01 November 2010

Couponing 101

Happy November lovelies!

November is a great month for several reasons:

1. It's closer to CHRISTMAS!
2. Hubby's birthday is in 19 days.
3. It's Thanksgiving soon-which means, yummy food and great family-time!
4.Cooler weather
5. My cousin, Halley will have her baby this month!

Back to the main point of this post...

Several of my faithful readers have either emailed, facebooked, or talked to me in person asking me how I save money with coupons.  So, I am now going to share with you about how I coupon and what I do to save money.

The first thing you should know is this: I took a coupon class several months ago while I was at college and a lot of the reason I "know so much" about saving money is due to that class. So, while I will share all my knowledge on the topic, I cannot guarantee that it will be as beneficial as the class. For those of you looking to attend a class, I just googled it and found one! There are many women who give classes and hopefully you will have luck in your area.

Alright so let's get down to business!

Before doing anything else, you need to either subscribe to the biggest newspaper provider in your area (For instance, I get the Charlotte Observer delivered to my home every Sunday) or go pick one up at the grocery store or gas station every Sunday.  This is important because the coupons last for at least a couple months and that way, when a store puts an item on sale, you'll have a "database" to look through and you'll be able to find a coupon that will make it really cheap.

Secondly,  the woman that I took the couponing class from has her own website that is all about couponing.  It's my saving grace when it comes to which coupon is best for each product and when it was in the Sunday paper.  If you are really serious about couponing, take a look at this website:

This is how I learned to save money with coupons

Now, let me warn you..you WILL get confused, frustrated, and want to give up the first few times.  It will be hard to save a big amount of money the first time(s) you actually shop with coupons.  But with perseverance and patience, you will be very happy with the outcome. Also, for you Texas readers, her website is tailored more to the Southeastern part of the U.S.  Meaning the prices for each product will be true for NC,SC,GA,TN,FL..etc.  Texas prices might vary from her website, but you will get the gist of it.

So, the first things you should do is look at that website, get your Sunday paper every week and be patient!

There are tons of great websites out there that I look at too such as this one and this one.

Let me show you my coupon folder.  When I first started out couponing, I would spend hours on Sunday afternoon cutting each coupon out and putting it in an accordion file.  After several weeks of doing that, I got tired and impatient, so now this is what I do:

 I keep all of my coupon inserts whole, date the front of them, and when I need a coupon I clip it then.  That way, I don't waste all my time clipping coupons I do not use! I also put a label on the tap of the individual folder but most of them have fallen out.  I think I cut them too small and every time I open the folder, it fell out.

Before I jumped on the coupon train, I used to pay full price for not only food, but for toiletries such as shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes..etc.  Now I NEVER (yes, NEVER!) pay full price thanks to this one store:

Believe it or not, I get all my non-food items (and sometimes food items) from CVS for little to no money.  Most of the time, I only pay tax.  CVS has a program called Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) which is like "fake money" that they give you if you buy certain products.  It changed each week with their weekly ad and that is when I use my trusty website to find great coupons to match the products.

Jenny, the owner/creator of the website has a whole info session on how to get started shopping at CVS. It's confusing at first, but once it clicks, you'll never have to pay full price for anything again!

To sum up this post in a few sentences:

1. Go buy (or subscribe to) your local newspaper (bigger cities will have more and better coupons) every Sunday.
2. Check out the websites and spend some time reading them.
3. Be patient and realize that saving money doesn't happen overnight. (Is this not the story of everything worth doing? (That it doesn't happen overnight)).
4. Also, there is a whole page dedicated to "getting started with couponing" on Jenny's site. It's helpful to read through.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, please ask! I'd love to talk!

Stay tuned for a DELICIOUS recipe-Venetian Apricot Chicken!

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