Couponing 101: For Beginners

Quite a few of you have been asking me to teach you the ways of couponing and saving money. I’m going to go into a lot of detail on how to coupon, tips, links and how to start a stockpile. 

The first step to begin your couponing adventure is to buy the Sunday newspaper. Every weekend there will be 1-4 inserts full of coupons. The only time there are no inserts, is Holidays. There will either be a lot of inserts the Sunday before, or the Sunday after.


The Sunday paper is the best way to get a lot of really good coupons but it’s not the only way to get coupons. The following sites contain a wide range of coupons that are available for you to print straight from your computer. **Note: You are only allowed to print the coupons twice from each computer.


http://www.coupons.com

http://www.redplum.com

http://www.smartsource.com

http://coupons.target.com/

Next I’m going to go over some sites that break down shopping trips by stating the sales and which coupons to use for each item. It makes your couponing trip a lot easier when it’s all laid out for you.

  1. The first site I’m going to go over is The Krazy Coupon Lady. She posts the deals from almost every store imaginable and lists which coupons to use for the products that are the best bargain. She also has a facebook page. I highly recommend following her, here, because it makes your couponing experience so much nicer when you can see everything laid out for you.
  2. The next site I recommend following, especially if you love Target, is Totally Target. They post all of the deals specifically for Target. They also list the coupons to use with each item.
  3. The third/fourth site I’d highly recommend following is going to be I Heart CVS and I Heart Wags. (Wags=Walgreens). Yet again, these two sites will list the deals specifically for their stores as well as show which coupons to use to get that deal.
  4. The last site I’ll share with you is actually a facebook page. This will help you especially if you’re located in Houston, TX. Here is the link for Houston Coupon Moms facebook page. It’s a great page to be on to share info about deals with others and to get feedback about other deals from people in the community.

Many of you have asked me how I got into couponing. I started back in April 2011 when my mom’s friend was telling me about some great deals she got. It instantly sparked an interest in me and I slowly got into couponing. I started getting the Sunday paper every weekend and then slowly started increasing that to two Sunday papers. Currently I’ll get anywhere from 1-2 newspapers or up to 2 bundles (which is roughly 13 newspapers per bundle). It all really depends on what deals are going on and how good the coupons are going to be.

Enough about me. Let’s move into starting a stockpile!! I know most of you have seen numerous photos of my stockpile. The question you have is, “How do I get started?”. It’s really simple. Most people think you need to go out and buy a ton of stuff right off the bat. No! You’re new to the couponing world; take it slow! Only increase your couponing pace if you’re ready for it and can handle the stress. Yes, there is a lot of stress when it comes to couponing – we’ll get into that later.

This was my stockpile when I first started couponing. I didn’t rush out to fill up a whole linen closet worth of stuff right off the bat. It took a few years to finally get it complete full and organized. I actually filled it up and the shelves in my closet as well. It takes time.

Remember, start out small and eventually you’ll get to where you have a good stock of items that were cheap or free for your family.

Now…Let’s move into some more complex couponing 101.

Knowing your Stores Coupon Policy:

Finding your stores coupon policy is as easy as going onto their website, searching and clicking print. I make it a priority to carry around the stores coupon policy with me on each visit. There are occurrences when you will have a nasty, rude cashier trying to tell you that you can’t use a coupon – or something. It’s happened many times to me and it’s very frustrating. It’s always good to have the coupon policy memorized and with you just in case you get that type of cashier.

Here are a few quick tips from a few select stores coupon policies:

  1. Target has a limit of coupons you can use. You can only use 4 identical coupons per day/transaction. Walmart has no limit unless stated on the coupon.
  2. At Target you can use a Target coupon with a Manufacturer coupon on one item. Double the savings!
  3. If a BOGO sale is going on at Wags or CVS, you can use a coupon on each item (yes, the free one and the one you’re buying). (ex. B1G1 Right Guard Deodorant $4.49. Buy 2, Pay for 1. You can use (2) $2/1 coupons and only pay $0.49 for the two deodorants.)
  4. Walmart gives back money if the coupon value exceeds the price of the item. (ex. Loreal shampoo trial size is $0.97. Use $1 off coupon and get paid $0.03).
  5. Dollar Tree actually accepts coupons! I know it’s crazy! You can only use 2 printable coupons per day and 4 identical coupons per day.

