10 Tips for Dealing with Empty Shelves

No one likes to plan out the perfect couponing scenario only to get to the store and find empty shelves! Unfortunately, with couponing on the rise, shelves are bound to be emptied.

There are a few things you can do when you come across empty shelves:

1. Get a rain check

A rain check is simply a slip of paper that you can ask for that will allow you to come back at a later date and get the sale price. Wait a week or two (but not too long, some rain checks expire) and come back when the item is back in stock and you can still get the great price!

2. Shop early

Try to shop as early as you can. If the sale starts on Sunday, don’t wait until Friday to shop. Try to shop the same day the sale starts if you can.

3. Visit another store

In my area, there seems to be a CVS on every corner. If one store is out of stock, drive down the street and shop at the other store.

4. Call ahead

If your store is quite a distance away, it might be wise to call your store and ask if they have the product in stock before you drive out there. They may even be willing to hold one for you until you get there.

5. Price match

Many stores, like Walmart and Target, will price match any advertised sale price. If your Walgreens is out of the $1 cereal, take your ad across the street to Walmart and show them the ad to get the same price there – they will likely have plenty in stock.

6. Talk to the manager

Occasionally the store will have more product in the back that they have not put out on the shelves yet. They may be able to produce a few products that you needed. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

7. Wait for them to restock

Find out which day of the week your store restocks the shelves and come back then!

8. Teach your friends coupon etiquette (and follow the rules yourself)

Be sure to teach your friends how to coupon the right way. They’re likely shopping at your store anyway! Remember to follow the rules yourself. If you don’t like empty shelves, then don’t be a “shelf-clearer”.

9. Don’t make assumptions

If you see someone buying a large quantity of items, do not automatically assume they’re a shelf-clearer. They might have a large family that truly goes through 10 boxes of cereal in a week.

10. Skip the sale

More sales will come around. Really! If you’re just starting out, it is really hard to pass up a great sale, but know that there are always more deals to come. It’s okay to sit one out.

I hope these tips will help you deal with finding empty shelves! Be sure to read my “Coupon Etiquette” series to find out the unspoken rules of couponing!

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How to Save Money on Groceries with Manager’s Specials

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“Manager’s Specials”, “reduced for quick sale”, “markdowns”, whatever your store calls them; they are great for saving money on groceries. Stores will mark down items like meat, produce, dairy, and bread when they don’t think they will be able to sell their inventory before they expire. There is the potential to save a lot of money if you know how to take advantage of these discounts.

Keep reading for tips on how to save the most on your grocery bill by looking for manager’s specials!

While it’s not advisable to buy things you don’t need just because they’re on sale, having an open mind to what’s on manager’s special can save you money and be a lot of fun. Sometimes I’ll pick up dirt-cheap items that weren’t on my list and challenge myself to use them in a meal that week. I think of it as a frugal Chopped challenge!

Finding Manager’s Special Deals

If you can’t find the markdown section of your store, ask an employee. Your store might not have one and the items may be mixed in with all the regular priced items.

Don’t see a markdown? Ask for it! If you see an item with a looming expiration date, point it out and they will likely mark it down for you. They also tend to be more generous with the discounts when you’re standing right there!

Knowing when to shop for these discounts is key. Find out which day your store marks down these items in order to get the best selection. Stores generally mark down on Tuesdays or Wednesdays after the weekend rush is over.

Meat

Meat is one of the most expensive categories in grocery budgets. Buying your meat on manager’s special will reduce your bill considerably.

If you find a really great deal, stock up! Portion it out, freeze it, and possibly avoid paying for meat again for several weeks!

Just make sure you are checking the expiration dates. If you buy meat that is expiring that day, be sure to cook it right away or freeze it as soon as you get home. And always inspect the meat before you buy it. Expiration dates are just estimations. If the meat looks or smells bad – don’t buy it!

Produce

Produce is another budget killer. Buying produce on sale is really the way to go if you can find it. Bananas, bags of apples and oranges, and bagged salad are a few of the items you should check for markdown stickers. Just remember not to buy more than you can eat before they go bad!

Dairy

Dairy items to look for on markdown are milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and creamer. Make sure to check the expiration dates on these since it is harder to tell in-store if they’ve gone bad. Some of these items can be frozen as well.

