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couponing basics

Are you looking for ways to stretch your dollar? Are you feeling the bite of the economy these days? Many of us are trying to make our dollars stretch just a little bit further these days. Rather it be from a job loss, you can’t work or it isn’t affordable to work (if you are like me and live in a high cost of living area and the daycare would cost more money then you would make.) We have two options: 1) Make more money or 2) Spend less! I’m here today to give you some tips and ideas on how to spend less and to save money on your grocery bill.


Kinds of Coupons

There are two different kinds of coupons you can use. There are store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Store coupons come from the grocery store ads and are normally labeled with store name at the. Manufacturer coupons will say “manufacturer coupon” at the top of the coupon.


Coupon Sources

There are quite a few different places that you can find both store and manufacturer coupons.


  • Sunday paper~ You can subscribe through your local newspaper or you can pick up the paper for $1.00 on Sundays at either Walmart or the Dollar Store. I recommend getting at least two newspapers a week, but ideally you should have four.
  • Printable coupons~ These are coupons that you can print from online directly from your computer. Smartsource.com?, coupons.com, and redplum.com are just a couple of sites.
  • Blinkies are the coupons you get from the little machines in the stores next to the groceries. You know the ones that your kids are always pulling a million of them out of and proudly showing you?
  • You can also get some great coupons from various magazines and from manufacturer’s websites.


Organizing your coupons

My advice for this is to find a system that works best for you. Keep in mind there is not one set way to organize your coupons and you may need to try out a couple of different ways before you find the method that works best for you.


I use an accordion type file system and sort my coupons alphabetically by using the manufacturer. For example, Cheerios goes under “G” for General Mills and Rice Krispies goes under “K” for Kellogg’s. There are others that like to organize by categories (produce, baby, breads, snacks, dairy, etc.)

Using Coupons
  1. First thing, you do not have to use your coupons right away. The key is to save your coupon and match it up with a sale price. This is how you will get the most bang for your buck. I often get items VERY CHEAP or even FREE by doing this.
  2. The second thing to know is that at most stores, you can use 1 store coupon AND1 manufacture coupon per product, but you cannot use 2 of the same coupon per product and it can only be used once per item. Be sure to double check with your store to be sure what there policy is.


Here are a couple of examples:


~Freschetta Pizza, 12.6-28.01oz or PizzAmore Pizza, 19.21-24.69oz frozen-

  • $3.99, limit 2 Use $1.00 off from SS (smartsource)
  • Final Price= $2.99


Hershey’s Baking Chips, 8-12oz- 2/$4.00


  • Use $1.00/3 from SS Final Price=$1.66
  • In these examples, you can only use one of the $1.00 off coupons because it is a manufacturer only coupon.
  • BOGO Sales~ You can use 2 manufacturer coupons for a Buy one, get one free sale.
  • For example~


L’Oreal Lip & Eye B1G1 FREE

  • $1/1 Lip RP $1/1 Eye SS
  • Use 2 coupons, one for each item, to maximize your savings.


Tips & Myths

  • We’ve been taught to buy in bulk or to buy the larger quantity item, but with couponing it is often times the opposite.
  • The generic brand is not always the cheaper price.
  • 10/$10 – you usually don’t have to buy 10 to get the sale price.
  • Start small.
  • Don’t clear the shelf of all the items and don’t take all the blinkies.
  • Don’t follow the picture on the coupon; read the fine print.
  • Keep the kids at home and consider shopping late.


There are certainly plenty of more tips, tricks and ideas to save you money and I could go on and on and on and on. You can keep watch on my blog for occasional tips and ideas. You can also check out a couple of my favorite money-saving blogs that are posted under my Coupons 101 tab.


This post was brought to you from Missy over at Are you there God? It’s Me. I am a stay-at-home mom to a 6 year old, 4 year old and 1 year old. I discuss everything from religion to parenting to recipes to autism to coupons and saving money and anything else I can think of in between.
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