Share your first steps advice for newbies.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Share your first steps advice for newbies.
5
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 12:58pm

Good morning ladies, I hope you all had a nice long weekend!

It seems like we've got a great mix of people who really know how to work this couponing thing, along with many who want to learn. I thought it would be fun for everyone to share their advice for newbies. No advanced stuff yet, just the basic steps that those new to couponing should try.

Here are my tips~

1. Set up an organizational system. It may be an envelope with like coupons paper clipped together; multiple envelopes; an accordian style file like this one (I saw them at the Dollar Tree for, well, a dollar) ; or a binder with baseball card holders in it. This will allow you to be organized when you hit the supermarket.

2. Clip all of the coupons from the Sunday paper, then match them up with sales at your grocery store. Stock up on things when your store has them on sale and you can use your coupon - double savings!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-10-2011
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 3:15pm
Basics:

1. Sign up for the store cards that are free. This is how you will begin to earn points, bucks, store dollars toward saving goals. These will also help you take advantage of specials in the store. Since they're free, it's a very easy first step to take.

2. Plan out your initial trip. Have an idea of what you plan to look for. My first trip included a white business size envelope labeled with the store name (one envelope per store at first to keep organized) and my list of items and the deals that I wanted (i.e. I would write down "must buy 2=.50 cents ea). Inside this envelope would be the matching coupons and one single slip of paper that acted as a divider. As I picked up the items on my list, I would move the coupons that matched the item forward in front of the divider so when I got up to the register all I had to do was grab the bunch for the stuff that I did find.

3. Bring your coupons with you. Sounds simple, but if you get into the habit of bringing your coupons with you everywhere you'll always be prepared. Same with those reusable grocery bags as many stores give you a small discount for the bags you bring in and it can add up.

4. Concentrate your efforts on one store at first. Just go in and 'test' a scenario. The first time I did a coupon transaction I was so nervous I nearly didn't go through with it because I really can't stand rejection ( I mean, who really wants to fail right? in public no less). It worked perfectly and I was excited. So then I started adding on all the drugstores even ones I didn't normally frequent, but OOOH they have free toothpaste, it's worth the drive. I got really burned out from trying to get ALL the deals, so I stuck with the stores I usually shopped at and felt better and less overwhelmed.

5. Stay positive. Sometimes you can get to the store and the shelves are cleared out, sometimes you lose a coupon, sometimes you don't get the same coupons as others are mentioning (as they vary region to region), but it's OK! Sales come around again, if you NEED an item like truly need it and can't find a coupon for it, then paying the full price (at your least expensive store) is just part of life and is no different from what you would have done before becoming a couponer except now you have that extra money in your pocket from your other savings and it won't feel like such a hard hit on the wallet.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Thu, 02-03-2011 - 4:28pm
Great clip on the Today Show this morning about "baby steps" to get started couponing~

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41259243/ns/today-money/

I'm going to have to start looking at the travel sized things now too. I always assumed that the coupons only covered the larger sizes.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2004
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 11:22am

I'm a newbie to the couponing thing, BUT I can't believe the difference I've already seen.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-19-2009
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 12:26pm

$120 is really great! Nice work!

I think my Kroger store is getting hip to the free toothpaste thing. They also have the .98 cent deal, but they only put the type on sale that doesn't have a coupon right now. :smileysad: And there's no way I'm paying $1 for toothpaste. Ha ha ha ha!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Tue, 10-11-2011 - 1:39pm
Bumping this up for our newer members. Please feel free to add your tips and advice!
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