Bakery

Bakery items that have been marked down can be found at nearly every store. Bread, rolls, tortillas, and desserts are popular items to look for. There will usually be some sort of rack that says something along the lines of “Oops! We baked too much!”

Combine With Coupons

Save even more on manager’s special items by combining the deals with coupons! As far as I know, stores will accept coupons on marked down items. Make sure to point out the markdown sticker to the cashier. Not all items will scan at the correct price and may need to be adjusted.

Do you shop for manager’s specials? Does your store have a special spot for them or do you have to search? I’d love to hear!

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Realistic Couponing

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The show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC has shocked everyone with the incredible potential of coupon savings. It has also exposed the dark side of couponing.

I think the people on that show are likely not as extreme as they were portrayed (it is television after all), however the show has given people unrealistic expectations for couponing and given couponers unfair representation.

If you want to learn to coupon and save 50% or more on your grocery bill, then I can certainly help – and you won’t need to spend 70+ hours a week on couponing!

Realistic Time

Realistically I spend 30-45 minutes a week clipping coupons and putting together a shopping list. This is typically for shopping at 2 stores – 1 grocery store and 1 drug store. How long you spend on this depends on how many stores you shop at and how long you have been couponing. My couponing grocery trips rarely take longer than a trip where I don’t use coupons (scanning coupons really only takes a few minutes in a normal shopping trip).

After you set up a coupon system like a coupon binder, there really isn’t that much to it! Coupon sites like mine even match up coupons for you which saves you a ton of time!  Just pull the coupons you need, print your list and go!

Realistic Spending

Sure the people on that show save a ton of money, but how much are they spending to get that savings? I also consider my time valuable. If I’m taking away time from my family then the cost is too high, regardless of the savings.

I think it is entirely possible to save 50% or more on your grocery bill. The savings will vary depending on your family size and eating habits. I do think that everyone can use coupons though. There is a myth that there are no coupons for healthy foods and it is simply not true. They are not quite as common, but nutritious deals are definitely available.

Realistic Stockpile

Okay, 1500 sticks of deodorant? 40 years worth of toilet paper? That is just not realistic to me. Sales come in cycles and you should definitely buy a few months worth of the items your family will use or eat, but there’s no need to buy more than that. A good rule of thumb is to buy one newspaper per family member. Then when your favorite pasta goes on sale, you buy more than one box because you have multiple coupons.

For our family of four I used to buy four newspapers per week. Now that I’ve been couponing for a while (and the cost of newspapers has gone up), I have cut back to just two newspapers per week. This really is plenty for our family! We have an extra shelf in the garage to store our stockpile (I could probably eliminate this too if I were more organized), but everything else is just stored regularly in the pantry or cabinets. I am also able to donate on a regular basis, even with my relatively small stockpile.

Realistic Expectations

Please don’t expect to save 98% on your very first coupon shopping trip. Yes, it can happen, but it takes some time and work. You have to collect coupons every week and build up your stockpile. Once you’ve done that, you have the freedom to “cherry pick”. That means you only go to the store to buy the freebies and cheapies.

I am not trying to discourage you at all, I just want to make sure you have realistic expectations. Couponing really is a blast, so I completely understand how some people can become addicted to it!

I suggest reading some of the posts in my getting started with couponing section before you begin. Be sure to subscribe to my free email updates to get couponing tips, deals, and freebies sent to your inbox!

Couponing can be a great way to save your family money, and it doesn’t have to be an obsessive hobby!

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11 Free Ways to Get Coupons

Need more coupons? I’m sure everyone does! I know newspapers have been a popular source of coupons, but since newspapers cost money, it can be discouraging for beginners who may not have room in their budget for a newspaper subscription.

If you are looking to get started couponing without making a big investment, here are 11 free ways to get more coupons:

1. Use Digital Coupons

Digital coupons are everywhere these days and have made couponing so much easier! These coupons cost you nothing – you don’t even have to print or clip. Just load them right to your phone and scan at checkout. Some stores even load the savings automatically if tied to your rewards card. Some of our favorite digital coupon sources are Flipp, Coupons.com and Honey.

