New to the world of coupon code hunting? Don’t let your being a newbie get in the way of great bargains! We have a whole list of tips and tricks to help make your foray into couponing easier and more efficient!
You’ve seen it on TV – regular moms and dads stacking up entire basements with their couponing hauls, saving hundreds upon hundreds on their supermarket bills, and getting the most of every shopping trip. You keep wondering how they actually do it when the most savings you made on your first wad of coupons gave you nothing more than an extra toothbrush.
Couponing for beginners can be quite intimidating. It’s normal to not know how to begin, where to start looking, or how to pair up your coupons to make the most savings. Everybody starts as a newbie and that’s okay. We’re here to help you get you started on your journey towards becoming the best coupon code hunter you can be.
For starters, here’s a really good tip: extreme couponing does not happen in a day. It takes time, patience, and some work. (Also: don’t believe everything you see on TV – most of them are artfully exaggerated to up the entertainment value and the ratings) But don’t let that dampen your hopes – there’s a lot to be had with couponing and every single coupon code can be worth something. The right amount of planning, research, and patient work will definitely find you coupon savings.
Ready for big savings? Read on to know our 20 important tips for couponing beginners!
- Find your sources and explore new ones.
One of the most common questions we get from coupon beginners is where to actually get coupons and where expert coupon code hunters get their sources. The answer: everywhere. Don’t just stop with a single newspaper. Check out other names. Go online. Check out old newspapers which may be available at your local newsstand. Keep an eye on product coupons as well – those little cutouts and/or stickers attached to product labels. They are a great source of coupon codes as well!
- Don’t miss out on in-store coupons!
Don’t ignore those little magazines and catalogs that stores give out. They may seem like nothing more than pesky little garbage can fillers for you but they can be a great source of coupons especially if a big holiday is coming up. Grab a few of those things at every shopping trip to add to your coupon collection.
- Make time for couponing.
There are more coupons in the world than there are couponers. This means that serious couponing enthusiasts can have more than enough if they take the time for them. Give it a few hours a week of going through newspapers and magazines, or perusing the worldwide web for the latest deals. It does not have to take up all of your time; but if you are serious about making significant savings through couponing, you have to give it ample amount of time – researching, collecting, organizing, planning.
- Explore the internet for non-printable coupons.
The internet is a treasure trove of coupons. Coupon code websites offer up different types of conveniences. Others are an entire catalog of coupons on their own, bringing together sales from various brands, items, and sales into one place. Others are a Google site for coupons, where you can search for brands and the website will come up with specific sales and participating stores in the search results. Explore these coupon code sources and expand your horizon. Stay in the loop on these websites through their mailing list and social media posts so don’t miss out on the latest promos!
- Read the fine print.
A lot of newbie coupon enthusiasts miss out on important savings or get into trouble because of not reading the fine print. They find out a little too late about the coupons’ restrictions – i.e. it can’t be used with other coupons, or for a minimum purchase amount, etc. Those little things matter more than you think so make sure to pay them attention.
- Know your store.
Different stores have different coupon code policies. Make sure you know your store’s specific policies before heading out for a shopping spree. These rules are normally available on the store’s website so make sure you’ve read it and understood it to avoid any delays or extra costs. Or better yet, make a printed copy of it and keep it with your coupons. It might come in real handy at the store. Unsure about something? Call your supermarket and ask ahead! This extra step sounds unnecessary and a waste of time, but it’ll save you from a lot of trouble on your big shopping day.
- Explore other stores.
Your loyalty card does not always give back – or at least not as much as you think it does. Keep your loyalty to your coupon code sources and your savings – not to a single retail name. Different stores have different sales so to max out your opportunities and your coupons, check out the other stores in your area. Don’t forget to check each store’s specific set of coupon policies beforehand!
- Get organized.
You wouldn’t be caught dead leaving your wad of bills on the kitchen floor, would you? So there’s no reason why your coupons should be left lying around just anywhere. A single coupon code is worth cash that would not have to leave your wallet on your next supermarket trip so keep them clean and safe from getting ripped or getting wet. Spend a few hours a week arranging your coupons in card books. This does not only make sure they don’t end up as your dog’s chew toy but will make sure you use them before expiration date.
- Plan your trips.
