Saving money while living life!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Couponing For Newbies: How to Coupon

Many have heard about couponing and want to know what it is about.
That's why this week I am doing a series called Couponing for Newbies.
I will hopefully be answering a few questions and will make a little more sense of what we couponers do and how we do it.

Couponing For Newbies: Day 1

How do I coupon?

First: Stockpiling

One of the main concepts behind couponing is creating a stockpile of products.
It is basic economics, you buy items when they are the cheapest. You buy enough of the item to last until it returns to a price you are willing to pay. The key is buy the amount that you will use in that period of time without having an excess or running out.

For example my price point for cereal is $.50 a box. When I can get cereal for that price I buy it in large enough quantities to last until I can get cereal for that price again.

Here's a formula that the gals at Fabulessly Frugal came up with to help you figure out how much of something to buy. This is mainly for food items.

How to calculate how much of a food item you use per week:

How many people use the item in your house,
x number of days you use it,
x number of times per day
= the amount you use per week ( food servings per week)
Divide by number of servings in box or container
= number of boxes used per week

Then based on when the food item expires you can calculate how much you can use until then.

With toiletries and items that are not so easily measured I usually just guess.

Second: Combine coupons with sales

When you use a coupon at a store it is like any other form of payment (ie. cash, checks, credit or debit cards). The store gets reimbursed for the coupon by the manufacture along with an additional $.08 for every coupon. Essentially, when you use a coupon it is like the manufacture is giving you money.

When there is a sale at the store, the store is reducing their price on the product in order to lure you into the store to spend money. Often times, a manufacture will pay the store to promote a certain item in order to get you to buy other items. Sales tend to go in cycles based on the what time of year it is. For example in the fall soups and baking goods go on sale and in the summer BBQ sauce and salad dressing go on sale.

Combining coupons with the sales then gives you a greater discount.

For example, lets say you have a box of cereal that is $1.50 on sale at the store.
You then use a $1.00 off of 1 box of cereal from the manufacture to buy the cereal.
By combining the two you only have to pay $.50 for the cereal out of your pocket.

Third: Where to get coupons
The newspaper:
My main source of getting coupons is from the newspaper. I get 7 papers delivered to my house every Sunday.
Most papers have special deals for couponers and will give a discounted price when you get more than one paper delivered. I pay less than $20.00 per month on all my papers but make back five or six times that easily in a month.

Internet Printables:
Printable Internet coupons are one of the easiest sources of getting coupons.
There are three main coupon printing websites:
You can also get coupons from various manufactures websites. Manufactures also use Facebook as a way to give consumers coupons.

In Store:
In stores there are also ways to get coupons.
  • Blinkies: a machine placed near a product that holds coupons
  • Peelies: coupons placed directly on a product
  • Tear pads: normally placed by the product
  • In the store ads.
  • Coupon exchange baskets. Normally placed at the front of the store.

Buying Online:
Purchasing on the internet is a great way to get lots of a certain coupon.
Since you technically aren't allowed to sell coupons normally the sellers are charging for their time and giving you the coupons for free.

The main way is through Ebay. ( If you do this method I would recommend purchasing with PayPal and only from reputable dealers with good feedback. I won't buy coupons from anyone who doesn't have almost 100% good feedback.)

There are other websites selling out there. But I have never used them so I don't know how good they are.
I only use Ebay because to me it seems the safest way.

Home mailers:
You can request many different coupons from manufactures that will be sent in the mail.
Often, when you request a sample of something the manufacture sends a coupon along with it.

Fourth: Being Smart!

Essentially, the main reason to use coupons is to save money by getting the most for your dollar.
You wouldn't buy the first car you saw or the first home you walked through. Most people shop around to get the best deal. Why do we feel that we need to pay full price for food and toiletries.
Using coupons is way to be smarter with our money.

No comments:

Post a Comment