Learning how to start couponing the easy way is one of the many means that will help you achieve financial freedom. Surely, it’s not as big as investing or so, but let’s face it, no matter how small it is, couponing helps you save money — and honestly, that’s all that matters.
Let’s be realistic, the standard of living today is quite stressful. I mean, you got to earn a good amount of money to be able to live a decent life. Both products and services today are pricier than it was yesterday, and I don’t think it will ever go down — at least not yet. Yes, I am still hopeful prices will eventually decrease in time.
Anyway, if you are serious about saving money — for whatever reason, you got to be creative and you got to find ways — no matter how small — how to cut your expenses. You know, saving money in this day and age is really a struggle especially to those who earn a meager income. But you know, as long as there is a will, there will always be ways, right?
Just recently, I found out about couponing. Well, I know what coupons are, and I know that they exist. But I did not mind using them or took time to learn how to use them — not until recently. You know, once you become a mom, you suddenly become more conscious about spending. Your spending habits change. This time, you always look for ways to be able to save regardless if it means saving a little or big amount of money.
So, before my addiction to coupons, I went through that stage wherein I was so curious about it. Thus, I searched and I was surprised when I found out that couponing is actually a thing in the country. Many establishments do still offer coupons to their customers.
In fact, in data published by Statista, it says that in 2016 alone, “there were a total of 307 billion coupons distributed throughout the United States“. However, here’s the sad reality, of all those 307 billion, only about two billion were redeemed in that very same year. I know what you are thinking. The gap between the numbers of coupons distributed between the total numbers of coupons redeemed is quite huge!
I am not a super expert in couponing, but I believe this number only shows that many of us have yet to learn the value of couponing. Also, how to start couponing the easy way so we get to appreciate more what these coupons are all about and how valuable they actually are.
But here’s some good news. Experts believe that by 2021, which is just a year to go, the number of coupon users will sit somewhere around 145.3 million. Well, with the advent of online coupons, and the very aggressive actions by marketers and store/shops, plus with more and more resources coming up teaching people how to take advantage of coupons, for sure, a lot of people will really get into using this thing. After all, we are in an era wherein people are becoming conscious about saving.
So, having said all that, later on, I am going to share with you steps on how to start couponing the easy way. But first, what is couponing? What are the benefits of using coupons?
WHAT IS COUPONING?
According to the Global Banking and Finance Review, couponing refers to “a practice of systematically collecting coupons from newspapers, online ads, product packaging, product flyers or e-coupons on coupon websites and coupon apps and using them effectively to save money on groceries and other regular purchases“.
It basically is all about the concept of saving money by knowing how much an item normally costs, what is the best price or deal, and how much to buy until the next sales cycle.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COUPONING?
Some people can give you a lot of benefits using coupons, but I will focus on just three major benefits of couponing.
First, you get to save money on your day to day items. This, I have to say, is the major benefit of couponing. I do not know about you, but I am the type of person who would, as much as possible, not buy an item unless it’s on sale. I am that kind of woman who would only check a store or a shop if there is that S-A-L-E sign outside.
The good thing about coupons is that you do not have to wait for the items to get on sale. Using coupons allows you to save on regular priced items, anytime you need to buy one. So, yeah, that basically means you are spared from waiting for you to get hold of that item you actually really like.
Second, you get to spare yourself from paying memberships to clubs. While being a club member gives you a lot of perks, the thing is, they do have a membership fee. For me, it’s like you are paying for the perks.
By using coupons or by couponing, you no longer have to pay membership fees to be able to enjoy discounts. Just by presenting the coupon to the store, you immediately save money from regular priced items.
Third, you get to enjoy an additional discount (on top of a sale). One of the major benefits of using coupons is that you do not necessarily have to buy a regular priced items to be able to enjoy the perk. You can use the coupon even when purchasing on-sale products. So, imagine how much you are able to save!
