I've always used coupons, sort of. I would clip them and sometimes file them (or leave them in a stack somewhere) and then when I went to the store with my list, I would sometimes buy sale items and if I had a coupon for what I wanted to buy, then I would use it. Yeah, that's not really the right way to do it! ;)
When you're couponing the right way, it's slightly more time consuming. It requires planning. But boy does it pay off. So this post is to help those of you who do what I used to do learn how do make it worth your while.
The first thing you need to do is get some coupons. The easiest way to aquire them is by buying your local Sunday paper. If you buy more than one copy, then you can get double the coupons. I often do this and recycle the paper, of course. Our local paper is always .99 at some chain and it changes monthly. I always get it when I only have to pay .99 instead of the usual $1.50. Our dollar store sells it too, so if nothing else maybe you have that in your area as well.
Another place to acquire (some of the best) coupons is online. To the right of my page is a Coupons.com widget where you can get some really great coupons by printing them out. Check your favorite company's websites for printable coupons. When I post deals, I'll give you a link to find the coupon online if it's available. Sign up on Hot Coupon World to find some good coupons and take advantage of their coupon database, which will tell you where to find any coupon in circulation.
Meijer Mealbox is Meijer's offering of store coupons online, which you can use in combination with manufacturer coupons. Check there before heading to Meijer because they often include Meijer brand products, national brands and coupons for items you usually don't find coupons for, like produce and meat. (Click on the "Specials" tab on the widget to see available coupons.) One caveat with these is that you can only use one of each coupon per transaction.
Did you know that you can load coupons right to your Kroger Plus card that you can use in addition to your manufacturer coupons? P&G makes their coupons available periodically, as does Shortcuts and Upromise. Check my link to the left to sign up for Upromise and you can even link up your CVS card to not only get coupons, but start earning rewards.
If you haven't registered your shopper cards online, you should definitely do so! Set up an e-mail that you use exclusively for coupons so you can have them sent straight to your inbox. Companies will often mail their most valuable coupons to loyal customers, so if they don't have your address, you're missing out.
So your first task is to acquire some coupons. And you don't even have to worry about cutting them right now. Just keep the Sunday inserts intact. We'll get to the whole organization thing later. But for now start paying attention. I have coupon radar. Look for the blinky machines in the grocery store or any flyers or tear pads when you're out. There are some valuable coupons to be had just lying around out there!