I am so thrilled that we have lots of new readers who are wanting to learn how to save as much as they can on their weekly grocery bills. So for those of you who are new – welcome!!! I know that many of you are not even sure where to start.
The show Extreme Couponing on TLC has created a lot of buzz and hype about saving money. I will be completely honest with you — not everyone will save as they portray on these shows. There are a lot of special circumstances and offers that can come into play when running these deals. It depends upon what promotions are available at the store (such as triple coupon events), coupon overages and store policies. What I will teach you here is “real couponing.”
The first thing I tell someone who is new to the world of couponing is to just keep it simple. If you start out too gung-ho, you can easily burn out and stop before you really even get started. It takes a while to get the hang of using coupons and saving on your grocery bills. Just follow some steps to learn what to do. Give yourself a month or two in order to really learn how to save. Here are a few simple tips to help you learn “the way of the coupon.”
START SMALL. You are not going to be able to go into your favorite store, slap down some coupons and save 75% on your very first outing. You are going to have to do a little homework and spend some time learning how to do this. Allow yourself to make those rookie mistakes and you’ll become a pro in no time flat (trust me – I’ve been there and done that many times in the past myself).
KNOW YOUR STORE. Pick one store to start with and get to know them. Learn when the store doubles, or possibly even triples, coupons. You should also research your store’s coupon policy either on-line or in the store (as available). Knowing what is allowed and is not allowed certainly makes it easier to use your coupons and can help increase your confidence in doing so. As you feel more and more confident, you will feel good about adding in another store, including your local drug store.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET/GOAL. Only you know how much you would ultimately like to spend at the store each month on your families’ grocery needs. Make sure it is realistic. If you are spending $800 right now, to think in a month you can drop that to only $300 is a little too ambitious. Instead, try to spend only $750 a month as your first goal and then slowly decrease it from there.
CREATE A MENU / SHOPPING LIST. You can’t just walk into the store without a plan. I always plan my family’s meals for the week based upon what I have in my pantry and/or what is on sale. I then create a shopping list to help me remember what I need. Before I leave, I find all of the coupons I will need for each item I will purchase and set them aside. This helps me remember to use them to really maximize my savings.
LEARN ABOUT & FIND YOUR COUPONS. This is the part that can get overwhelming. There are inserts, magazines, printables, home mailers…the list goes on and on. How do you know which ones to cut to use? If you are new, I recommend clipping ONLY the coupons you will use. This helps create a manageable amount of coupons and will not overwhelm you.
If you are looking for specific coupons, you can quickly access The Coupon Database. This can help you track down a coupon in an insert or even find that great printable coupon for something you might need to purchase this week.
You can use a few envelopes to keep your coupons organized. As you feel more and more comfortable redeeming coupons, you can start to clip and save more of them and upgrade to larger more detailed systems of organization. You can also check out
KNOW YOUR SALES / USE YOUR COUPONS. Once you have your coupons, you will want to try to use them in conjunction with items that are on sale – that is how you save the most money. If your item is already marked down from $3 down to $2 and you have a coupon to save $1, you will end up paying only $1 — or 67% off of the retail price.
The easiest way to match coupons and sales is to find a blogger who already does this for you. You can find links to many grocery stores right here in our Grocery Store Database. You will also find your favorite drug stores by clicking on the menu at the top of this page and seeing them in the drop down list.
SAVINGS IS SAVINGS. If you only save $5 this week at the store, remember that it is $5 more than you would have saved in the past. As you become more comfortable using your coupons you will see that amount begin to increase.
Just keep following along on this site and watch the deals, coupons and bargains that are posted. I try to keep it as simple and as detailed as I can. You’ll quickly start to catch on and then wonder – why in the world didn’t I do this sooner?!