If you love shopping at Wal-Mart or Target, you will surely enjoy an even lower priced items. Guess what? In some cases, it actually feels like paying close to nothing. Who doesn’t like that, right?
Lastly, you get to enjoy a discount when purchasing your most used items. If you are someone like me who is used to stocking up on regularly used items like toilet paper, soap, diapers for my baby, etc., you will surely love couponing. With coupons, you no longer have to wait for sale periods to be able to stock up. Just go to your favorite store, buy all the things to stock up on, and use the coupons. Surely, you will love how much you get to save from doing so.
Before moving on to our step-by-step guide on how to start couponing, you may want to check this video by Coupon With Star as she shares about the basics of couponing and how to start your couponing journey. Click the play button to watch the whole thing:
HOW TO START COUPONING THE EASY WAY?
So, now you already know what couponing is all about, and the benefits you will enjoy from it. This time around, let me share with you how to start couponing the easy way. Yes, I had to use “the easy way” because a lot of people have misconceptions about couponing. They thought it’s hard or that it consumes time, when in fact – it’s very easy!
I swear couponing is very easy – especially if you want to save money! Yes, that was a joke, but I actually mean it, too.
By the way, before we start, let me just say that when couponing, you got to keep an open mind and you got to load up a lot of patience. Just like anything, when you start something, you will find it challenging, but once you are used to it – it should be a breeze.
Anyway, without further ado, here is a step-by-step guide on how to start couponing the easy way.
STEP 1: MAKE TIME
Yes, you got to make time once you decide to do couponing. In the beginning, you may need a few minutes or even hours. But once you have mastered the art of couponing, it won’t last that long and won’t definitely take much of your time.
Just to say, you do not need to do it on a daily basis, once or twice a week will do. Full concentration, by the way, will help make things easier and will get things done sooner — pretty much like in doing anything.
STEP 2: LOOK FOR COUPONS
While some coupons may be handed to you, most of the time, you got to look for them. Thus, you have to determine where your local coupons can be found, which usually depends on where you live.
However, there are five main places where you can find them, and this includes:
- Store coupon walls/bulletin boards
- Local newspapers
- Store flyers
- Coupon websites (e.g. Groupon, Coupons, Couponic, Save.ca, Checkout51, etc.)
- Coupon apps (e.g. Checkout 51, ReceiptPal, CartSmart, Snap, etc.)
Other places to find or look for coupons include:
- In-store Coupon Printer
- In Your Mail
- Store Aisles
- Register Printouts (AKA Catalinas)
- Food Packaging in Your Cupboards
- Your Favorite Stores
- Manufacturer Websites
- Your Inbox
To ensure that you got your bases covered, make sure to follow these simple steps based on the five major places to find coupons at:
- Sign up for a subscription on your local newspaper to be able to take full advantage of coupons sent as inserts. Usually, Sunday newspapers have the most variety of coupon inserts.
- Regularly check store bulletin boards for coupons before you start shopping.
- Download as many coupon apps as you can to have a variety of choices.
- Regularly check coupon websites.
- Join local coupon groups on Facebook to stay up to date for the latest coupons in your area.
STEP 3: GET ORGANIZED
Once you are done collecting coupons, the next thing to do is to match your coupons with the minimum sales to ensure that you really end up saving money.
Sort out your coupons, and then organize them according to products, dates, or even the minimum purchasing. You can create your own coupon organization template or method — whatever works best for you. You may consider placing your coupons in a plastic binder with tabs and pockets to make life easier.
You may also categorize the organization of your coupons. For instance, you may group together coupons that are under the following categories:
- Grocery Items
- Baby/Kids Items
- Household Items
- Personal Care Products
- Pet Products
Personally, I do that and I honestly save a lot of time because once I already need to use one, I already know where to find it.
Of course, it does not apply when you are using app-based or website-based coupons. Although most apps and sites also let you organize your coupons. You just have to check that out.
STEP 4: STOCKPILE
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean it in a bad way. Stockpiling coupons means you choose items or coupons that would last for four to six weeks before the item gets on sale.
