You have seen the show, seen your friends score awesome deals, and now you want in on the action but don’t know where to begin. Take a deep breath and relax, it is not hard at all. Here are some simple steps to help you start.
1. DO NOT CUT ANY COUPON INSERTS. Instead, buy an inexpensive file box and file each insert by the weeks’ date. I do all the work of the matchups for you. They list the sale item and which insert to get each coupon. You only cut the coupons you need. Isn’t your time worth more than spending hours clipping coupons for things you do not need?
2. BUY only items that are on sale. Sale cycles go anywhere from monthly to seasonally. You don’t stock up a huge stockpile immediately, you wait until the prices with coupons are the lowest, then you buy as much as you need to get you through that sales cycle.
ex: Chocolate chips are usually around $3.00 depending on where you shop. Since they are a seasonal baking item, the best time to buy them is around Christmas. Let’s say they are Buy One Get One Free making the price $1.50 each. Then you have 2 manufacturers coupons for .50 cents off one and you are able to stack a store coupon of $1/2 then the total price for two would be $1.00! Buy as many as you would need for that sales cycle which I have discovered is only once a year. Refrigerated prepackaged cookie dough goes on sale every 4-12 weeks.
3. Give up brand loyalties and the assumption that the store brand is always the cheapest.
I have some brand loyalties like I only buy Dawn dish soap. Instead of looking for dish soap that goes on sale every month, I keep track of how long the Dawn sales cycle is.
4. Costo, Sam’s, and Gordon’s Food Service aren’t the best places for couponing since you can not buy the smallest size. The smaller the size you buy the more value you get for your coupon.
5. Keep copies of the coupon policies from each store you shop at with you. Sometimes the cashiers are not informed on their coupon policy. When I first started couponing, I wanted to use a competitors coupon at a store and the cashier told me I couldn’t. I showed her the policy and she took my coupon! Know the rules and play by them.