Couponing is not made for random shopping trips. The best savings are made from carefully planned, scheduled shopping trips. Plan how much of which you are going to buy and which coupons you are going to use. Bring your coupon code organizer and arrange them accordingly so you won’t have to worry about losing them or forgetting any of them. Make sure your shopping list matches your coupons. Calculate ahead how much your purchase would cost you. Buying in bulk is not something that you can eyeball, so calculate ahead of your shopping day so you know how much exactly you’re spending. A single oversight can cost you thousands, not to mention the hassle that comes with it, so calculate and recalculate to avoid costly mistakes.
- Ask ahead about the availability of the items you are planning to buy.
One of the biggest bummers of a shopping trip is finding out too late that your items are unavailable. It may help to spend a few minutes to call ahead so you can adjust your shopping list and coupon code list accordingly. Find out too late about your items being unavailable? Ask the staff – maybe they just forgot to restock the shelves!
- Try out other brands.
We can’t have everything at all times. Instead of throwing out coupons and potential savings just because they are not for your usual brand for generic items and those that we use the most like dishwashing soap, toilet paper, fabric conditioner, coffee filters, etc. Remember: each coupon is a potential money saver and as good as cash so don’t waste them just because it does not match the brand you like.
- Buy in bulk.
Coupon code savings are best felt when buying in bulk. You won’t necessarily feel much difference for 75 cents off of a single roll of paper towel, after all. Besides, using a single coupon for a single item means it won’t be long before your next shopping trip. One of the most common tips we get from expert couponers is that you have to shop enough of several items before the next sale season which is typically a three- to four-month cycle. And because you’re going to buy in bulk, make sure to stock up only on non-perishables or those that you can keep a long time like canned stuff.
- Only buy things that you actually
One of the most common mistakes that newbie couponers make is buying more than they need. Just because you can buy 100 cans of canned chicken with your coupon code does not mean you have to especially if you have no use for them or don’t actually like them. It actually defeats the purpose of saving money. Yes, it can get very, very tempting to just jump into a sale and watch the cash register go bonkers subtracting cent after cent but if you don’t need the times you’re buying, you’re still wasting a good amount of money that you could have spent on things that you actually use.
- Be friendly to cashiers and supermarket workers.
You’ll need their help. A lot. And assuming that you will be buying in boxes and gallons and bulk packs, you will use a huge amount of their time finding their items. Your cashiers will spend a long time going through your shopping cart and coupons as well so they deserve a nice, polite customer.
- Make friends with store managers.
Being nice to people should not be done to earn a favor, but it does come with perks especially if you’re a couponer. Know your managers and don’t hesitate to ask them about any upcoming events and sales so you can plan your shopping trips around these sale dates.
- Bigger is not always better.
This is one perfect example why you have to read the fine print. It is so easily tempting to just pick out a few big items over several small ones but there are instances when your coupons can give you more value for smaller items than they do for bigger items so go read and calculate beforehand to make the most out of each coupon code.
- Your opinion matters.
Whether it’s a complaint about your item or a rare letter of appreciation over an item that you liked a lot, your opinion on their products is of great value to your stores and manufacturers. And your opinion can earn you some very valuable coupons as well. Complaints, suggestions and appreciation letters alike are usually responded to with coupons so spend a few cents spent on post can earn you several coupons.
- Get the family involved.
Mommies and daddies making games out of coupon clipping or sale spotting is not unheard of in the couponing world. Couponing does take a lot of time so extra hands are very much needed. Getting your spouse, children, and even parents involved will not only help you cover larger bases as far as finding sales and coupon collecting is concerned; you are also teaching your household the value of saving down to the very last cent. After all, a family that coupons together, saves together.
- Find your couponing clique.
Just like any hobby, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will help you improve on this ‘craft’. Find local couponing groups in your area or join Facebook groups dedicated to couponing. Learn from them and share tips and tricks with them. There’s an invaluable amount of learning that you can learn from other people’s experience so make the most out of this opportunity.
- Keep at it!
You are not likely to find great results on your first couponing trip to the stores but don’t let it bring your hopes down. Stay patient, work on that coupon code collection, and plan each trip thoroughly. You’ll be surprised to see at the end of the year just how much money you’ve saved from all of your purchases!
Couponing is not for everybody. It takes a big amount of work and dedication, and a lot of experience to start seeing results. But if you’re really serious about it, nothing should stop you from succeeding and saving big bucks. Good luck!