I love scrolling through social media to look at people that are couponing to the extreme! Looks fun BUT also very time consuming. Now I don’t know about you, but as a single mom I need to save as much time and money as I can.
So is couponing really worth it? YES! Now, starting up is the difficult part because you don't know where to begin, where to look, or how to plan a shopping trip. I'm gonna share just a few steps with you to begin a couponing lifestyle. With a bit of practice it will become simple, easy, and of course beneficial for everyone looking to save money! You will have to put time and effort aside to plan your trips, look at ads, do the math, & figure out the items that you want BUT it will be totally worth it!
My household is very small, just my son and I. So I'm not the type of couponer that gets 20 of one item LOL, these are just steps to help you and guide you into the direction of starting your own couponing journey.
MAJOR RULE: Always read the store policy before going. Every store has almost the same general policy, but they also have their own rules you have to follow. Check online for store policies. KNOW before you GO!
Normally stores will allow you to use up to 4 MFR coupons (manufacturer coupons - yes there is coupon lingo!) Per transaction of the same item. For example if you get 5 Dove body washes, you can only use 4 MFR coupons. But remember it always depends on the store, please READ STORE POLICIES !
The first thing you want to figure out is where are you going to get your inserts from. Inserts are packets that contain coupons and can be found in your Sunday Newspaper. I've listed some of the places where I get my MFR (manufacturer coupons).
*(You're going to find that there are a lot of different terminologies for couponing so don't worry I'll try to explain what each one as we go) Again these are
my Go-To places, you can also search the web or social media to find others as well.
There are many people that sell coupons in bulk, which you can decide to do if you are looking to buy in high quantity.
Things you should know about the Sunday newspaper, make sure you check the scheduling. Coupons will come every Sunday, but on major holidays or certain weekends they may not be distributed. Always remember coupons vary by region, which means someone in Florida might not get the same coupon inserts in their newspaper as someone in California or the coupon value might be different as well.
Look for store ads in your local newspaper that you and online. I use an app called Flipp. Flipp uses your Zip Code to pull ads from stores in your area and they tell you when it expires. (I love it because you can save your favorite stores and circle products right inside of the app!)
Now remember, stores vary by location. I'm originally from Connecticut and I am saddened because some of my favorite stores are not found here down South where I live now LOL! So I had to get used to new stores and coupon policies.
I'll go ahead and list some stores I go to below and an detail about each one to give you a idea of how things work. (these are just places I go, you can definitely check in your area for others as well)
ShopRite- ShopRite gives CAT (Short for Catalina) This is a coupon that prints out at the registers with your receipt for future purchases. For example, the sale might be "spend $20 on Dove products and earn $5 towards your next purchase”. Now, if that product has a coupon, you can use that coupon to lower the amount you spend OOP (out of pocket) and still receive that $5 off towards your next purchase. So for your future purchase, when you go to use that CAT you CAN use your MFR coupons along with it.
Target- I love Target because they tend to have sales where you can get gift cards (GC) back for your next purchase, use MFR coupons, and also use Target’s Cartwheel. Target’s Cartwheel is an app that you download on any smart phone device that will allow you to scan things you’re purchasing to see if there are any “Target discounts" available. So here’s an example, buy 2 Gain fabric softeners (100 load) & get $10 GC. *ALWAYS READ FINE PRINT* before heading to the register, use your Cartwheel app and scan the gain softener barcode, this will show you if Target has any additional discounts for your product, For this example we will say they have an additional 5% off. At the register you will give the cashier your two MFR coupons and have them scan your Cartwheel app. They will then give you your $10 gift card that you will be able to use towards your next purchase.
Sears- Couponing is not just for grocery stores. Sears is one of my favorite places because they have their own coupons along with SWY (shop your way) points. You do have to sign up for an account, which is completely free. There are many ways you can get SWY points. The first way would be surprise points. Randomly sears will surprise you with points that you can use towards your purchase like $5, $10 or $20 off that you get towards your next purchase. You can also earn points by purchasing select items, for instance let's say you see a table that you want to purchase at $150, below that will show if there are any SWY points that you will earn for purchasing that table. Once your purchase is complete you will receive your SWY points within 24 hours. Points get converted into dollars which means 6,000 points equals $6 (don’t worry points are easily accumulated). Most Sears coupons can be combined with SYW points you have previously earned to lower your what you pay OOP (Out Of Pocket)
CVS- CVS has ECB (Extra Care Bucks) very similar to the examples I’ve given above, ECB are given when they are running a sale. Like Spend $20 on Colgate, get $5 ECB to use towards your next purchase. Just like target you can use MFR coupons, CVS coupons, and ECB’s.
Kohls- I love Kohl’s because when they have coupons a lot of them are stackable, which means you can use more than one at the same time. They might have a $5 off a $20 Purchase & a 20% that could be in most cases used at the same time. They also have Bucks you can earn for purchasing too!
WOO! I know that was a lot to take it. but remember couponing should be fun, and can be a great hobby that we can do with our families or if we need a little me time!! And in return, we will be saving money at the same too!
Stephanie is a #DOPEWoman contributor who has the inside track on deals! Shes a mom to one of the cutest kids ever and a BOSS in her own right! As the owner of Chilly's Couture, an online accessory boutique she is committed to helping women look and feel their best from the inside out! Check out her out and get the latest in fashion and a dose of empowerment on her "Embrace Your Beauty" Blog