lucky bandit: couponing
Showing posts with label couponing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label couponing. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

couponing 101 - part one - what is couponing?, finding coupons, & organization

Do you use coupons? If not, you should! They're easily obtained and can save you a lot of money just by themselves. However, with minimal effort, you can maximize your savings! I am one of those "couponers" - I've gotten things for free, and I've even been paid to take items out of the store! I'm starting a couponing series to help others save money. I'm far from an expert and by no means "extreme", but I'll share some of my tips so you can save money, too!

This is the first of a series of couponing posts. It will cover what couponing is, how you can obtain coupons, and how to organize them.

COUPONING 101: PART ONE what is couponing? finding coupons, organizing coupons lucky bandit blog

What is couponing, anyway?
Couponing is a term used to describe shopping with coupons and saving significant money (properly, of course). You can use coupons to maximize savings and get the lowest price possible for things you buy on a regular basis.

Obtaining Coupons
There are many ways and places to obtain coupons.
  1. Newspapers
    Your local Sunday paper should have a sales paper/coupon insert section. Sunday papers range in price and are usually a bit higher than other days of the week, but the cost is usually minimal enough to pick up two. If you happen to live between two major cities like I do, you may have access to two different papers - they can have different offerings, as coupons are regional.
  2. Online Coupon Websites
    There is a plethora of printable coupons to be had! I get most of my coupons by printing them. Keep in mind that there is a two (2) coupon limit per device (i.e. laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone). If you try to cheat the system, your IP address will be blocked. These are the sites I use most frequently, but there are many others.
  3. Store Websites
    Sometimes stores will have pages on their website where you can print coupons. Some stores will even let you stack a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together on the same item! There will be more on that later. :) These are the store sites I use most often.
  4. Individual Company Websites
    Many company's websites (i.e. Zevia, Amy's, etc) have a "coupon" page, where they sometimes offer coupons specifically for their products. If you love a certain brand, check out their website!
Other than these options, there are many other ways to get coupons! However, photocopying, selling, and buying coupons is illegal. And don't steal them from newspapers. In part two of this series, I'm going to have a piece on coupon fraud, etiquette, and policies, but in the meantime you can check out the Coupon Information Center for what's prohibited when it comes to coupons. The gist of it (but read it anyway!): only use coupons on the intended items, don't buy or sell coupons, obey coupon policies, and generally be smart and don't try to cheat the system.

Organizing Your Coupons
Now that you've got all of these coupons, what the heck do you do with them? Organize them, of course! This will help you tremendously when you go to the store to save money on your shopping. There are many ways to do this, but I'll just highlight some of the most popular ways.
  1. Accordion Files
    You know, those little files in the dollar section of Target that come in all the pretty colors. I personally use these to organize coupons that I know I'll be using on that couponing trip. You can organize them however you would like in these, and they stay unwrinkled and according to whichever categories you put on those little tabs.
  2. The Binder Method
    My way of organizing coupons that I won't be using immediately or on that trip is with a zippered binder filled with baseball card protectors, business card organizers, and photo organizer sheets. It puts the coupons all in eyesight by page divider separated category so that when I'm planning a trip I can easily find what I'm looking for.
How you organize your coupons is really up to you. If you want them all in a folder uncut, go for it! Whatever works the best for you is what matters.

Now that you've got your coupons and have them organized, stay tuned for a little tutorial on how to use them. Part Two will be up soon! If you have any questions, feel free to email me!