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Couponing 101

I cannot tell you how many times I bought something just because I had a coupon. As a matter of fact, I have often bought 2 or more of an item that I really didn’t need, really didn’t want, or could have bought the generic of and saved money. Had I been more organized, I would have saved money instead of actually wasting more money. OK, so in my defense, I am a mom of four, three of those children are 14 months apart and still in diapers, I work full-time hours and manage my home… Hmm, come to think of it, organization should be my middle name, then, right? And because I have four children and live in NYC, that should be more of a driving motivation to want to save more money, shouldn’t it? I agree. Which is why I’ve changed over to a new way of organization and shopping and “couponing”. And the first thing I am going to do is introduce you to some basic info on “couponing”. WELCOME TO COUPON 101.

Successful coupon shopping is all about organization and discipline. You need to fight the urge to purchase a product just because you have a coupon for it. Following sales at your local grocery store and purchase items on sale with a coupon and with your store’s reward program will prove to be extremely effective and you will find that you are getting some of your favorite products for free or at a greatly reduced price!

Couponing is somewhat of a game. You start slow and as you move on you become knowledgeable of all of the ins and outs. Before you know it YOU win. I will start with the basics of couponing and as we move ahead you will learn more with the homework already done for you on this site. I guarantee that you will be saving at least $100 a month on your grocery bill. Oh, I forgot you aren't paying for this… even better, you have NOTHING to lose! :)

So if you want to save more money let’s get started!

How to find coupons:

1. Newspaper

This is a little obvious, but with all the printable coupons available, it can be a little easy to overlook. *Note: A sassy couponer will be purchasing more than one paper. You can actually preview what coupons will be in the paper by clicking here, then you can buy more papers while you are out. Also you can check out the 2010 Coupon Insert Schedule so you can purchase additional papers when there are multiple inserts available. Keep in mind there are never inserts on holiday weekends.

For extras (for free) check libraries, restaurants and fast food places, doctor's offices, your next door neighbor, some newspaper offices (and post offices) have places for leftover ads, recycle places…

2. Printable Coupon Websites

These are my favorite: you get to print just coupons you want, there is a good variety, and there are frequent changes. Make sure that you watch for coupons that may have a limit – they may limit how many are printed so you might miss out because others have printed them all.
Additionally, sometimes the coupon will reset.

Coupons.com

RedPlum Click Here

Smart Source

Bricks

3. Store Website Printable Coupons

Same as above; may only be for this particular store so pay attention to type of coupon and if they are good to use for stacking with a manufacture coupon.

Target

Save-a-Lot

4. Mobile Coupons

Give the store your cell number so they can send you coupons on your phone
Target

5. Mobile/Card Coupons


Text a code to the store and they will put the coupons on your loyalty card or use a site to do the same thing, for some stores you will probably have to sign up for their e-mails to get the code.

Cellfire

UPromise - How Smart Parents Save for their Kid's College Education

Shortcuts

Softcoin

6. Manufacture Websites

Get it straight from the horse's mouth. Sometimes you have to sign up for a newsletter, they change each month so print your favorites when you see them.

Betty Crocker

Pillsbury

Pampers

*For your favorite products check their website for coupon offers

7. In stores

Look around! You can find lots of coupons on the items (peelies), next to the price, on the shelves, in the little coupon machines in front of the items. Keep your eyes open! Take a sales flyer when you come in the door! At CVS, use your card to check their coupon machine.

8. On /with your receipt

Check all that stuff that prints out with your receipt and check the back of your receipt. Lots of good coupons come with that because lots of times it's based on what you have bought and many times they are in store coupons so they are stackable! 9. Facebook Become a fan (or "like") your favorite brands. I will always post these coupons as they become available.

10. Magazines

I haven't seen a magazine with more coupons than All You. But, look through your favorite magazine; you'd be surprised to see coupons hiding among the ads!

11. Samples

Most of the free sample offers that you sign up for will come with a coupon for the product, especially those from name brands.

Coupon Organization:

Be organized with your coupons. It is hard enough if you are a mom shopping with your kids in the first place! As long as you keep your coupons organized and keep a list of what you want to purchase, this will work for you!!

**Keep a list and keep to your list, unless you forgot to add basic necessities.

Here is a great method for organization: keep a file folder for the weekly inserts by date. When the advertisements are posted, then pull out the date of the specific insert and clip the matching coupons.

Coupons on My Metro NY Mommy are coded by their date and insert name, for instance (3/15, SS) is the March 15th Smart Source insert.

Here are the coupon abbreviations that I use:

SS - Smart Source

RP - Red Plum

PG - Proctor & Gamble

GM - General Mills

K - Kelloggs

U - Unilever


Advertisements with coupons linked on My Metro NY Mommy

• Walgreens

• Walmart

• Target

• CVS

What to do with all of these coupons??

The Couponizer: makes shopping with four little ones much easier!



• Business Card holders: You can keep your coupons in the slots where you would put business cards. Easily you can separate your coupons from household items to the freezer section.


•Small Photo Books: You can keep your coupons in small photo books where your coupons just slide in. You can keep a book for the grocery store and your favorite retail store. Then separate your coupons accordingly.

There are many options on how to keep your coupons separate and organized. I suggest that you do what feels and works best for you.



Now that you have a stockpile of coupons it's time to match them up to the sales ads (I do this for you each week). Being aware of the sales is really the key to making all of this work. If you just go to the store with your coupons and there isn't a sale price on the item then the Palmolive you just bought for 2.85 with the .25 coupon didn't really save you money. You have to watch for the sales, every 2-3 months they will come around on the same items.



As you move forward you will find that you are no longer paying for toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and many other items. You will have to step out of the norm and let go of some of your brand loyalty in order to save more money but if you have a favorite product - it is OK to continue purchasing it!



Stockpiling



Last but not least is creating a stockpile of items so you don't have to purchase out of necessity. This means your non-perishables, toiletries, etc. Pick them up when they are on sale and don't just purchase one - purchase as many as you have coupons for. If you just get one then your previous purchase that cost $1 may cost you $4 next time even with your coupon.



*Start Slow, choose 1 store so you can learn the ins and outs and follow the match ups that I do on My Metro NY Mommy. There is no need to go to several stores a week (unless you are able) to save a ton of money. I promise the purpose of this site is to make it easy for you to save your hard earned dollars and you will!



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