Paycheck Chronicles

Learning How To Coupon


In almost every budget, food is the second or third largest cost.  (Housing is almost always number 1, and transportation is two or three for most people.)  There are a variety of ways to save money on food.  Today, I'm going to focus on using coupons.

A lot of people don't use coupons because it seems like too much work, or they forget.  I'll admit to skipping my coupon clipping when life gets hectic.  However, considering the phenomenal savings that can be had by couponing, it is worth your effort to know how to do it and to give it a good try.  Couponing won't save much for every family, but it saves a LOT of money for my family.  With four teen and pre-teen girls, we spend a fortune on toiletries each month.  Even if I only used coupons for toiletries, we'd still save about 10% of our monthly grocery budget.

If you are new to couponing, I suggest that you start slowly.  First, find a coupon source.  If you get the weekend newspapers, you're probably already getting coupon inserts most weeks.  If you don't get the paper, and don't want to, look for alternative sources.  Ask neighbors if you can use their coupon inserts.  Check your local library for a coupon bin.  Search out a couponing club in your area.  Ask your local convenience store if you can come in on Monday morning and scavenge the coupons out of the leftover papers.  Heck, I've even been known to dumpster dive in the recycling bins for a really good week.

Once you have access to your coupons, don't start crazy.  Pick just the coupons that you KNOW that you will use.  In my family, this means shampoo, peanut butter, ketchup, canned fruit, certain breakfast cereals, cheese, and italian sausage.  Put this relatively small pile right in your wallet, or in an envelope in your purse.  This way you can't forget!

If you shop at a store that has coupons outside, either flyers or a coupon exchange, you can try a different strategy.  Do your regular shopping, then spend a few minutes looking through the coupons available and taking the ones that match products already in your cart.

Once you've started couponing, it can become addictive.  It can also be very profitable.  If you want to go hard-core, you can look into amazing coupon organization systems, or coupon databases that tell you which coupons can be found in which inserts.  In addition, there are lots of blog posts each week that match coupons with store sales.  Just do an internet search on the name of the store and "coupon matchups."

Hope this helps you to get started in couponing.  You can save a good amount of money without too much effort.  With all the uncertainty in our current world, saving is good.

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