Couponing 101: Learn About Coupons

by Jill Bender on January 3, 2011

A few weeks ago I asked what you all wanted to see from me in 2011. There were a few questions around coupons.  Others were how to save money, how to know a good deal from a bad deal… and in my mind those are related to coupons so I decided to do a 5-day series on using coupons.  But I suppose I can relate anything and everything to coupons at this point.  I also met two ladies on twitter last week that are interested in getting started in couponing so compiling a series just makes sense.

The technical definition of coupon per Merriam-Webster is: a part of a printed advertisement to be cut off to use as an order blank or inquiry form or to obtain a discount on merchandise or services. To be honest, I don’t know why I’m giving you the definition of a coupon, but it’s there so just go with it mmmkay?

Savings

I pretty much use a coupon, or wait for a discount opportunity on EVERYTHING I purchase; from groceries to furniture, to haircuts, to fuel, to movies, to books, to home decor, to holiday items.  In fact, I’m not even sure I can tell you the last time I paid full price on anything (except eating out).  I started out using coupons on groceries and I quickly realized that there are coupons for everything.

When you start to become aware of coupons, you find them everywhere.  And some of that stuff you dismiss as junk-mail?  Becomes a treasure trove of total awesomeness.

If you can use a coupon to save even $5, why wouldn’t you do it?  We even consider getting FREE Crazy Bread with a $5 pizza at Little Caesar’s a big deal.  Why not?  The Crazy Bread is crazy good!!!!

Using coupons doesn’t mean you’re cheap, or that you don’t have money.  In fact, there should be no negative connotations in relation to using coupons at all.  (Unless of course, you are abusing the system.  Which does happen.  But that’s for another day.)  In my mind, which can be short-sighted at times, I view people that use coupons as being super cool and very smart.  icon smile

Coupons = money.  Period.

It does take time to be a savvy couponer, but it does not take more than a few hours a week.  Lemme give it to you this way… If I can do it; YOU CAN DO IT!

The one thing I would like to make very clear is that JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A COUPON DOESN’T MAKE IT A GOOD DEAL.

Here are a few basic tips:

  • Start slow
  • For groceries, concentrate on one store at first
  • For other items, use the internet and shop around
  • Settle on a base, or average price, and find better
  • Keep your eyes open – coupons and discount offers are everywhere
  • DO NOT impulse shop because you find a good deal.  That is NEVER a good deal unless it’s in the budget.
  • DO NOT go for quantity, go for quality.  Who cares if you just bought 200 of one item for $2.00.  If you don’t use that item, it’s not a quality deal.  If you can buy 5 for $2.00 and you use it often that is a quality deal.
  • DO ask for help.  With the internet there are countless resources and no reason for you to struggle your way through learning any part of couponing.  Ask me – I’ll find your answer.
  • And one more time – JUST BECAUSE IT’S ON SALE DOESN’T MEAN IT’S A GOOD DEAL!

Much of this might seem elementary and unnecessary, but ALL of it is a great reminder of WHY using coupons should be, or become, part of your everyday life.  Especially if you are experiencing financial difficulties.  You cannot cut the mortgage/rent, the car payment, insurance or utilities.  But you can cut the grocery bill in half.

Next up is Couponing 201 where to find coupons.  Or head over to Couponing 301 and learn how to organize your coupons.

Jill

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimberly January 3, 2011 at

I’m a pretty decent couponer…but I’ll be watching and reading to learn new tips from you. Goal for 2011: find a way to live without child support since it’s not always reliable. Bank the child support for college/savings/whatever if I can.

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2 tomeika November 27, 2012 at

this is my first day getting all the information have been watching extreme couponing and i was hooked i just need half of that to support and feed my family i’m unemployed and seeking work with 3 boys and i’m determined to figure this out and get a system where i can understand how and when to use coupons plus where to go to get coupons

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3 Jill November 27, 2012 at

Good for you!! If I can help with anything let me know.

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4 lisa August 9, 2013 at

i am a newly single mom with 5 boys i currently have been very stressed not knowing how to make what lil i do have stretch i am determined to make it for my boys and me i would love it if you could please help me with any information greatly appreciated thank i am so wanting to learn and ready!

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