I would like to believe that this is another couponing method that really works. But then again, what works for one may not work for the other. So with that, just do what you think is appropriate for you.
STEP 5: UNDERSTAND WHAT OVERAGE MEANS
When learning how to how to start couponing the easy way, one very important thing that you need to know and understand is overage. This usually happens when the worth of your coupons exceeds the cost of the product. This basically means you either owed money in cash from the grocer or get credit towards your current bill. So, how does this happen?
There are different scenarios wherein overage happens. Some of these scenarios are as follows:
- When you use a coupon on an item that is either on clearance or the price has been reduced.
- When you combine a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon.
- When you price-match a product that you are already using a coupon on.
- When you apply “Catalina” coupons on your bill. (Catalina coupon refers to coupons printed at the store’s register.)
STEP 6: MAKE A LIST
We are used to making a shopping list before going to the groceries. That is not the case when you are couponing though. For couponing to work for you, you instead look over the ads, which can be found in the paper or online (though coupon apps and websites), and write down the sale items you think your family needs or will use.
Once you are done listing down, refining the list comes next, and lastly, completing it with the items you need for the rest of the week.
The next process is, you go through your coupons, and check if any of the sale items do have correlating coupons. If you have, then, that’s great! That means saving money for those items you are about to purchase.
If I may say, this may or may not work for you. It’s a case-to-case basis. At the end of the day, I highly recommend you do what works best for you or what makes it easier for you. You can always try different methods until you find the right one for you.
STEP 7: GO SHOPPING!
So, you are done collecting, choosing and organizing your coupons, it’s time to put those coupons to test — and of course, your process as well.
Once you are already at the store, make sure that the items that are on sale match your coupons. After all, you would not want to get items thinking your coupon will work only to find out it won’t, right? So, I highly recommend checking everything first to be sure. After all, you do not want your efforts to go to waste or end up problematic because you went over budget instead of saving money.
You see, the steps on how to start couponing the easy way are indeed stress-free as long as you follow these basic processes. Eventually, once you already know or have mastered how to go about everything, it would be a lot easier for sure.
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT COUPONING
Now, I thought of sharing some very basic but essential facts about couponing. These will help you better understand how couponing works.
– Can coupons be combined?
The answer is an absolute yes. You can definitely combine coupons, which means you can amp up your savings! That’s actually what I love about couponing.
As I have said earlier once you have mastered how to start couponing the easy way, you will surely love the whole concept of it! By the way, you can use one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per item (this, by the way, is what stacking means).
– Is it possible to use one coupon per item?
It depends. To be sure, check the store’s coupon policy. Although, most stores allow stacking a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.
Then again, to be really sure about it, better check the store.
– What Does “Limit One Coupon Per Purchase Per Transaction” Mean?
This basically means you are only allowed to use one coupon for a particular item for every transaction.
TIPS ON COUPONING
So, now that you already know how to start couponing the easy way, and some additional facts on couponing, let me share a few tips to live by as you begin your couponing journey.
– Only use the coupons you need. Sometimes couponing can get really overwhelming and you may get carried away. Thus, it is important to remember to only keep the coupons you actually need. Do not keep coupons just because you “might” need them, rather focus only on what you need.
– Focus on one store at a time. Master couponing in one store first before moving on to the next, otherwise, you might get confused and end up frustrated.
– Plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Here’s the thing, the more prepared you are, the less stressed you get, the better your shopping and couponing experience will be. Make sure that you have your list and coupons ready according to the plan.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO START COUPONING THE EASY WAY
It’s nice knowing that there are actually ways wherein you can save money from shopping – and that one of them is through couponing.
While the whole couponing concept can get confusing in the beginning, once you follow a process and you eventually master it, you will surely love it. As I have shared, I was once hesitant about this couponing thing, but the moment I got myself into it, I can no longer go shopping without my coupons around.