Couponing 101

couponSo I have read tons of blogs about couponing, took a class on it, got the Sunday paper every week, downloaded coupons and religiously watched Extreme Couponing on TLC. Even after all of this, I struggle with the concepts, the time it takes and all the different lingo. I mean, what’s the difference between manufacturer and store coupons? Stacking, huh, what’s that? And then you get to the drug store deals….help I am overwhelmed with it all. To be honest, I had given up totally on saving a buck or two on my grocery bill. But then steps in Missional Living (A Life On Mission Begin a Missional Lifestyle) and the huge desire to become debt free. So I thought I would try again and see what happens.

So today, I have a very good friend from High School, Candy Sigmon, who will be helping us with the ends and outs of using coupons. Candy is a mother of two and has recently started couponing herself and has had tremendous savings. I want to thank Candy for sharing some simple tips to get us started.

Q. What is the difference between coupons (manufacturer and store)?
A. Manufacturer Coupons come from lots of places. You can get them from Sunday papers. You can also get them at redplum.com, coupons.com, and smartsource.com. Some coupons can even be found on products themselves! Be on the lookout for these at your store! Store Coupons are available at a particular store and can only be used at the corresponding store. You can get them at various places like a stores app that you can download directly on your phone so they are always available. You can even find coupons at the stores kiosk if they have one.

Q. There are so many terms in couponing liked BOGO, Stacking and Blinkie. What does all of this mean?
A. BOGO means “Buy One Get One” free. Sometimes this is a good deal, other times maybe not. A store may jack the price up on one item to make you think you’re getting a good deal when in reality you’re not. Stacking coupons means more savings! Which is always a good thing!! You can stack a store coupon and a manufactures coupons for ultimate savings. For more information on couponing terms click here.

Q. Where do you get your coupons?
A. I get my coupons from the Sunday paper, off of couponing websites and I have my friends and family save me theirs!

Q. How much time do you spend each week collecting coupons and planning your shopping?
A. I spend Sundays after church looking over the sales and coupons, cutting and organizing the coupons I want to use that go along with the sales for the week. Monday is getting my order ready day. I sit down and really take my time and look through everything to make sure I don’t miss anything that’s cheap or better yet FREE!!! I go shopping on Monday evenings or Tuesday mornings.

Q. How do you know if something is a good deal?
A. If its FREE or really, really cheap then its a good deal. For instance CVS has toothpaste for free this week, that’s right, I said FREE.

Q. Talk to me about drug store savings, they seem so expensive?
A. CVS is awesome when it comes to giving you rewards for shopping in their store. They call it Extra Care Bucks (ECB). With this you earn money for buying items they have on special for the week. The ECB can be used on your next shopping trip! When they pay you for buying stuff then that’s even better!!

Q. How can I save if I typically shop at Aldi or buy store brands?
A. I don’t buy name brand stuff unless it’s on sale and I have a coupon for it. I love shopping at Aldi for some things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying store brand items. Sometimes I find them better than the name brand items.

Q. How do I get started without feeling overwhelmed?
A. My advice is to start out slow. CVS is my favorite store to shop. You want to start with a few items and not go overboard on your first trip. Look at the sales and coupons and match things up that are a good deal. Remember FREE and cheap are what you are looking for to get the maximum savings. Its always the best feeling when you know you are walking out of the store with over $95.00 worth of products and you paid less than $20.00 for and on top of that you got $10.00 in ECB back to spend on more stuff next time! I hope this helped some of you who are new to this crazy couponing craze!

Candy was kind enough to send over this picture of her trip to CVS last week. Let me know your thoughts on couponing and if you do it. How much have you saved?

couponcandy

This post may contain affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for more information. 

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