I receive many questions from readers and sometimes, the questions are those I figure others wonder about as well. Recently, I received the following email and thought I’d answer her question here on the site. Here was her question:
“Hi! I am a wife, mother of two, and currently pregnant with my third. I graduated in May with a degree in elementary education, but have not gotten a job yet. Because money is so tight, I decided to start trying to coupon. Now I have become obsessed with it or I guess the idea of it, but need help!
I have different sites pulled up on my computer, newspapers sitting in front of me, and different store weekly ads. As a stare at them, I look stuff up and am trying to figure things out. Only, I am not getting anywhere. There’s so many numbers, coupons, stores, and everything. I seem to be looking hard but not getting anywhere.
Any tips to help out?”
When you are new to using coupons, it can be overwhelming. There are so many terms, deals and coupons – where do you start? How do you get the deals? I’ve got 3 simple tips to help you out!
1. Keep it simple with one store.
When you are new to doing this, there is no way you can try to figure it all out or you will quickly burn out. Start with just one store and learn that store’s policies, how to redeem coupons and how the process actually works. This is a great way for you to learn the process without overwhelming yourself.
For those of you new to this, I recommend you try to find just 5 coupon deals at your local store each week. Then, once you feel comfortable doing that, try to add more. You will eventually work yourself up to knowing how to put together that store’s shopping list with the coupons and in-store specials to maximize your savings.
2. A coupon is not a golden ticket to shop.
Many times, when people receive a coupon, they feel that they must buy that item as they are saving money. That could not be further from the truth.
Coupons are to be used to save money on the things you already use. Only keep/clip those coupons which you will actually use.
It can be difficult to toss a coupon where you would save $2.00, but if you are spending money to buy something just to save money, you are no further ahead. In fact, you are actually worse off as you are spending money just to try to save money.
It can be a vicious cycle and one that many new coupon users fall for. They want to save as much as possible, so they use every coupon they receive. Sadly, the end up spending more just because of coupons.
3. Skip the paper and use your phone.
The reason many people don’t like to use coupons because they take time to clip and then remember to use them. That is why your phone may be a better option if you are new to trying to save money.
With apps such as Ibotta, Checkout 51 and SavingStar, you can just use your phone to save money. These sites are not traditional coupon sites as you don’t save at the register, but actually receive a rebate back on your purchase.
You can save at Target by using your Target mobile coupons and the Target Cartwheel app. These allow you to use your phone to save right at the register. Many grocery stores also offer coupons on their apps as well, which are also scanned right at checkout.
So there you have it – my top three tips for anyone wanting to start using coupons!! Check out all of our Coupon Tips so that you can become a money saving pro.