Couponing 101- The Basics

I will start off with the basics so nobody gets completely confused and overwhelmed so early on.

References: A lot of the deals I will be finding myself, others my mother tells me about, others my best friend lets me know about, and others I get off of a deals site online.

I will NOT be posting every single deal possible. If I did, I would have NO free time. I will though be posting all of the free and cheap deals. Don't think this will be cutting you short of the deals, because there will be PLENTY of those! Other than that, you will be on your own to look through your coupons when there is something you need. My mother's and I's motto is "if it's not free or less than .50, it's not a great deal, UNLESS you need it!"

1. Buy AT LEAST one Sunday paper EVERY SUNDAY! Papers do not run on holiday weekends, but I will try my best to remind everyone when those come along. There are tons of coupons in Sunday papers. Some Sundays have more than others though. This is your reason for buying at least one. You want to start stocking up on coupons. You may not use those coupons for the next week's deal always, but you will be using them at some point. If you buy more than one paper, you will have more than one coupon for each product. Does that make sense? For example, one of the coupons in Sunday's paper is a toothpaste coupon. There is a sale that we can run with this coupon that makes it free. If you have one coupon, you get one toothpaste. If you have two, you get two, and so forth. Get however many papers you want. I always get two to three, but even one is a great starting point.

2. If you have a printer, you will be even luckier than those without one. There are many printable coupons available. I JUST got a printer a couple days ago and I love it so much!!!! (You will still do great even without a printer though!)

3. Get a card from each of the stores you will be shopping at. Example: Food Lion - MVP card, Harris Teeter - Vic Card, CVS - Rewards Card. These cards are crutual to your saving experience! Get them ASAP!! Even before you start your deal shopping!

4. Find a way to store your coupons. There is no right or wrong way, but you will want to have some kind of way, or it will get VERY confusing. Some cut each coupon out and sort by type, and some do not cut them out until needed and sort the coupon pages themselves. I sort the pages in a binder with page protectors. I put all the pages from the week's coupons into one page protector in my binder. Then slip a piece of paper in front (you can also write on the front of the coupon page)with the date of the coupons (the Sunday you got them). This will keep them in order and you will understand why as we go on. Here is a picture of how I store my pages.

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5. Once you start accumulating coupons like I have, you will not be able to take them all in the store with you without having a nervous break down. Plus, there is no reason to have to. You will want to find something (your choice) that you can use for your "shopping trip" coupons. This is where your coupons will go once you see the deals, and cut your coupons out that you will be using. Then you can just carry them to the store with you. I personally use a mini folder file...I think it might be for recipes or something. Here is a picture of it. I label each section with the different store names, and that is how I will sort all my coupons to where I know which store is which coupon for the day.

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6. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed!! This is going to be time consuming (it won't be as bad for you guys since I'll be posting the deals, etc), and stressful sometimes, but don't let the fun be taken away, and just keep in mind how much you are saving!!

7. Save your receipts once you start these "deal" finds! This will be helpful in many ways! We will get to all of that later.

8. Don't be afraid to ask questions!!! Whether it's questions to me, or someone that works at the stores, it's the only way to learn! No question is stupid, and you can never ask too much.

I use certain stores all the time, but if someone asks for another store (I know different regions have different stores), I will try my best to post those deals too. If you do have the stores I post though, that will be the best ones to use.

My stores are as follows: CVS, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Walgreens, and Kroger. Sometimes I use Rite Aid and Lowes Food, but not as often as the others.

This is a list of the abbreviations that will be used when it's time to start showing deals:

*This is how you know which coupon booklet to look in*

RP - Red Plum

SS - Smart Source

PG - P&G Brand Saver

Printable - These are printed offline

MB - Mail Booklet, and I will specify which one

ISA - In Store Ad (The ads you get in your paper or at the store)

Beside these abbreviations will be a date. This is the date that the coupons came in. That is why you need to put the date on the page when you get them!