Couponing 101

I’ve been trying to decide if I should write this post for a while, but after one of my wonderful readers commented last night, I decide to go for it. I’ve touched on this subject before, but this post will detail how to get involved in couponing, instead of being completely overwhelmed by it. I know a lot of people don’t know where to start, where to get coupons, and are turned off by shows like “Extreme Couponing.” DON’T BE! It’s easy. Once you get started, it’s a total addiction

Where can I get coupons?
Coupons are easy to get ahold of, especially in this day and age. You can find coupons online (coupons.com is a big website, but companies like P&G, Johnson and Johnson, and Kelloggs have their own if you sign up ), in the Sunday paper (There’s no need to subscribe; just go buy one Sunday morning, but check that the inserts are in there.), from friends (there are websites dedicated to hooking people up with other couponers to trade), specific retail stores wesbsite’s (Target), Facebook (just “like” the company for offers, including free samples), and from the company itself. I have written to companies and told them how much I would love to try their product, but I can’t afford it full price. Many will send you coupons to use, with long expiration dates.

If you have a smartphone/tablet and a wireless printer, you can download the coupons.com application to print coupons from those devices. The best part is that you can print 2 coupons per device. If you have a tablet, a smart phone, and a computer, this means you can print 6 coupons for the same product. Most websites, including target.com, will only let you print 2 coupons per device. If you really need a certain product and there’s a great coupon (think baby food, shampoo, etc.), having more than one computer comes in handy; or phone a friend!

How do I combine coupons?
As you all know, I love Target. Their coupon combinations are unmatched. You can use 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 Target coupon (it will have the red bulls-eye on it, and you can find them on target.com under the clearance tab) together for better savings. For instance, if you have an item that is $3 and you have a manufacturer coupon worth $1 and a Target coupon worth a $1, you can combine the two. The product will be a $1. Make sure you check the store’s coupon policy as well to see how many of the same like coupons you can use in one transaction. At Target, you can only use 4 like coupons in the same transaction, aka 4 of the same Target coupon and 4 of the same manufacturer coupon.

How can I figure out deals?
There are blogs dedicated to finding deals and doing the dirty work so you don’t have to. Totallytarget.com is my Bible in this case. Otherwise, you can match up your coupons with local inserts (Redners, Rite Aid, etc.). Don’t be afraid to put together matches with your Target insert, either. You may have coupons that will give you decent deals on products that you use all the time. Remember, you don’t have to get every single thing for free; you just want to save yourself some money.

Other things to know about:
Target has a program called “Cartwheels.” You can add percentages off certain items to a list and either print it or scan it from your smartphone. This adds an additional percentage off your purchase after coupons. I love to use it for fruits and vegetables. You can also get mobile coupons sent to your smartphone for extra savings. You can sign up for that on their website as well.

The Budget Babe is a great blog to follow to notifications for companies that are offering free samples of their products. I’ve gotten everything from lotions to K-Cups through her website.

Above all else, have fun with this. I truly enjoy couponing and providing for my family. We’ve been able to stock up on a lot of necessities through coupons, and for that, I am very thankful.

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