So I am going to call these series of posts - Coupons for Dummies - maybe they already have a book in the "for dummies" series about coupons but this is my personal "Coupon Blog Entry for Dummies." I will try to post some coupon shopping tips every other day.
So today I will give you a few steps to do before you start collecting coupons. There a a few step I did take and a few steps I wish I would have taken first to make the whole process a lot easier. I will only post 5 today so I do not overwhelm people too much.
1. Check-out what news papers are delivered to your area and what coupons they have. For example you want the one that gets - Smart Source, Red Plum, and Procter and Gamble coupons. You should be able to ask the paper and they should know. My paper only has smart source which is still great but I wish I had the others too, so if you find a paper in your area that does this GREAT!
2. When you call the papers make sure to get prices on the papers too. You will want to ask for a coupon special - for example I get one paper on the normal delivery days (which is great so i get the ads, and random other coupons), and then I get five of the Sunday/Saturday paper (they are combined into the same day here). You want to get the most of whatever day has the coupon inserts. I would also recommend getting 6 on that day then you have doubles of each.
3. Start looking at the websites I have posted on my blogs side bar. Pinching Your Pennies (PYP) has great videos to help get you started. This will also make you familiar with coupon language (look on PYP for more info on that too). When you do this you may notice there are several on-line coupons too, in fact if you want you could just start with those if you don't want to invest more money yet. I have also found that there are local people who blog about it letting you know about local deals and just certain websites and blogs that are better for your area, depending on how many stores are around you.
4. Start pricing items you buy regularly. This is called a price list. I believe you can print one off of PYP and other sights to help you know when you are getting a good deal. The point of starting your own though is that you may use certain items a lot that are not on these lists, and when you follow the prices you will start to learn what stores offer a cheaper price and which ones have that item on sale more. This will help a lot when you use coupons. It's not hard either just make a list of items you buy often, like at least once a month, and when you go to the store take a small notebook and write down the price, brand, quantity, store, and date. It may make your trips a tad longer but if you are already purchasing it and in the store it's just a few more moments.
5. start putting together a "coupon binder" you can find out what this is by going to YOU TUBE and typing in coupon binder in the search bar. I would suggest putting this together before you end up with a billion coupons or it takes a lot more time - trust me on this. I would also suggest doing this because it makes coupon shopping WAY easier.
Remember in all you will probably put about $30 dollars into this your first month. After that it basically is only the price of the newspaper you get and the printing of the on-line coupons.
To justify spending that much my first month I went crazy and got as many free things as possible that month to offset the price of getting started (I only bought other items if they were a very good price like Ranch dressing for $0.08, or I really needed them like toilet paper). It also helped my gain confidence in coupon shopping.
I know this is a lot of info, if you have questions just post.
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