Couponing 101 – Couponing for Beginners!

Couponing for Beginners

Learn How to Use Coupons to Save Money!

Hello, and welcome to Savings Aplenty! I am so happy that you have found me and are interested in couponing and/or saving money! Using coupons may seem absolutely confusing to the beginner and I am here to assure you that it is actually quite simple!

Below I have compiled step-by-step instructions on how to get started couponing for beginners. This is also a great place to start for those avid couponers that are trying to get back into the swing of things!

If you have any further questions after reading this guide, please post in the comments below or feel free to email me by clicking the little envelope at the top right of the screen. If you would like to save this page for later reading, you can pin it HERE.

{Step 1}: First, you need to decide how you want to coupon. Do you want to be able to get products for cheap or free on a whim when you are already at the store? Then you might want to always have your coupons on hand with the binder method.

Or do you want to just save money on the products that you typically use? Then you might just want to use the clip and go method.

Or maybe you would like to have every coupon on hand so that you can match the good deals up with coupons that are available each week. If this is you, you would benefit from the file method.

If you want to always have coupons on hand in case you are out and about and find an awesome deal, you will most likely benefit most from the Binder Method.

What is the Binder Method?

This is where you get a binder and some clear sheet holders (baseball card holders work the best), clip ALL of the coupons you receive from the paper or elsewhere and put all of them in your binder by category.

Then you will take that binder with you whenever you shop. It is best to get some filing tabs for your binder so that you can organize your coupons by category for easy finding. Here is an example of what a coupon binder should look like:

Need help getting started with couponing? Want to save money with coupons but have no idea where to start? Check out this Couponing for Beginners guide!

You can find some really cute inexpensive binders and inserts for your binders at local office supply stores, Target, Walmart and many other stores! You can also get some really cute ones on Amazon.

If carrying around a big binder full of coupons is not your cup of tea, you can also get little photo albums from Dollar Tree and stick them in a cute purse or even something like this.

If you would rather just clip the coupons that you actually need before you shop, you will want to try the File Method

What is the File Method?

This is when you keep all of your coupon inserts from the paper, or pages of coupons that you have printed, intact and file all of them away in a file cabinet or some other type of storage container. Make sure to label them by the date of the paper they came in so that you can find them easily.

Then when you are going through the weekly sale ads, you can match the good deals up with coupons that are available by perusing the Coupon Database. The database will tell you what coupons are available for certain products.

Just type in the name of a product that’s on sale in the search bar. Then you can either print those coupons or find them in your filing cabinet.

Then just clip them, make a list of deals you’re grabbing and head to the store! You can carry your clipped coupons in something as simple as a Ziploc baggy or something a little more chic like this super cute coupon organizer.

If you want to just save quick money on the products that you typically use, then you might just want to use the clip and go method.

What is the Clip and Go Method?

This is when you only clip what you need out of the paper for that week. Basically, you clip your coupons as you are looking through the sales. This is by far the quickest method of couponing, but it will save you the least amount of money.

With this method of couponing, you are typically not able to stockpile. You are basically just saving a few bucks on your typical shopping trip.

This method is perfect for someone who is very busy but would still like to save a few dollars on their groceries!

You can also clip all of the coupons on the products you know you use, stick them in a baggy and save them for a sale. This will help you to save even more money, but still be able to coupon quickly.

{Step 2}: After you have decided what method you would like to use to organize your coupons, you need to know where to actually get coupons, right? Well, the main place to find all of the best coupons are in the inserts in your local Sunday paper.

Your paper will normally contain a Proctor & Gamble insert, Smart Source insert and Red Plum insert. There also may be some coupons in the Parade section. You can find out what coupons you will be receiving in your paper ahead of time HERE.

Another way to get coupons is by printing them for free from reputable sources. You can find links free printable manufacturer coupons here!.

These are links to free printable manufacturer coupons, but you can also get printable coupons from certain stores such as Target, CVS, and many others. Just go to your favorite stores’ websites to check out what they have to offer.

You can also look at brand’s Facebook pages for special offers. 

You can also send an e-mail directly to your favorite manufacturers, tell them how much you love their product or would like to try their product and ask if they could please send you some coupons. It actually works!

So to break it down:

1. You can either clip all of your coupons right away and take them with you each time you shop in case you find some awesome deals. Or you can find the deals ahead of time by browsing the weekly ad previews before you shop.

2. Collect coupons from your newspaper, reputable online coupon printing sites or from the stores websites. You can also ask the manufacturers directly to send you some coupons. You can find current coupons on your favorite products available with the Coupon Database.

3. Wait for a sale to use your coupons to save even more money. If the store allows you to, you can use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon in order to save even more money!

Those were the 2 steps to getting started with couponing. Check out the rest of the information and resources below to learn even more!

What is Extreme Couponing?

I know most of us have seen the controversial TLC show called Extreme Couponing. Let me tell you, the way that they coupon on that show IS extreme and some of the people have actually gotten in trouble for couponing fraud!

