I have had so many questions about how to start couponing, where do you go, what do you stock up on and so many others. So I decided to start a series to get you into couponing step by step. Each day you will get a bit more info and soon you will be the pro! So grab a pen and paper and lets go!
Day 1 - How To Start Couponing
First thing to do when you start to learn how to coupon is Forget Everything you ever knew about grocery shopping!! I remember going with my Mom once a week to go shopping with her list. And that is what I did for a long time too. - Forget it.... Not going to happen anymore. You will learn how to make your list based on what coupons/deal are going on. You will go to the stores a lot more - but remember it is not a big shopping trip like you use to do. Now when you make that trip to the store it is more then likely for 10 or less items, so you are in and out in no time.
Next, before you start shopping find a place in your home where you can store your stocked up items. Do you have a large pantry? A large linen closet? Have a small home? Get creative... buy some bins, stack items on top of closets where you have room that you are not using and so on. We are very blessed to have a home that I have "Costco" size closets and pantry, so we can stock up on lots of things. Here is the items we have in our bathroom for us. I store my kids items in their bathroom, cleaning things in the laundry room and so on.
You will find that within a few months you will have a years supply of toothpaste, deodorant, etc. If you have a smaller home and can not stock up on much, that is OK too. Just buy for a few months ahead of time instead of a year or more.
Last thing you will need to get is a place to keep your coupons. I tried many ways of trying to keep them organized before I came across the binder I use now. It seems to be the quickest and easiest way for me to flip through and find something I need while shopping with 3 little ones. If you choose to get a binder going, I suggest a 1 1/2 to 2 inch binder. You will need dividers (I like the ones that have the clear pockets in them.) I now use 2 sets of dividers in mine (one to divide by category, and others to divide by stores - But I will get to that in a second.) You will also want to buy some baseball card protectors. They are perfect to store your coupons in!!
I divide my binder in categories as follows....
Fresh Foods (Produce, bakery, meats)
Dry Foods (Grain, boxed, jars, cans)
Refig / Frozen (Dairy, veggies, dinners etc)
Household (Cleaners, pets, batteries)
Paper goods (towels, TP, bags, wrap)
Beverage (Juice, water, pop)
Health (Meds, Body, Hair, Baby)
Other (Misc, dinning out, retail)
Remember there is no right or wrong way to set up your binder. Label and divide it the way that will work best for you and your family.
At the front of my binder I have it divided into stores and info.
Freebies / Rebates (items I need to send in for rebates or I am waiting on the check)
Target/ Walmart (I keep their coupon policy and any store coupons here)
Drug Stores ( RiteAid, Walgreens ect. Same here -I keep their coupon policy and store coupons also)
Fred Meyers, Albertsons, Safeway, and Winco (again, their coupon policy and coupons)
Catilina (These are the coupons that you get from stores when you check out. We will get into them later.)
Here are a few pictures to give you an idea on how to set your binder up.
Take a second to search the web to see if there are other ways that might be better for you to organize your coupons.
Last thing for today... I would highly recommend getting a second email address and maybe even a second facebook page. When you sign up for free items and coupon lists most of the time they want your email. I found that my home email was getting back loaded with lots of emails from stores, coupon databases ect. Sign up for a free one at Hotmail and just use if you coupons and freebies. I chose to get a second facebook page also (Coupon Rori) because there a lot of companies that if you "like" their page, you get coupons and giveaways. So your personal facebook pages starts to fill up with companies and your friends start to get hidden.
With these tips, I hope that you can start to get your couponing off to the right start. I will be back tomorrow with more info. By the end of this week think of how much money you will be saving.
Remember to tell a friend about this. In this economy everyone could stand to save a few bucks, and couponing is a lot of fun with a friend!