If you are reading this you have just taken the first step to becoming a couponer! Congrats! It is a wonderful feeling to know you are getting the things your family uses everyday for less than retail! I have to be honest here though and let you know this does take a lot of time and sometimes hard work! You should also know that what you may have seen on TV (Extreme Couponing) is NOT the reality of how couponing works! The stores that they went to for the shows “adjusted” their coupon policies to make good TV. That being said…You can still save major dollars at the store! I have actually had the store PAY ME at check out a few times! I figure if I save even 50% I am doing good but I really prefer when I save more!

The first thing you need to do is to learn what all the small print on a coupon means. For instance you have a coupon that says “Redeemable at Walmart” This does not mean you can only use this coupon at Walmart. It is just a suggestion….Now if it says “redeemable only at walmart” then Walmart is the ONLY place that will accept it.

If your coupon says “Limit of 1 coupon per purchase” this does not mean you can only use 1 coupon…It means you can only use 1 coupon for each of that item. IE: I have 5 coupons for $1.00/1 Twix candy bar. If I buy 5 of the candy bars then I can use all 5 coupons.

If the coupon says “Limit of 4 like coupons per transaction” that means you can only buy 4 of that item and use 4 of that coupon in one transaction. I frequently do more than one transaction at the store in order to get the amount of product I want and still stay within the coupon limitations. I have also been known to go to all 3 Dillon’s stores in town so I do not tie up the checkouts at the store. When I do this I always have each transaction in a seperate envelope so I am ready at checkout and am not trying to sort coupons at the last minute.

As I go through the store I pull the coupons out of the envelope for the product I am actually buying (sometimes they are already sold out of an item I planned on getting) and make sure my counts are correct.

I get my coupon inserts each Sunday by buying the KC Star Newspaper. Why the KC paper? I buy it because the coupon inserts have more coupons than the Salina Journal does. I buy 6 copies but how many you buy should depend on how large your family is and how much money you can invest in papers. I also get some inserts from friends who do not coupon which can save money! Another thing to think about is how much space you have to store your purchases! Once you have your coupons you will need to decide how you want to organize and store them. I use a binder with dividers for things like frozen foods, boxed meals etc…You can purchase baseball card holders or coupon holders from Walmart for around $10.00. I usually only clip the coupons I am most likely to use rather than clipping all of them. For the ones I do not clip I keep the insert after using a marker to write the date on the front of one so if I come across a deal I will know which insert I need. You can also get online and print IP (internet printables) from various sites. I have listed the sites I use in another note. You are allowed 2 prints per computer in your house. I actually have 4 computers right now and will sometimes print 8 if the coupon is good! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE COPIES OF THESE COUPONS AS EACH ONE HAS IT’S OWN NUMBER AND DOING SO IS COMITTING COUPON FRAUD! Know the laws concerning coupons because coupon fraud is not only punishable it ruins couponing for those of us who follow the laws! Only use your coupons for the product indicated in the size and quantity indicated!

How do I know what to buy? Easy….I match my coupons with the stores sale ad. This is how you save the most! After you have clipped all of those coupons it really does no good to use them if the products are not on sale! Sometimes you will have coupons that you do not get to use due to the fact the item does not go on sale before the coupon expires. The trick is to buy in bulk when the product is on sale and you have coupons for it. My family sometimes gets frustrated with me because they will see something at the store they want but I say NO I do not have a coupon for it! I usually post the deals I have done or am planning to check out on my page and you are more than welcome to copy what I have done! That is why I post them!

The next thing you need to know is START SMALL! This is not like swimming where you just jump in with both feet! Start with one store and make sure you know and understand the coupon policy of the store you intend to shop at. I keep a copy of each policy so that I can refer to it if a problem arises. I have notes for each of our local stores policies. You are welcome to print them out if you want to. The reason I say to start small is because it is easy to go overboard when you first start couponing and see the savings you can get. You may end up buying things you will not use and that is counter productive. Just because you can get Hamburger Helper for $0.25 a box does not mean you should buy 10 boxes of it if your family does not like it! Start with a few products that you actually use to get your feet wet and as you go along and start feeling more confident in your couponing skills you can start making bigger and bigger transactions.

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