Apps:

I almost forgot to mention couponing apps! There is a wide range of couponing apps available. A lot of the couponing apps can be found on the android market but there are a couple that can only be used on an Iphone. Here is a list of the apps I love using and one that I’ve heard great things about:

  1. Ibotta: Join Here. Ibotta has coupons available for you to use without even having to use them at the checkout! How it works — Browse the coupons available and when you see an item you want to purchase, simply purchase it. When you get home you click redeem and find the item you just bought. It will have you select the store you purchased it from and then you’ll be asked to take a picture of the receipt and then the item. Next, you’ll have to wait for it to be approved. Once it’s approved, boom! Money in your account! Once you hit $5 you can click paypal and it’ll send it straight to your paypal account. What I love about this app is that you can use coupons at the store and use this app to get even more savings.
    (ex. CVS had a coupon for a free bottle of Clear Shampoo. Ibotta had an offer for the same shampoo for $1.25 off. I ended up making $1.25 on something that was free.)
  2. Shopkick: This app doesn’t offer a lot of coupons but it’s more of a fun app to use to get gift cards for shopping. The app offers a wide range of stores to choose from. Depending on what store you’re going into…let’s say Target, you’ll want to click Target on the app. It’ll register you in the store as soon as you walk into the building. The thing with the app though is that you need to have the store selected before you walk into the building. If you try to select it when you’re in the store, it won’t register you and then you’ll have to walk outside and walk back in. Shopkick gives you points for scanning items, stepping into stores and for browsing their booklets. You can redeem the points on Target gift cards, gas gift cards and pretty much just gift cards for pizza and other stores. It’s actually a pretty fun app to use when you’re killing time.
  3. Viggle: This is actually not a couponing app but one that I’d recommend if you like to get gift cards free. This one takes a little more time but hardly any effort. You simply turn on your tv, watch a show, click the viggle button and it picks up on what tv show you’re watching. You click “check in” and it gives you 1 point a minute for each minute of that show you watch. Note: Once that show is over, you have to click the viggle button again for it to pick up the next show. Also this app does take awhile to get the points racked up. You need 20,000 points to get a $10 Old Navy gift card. I’ve been using it for a month now and am at 4,000 points.
  4. Receipt Hog: Unfortunately this one is not available on Android phones. This app is great because it gives you coins per receipt uploaded. You start off with 10 coins per receipt and eventually make it up to 25 coins per receipt. When you get to a certain amount you can cash out. Here’s the breakdown on the coins – cash.

    1,000 coins = $5
    1,800 coins = $10
    3,200 coins = $20
    4,500 coins = $30

    This app is good if you’re not big into couponing and want to make a little extra cash.

Now you’re ready to venture out and start couponing!! I hope you all found this post useful and packed full of information. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on facebook or email me here. Have fun saving money!

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Relationship Survey

There comes a point in everyone’s life where you just gotta do a survey. Ha ha! But really, I’m at work bored and figured I’d do one.

What are your middle names? Mine is Dianne and his is Jonathan

How long have you been together? 9 ish months

How long did you know each other before you started dating? We talked multiple times a day for a month in August before we became a couple September 1st.

Who asked who out? He asked me 🙂

Who said I love you first? This is a toughy cause I know I let it slip once before we started dating. But I want to say he did.

How old are each of you? He’s 27 now and I’m 26

Who’ s siblings do/did you see the most? Well since he hasn’t met my brother’s yet, I’d say his since I’ve met his brother finally.

What about pets? 1 cat. Sissy Lou

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? Money definitely.

Did you go to the same school? Nope

Are you from the same hometown? Nope

Who is the smartest? Steven by far! He has a master’s degree and well, I went to community college and dropped out.

Who is the most sensitive? I think both of us have equal moments.

Where do you eat out most as a couple? Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s his favorite spot 🙂

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Kansas

Who has the craziest exes? I want to say it’s a tie. I have more crazy exes than him but overall, they are all equally crazy.

Who has the worst temper? Depends on the situation. I can blow up at things and so can he. So we’re pretty equal.

Who does the cooking? As of lately, me.

Who is the most social? Probably me on this one.

Who is the neat-freak? This is tough cause I know he has his moments and so do I.

Who is the most stubborn? Him ♥

Who hogs the bed? He’d say me 🙂

Who wakes up earlier? Me.

Where was your first date? He came down from Kansas and took me to Galveston’s Moody Garden’s. We visited all of the pyramids and his surprise for me was that we got to interact with the penguins! Then we had dinner at Salt Grass.

Who has the bigger family? Me, definitely.

Do you get flowers often? Yes! Finally a man who knows how to treat a woman 😀

Who do you spend the holidays with? His family

Who is more jealous? Um..Neither really.

How long did it take to get serious? I’d say less than a week. By week two I was for sure going to marry this man.

Who sings better? Me..sorry baby

Who does the laundry? Me. But if we’re completely out of clothes and I’ve been busy, then him.

Who’s better with the computer? Him

Who drives when you are together? Me if we drive the Subaru. Him if we drive the Volvo.

Who picks where you go to dinner? I tend to let him pick more..only cause I can never decide! haha

Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? this can go either way. Depends on who’s wrong at the moment.

Who named your pets? Me

Who wears the pants in the relationship? I have no idea lol

Who has more tattoos? Him

Who eats more sweets? Steven 😛

Who cries more? Me

Are you two still a couple? Of course :3