Sunday, October 12

Start Couponing Today - part 2

I started to talk the other day about couponing and why you should do it, which you can read here. With grocery prices constantly getting higher, I would have a lot of trouble buying what we need and sticking to a budget shopping the way I used to. It's definitely become a necessity in our house and I'm sure it's getting that way for more and more people.

So I told you to get all these coupons. Now what are you supposed to do with them? Start using them to your advantage. A .50 coupon is good. But when you use it at a store where it doubles and it's worth $1.00 it's, well, twice as good. Combine that with a good sale and you've got the beginnings of a stockpile!

You want to buy items when they are the lowest possible price and then buy lots. I have about a year's worth of Electrasol tabs under my kitchen sink and I paid .75 cents for each box. I probably spent $15 on dishwashing detergent at once, but I won't spend another dime for at least a year. The alternative is that I buy one box on sale (maybe $2.99) and then when it runs out I have to buy another box. And if it's not on sale I'm probably paying $3.69 for the same box that I got for .75 cents combining the sale and the coupon.

Obviously you need to acquire multiple coupons in order to get more than one of each item. You can do this a number of ways. You can buy multiple newspapers or you can purchase individual coupons or entire inserts from sites like eBay or The Coupon Clippers.

So how do I find these deals? Once you've been couponing for a while, you'll have no problem spotting these deals yourself. In the meantime, you can start where I did with the Grocery Game. This is a service you pay for, but you can try it out for four weeks for only $1. You can choose the stores where you normally shop and it will combine all the good deals at that store with the coupon you should use. They will tell you when to buy items to get the best deal.

But here's a secret: you can get the same thing here on Violet's College Fund, on Mommy Snacks, on Money Saving Mom and other places free! Many places go through the deals and do coupon match-ups for you. All you need to do is take a look at the stores where you shop, make a list based on what you need and what the stock up deals for the week are, put your coupons in a little envelope and head to the store!

So your second task is to start learning how to spot the deals and where to find them in the meantime. You can also sit down with your stores' ads for the week, if you're familiar with the coupons that are out there, and easily do this yourself.

I should mention that task 2A is that you must learn your local stores' coupon policies. Find out if they double them, how many they will double and about their policy for BOGO items. For example, if an item is BOGO and you have a BOGO coupon, are both free? Also, if you have a coupon for an item that is BOGO, are you allowed to use the coupon on both items, even if one is technically free? The more you understand how your store handles coupons, the more equipped you are to get the best deals!