We all need some help becoming a better couponer, whether it be to get better organized, save more money or even simply finding great coupons.  I am here to lend my experiences in hopes that you will take some or all of the information provided to help you become better at couponing.

  1. The very first thing I recommend to everyone is find what works for you.

  • I am not saying to go out and try every single Idea you see or read about.

I am saying do your research, only you know yourself better than anyone else.

You know if you are organized or not, you also know if have to see everything or can file something away and remember what you saw or have in the form of coupons.  I personally can remember about 90% of what I read and see.  I’ve tried the shoe box method, and binders, and wallets and to no avail I am still trying to figure out what works best for me.  I can say that I have spent way more money on every new idea out there and I wish I had done more research first.  I now use a file system which contains all of my uncut inserts.  In conjunction with my file system I use a wallet that I created from scrap materials to keep my current coupons that I know I will use.  There are many ways to keep your coupons and I hope you can find one that works for you.  Keep researching and read reviews from others about different ways to organize.  You will find one that works for you!

  1. Every couponer needs a good pair of scissors or cutting system

  • I know most of you are laughing about right now, but I am here to say after almost 3 years of couponing and many pairs of scissors that are dull it really does pay off having a great pair of scissors.  I have read about others buying those big Guillotine Paper Cutters and smaller paper cutters, but I personally am not to that point.  I did invest in a pair of fiskars softouch razor edge scissors that work great.  They fit my hands and cut so smoothly.  I have had them for about 1 year now and they still cut like I just bought them.  The original cost was $32.99 but of course I used a coupon for 50% off and got a great deal.

http://www.joann.com/fiskars-softouch-razor-edged-8-scissor/prd22607/

  1. The time that you are willing to spend is up to you, spend it wisely.

  • Many of us spend a lot of time with our kids, and seem to be on the go from morning till night.  I understand completely as I have three kids ages 16, 12, and 4.  I do make time to cut what coupons I need and will use.  I also have made it fun for the kids to help me.  We have a family afternoon on Sundays.  We spend time going through ads and checking blogs online to find the great deals of the week.  We make lists and pull coupons out to make our shopping trip easier.  I find that it takes about 4 hours a week but my savings is around 70-80% if not more.  I am sure if I had more time I could spend a whole lot less.  Do what works with your schedule as time goes by you will get better.

  1. Are you sure you can afford that?

  • Make sure if you are using a coupon it is not just because an item is free or cheap.  Many people start out by using every coupon they come across.  I will caution you about doing this because you will end up spending more money in the long run and end up with items your family may not use.  If this is already you then learn to donate.  It works best if you sit down with your family to discuss and write down in a notebook the things your family eats most.  This gives you a starting point and helps locate the best deals for your family and your pocket book.

  1. Stockpiling for your family

  • What is realistic, is the question you need to ask yourself?  Do you feel like your world would turn upside down with the loss of a job?  I know my family is currently living on one income and it is really hard.  Currently our stockpile would take care of us for about 6-9 months.  It is hard to find space to store everything but with a bit of ingenious imagination we have been able to make room.  In order to keep your items rotated I actually use a sharpie marker.  As I come from the store my kids and I write the expiration numbers on everything that is going to the stockpile.  This ensures that we can safely use up items in a timely manner.

  1. Storage ideas

  • I am a thrifty shopper so of course I find ways to save money anyway I can.  I found a couple of shoe organizers at a local thrift store and bought them for $2 each.  I washed them thoroughly and after I hung one of  them on the inside of my hallway closet and the other on the back of a wire shelf I use for storing other stockpile items.  I use these to store any gravy, taco seasonings, or pouch mixes.  I can see them clearly which helps keep me organized.  I also utilized the storage boxes that fit under beds for things like feminine products, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.  I also use an armoire that I had my husband install additional shelves in for canned goods in my kitchen.  There are so many creative ways to store items just use your imagination.

  1. Donate, Donate, Donate

  • As you get better finding free stuff that you or your family will not use find a local pantry and donate those items.  We all know that will the economy be son bad right now the amount of people utilizing food banks has increased tremendously.  Most of the families may or may not receive food stamps, if they are the certainly don’t have the money to purchase paper products or toiletries.  Help out when you can and pay it forward.

  1. Signup for store rewards cards

  • I have store reward cards from 30 different stores.  Every trip I take anywhere I get a store rewards card.  Why you ask?  Well I never know when I will be back in the same area again, but I may go somewhere else and do shopping at the same chain.  I want to save as much as I can with every card I can.  Some rewards cards like Kroger will send you coupons on items you buy the most.  You can also save money on gas at some stores by shopping there.  Plus you will get weekly adds in the mail sometimes for unadvertised items in the regular circular.

  1. Search for online saving blogs to help you out

  • There are plenty of online blogs that do store matchups for you.  Take advantage of that so you can spend your time on other things.  Another way to find out the great deals would be to network.  Start a local coupon group with friends that meets at a specified time and day.  Coupon groups can be a great way to start a phone or email tree as well.  When someone in your group finds a deal they can notify one person and so on.  A facebook group works the same way.  While you are out shopping you or others in your group could post comments about sales they have found.  Helping each other to save is what it is all about.  Share coupons with your group that you may not use and ask for ones that you may want as well.  This is also a way to have time just for coupons.

  1. Lists and more lists

  • Keeping a notebook or small journal really helps keep you on track.  Write down your grocery list in your notebook.  Next search online databases to find coupons that match your list.  Then you find your coupons you are looking for and cut them for your trip to the store.  By writing out your list you will save money by not buying items you don’t need.  You will know what you are running low on and if you have coupons for those items. Use a highlighter to mark those items with coupons so you won’t forget when it is time to shop.  Keep track of the sale items in your circular by adding them to your list with an star to remind you.  The more organized you can be before shopping the less stress you will have at checkout.  Last but not least I write prices next to the items I do put in my cart so that way I can pay attention to them at checkout.  There is nothing worse than getting charged more for an item than what the signs say.

Bonus info Remember to read your coupons carefully including the fine print.  This step will help your stress levels at checkout avoiding (hopefully any) problems.  Another important key in less stress is to keep your coupon policies up to date and with you when shopping.  Be nice to all the employees you come in contact with you never know when you may need their help. Happy Couponing

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