2. Email the Manufacturer

Send a quick note to your favorite brands and they will likely send you coupons. Best of all, they will be for products you know you like!

3. Friends and Family

You likely know a few people who get a newspaper but don’t use the coupons. Ask if you can have their inserts and they will likely give them to you.

4. Print Coupons Online

There are many free places to print coupons online. Some of my favorites include Coupons.comSmartsource, and Redplum.

5. Magazines

If you have any magazine subscriptions, be sure to look through each issue carefully. Many magazines have coupons in them!

6. Coffee Shops and Airports

Many people like to sit in coffee shops, drink their morning coffee, and read the newspaper. Ask the establishment if you can take the Sunday newspapers that people leave behind.

7. Libraries and Doctor’s Offices

Ask your local library, dentist, or doctor if you can have the coupons from their old magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

8. Request Coupons and Samples

Many companies offer free coupons online that you can request. Sometimes they are even for free products! Be sure to sign up for free samples too because they sometimes come with coupons.

9. In-Store Coupons

Look for peelies (just don’t take them without buying the product), tearpads, blinkies, and coupon books throughout the store. These are free for the taking! Just take one or two though, not the whole stack. Be sure to think beyond supermarkets – I often find coupons at gas stations!

10. Coupon Buddies

If you have coupons you don’t use, you could try trading with a friend. Maybe they have a dog, but no kids while you have kids, but no dog. You could give your friend your dog food coupons and she could give you her baby product coupons. It’s a win-win!

11. Rewards Programs

There are some brands that will offer high value coupons (often coupons for free products) in exchange for you taking a quiz or giving your opinion of a new product. Go to your favorite brands’ websites and search their FAQs for ways to get coupons by participating! Sometimes signing up for their promotional newsletter will get you early access to these types of promotions as well.

Do you know of any other ways to get free coupons?

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How to Get FREE Coupons From Your Favorite Brands!

One of my favorite ways to get coupons is to email the manufacturers of my favorite products.

I routinely look through my house for products that I love and use regularly. Then I go to the product websites and look for the “contact us” link. Some websites have an email form and some just have an email address.

Then I write a short note about how much I love their product, how often I use it, and why I love it/how it helps me and my family. Sometimes I ask about coupons and sometimes I just leave my compliment.

If I mention coupons, I might say something along the lines of “Do you have a newsletter or coupon mailing list that I can be added to?” Most of the time they will send coupons and offers via email, but it doesn’t hurt to include your physical mailing address in the note. That way you don’t miss out if they are still sending paper coupons via snail mail!

Doing this lets the manufacturer know that people like their products so they hopefully won’t discontinue the ones you love, and it also helps you! The companies (I’d say 8 times out of 10) will usually mail you coupons if you reach out in this manner. Sometimes they even send coupons for FREE products! It’s a win-win!

Some companies that have sent me FREE product coupons for emailing them a compliment:

  • Starkist Tuna
  • Playtex Tampons
  • Flinstones Vitamins
  • Dannon Yogurt
  • Con Agra
  • SC Johnson (they are AWESOME!)
  • and many more!

It only takes a minute to do! I have a Google toolbar with AutoFill (fills in forms with my information automatically so that I don’t have to type it a million times) so that makes it much easier and faster.

It’s also so much more fun checking the mail when it’s filled with coupons and free products!

Do you have any tricks for getting free products and coupons from your favorite brands? Share in the comments below!

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The Best Stores for Beginner Couponers

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I asked my Facebook followers to ask me their couponing questions the other day and the question that was most popular was:

“Which stores are the best for beginner couponers?”

I think that is an excellent question and it actually has multiple answers. Which store I recommend depends on how new you are to couponing.

True Coupon Newbie

If you are a True Coupon Newbie – meaning you have never used a coupon in your life – then I suggest you start couponing at a store where you already shop. Kroger, Walmart, Target; it doesn’t matter. It helps to be familiar with the store and their policies, so stick with what you know.

If you don’t know your regular store’s coupon policies, then you need to go to customer service and find out if they double coupons, on what days they double, and if they have any coupon limits or restrictions. Once you get the hang of using coupons at your regular store, you can move on to other stores in your area.