That is a whole other story to discuss though ???? So how on Earth do they get such awesome deals? Is it real? I will say that most of the couponing on that show is embellished for tv, but a lot of the deals they get are in fact real!

When you take a coupon and use it on a full priced product, you will a little bit, which is great, but there is an even better way to use that coupon! Wait until that product goes on sale, THEN use that coupon and BAM hot savings!

Plus, a lot of stores offer their own coupons (as mentioned in step 2 above) and you can actually use one of the store’s offered coupons + a coupon issued by the manufacturer, on one sale item to end up with a super cheap price, free, or even earn money on the item (if the store you are shopping at allows it)!

Here is an example:

  • Let’s say you are able to find a box of name brand cereal at Target on sale for $2.
  • There is currently a manufacturer coupon available in your newspaper for $1 off that brand of cereal.
  • There is also a printable Target store coupon for $1 off that brand of cereal.
  • Target allows you to use both of these coupons together so it makes the cereal FREE!

Sounds pretty awesome right?! Just make sure to read the stores coupon policies before you shop so that you know what kind of coupons they accept. You can find these on their websites or you can ask a manager at the store for a copy. Always print these out and carry them with you in your binder or purse for reference in case a cashier gives you a problem.

What is A Stockpile and Why do I Need One?

You’ve probably all seen the TLC show Extreme Couponing, and their stockpiles about a mile high and some taking over their homes! Having a stockpile doesn’t necessarily mean you have an entire grocery store in the middle of your home.

In fact, your stockpile could even be as small as the space under your bathroom sink. If you decide you want to start stockpiling, you don’t have to go to the extreme.

The truth is that in order to save the most money at the grocery store, you really should have a stockpile. This goes for those of you who don’t coupon as well. Why? I’m going to show you why!

What is a stockpile?

A stockpile can be simplified to this: a collection of goods bought at their rock bottom price to last until the next time this item will reach its rock bottom price.

There is no limit to how little or how much you can have in your stockpile. Your stockpile can only have toiletries, or a mix of food and other items.

Whatever you choose to stockpile is up to you and should be based on what your family uses regularly.

Real life scenario

Here’s a real-life example that many of you have probably faced. In fact, some of you may have been stocking up and didn’t even know!

You see that pasta is on sale for just $0.80 per box! It’s probably the lowest price you’ve seen in a long time, so you buy a few boxes since it’s such a great deal. If you go through one box every single week, that could mean you’ll be out of pasta in only a few weeks!

When you finally run out, you’ll now have to go back to the store and buy the same box of pasta for about four times more! If you had stocked up on enough boxes to last you until the next sale, you would never pay full price for a box of pasta again!

How do I know how much to stockpile?

When deciding how much to stockpile there are a few things you need to consider before you purchase. First, how long do I have till this item goes bad?

You want to make sure however many you buy can be reasonably consumed. Second, when will it go on sale again? You can figure out this number by tracking sales cycles and finding out how often the item you’re purchasing goes on sale. You’ll then be able to figure out when this item hits its rock bottom price.

If you are unsure, I would say you should plan on stockpiling about 3-6 months worth of an item. If it is something seasonal, you may want to get more. However, 3-6 months is a good baseline to use when stockpiling. Each family is different, so there is no one size fits all for each item.

Stockpiles have the capability to save you and your family thousands of dollars over the course of a year. When you are buying items at their rock bottom price points, you are never overpaying for any of the items you use regularly.

When is The Best Time to Shop for Deals?

Did you know that there are certain times that are the best for coupon shopping and grabbing awesome deals? Here are the best times to shop for deals:

Late at night

A lot of stores will switch their sales over late at night and there will be about an hour during the switch where you can take advantage of BOTH sales – last week and the current week.

The drug stores sales switch over late on Saturday evenings and most grocery stores switch their sales over late on Tuesday evenings. I would suggest calling your local stores to see when their sales switch and if they allow this “double-dipping” hour.

Early in the morning

It is a great time to get all of the best coupon deals early in the morning when the store first opens on the first day of the new sale week. That way you can make sure to get all of the deals that you want because if there are other couponers in the area, sometimes they like to clear the shelves and you could miss out.

At the beginning of the month

New printable coupons are available at the beginning of the month and some other great coupons tend to reset their print limits at the beginning of the month so it’s a great time to print out all those new coupons and be one of the first ones to grab the freshest deals.

You can print all of these new and reset coupons from Saving Center.

After holidays

The best time to shop for holiday items is after the holiday is over! After Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc. holiday items need to be sold fast to get rid of inventory so they price the items super low. I have seen holiday items go for 90% off!  

During sales cycles

Certain items go on sale about every 6 weeks or so and around certain times of the year. For example, you always see a lot of bbq and grilling items go on sale during the summer.

If you wait for these sales cycles you can get items really cheap to add to your stockpile! The trick is to get enough items to last you until the next sales cycle. 


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