Monday, June 1, 2009

Coupons 101: Lesson 3-How to do it!

So finally getting to this, I want to do these right and have them be useful so well it takes a while.

Alternative Name

1-The first and VERY IMPORTANT rule of couponing: Is you must shop the sales!

Really the coupons themselves, while they save you money, only save so much. But combine coupons and sales and you are set.

Example: We love sliced salami at our house. Oscar Mayer Salami, is regularly priced around $3.00. However, it is often on sale (and not usually advertised) for $.99! So when it is on sale for this price, I stock up. I check the expiration dates, figure about how much my family will eat and buy a lot. That way I do not have to buy it until it is on sale again.
(By doing this you will also inadvertently begin building your food storage!)

So, get out those store ads and shop the sales!

2-The SECOND very important rule is you DO NOT need to spend money for any coupon services or e-mails. There are SO many good ones out there that are free. And I figure any money you put into this thing you have to subtract from the money you are saving.

3-Third Rule: Sometimes small is better. You may be in the habit of looking at unit price to see which to buy, typically bigger items (i.e bigger boxes of cereal) have a better unit price or you get more for money spent. However, when you coupon, it is often the smaller items that are on the sale and the ones that will be a better deal with coupons.

Example: Daisy Sour Cream, the small 8 oz ones will often go on sale for 1.00 (often not advertised). The 16 0z ones are usually a better deal, in that you pay less per ounce. But if you have a .50 off coupon, that doubles and you can get a 8 oz one for free, that is obviously your better deal. Free never adds up.

4-Fourth Rule: Sales and coupons circulate. You will learn that there are pretty much the same coupons out there, just over and over. Often as a coupon is about to expire, probably about a week later there will be the same coupon with a later expiration date. Occasionally there will be rare ones that come out only at certain seasons, i.e. coupons for turkey around Thanksgiving.

5-Fifth Rule: Find out your stores coupon policies. Some stores double only one coupon of the same item, some don't double at all. Some claim they only will double three of the exact same coupons but will really double as many as you have as long as you don't go too crazy (i.e. Frys and Bashas in AZ!--unless you get a pyscho checker)

6th-Sixth and very important rule--DO NOT use coupons just because you have them. I throw away many coupons; coupons which at some point if the sale is right I might use a ton of. But if it is not something I need and the right sale does not come up then I do not use it!

So now that you have all your coupons nicely organized, what do you do?
Depending on where you live, the following four sites should take care of you, browse all of them and see which one you like best.

  • --this is the same site with the coupon database. (from lesson 2) It has great resources for A LOT of the states, (This would not be my first choice if I lived in AZ or UT).
This time click "Grocery Deals By State"

Following is a video I made with my Mac (yeah!)
about how to navigate and understand coupomom

(it is a bit blurry, sorry--something with the way youtube converted it)

State Forms: Has some info from every state out there, some states have more information than others. This is where you can find lists of store sales and coupons to use, like in couponmom.

Coupon Link: Has coupons available listed for the following states: Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Utah and Virginia.

Grocery Guide: Enter your zip code, available stores will appear, pick a store, then you can see sale prices, coupons for that item, and PRINT off a shopping list right from this page! So cool!

**If you live in AZ and are not couponing, you are probably missing out on the state with the best stores and couponing polices!

  • Hot Coupon World--This site has it all but a little more tricky to find what you want. The best page to go to is the Resource Tab, which you can access here.
It also has the Grocery Guide and blog type listings where individuals list the sales.

**Something unique this site has is this link where you can find what newspaper in your area has coupons (not all papers are created equal when it comes to coupons.)

  • Grocery Smarts-is a site I recently discovered. It has lots of coupons you can print, for free of course, and also has the sales matched up with coupons but you have to have the free access code. *Grocery Smarts has a great list for Walmart!
The codes I currently know for this site are:
  • Southren California: g92ro1
  • Eastern Washington: g99ro1
  • Idaho g83ro1
These codes are free and supposed to be shared but only published for a short time, so if anyone has codes for the other states please let me know!

So just check these sites out, decide which one you like best and try! What I personally do, when my ads come I sit down and go through them. I write down the things I need and also things that I might want if there is a good coupon to go with it. (I usually put a question mark by those things on my list), then I come and check one the above sites. They should all have the current sales up usually by Wednesday, the first day the sales start. I then add to or cross out things depending on what I find and then I go shopping and come home happy!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment asking me and I will do my best to answer it soon.

Oh, and once you get started, write down on a spreadsheet or even in a notebook how much you are saving. As you coupon more I promise you will see that go up and up. It is great!


  1. PERFECT!! Thank you so much! This is exactly what I need! And you explain it in steps that easy enough for me to understand! And I feel like I can ACTUALLY do this!! Thanks!!