Beginner Couponer

A Beginner Couponer is someone who has used a couple coupons here and there (but usually forgets them at home) and doesn’t really understand how these 50¢ coupons can end up saving you hundreds of dollars. Is that you? Then I recommend couponing at your best local grocery store. I do not recommend starting at stores like Target or Walmart because they do not double coupons. So find out which store near you doubles coupons, and if there is more than one then choose the one with the lowest everyday prices.

For my area, it’s Kroger. They have awesome sales and their everyday prices are usually lower than the other nearby grocery stores. If you don’t know much about your local grocery stores, then it might take a little research. Most grocery stores — even local ones — have websites and will often include some information about their coupon policy there. And it never hurts to ask friends in your area which one they like the best for deals and coupons to get a good idea of where to start.

Couponer in Training

If you use coupons regularly but aren’t seeing much savings, then you are a Couponer in Training. You’re disciplined and dedicated enough to do it, you just don’t understand the mechanics yet. If that’s you then I suggest dipping your toes into the wonderful world of drugstore couponing. CVS is the easiest to understand, so I recommend starting there. This is what worked for me – seeing I could get items completely free made me instantly ready to learn more. I don’t know why it works, but shopping at CVS just seems to be easier for some people to grasp than trying to get their everyday grocery budget lowered.

Once you start getting all your shampoo, toothpaste, and other toiletries for free, it will give you more wiggle room in your budget to build your stockpile. Once you build a stockpile, your grocery bill starts going down significantly. It’s sort of a cascade effect. Plus, if you start shopping at a drugstore, shopping at a regular grocery store will seem like a walk in the park after that!

At which store did you begin your couponing journey?

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How to Make a Coupon Shopping List

A lot of people who want to coupon never even get started because they don’t know how to make their coupon stack make sense with their real grocery needs. This post will teach you how to create an effective coupon shopping list. Make the most of your coupons while still buying things you actually want and need.

Hopefully after reading this, your weekly shopping trip will become something to look forward to.

Set a Budget

The first thing you need to do is set your budget. Without a budget, you will spend too much, regardless of whether you use coupons or not. Then you need to divide that budget into two categories: needs and stockpile. If you are a beginner, you probably don’t have a big stockpile yet and will have to buy quite a few items to get you through the week. An example of this budget split would be:

$75 Weekly Budget

  • $60 – Needs
  • $15 – Stockpile

That is just an example; you can adjust these numbers to your own budget and needs. As a beginner though, the majority of your weekly budget will go toward needs. As you get into the hang of things and build your stockpile, those numbers will gradually change until you spend very little on your needs each week.

Build Your Matchup List

Next you need to begin building your list. Start with finding a coupon matchup for your preferred grocery store for the week. Search online for “coupon matchup your store” and be sure the matchup you’re looking at is for the current week. This will show you all the items you can get for free or really cheap at this specific store by combining weekly ad deals and coupons.

Jot down or type up all the items from the matchup that you want to buy. These should be items that you will actually use. Even if something in the matchup winds up being free, don’t get it if you won’t use it!

Then gather the applicable coupons or clip the coupons online if available. If you have 2 of a specific coupon then add a quantity of “2” to the item so you know how many to purchase. Add up the total cost of all the items on your list so far and make sure they do not exceed your stockpile budget.

This list is your matchup list, containing no full-price items. It probably won’t have everything you need, but is a great place to start.

Make a Menu Plan

Now, make your menu plan for the week. Don’t forget breakfasts, lunches, and snacks in addition to dinners! Plan your meals as closely to what is on your matchup list as possible. If you don’t have a stockpile yet, this will really save you a lot of money – even if you don’t use coupons! Once you start to build a stockpile at home, you can base your menu off of what you already have.

As an example, if chicken and broccoli are on the matchup list and I have a stockpile of rice at home, then I might plan to make Cheesy Broccoli and Rice with Chicken! I would note the other items in the recipe to see if I need to purchase anything else to make it. If I didn’t have cheese or cream of mushroom soup, then I would add those items to my grocery list. I would also check to see if the other ingredients are in the flyer (but didn’t make it onto my matchups list) or if there are any coupons available for them that I wasn’t looking for initially. Any recipes that would require the purchase of several additional ingredients would probably be saved to make another week when more of the ingredients are on sale.

