I started couponing in November 2013 after binge-watching Extreme Couponers. Between November and December 2013, I saved approximately $300 using coupons. Not bad for a beginner.
In January, I saved $175.10 -- 51% of the total pre-coupon amount I spent on groceries and personal care items. I feel like every month, I keep getting better at what I'm doing. Here are some helpful tips to get started on your couponing journey:
1) You need a Savings Tracker Worksheet. This is incredibly important to have -- that way you can keep track over the months to see how much you're saving. Here is the one that I use.
2) Start gathering coupons. The Sunday newspaper is the easiest way. Checking out the websites of your favorite companies. And, printing coupons online. Coupons.com has great coupons, but Swagbucks also has the same coupons and you get Swagbucks for printing and redeeming those. Also, keep your eyes peeled over at Target (When you shop at Target, you can use one manufacturer coupon as well as one Target coupon per item).
3) Create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all of your coupons. This is the most time consuming part (At least for me), but you will thank yourself later. After gathering all of my coupons for the week, I input the information in an Excel spreadsheet -- what is the coupon for, expiration date, savings, and if there is a specific store it has to be used at. That way, when you find out something is on sale, you can easily search to see if you have the coupon.
4) Keep an eye on the sales. Every week when the ads come out, I start scanning. I ask myself, "What do I need?" I use an app called Favado to show me which store has what I'm looking for the cheapest, but it doesn't keep track of all the stores I shop at. I've also signed up for a daily newsletter that shows me where the good deals and sales are through Couponing101.com.
5) Whenever you put in new coupons, weed out the expired ones. And don't feel bad about throwing away coupons! I know at first it sucks that you took the time to clip it, but if there wasn't a good deal on the item, it wasn't worth it to use.
6) Don't feel discouraged. Learning how to coupon takes time and I still make mistakes all the time. Just remember -- you're saving money. You don't have to be like the people on TLC's Extreme Couponers. Any money you've saved is worth the time and effort. And, remember that practice makes perfect. You can't become an Extreme Couponer overnight.
Labels: couponing, money saving