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Welcome! I have been couponing for 12 years now and the game has changed tremedously in that time (more on that later..). My friends ask me all the time if I will teach them how to do it or that they would pay for me to teach a class showing my quickest techniques. I decided to do them one better, and GIVE you guys this information comepletely free!
I’m going to start by debunking the top 5 myths I hear ALL the time from friends and family. I have also included some great advice and resources if you are considering becoming a couponer yourself. Happy Reading!
Myth #1: You will get tons of merchandise completely FREE
Let’s just say there was once a popular show where participants would walk away from stores with cart-fulls of dirt cheap, or even FREE merchandise.
Cut to You at home saying “I wish I could do that!” In fact, that is one reason why I created this blog..people would see all that I was getting for dirt cheap and say “show me your ways!”
This is not as feasible as you think, and here’s why..
For years since (the show), coupon manufacturers have been putting restrictions on the number of coupons you can use in one trip, lowering the value of them, and even limiting how many you can use on the same item. Long story short, the game has changed dramatically
What you can do from now until the end of time is save money on absolutely everything you buy! Still an amazing lifestyle in my opinion!
Myth #2: Couponers have too much stuff they don’t need
Us coupon users get a bad rep because of our stockpiles. A stockpile is just a collection of items that your family uses on a daily basis. This is usually a 3 month – 1 year supply of those items.
Here is something you can do right NOW, whether you want to coupon or just start living more frugally in general: make a list of everything you plan to save money on.
Duh! Everything, right? Well, start with the things you use most frequently or that are most expensive for you right now.
Myth #3: It takes too much time to coupon
Ok so this one is kind of a half-myth. What I mean by that is that if you are not careful, you CAN wind up spending too much time couponing. I know friends who have gotten discouraged by all the clipping, store-hopping, and calculations that it can take to be an extreme couponer.
Here is something you might not hear often, especially from extreme couponers…not everything should be stockpiled! After making your list of items, try to sort them into 3 categories:
Buy On Sale– Items that rarely or never have coupons for them and so it is best to just buy them on sale or when you need them right then. For me this also includes items that I might use coupons for, but never expect the actual price to be rock-bottom, just good-ole-fashioned savings.
Subscribe – Things you need quick and often that you can have delivered to your home. Pretty much all major retailers have their own subscription service now. In fact, many of them offer discounts for subscribing to a target amount of items per month or cycle.
Stockpile – Also things you might need quick and often, the difference is you have set aside space and money to save multiple items at a time. Stockpiling is a common thing when something becomes available at a low price, and you know this doesn’t happen often like high-end toiletries or vitamins.
**One very important question to ask yourself is, how much space do I have to keep my items?
We are fortunate to have a large downstairs closet and lots of shelving in our garage. However, as I have started adding more items to my gift closet, there is less room for bulky things like toilet paper. I also know that as my son gets older, there will be less room in his closet to stockpile diapers and wipes :(.
Think:How much do I (or we) use in one month of something, or 3 months, or 6? Also, is it worth the “tripping and clipping” it takes to get these items at a discounted price?
Here are a few examples of things that I Buy, Subscribe or Stockpile. Remember this is just what works for me and my family, our space, and after many years of trial and error.
Stockpile – Toiletries, Laundry Detergent, Household/Cleaning items, handsoap, paper towels, diapers, toothpaste
Subscribe – Baby wipes, Toilet Paper, Specialty items, Medicines
Buy on sale – Seasonal items like sunscreen, food, beverages, medicines, paper towels, diapers
Myth # 4: You become “that” coupon lady at every store in town
Ok ok so don’t judge me but I absolutely LOATHE going into Walmarts. They are crowded, I never feel welcome, and often can not find what I want or the coupons don’t work correctly. Yes they have low prices, but it is just NOT worth it to me :(.
There may be places you hate going, that are out of your way, or simply don’t have frequent enough deals. That is OK.. Especially when you are starting out, it is best to go to only one or two places at most. For example, we do the bulk of our couponing at Walgreens and Target. Target has deals on almost everything you need if you are willing to wait for them to cycle around. Walgreens are everywhere here so they are super convenient, plus they have a great rewards program and electronic coupons!
When deciding where to coupon or shop, pick somewhere you will actually go! Saving money needs to be about convenience as well.
Myth #5: You have to buy like 50 Newspapers to get enough coupons!
This is just NOT true! In fact, now to the down and dirty..where you will find your coupons.
YES, the Sunday newspaper has been the obvious provider of savings for decades. In fact, you can even sign up to ONLY get the Sunday version of your local paper to save money and..well, paper. 🙂 I have even bought 2 subscriptions to our paper at half price through Groupon before. Twice the coupons for me at a cheaper price than subscription. Score! It is very well worth looking into the cost of a Sunday Newspaper if you plan on being an avid couponer.
Not sure about committing to the whole paper thing? There are these great little things called apps now available on your phone. And guess what??? Most apps have their own digital coupons that you can “clip” to your store card.
Example – I lost my MVP FoodLIon card years ago :/ but all I have to do is put my phone number in the coupon machine when I walk in the store and all that week’s store coupons are downloaded to my card, or in my case my phone # which I just type in at checkout. Easy!
Bonus – Often you can use newspaper coupons and digital coupons, meaning you can get more of that same item at a low price!
Several sites such as Coupons.com allow you to print up to 2 or more manufacturer’s coupons on your printer. One big secret of extreme couponers is that they have access to multiple printers, allowing them to go around this rule. Smart. In fact, we even purchased a $20 printer from Walmart on Black Friday for this purpose!
In addition to these sites you can often go directly to the brand’s website for savings. Proctor & Gamble is a very popular one with coupons for popular brands almost always available.
Other ways of acquiring coupons include writing to manufacturers directly. Many retailers will not only send you coupons for loving their products but also their coupons have higher value than printable or newspaper ones. Score!!
That, my friends, concludes the top 5 myths about using coupons.
Wondering why I never mentioned using coupons for my groceries?? I don’t! I still manage to save hundreds using strategies found here.
Until the next deal…
Xoxo – Marlyn