There are some basic things each person who coupons needs to know – where to get started and how to keep going.
So here are a few simple tips, tricks and words of advice from someone who has a growing stockpile, and still has money in the bank!
- Remember not every deal is for you! You may see some fantastic deals out there – bloggers find the best deals they can for their fans, and post them – but that doesn’t mean run out to the store and buy each and every item! If you don’t have kids, you don’t need to go buy those diapers. If you’re lactose intolerant, do you really need that cheese? Focus on the deals you want and need – how much are you saving if you’re buying items that aren’t useful to your family?
- Couponing has a code of Ethics. This should be common sense, but not everyone knows this. Don’t clear the shelves at the store – do you really need 500 lip balms? My favorite example and thought is, what if you buy all the diapers in the store and a mom comes in looking rushed and can’t find them? You can just buy the items you need and not clear out a whole metro area. This also includes printing coupons – you are allowed to print 2 per device – do NOT photocopy them – it is illegal, and you can face some serious fines.
- Remember items expire! I don’t know if I can stress this enough, but overbuying items that expire, is a waste of money. Only buy what your family or household needs for a few months. The deals will come back around!
- Deals and items cycle! Have you noticed that everything in your house runs out at the same time? It’ll be easier to run downstairs to play refill fairy rather than go out and spend more money. But you will also notice that your sales and coupons follow a cycle. Every few months the same coupons will come back. I’ve even noticed they overlap, as ones about to expire it’s replacement has shown up in my binder.
- Get your Coupons from Sources you Trust! If you buy your paper or print online, make sure you know where you’re getting your coupons from. Remember, you can get fined for dumpster diving for inserts (or even jail time!) You can buy your papers, or print your coupons – just make sure you follow the rules. Believe it or not, coupons are highly regulated – and a simple thing like copying a coupon or making a fake one can equal a $5000 fine! (Online coupons can be found on Coupons.com, Coupon Network Smartsource and Redplum – your favorite brands often have coupons on their facebook page too!)
- Stay Organized. This is the key – there is nothing more important than this tip! Find the method that works for you, if it’s a binder, a bin – clipped or unclipped inserts. Know where your coupons are, what you’re going out for and use your list when you go shopping! Trust me, if you will be mad when you let those good coupons expire and you didn’t find it until it’s too late!
- Know your Budget! Don’t overspend just to save money – that defeats the purpose! Buy what you need, what you can afford and what’s in your budget. Soon you’ll see your stock pile grow.
- Have fun! There is a rush you’ll experience – almost a adrenaline high when you walk out with a cart full of groceries for under $50. Watch out – it can be addicting!