t think you can do this your first time out. It will take some time to get used to.

Blogs

www.southernsavers.com
www.livingrichwithcoupons.com
http://www.coupongeek.net/
http://thekrazycouponlady.com/
http://www.thefrugalgirls.com/
http://www.raininghotcoupons.com/
http://couponconnections.com/

Visit these sites often throughout the day – they post deals all day long with printable coupons. I visit them at least four times a day. Some of them also have a place where you can look at deals by store, check off what you want to buy, tells you which coupons were available to match up with that item and then you can print the list. I used Southern Savers the most.

Where can I get extra coupons?

These next set of sites are coupon clipping services. Yes I buy coupons to supplement what I get from friends, neighbors, my local recycling plant – why? b/c coupons are different ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. The west coast has the best coupons.

You can buy whole inserts or just buy single coupons for products you know you might buy –

www.4u2coupon.com (they are the best – coupons from 3 different parts of the country, also they are the cheapest for whole inserts)

http://couponcarryout.com/
http://www.couponsthingsbydede.com/
http://www.thecouponclippers.com/
http://www.westcoastcouponclipping.com/

You’d be surprised who doesn’t use the coupons in their Sunday paper and you could get them for free from people. Worse anyone can say is no – or even if they use some and not all – tell them you want what they don’t use.

All of the blogs will point you to the places you can print coupons online – redplum, coupons.com, smartsource and catalina.

I had to upgrade to a binder recently and its made my life much easier…remember it does take time – you have to cut, sort and browse websites…but its worth it. I will have to take some pictures of my stockpile so you guys can see it.

How to care for your stockpile

Basics

  • Rotate by expiration date: When lining up products, put the ones with the soonest expiration date near the front and the farthest away dates in the back.
    • Tip: Write expiration/ use by date on the front of the items with a marker for easier reference.
  • Keep it close: When possible, keep parts of your stockpile close to where you use it. Keep toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, toilet paper, and shampoo in the bathroom, food products in and around the kitchen, etc. That way, when you run out of an item, a replacement is within easy reach.
  • Ideally, keep your stockpile in a cool, dry area.

Locations

Not everyone has a climate controlled garage, a large walk-in pantry and a multitude of cabinets. Check out below for ideas:

Small Spaces
If you’re low on extra space, consider these locations:
  • Under beds & cribs (in locking totes for the latter)
  • Below sinks
  • Shelving above the washer & dryer
  • Under tables & desks
  • Storage cubes in tall bookshelves
  • Porch or balcony
  • Garage
  • In suitcases
  • Tall dressers
  • Over-the-Door hanging shoe organizers
    • These are great for small items like hair ties, unopened razors, trial size items, and fingernail polish
  • Small set of drawers for couch or bedside table
  • Peg board/ hooks
    • Great for anything that hangs– packages of batteries, razors, cough drops, pens, cotton swabs, etc.
  • Linen, coat, and bedroom closets

Space-Saving Tips

  • Buy concentrated detergents and cleaning supplies
  • Take products out of cardboard boxes to pack more items into limited spaces
  • Use a trunk as a coffee table and small set of drawers for couch or bedside table
Shelving
Having or installing shelving in the areas mentioned is a great way to optimize your stockpile space. I bought my shelving at a yard sale.  But you can check plenty of places to get it.

Climate Consideration

Cold
In cold climates, storing food in a garage can be difficult because of the damaging effects of freezing. Stockpile things such as paper towels, plastic cups and utensils, razors, floss, and toothbrushes in locations that may freeze.
Hot/Humid
Hot temperatures (above 85 degrees Fahrenheit) cause foods to spoil and some liquids to congeal. If at all possible, always keep food indoors where it is cool and dry. Keep your stockpile out of direct sunlight.

What are some of your stockpiling storing hints & recommendations? What works best for you and your climate? We want to know, so comment below! :)

Coupon Organization

Amassing a large quantity of coupons does little good if you don’t have a method for organizing them, so read on for a few tips to help get you started.

