Thursday, October 1, 2009

Using Coupons: For Beginners!

Every time I go shopping, I pull out my stack of coupons at the checkout counter and I get the same reaction from the cashier. Her reaction is always "wow, you are going to save a bunch today!". This week, not only did I get that reaction from the cashier, but the people behind me in line. They were shocked to see my grocery bill come down from $98 to $50 - for a family of 4.

Using Coupons: A Guide For Beginners!

Using coupons is the single biggest way to save money at the grocery store. Bar none. Either you currently use them or you don't. Which side of the fence are you on?
What are coupons? Manufacturers provide coupons as incentives for consumers to try their products. In 2007, only 1% of coupons were redeemed. In 2008, that number increased dramatically, as you can imagine due to the poor economy.
There are many myths surrounding coupon usage.
  • Myth #1: Many people think coupons take too much time to cut and keep up with. It does require some additional time but the payoff is that you save alot of money. There are so many methods for organizing your coupons, that in some cases, you don't even have to touch them until you need them (the filing method as recommended by The Coupon Mom).
  • Myth #2: There aren't any coupons for items I buy. Ha! If you buy anything at all, there are coupons for you! Coupons are found in many places, not just the Sunday paper. You can find coupons on manufacturer websites, printable coupon sites (, Penny Pincher Gazette- Redplum and Smartsource coupons) and in manufacturer advertising/coupon booklets. Trust me, there are coupons for most everything out there -toothpaste, deodorant, cat litter, bacon, biscuits, baby food, milk, bread, peanut butter, and the list goes on and on.
  • Myth #3: My stores don't take printable coupons. This is a funny one because the printable coupon has come such a long way since they first came out. There isn't a store out there that won't take printable coupons now - and they don't have to be in color. All printable coupons must include the valid barcode and it has to be scannable (no photo copies). Also, all printable coupons must have the website or physical address of the company.
  • Myth #4: I am not going to save alot of money using coupons. Well, I am proof that you will save money! For a family of 4, I generally buy my groceries for $50-$60 a week - thanks mostly to coupons! Think you're not going to save money? Think again! Many stores double coupons (i.e. Kroger) and even better, there are some stores that allow you to stack coupons (i.e. Target). Stacking coupons refers to being able to use a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon together for one item. I do this all the time at Target. Where do you get Target store coupons? A Full Cup has the Target Coupon Generator and you can print some great store coupons for great products, including brand name and Target brand items! Look how much I have saved over the last 45 days in this post!
Stay tuned for additional information about "Using Coupons". If you have something to add, we'd love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and tell us your coupon stories and we'll share them in an upcoming post!
~ Written by Elizabeth

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