Are you new to couponing and feeling a little overwhelmed? When I first became interested in couponing I tried finding information several times and just left more confused than I started. I was finally able to find some good information that introduced me to the “art” of couponing. I hope this section on how to coupon will help answer your questions and help you begin your journey on saving money on healthy products.
How to Coupon
Forget the old
Forget about brand loyalty for now, and print coupons for any product, regardless of brand, that you would typically buy. By trying other brands with coupons, you not only come out cheaper, you can often find products you never knew you liked.
Before I began couponing, I thought I was already saving as much as I could by buying store brand. I soon learned that by combining manufacturer coupons with store coupons and sales, I could get name brand items much cheaper and sometimes even free! There are some items you may come out ahead on by buying store brand, but many of the deals you will find on my site will be great prices on name brands using coupons.
Print, print, print!
The first step is to print as many coupons as you can and begin a coupon collection. Under the Organic Coupons section you’ll find the latest natural and organic coupons. Even if you are not sure if you’ll buy a product, print the coupon. Coupons can disappear without notice and that can mean a lost deal. By printing the coupon now, you generally have 30 days to use that coupon. There will likely be a sale or deal coming up where you can use the coupon. Some other places to print natural and organic coupons are
Most coupons can be printed twice by hitting the back button or by going through the link a second time, so be sure to print each coupon twice.
Don’t pass by what seems to be a low value coupon. Even $.25 coupons can make for free products. For example, that $.25 coupon can be doubled to $.50 at many stores. Plus, if you stack it with a sale and a store coupon, it could help you get a free product. If you think you’ll use or give away the product, print the coupon regardless of value.
There are often natural and organic coupons in the Sunday paper. By Saturday, I will post which natural and organic coupons will be coming in the following Sunday’s paper, so you can decide if it’s worth purchasing one or several. If there are several coupons that interest you, it will be worth it for you to buy several papers so that you can stock up on the product when a deal comes up.
Sign up for free cash back apps
Cash back apps are an additional way to save. You can stack these app offers with coupons, so it often makes for free or cheap products. Here are links to my favorite apps. Just click each link to get more info. and to sign up for free:
Depending on how many coupons you keep on hand, there are several ways to organize.
- For a small amount of coupons, a simple wallet size coupon organizer may work best for you. Just organize by product and throw in your bag or purse before heading out to the store.
- For larger quantities of coupons, a binder with baseball card inserts may be the best option. This is how I organize my coupons. I also have dividers that divide each section by product. I have it organized in the order of the store aisles. For example, my first section is produce, since that is generally the first section in most stores. Produce is followed by meat, then frozen items, dry grocery, dairy, personal and pet.
- If you often buy newspapers for coupons, you can either clip the coupons you’ll use immediately and file or you can keep the inserts intact and organize them in a stack by date. When a deal comes up using that coupon, you would then cut out the coupon. This saves a lot of cutting time for coupons you may never use.
Now that you have your coupons collected, clipped and organized, it’s time to use them! You’ll see the term store matchups often on this site. What I do is find the natural and organic products on sale at local stores like Kroger, Meijer, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and match them up with current coupons that are available. All the work is done for you, you just need to check out the deals weekly. Here’s an example of what a deal will look like:
The first line is the item with the current sale price. If the sale is for an extended period (beyond a week) you’ll find an “end” date after the price. The second line will be either a link to the coupon or information on which newspaper coupon insert the coupon can be found in. If it is a link, just click the link, search for the coupon (sometimes you will need to only click print, other sites require you to look through a few pages to find the coupon). If there are two links, like above, print from both and stock up on the item! If the coupon is from a newspaper insert, the description will look like this: $1 off any Silk half gallon 6/30 SS. This means that it can be found in the insert that was in the June 30th Smart Source (SS). The third line may or may not be there. If there is a store coupon, this is where it would be listed. You would use this in addition to the manufacturer coupon.
You can either write down the deals you’ll be purchasing or print the entire list by using the print button at the bottom of the store matchups post. Be sure to take it with you to the store, because it’s easy to forget the matchups once you’re there. Paperclip your coupons for that store to the list.
I also do matchups for Amazon deals. Amazon offers coupons that you clip on the product page. They also offer a discounted price by using their Subscribe and Save program. Subscribe and Save is a FREE discount program through Amazon. When adding the item to your cart, choose “Subscribe and Save” and the time period for the next shipment. Keep in mind, you can cancel at any time, but you still keep the discount on the original purchase. Once your item is delivered, and if you choose to cancel, just sign into Amazon, go to Your Account, Your Subscribe and Save items and choose cancel. Subscribe and Save generally offers a discount of 5%. If you are part of Amazon Mom AND you purchase 5 or more Subscribe and Save items in one month, you may be eligible to save 15% on the entire order. Amazon Mom is a program which saves you 20% on diapers and 15% off subscribe and save items of 5 or more. You can sign up at Amazon Mom for a 3 month FREE trial period. Couponing on Amazon is a great way to save money without having to leave your home.
Develop Thick Skin
It doesn’t happen often, but you may run into a cashier that does not want to accept your coupons. Couponing is perfectly legit and it benefits stores. The stores are reimbursed by the manufacturer, so the stores are not taking a loss by accepting your coupons. If you are denied the use of your coupons, just politely ask for a manager or talk to customer service. They should then accept your coupons. Familiarize yourself with each stores coupon policy. Most stores have a copy of their policy on their website. You may even want to keep a copy with you in case you run into any problems.
The purpose of couponing is to save money on your monthly grocery budget. Try to be courteous to other shoppers and don’t clear the shelves by buying 20 of one product. Unfortunately, the show Extreme Couponing has given couponers a bad name.
Prepare to Travel
If you’re used to going to just one store, you’ll want to be open to going to multiple stores. I try to plan my trips out by hitting stores in the same area, on the same day. I have a Meijer, Target and a Kroger near each other so I go to those on the same day. Trader Joe’s is near our church, so we stop by there once a month to stock up, on our way home from church. Whole Foods and Hiller’s are a little bit further away, so I go monthly and stock up. The little bit of extra gas you’ll use will be more than made up for in the savings you’ll have by couponing.
- Print coupons & sign up for cash back apps
- Organize coupons
- Check store matchups weekly (the best way to do this is by following me on Facebook or Twitter or by signing up for a free daily email with all of the deals emailed right to you. You can do this by signing up in the top right box on my site.)
- Bring coupons and matchup lists to the store
- Map out trips to the store
- BOGO- Buy one, get one free
- RP- Red Plum newspaper coupon insert
- SS- Smartsource newspaper coupon insert
- Stacking- Using a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon on one item
No time for couponing? Be sure to check out my 20 Hacks for Saving on Healthy Food When You Have No Time!