Organization Options

1) Accordion Style Coupon File– You can find these wallet style coupon files at stores such as Walmart and Target for under $5. These files allow you to sort your coupons by the categories of your choice and are often small and easy to carry with you to the store. These work great if you don’t have a large number of coupons in your stash.
2) Coupon Box – You can make your own coupon box using a recipe box or other small storage container and your choice of dividers and/or envelopes.
3) Professional Coupon Organizing Systems – There are several pre-packaged coupon organizing systems available online and in stores
4) Clip/Print As You Go – If you are utilizing blogs like this one when preparing your grocery lists each week, the location of each coupon will be spelled out for you. All that you have to do is know where to go to find the coupon.
5) Coupon Binder – Coupon binders are exactly as they sound…binders with page protectors that store all of your coupons in one place. I personally LOVE my coupon binder when it is up to date. The hard part for me is keeping it current.

What (Sometimes) Works for Me

As I just mentioned, I used a regular old coupon file for several years. As my use of coupons grew, I found that I grew out of my file. It ended up being stuffed too full and started to tear. After doing some research online, I decided to give the coupon binder a try.

I went to Target when back to school items were on sale and purchased a binder. I also purchased the inserts that you file baseball cards in. I had a hard time finding these in my Target…and I ended up finding them not in the office supplies but up in the front of the store near the registers with all of the sports memorabilia type stuff. Because these were a little pricey, I only bought one pack and decided to make it work (Note: check eBay for a better price on these). I already had regular page protectors at home, which I figured I could also use to file store coupons and other miscellaneous items.

As for my pages, I do try to file like coupons on the same page, using one page per category. Here are the rough categories that I came up with for my binder, with these coupons being filed in the baseball card style pages:

– Snacks
– Breakfast
– Beverages
– Dairy Items (ex: cheese, yogurt)
– Meat
– Frozen Foods
– Boxed/Canned Goods
– Condiments/Sauces
– Household
– Health
– Miscellaneous Household (ex: batteries, lightbulbs)
– Beauty
– Paper
– Baking

– Store

You can see an example of these pages here:

Note: I do end up having to fold most of my coupons to make them fit

In terms of keeping my binder up to date, I try to go through once a month and pull out the coupons that either have expired or will be expiring soon. The last week of the month is when I usually do this. It is easier if I clip my coupons every week and file them.

I personally do not take my binder with me to the store. I am a planner, so I always take a detailed list to the store with me. That means I am able to pull the coupons that I plan to use for each shopping trip and I put them in an envelope (Tip: save money and use the envelopes that come with your bills if you pay bills online like me!) labeled with each store name.

Yes, that means that sometimes I don’t have a great coupon on hand if I see an unadvertised deal that I didn’t know about. But I figure that I can always go back to the store to get the item (with my coupon) if it is that great of a deal. Plus this helps me stick to my list (and budget).

Top Tips

  • Start slow. Couponing can be very overwhelming. Invest in computer and printer to print coupons online.
  • Know your stores coupon policy. The more you know, the less issues you’ll come across, if any. Print it out and take it with you in case you run into any issues.
  • Be organized. Organization is the key to saving money using coupons and a faster checkout. Possibly invest in a coupon binder or simple envelopes to store your coupons. Do whatever makes things easier for you!
  • Plan ahead. Go through your weekly ads before you head out to the store. I go through my weekly ads searching for the hot deals I have coupons for and circle them.
  • Only cut out the coupons you need, want and will use. Don’t waste time and ink cutting and printing out coupons you won’t use.
  • Double/Triple coupons. Does a store near your double or even triple coupons? Find out that way you can take full advantage of these extra savings.
  • Pricematch. Stores like Walmart will price ALL competitor ads in your local area. Plus, use a coupon on top of the pricematch for even sweeter savings!
  • Grab a raincheck. If you store has run out an item on sale during a certain week, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens as well as many grocery stores will write you a raincheck. Plus, use a coupon on top of the raincheck for even sweeter savings!
  • Build your stockpile. Coupons can often equal FREE stuff at the register, so start a stockpile lasting you about 6-8 weeks that way won’t have to worry about running of stuff. Amazing deals don’t last forever but don’t over do it!
  • Donate stuff. If you’re able to score an item you don’t need or use for FREE, why don’t give it to someone who can use it. It’s an awesome way to give back to your community and others in need. You’ll feel great you did so!
  • DO NOT EVER COPY COUPONS. It is against the law. Fraud of this time holds hefty fines and possible jail time.