I know that part sounds like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t take that long, especially after you get the hang of it! Just try to think of meals that use mainly ingredients that are on sale. If roast isn’t on sale this week, don’t plan to have roast! If chicken and pork chops are on sale, plan a couple of meals using chicken and pork chops. If you get stuck, allrecipes.com is a great recipe resource, and you can even search by ingredient and exclude ingredients you don’t have!

Now you should have rounded out your list with the few full-priced items you’ll need for the week.

Finalize

From your full coupon shopping list, try to estimate how much you will be spending in total. If you go way over your budget, you may need to make some menu adjustments.  If you are only slightly over, then I suggest eliminating some items from your stockpile list. Then, count the coupons you have listed and count the coupons in your stack to make sure they match up. If they do, write the number on your list to make it easy to check your receipt (to make sure all of your coupons scanned) after shopping. Just make sure to make a note by that number if your shopping plan changes at the store and you don’t use all of your coupons.

Ready? Set? Go!

Now, the hard part is over. You should have a meal plan, stack of coupons, and a coupon shopping list. Print your list, grab your coupons, and go shopping!

Do you have a particular method you use for planning your shopping trip? Let us know in the comments below!

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Stockpiling 101: How to Save Money with a Stockpile

For many, building a stockpile means buying lots of bottled water, batteries, and canned food in preparation for a snow storm or natural disaster. For couponers, it means never having to pay full price again.

stock·pile – A supply stored for future use, usually carefully accrued and maintained.

A stockpile is simply buying more than what you need for immediate use when prices are extremely low, so that you do not have to pay full price in the future. A stockpile can be a key part of saving money!

Here are my tips for stockpiling:

Use Multiple Coupons

To start a stockpile you will need multiple coupons for any given product that you plan to stockpile. In order to get multiple coupons, you will need to get your hands on multiple newspapers/circulars or sign up for coupon sources under multiple email addresses. You can also collect coupons from friends and family who don’t plan to use the coupons themselves. Four of each coupon is a good place to start, but you can do more in the beginning when building your stockpile.

Wait for Sales

When items go on sale at a deep discount, that is when you want to use all your coupons. Say, for instance, that pasta has gone on sale for $1, you have a $0.25 coupon and your store will triple coupons. That makes the pasta just $0.25 [$1 – ($0.25 x 3)], which is a great price. So, if you have four $0.25 coupons then you could buy four boxes and pay just $0.25 per box! Of course, you may not need all four boxes this week or even next week, but if you eat pasta regularly then you will use them eventually. This way, you get to pay a rock bottom price for pasta and you won’t have to pay full price for it the next time you need it. In most cases, you should have enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale!

Sales Cycles

Stores run sales in cycles. Everything typically goes on sale about every 8 – 12 weeks. If you buy 8 – 12 weeks worth of everything when it goes on sale, then you will have enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale. If your family eats one box of cereal per week, then go ahead and buy several boxes. If your family only eats one box a month, then maybe just buy a couple boxes.

Buy Only What You Like

It is very important that you only stockpile foods and products that you know your family will actually use. Don’t buy 10 boxes of cereal that your family has never tried before or it may never get eaten. If your husband does not like a certain brand of deodorant, don’t stockpile that brand, even if it’s FREE. Yes, I just told you not to get something if it’s free. If you won’t use it, what’s the point? By buying it you are just preventing someone who could actually use it from buying it and taking up valuable storage space in your own home.

Watch Expiration Dates

You have to keep an eye on expiration dates when you stockpile. It is very important to rotate your stockpile. That means you need to put the new items you purchase at the back and keep the oldest products at the front where you can get to them. Keep in mind that even toothpaste expires! It takes a long time, but if you look at the tube, there actually is an expiration date on there.

Don’t Go Overboard

It’s very tempting to buy tons and tons of products – especially when they’re free. Please remember the 8 – 12 week sales cycle. It WILL go on sale again! You don’t have to buy 50 tubes of toothpaste right now. Buy a few now, then buy a few again the next time it goes on sale. If you realize you’ve accumulated too many tubes, skip a few sales. