Ok, so here’s how to get started…a few basics…
#1: Buy a paper…or 4. I usually buy 4 copies of the Sunday paper each week. Papers are sold in most large retail stores and gas stations. At stores like Publix, Kroger, or Walmart, you can find 2 papers bundled for $2.50. In the Acworth/Kennesaw (GA) area, there are individuals who sell the Sunday paper for $1.00 each. You can usually find these sellers near large shopping centers along Hwy 41. This is the cheapest method that I’ve found for purchasing my papers.
#2: File your coupon inserts. Each week when I buy papers, I remove all of the coupon inserts and discard the rest of the paper (or you can recycle it). The types of inserts vary by week but look for Smart Source, Red Plum, and Proctor and Gamble. These are the most common insert types. I write the date on the top right hand corner of each insert.
To file my coupon inserts, I have a simple file box that you can purchase at Walmart, Target, or Office Depot. Each week has a hanging file folder that is labeled with the date. I drop my inserts into the appropriate week’s folder and I am done filing!
I DO NOT cut all of the coupons out and file them by coupon type! Filing the entire insert by date is much more time efficient!
#3: The best time to buy. The best time to use a coupon on an item is when the item is at its lowest price. Sample scenario:
Special K cereal is normally priced at $4.00 a box at Publix. If I used a $1 off coupon at full price, I would get the cereal for $3.00 a box. However, Publix is about to run a Buy One Get One free sale on Special K cereal. With this BOGO sale, the price is $2.00 per box. I use the coupon during the sale and can get Special K cereal for $1.00 A BOX! If I have 4 coupons, then I can get 4 boxes for the price of 1 at regular retail! And that’s just the beginning…
The great news is that you do NOT have to know what’s going on sale and spend hours searching for good deals! There are many bloggers who do all of the research for you….but more on that later.
#4: Stockpiling is the way to go. You should shop based on what’s on sale. If you have a spare bottle of ketchup in your pantry and you can get ketchup for $.20 a bottle this week, go ahead and stock up even though you’re not completely out of your supply!
#5: Try to avoid brand loyalty. Don’t be afraid to try brands that you don’t normally purchase. Aquafresh is not my toothpaste of choice but it was free last week so I stocked up (and got 30 tubes…all for free)! If we use it and decide that we do not like it, we’ll pass it on to someone else. Free is free!