I have had an off-again-on-again relationship with coupons. Honestly, I haven’t been into coupons for the past two years. I have recently started couponing again because of my BJ’s Warehouse membership. I love BJ’s Warehouse because they have their own coupons and take manufacturers’ coupons for the same item. Today I will share my coupon tips for beginners that are easy for you to do yourself.
This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the link, you are helping my business. For more information, see my disclosure policy.
So, a couple of years ago, a new show called Extreme Couponing came on TV, and everyone was trying to be an extreme couponer.
I definitely tried my hand at couponing but never got to the extreme level.
Once I started doing it, I realized I did not have the time to get extreme. I still am not completely sure how they get hundreds of dollars of products for free. I am assuming they look for sale flyers and go to a million different stores every week.
Plus, where do they get 50 coupons for the same thing?
Anyway, I started getting the Sunday paper and tried my hand at couponing. I quickly realized that the coupons were all for name-brand items, and the generic was still cheaper after the coupon.
It is very rare that I have to have a name brand of something, so I wasn’t using the majority of the coupons I spent so much time cutting and organizing. I even had a binder with baseball cardholder sheets to put the coupons in. It definitely helped keep them organized and easier to find while shopping.
Get your FREE budget worksheet
Learn how to budget for people who suck at budgeting! Get all my tips and advice and printable to help you get started!
I did this when I just had one kid; once baby #2 came, I didn’t have the time or energy to do it when I wasn’t using most of the coupons anyway. Then there was Sundays when the paper didn’t even have any coupons. So, I was paying for the paper only for the coupons, not getting many or not using them.
I decided coupons were just not going to work for me at the moment unless I got a high-dollar one for a product I actually used. With that being said, I canceled the newspaper and worked on saving money in other ways.
I still managed to cut my grocery budget in half without coupons. Now that I have a little more time and can save so much at BJ’s Warehouse, I have started couponing again somewhat.
I haven’t started getting the Sunday paper again yet, but I have started printing coupons on Coupons.com, and I get a book of coupons from BJ’s about every other week at the moment.
I saved $50 at BJ’s Warehouse this past week from coupons. The majority of their products are still cheaper than the superstores and then I save on top of that. Plus they had a special going on that if you bought 2 products of a certain brand, you saved $.25 a gallon on gas. I needed to fill up and saved even more on gas!
Coupon Tips For Beginners
1. Keep Your Coupons Organized
I had all my coupons organized in a binder using baseball card protector sheets.
This is incredibly helpful if you are going to try to keep track of numerous coupons at a time. It keeps them easy to see at a glance so you aren’t having to look through a pile trying to remember what coupons you have that day.
I also organized them in the sheets by categories in the store.
2. Look For Deals
If you have the time, search for sales flyers or local specials and compare those with your coupons. However, if your time is limited, shop at stores that you know have deals. See if any warehouse stores near you take coupons.
3. Search For Specific Coupons
If you know you need a certain product, look for those coupons. You can find a lot of coupons online at Coupons.com or directly from the manufacturer. If you need diapers, wipes, or formula, go to the manufacturer’s website and sign up for specials and deals. Most of them will send you coupons in the mail.
4. Contact the Manufacturer For Coupons
If you can’t find a coupon for a certain brand you love, contact the company and ask for one. Let them know you love their product and would like to know where you can find a coupon.
I have found this to be helpful for numerous different products as well as places like Etsy. Let them know you follow them on social media; some will give you 10% off or send you product samples in the mail.
5. Compare Prices
This may seem obvious, but just like when you are doing any shopping, you should shop around. I know that some items are cheaper at certain stores or online.
If you are looking for a big-ticket item, see if the store has a discount code for signing up for their emails. You can always unsubscribe after getting the code. Some companies also offer a discount for referring your friends.
Ask your friends if they have a code; you could save $10-$15 or more, depending on the store.
6. Store Coupon Policies
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the store’s Coupon Policies. This will save you time when in line. The last thing you need is to have all your coupons organized and realize in line that you did not meet one of the store’s policies.
7. Coupon Expiration Dates
Another timesaver is to make sure that your coupons have not expired. Highlight the expiration date. Go through your coupons before you plan a shopping trip, and throw away any that have expired.
8. Read The Coupon Fine Print
Read any fine print that may be on the coupon beforehand. It’s frustrating when you are in line, and the cashier tells you that your coupon is invalid.
9. Start Small
Start with just a few coupons and work your way up from there. A good start would be using five coupons on your first shopping trip. The more confident and knowledgeable you get, the more smoothly it will go. Then, start increasing your coupons.
10. Track Your Progress
As a personal finance expert, I am all about tracking. Tracking your progress in order for you to see how much you are saving will help you determine whether couponing is worth your time and effort.
11. Create A Shopping List
Create a shopping list based on the coupons you will redeem. This will make it easier for you. You can make a list on paper or download one of the shopping apps that will help you create a shopping list.
12. Sign Up For Store Loyalty Reward Programs
Ask if your store has a Loyalty Reward Program, and sign up! Sometimes members get exclusive coupons and deals or even cash back after you have spent a certain amount.
I hope these coupon tips for beginners will help you get started couponing. Do you have any other advice for using coupons?