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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Let's Coupon! {part 1}

I'll admit, like most people, I like a good bargain. I would use coupons here or there but never out of a necessity. If I had one, great. If I didn't have one, oh well.

My thinking has changed. Mid January I watched an episode of of Extreme Couponing. I honestly never knew it was an option to coupon the way they did. Being a SAHM with only one income coming into our home, some months money is tight. Watching the show lit a fire in me that I can do more to save us money. So I started to research how I can do what the people on the show did but on a smaller scale because I don't have the storage or need a year's worth of chips.

Here are my first 5 tips I have learned in the past few months:

1. Find your coupons
-Newspaper: I now have the paper delivered every Sunday to my house so I can go through the inserts. My family also saves their inserts for me so that's a bonus.
-Coupon websites: My favorites are coupons.com and redplum.com 
-Go directly to the product's website: Need a coupon for a specific brand of toilet paper? Google it!  Sometimes you will find one on their website, sometimes you might have to sign-up for a newsletter or even fill out a product review.  That's ok! Some products even have coupons on their Facebook pages.

2. Find coupons blogs for your area.
-This is a HUGE help for me because they do most of my guess work! I just searched "Southern California coupon blogs" and found a few that I love.
-You want to find blogs in your area because each state has their own couponing rules and regulations. In California, coupons do not double! Bummer.

3. Get organized.
-Buy a coupon organizer. You can divide it up however you like so it's easy to quickly find the coupons you need. At any given time I have at least a couple hundred coupons in mine so this is key.
-Get rid of expired coupons. This is a no-brainer but I have handed over expired coupons on mistake and that's a total bummer. I go through my coupon organizer once a week to get of expired ones.

4. Learn coupon lingo.
It sounds silly but there is such a thing. Many of the coupon blogs you will come across will explain the coupon terms to help you.
-Pay attention to the expiration dates.
-Just because a coupon has a picture on it, doesn't mean you have to get that exact thing (unless it states you have to get specifically that thing).
-Read the coupon and use it only as stated.

5. Be prepared.
-You can visit your store's website and find their coupon policy.  Every store is different. One might only allow 2 like coupons while another store may allow as many as you wish.
-Pull out the coupons you will be using ahead of time like when you are making your grocery list. It gets frustrating/confusing when you have to go through your coupon organizer while at the store or in line.
-Watch the coupons being scanned. Sometimes they don't scan properly or the cashier assumes it's a wrong coupon.

You guys. I started couponing at the very beginning of February and I have already saved us $430! Yes, I keep a spreadsheet just so I can see the money we save. It just motivates me more.

Do you coupon?  If you are interested, want to know more tips? 

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