10 Steps to Getting Started with Couponing
- Figure out how much you’re spending on groceries & toiletries right now.
- Make a savings goal. I started by decreasing our grocery allotment by $25 the first month. That was actually much easier than I thought, so I decreased it by $50 the next month. Now that was a challenge- $75 less a month! We lived on that budget a couple months before I decreased it again. Within 6 months our budget had gone from $400 to $250. I’m now working on getting it down to $200/ month. Remember too- your goal should be to not only get the necessities for your family, but to add to your food storage or “stockpile” as some call it!
- Get the Sunday paper so that you can start collecting coupons. Check out my discount on papers here! Some say you need 1 Sunday newspaper per person in your family to effectively coupon. I'm a fan of staying within your budget! If it's something you feel like you can do, then great! If not, try and find a neighbor who gets the paper but doesn't use coupons. I only got 1 paper for a long time. However, now that I have a family of 6, I'd say I need 4 at least. It helps to have 2 or more, but it’s certainly not necessary.
- For the first few weeks, allow twice your normal time to shop so that you can take time to acknowledge prices. Some people keep a list. There are several price point lists online- PYP has one here. In order to start recognizing a good deal, you need to pay more attention to current prices!
- As you shop, collect coupons. They’re all over the store; you just need to keep your eyes open! Online coupons are helpful too- I'll give you tons on my site!
- Start using grocerysmarts.com. Let them take the guesswork out of figuring out if the sale price is good or not. Over time, you’ll begin to recognize a good sale.
- As you collect coupons, organize them. I think the easiest way to start is with a basic, plastic accordion file coupon organizer. Once you get more into it, you can decide if you want to use a binder, envelopes, etc.
- Start slowly. It’s very easy to jump into couponing and spend $100 MORE each month than you normally do! Resist the urge to go to the store 4 times a week! I actually suggest you use cash to pay for your groceries for at least a few months. When the money’s gone- you’re done! I pass up sales all the time. If it’s on sale for a great price once, trust me- it WILL happen again!
- Begin to get comfortable with more than one grocery store. It’s hard, I know! It’s very important though. When you are shopping for a car, you don’t just go to the cleanest dealership nearest to your house and buy your car there- you shop around! Why not for food and toothpaste?? Don’t be loyal to just one store!
- Be patient. It takes time to learn how to effectively use coupons. You’re doing great though- being motivated to save money is half the battle!
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