Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Couponing: 10 Easy Steps

The couponing trend has waxed and waned at this point, but I still think that it’s an important practice when staying within a budget.  Food costs continue to go up and if you can get a little help from the manufacturers or stores that you shop at, why not?

I have a 10 step process for couponing that I follow and it doesn’t take hardly any time at all.  If  it did, I wouldn’t do it. 
[One thing I want to mention first - I never go to the grocery store without a list and I do not buy anything that isn't already on the list unless I find a great deal on something that I know that we use.  Buying something just because you have a coupon or it's on sale defeats the purpose.]

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1.  The first thing I do is check Sunday Coupon Preview to see if it is worth buying the Sunday paper.  
2.  If it seems worth the money, I buy the paper and clip coupons.  I share and trade with my Mom and friends.
3.  I check online resources like Coupons.com and RedPlum for more manufacturers coupons.
4.  Then I look at the circular from the store that I plan on shopping at.   I mainly shop at two  local food stores that have everyday low prices and occasional sales or Target (for reasons I will mention below).
5.  Once I have looked at the sales, I look for coupons for that specific store.  Many have a coupons website specifically for their company.
6.  If there are still things on my list that I don’t have coupons for, I will check the product/company websites and Facebook pages for online coupons.
7.  I then gather my coupons and list and see if there is anything that I can stack (meaning, using a store and manufacturers coupon together).  
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The only thing better is if the product ends up being free ;)
8.  I like to write my list on the outside of an envelope with the quantities and coupons recorded.  Then I place the coupons, rain checks and store card inside for easy access.
9.  Some stores, like Target, have a credit card or debit card that provides additional savings at the register or accrue points/savings for future orders.  As long as using this card does not affect your credit or budget negatively I think they are worth using.
10.  Be sure that you receive all perks from your purchase.: ie gift cards, coupons, additional discounts and rain checks for items that were not available during your shopping trip.  This can be easy to forget when you are tired and ready to head home, but don’t!  Rain checks are like a hold on a sale.  

Here’s why I love Target:

  • Target is a super store, which means one stop shopping for me and the three kiddos.  That is priceless, honestly.  
  • They offer many opportunities to receive gift cards for purchases that I make regularly, like diapers, formula, multivitamins, etc....  I often get multiple $5-$10 cards in one trip.
  • Target offers their own coupons, now available on a new app called Cartwheel, that allows you to choose your coupons and then just swipe the barcode at the register.
  • I, personally, use the debit card option from Target.  I am not charged anything, it works just like my own debit card and it takes 5% off of my total after all savings are applied.
  If you coupon, how do you do it? 
If you choose not to coupon, why?
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