How To: Coupon

Couponing can be very overwhelming when you first get started. There are papers to buy, coupons to clip, coupons to print, acronyms like RP, SS, P&G and GM. What do they all mean, where do I start, how do I know where to use my coupons and when so that I get the best deal? AAAAAHHH!

It’s OK! We’ve all been there! I’m going to start at the beginning and see if I can help make sense of it all.

Where do you get coupons?

There are several sources where you can find coupons:

  • Newspapers – you’ll have to buy and compare to see which papers offer the best inserts though because inserts are better in some papers than in others! And the second decision is how many papers you’re going to buy. Myself, I will buy at least 2 but sometimes up to 4 depending on the deals that are coming up that next week. You might also want to factor in the price of the paper. If your paper is a little on the spendy side, maybe you know a family member or neighbor that doesn’t use their inserts and can get them for free…much better deal!!
  • Magazines – for example, ALL YOU, that you can pick up at Walmart is great for coupons. You can also get a subscription and get a great deal when you buy through Ebates and then That way you get money back for your purchase.
  • In store- look for coupons on store shelves, on products (sometimes referred to as hang tags or peelies) and on the back or bottom of your receipts. Also look for coupons to print out at the register.
  • Your Mailbox- A lot of retailers use local media to send coupons through the mail.
  • Direct from the company- contact the company directly if you’re happy or dissatisfied with their product. A lot of times they will send you coupons because you took the time to contact them.
  • Online-last but certainly not least…and one of my favorites is online! Go to your favorite Website – Slop Swap ;) where you will find the latest and greatest coupons! Often companies will offer coupons and special offers to sign up for their email or e-club, etc.

It takes sometimes a couple of months to really get a good ‘stash’ of coupons. If you’ve already been online and seen some of the deals that I’ve posted, you’ve probably seen some deals calling for coupons from a month or more ago. What you need to do is just start collecting your coupons and start getting your stash together. And learn from my regrets…don’t throw any coupon away unless it’s expired!!

How do you organize your coupons?

Now that you have started to collect some coupons, you need to figure out some sort of organization. First you need to figure out what you’re going to do with the inserts out of your papers. There are a few options:

  • clip out all the coupons right away
  • clip out just the coupons you think you’ll use
  • clip out the coupons that you’re going to use right before you use them

I started out filing the inserts by date and then clipping them as the deal would come up. So basically, clipping them before I used them. Which worked great for the most part but then I found that I missed a lot of coupons that I didn’t remember that I had. So then I switched to clipping out the ones I thought I would use. That led to the debacle where I threw out all of the inserts that I didn’t think I needed anymore! :( And now I go through and I clip out all of my coupons right away!

So I’ve tried them all! lol If I can make any point to all of this, you just need to find whichever option works for you. No one way will work for all of us.

Once you pick a clipping option, you need to find a place to file them. Whether it be a shoe box, a binder, recipe box, etc. Whatever you chose it’s important that you have someplace for them to go that is neat and organized so that they don’t get lost. My personal choice, is the binder method.

Two side notes – file your coupons regularly. Don’t let them pile up or that’s another regret you’ll have! ;) Also, go through them regularly to make sure you’re using them before they expire or throwing them out if they’ve already expired.

What do I do now?

Well now you log back on to Slop Swap and you watch for the deals and match-ups. Then when you find one that you love, you pull out your coupons for that deal and you go shopping! It’s that easy! Don’t forget to take your coupon file with you when you go shopping because soon you’re going to start making your own match-ups on the fly in the store all on your own! :)

Coupon Terms & Abreviations

BLINKIES = In Store Smart Source Coupons
BOGO/B1G1 = Buy One Get One
CATALINA = Coupon printed at register after purchase
CNP = Coupon Near Product (similar to BLINKIES)
CRT = Customer Receipt Tape (CVS receipt coupons)
DND = Do not Double
DOUBLE COUPON = Coupon that grocery store doubles in value
EB/ECB = ExtraCare Bucks (CVS)
ES = Easy Saver (Walgreens)
FAR = Free After Rebate
FIC = Fresh Idea Card (Marsh)
GM = General Mills (Newspaper insert)
K = Kellogg’s (Newspaper Insert)
MIR = Mail in Rebate
OOP = Out of Pocket
P&G = Proctor & Gamble (Newspaper Insert)
Peelie = Coupon you peel off package
RP= Red Plum (Newspaper Insert)
RR = Register Rewards (Walgreens)
SS= Smart Source (Newspaper Insert)
STACKING = Using manufacturer’s & store coupons together
TEAR PAD = A pad of coupons or MIR near a product or on display
WCB = Wagreens Coupon Book
WYB= When You Buy
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary (Depends on certain store policies/factors whether the deal will work.)

Hopefully I’ve covered the basics here but if you do have questions, please feel free to leave them here in the comments section. I’m more than happy to answer questions and I’d love to hear your comments. And if you think I’ve left anything out, please let me know so that I can add it…that would be very helpful!

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