 When to buy Cereals

  • At the beginning of the year, you’ll find a lot of the diet and healthy cereals on sale — like Special K and Kashi, for all the New Year resolutions. January is also National Oatmeal month.
  • February is National Hot Breakfast month. During this time, you’ll find a lot of oatmeal, cream of wheat, and grits coupons & sale promotions.
  • June is national dairy month, so there will some good prices on milk, and therefore cereal. Keep a look out for promotions like “Buy 4 cereals, get a free gallon of milk Catalina”.
  • September is National Breakfast month. In ads you’ll find a lot of kids cereals on sale during August/ September saying things like, “Start your kids’ day off right by eating breakfast!” Back to School specials will usually include Cheerios, Life, Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc.
  • In November and December, you’ll find great deals on cereals like Chex and Crispix that are great for holiday party mixes.

Stock up prices for cereal should be $1.00 or under for larger boxes (17 oz +) and more expensive types (e.g. Post Selects, Kashi GoLean Crunch, etc). Aim for $0.50 or under for common varieties under 16 oz (e.g. Cheerios, Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc).

Also be on the lookout for these extras:

  • Mail-in Rebates: Look for specially marked boxes that offer mail-in rebates, free gas cards or movie tickets when you buy participating cereals.
  • Try Me Free! New cereals will sometimes offer a “free after rebate” just for trying the cereal. For the cost of a stamp, you can sample the newest flavors and mixes!
  • Peelies: Some cereals will have peelies that offer savings on that box or a corresponding product, like fresh fruit or milk.
  • Free Samples: Sign up for free cereal samples from your favorite companies when they come around. Not only will you get a complimentary bowl full, they’ll almost always send a coupon for your next box!

Coupon Abbreviations

BOGO: Buy one, get one.  Will usually end with “free” or “half off” meaning buy one, get one half off, or buy one get one free.

EXP: Expires or Expiration Date.

KCL: Krazy Coupon Lady, refers to TheKrazyCouponLady.com.

MFR: Manufacturer.

MIR: Mail in Rebate, refers to rebates which must be submitted by mail.  These are the traditional rebates that require you to mail in both your receipt and proof of purchase in the form of UPC barcodes.

OOP: Out-of-Pocket, refers to the amount of money you will pay a store to make your purchase.  Does not include after-purchase savings, coupons or rebates.

OYNO: On Your Next Order.  Store promotions such as Spend $25, save $10 on your next shopping order.  OYNO refers to savings that you will not see on your first transaction but that may be applied to your next purchase.

P&G or PG: Procter and Gamble. Procter and Gamble puts out monthly coupon inserts (brands include Always, Bounty, Crest, Dawn, Gillette, Olay, Pampers, Tide, etc). Procter and Gamble does not authorize printable Internet coupons.

Q: Coupon.  This abbreviation is not used on TheKrazyCouponLady.com.

RP: Red Plum.  Red Plum coupon inserts and website feature coupons from a variety of manufacturers.

RR: Register Rewards.  Walgreens drugstore rewards program, a version of the catalina coupon.

SCR:  Single Check Rebate, Rite Aid Drugstore monthly rebate program.

SS: Smart Source. A marketing company, like RP, Smart Source coupon inserts and website feature coupons from a variety of manufacturers.

WAGS: Abbreviation for Walgreens Drugstore

WYB:  When You Buy.  Some sales or coupons require purchase of multiple items.  When reporting a deal on KCL, we always include a final price.  Example:  Buy 2 Mint Milano cookies $2.00 each, use 2 $1.00/2 coupons, Final Price: $1.50 each, WYB 2.  You must buy 2 in order to use the $1.00/2 coupon, so the final price states “WYB 2″.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: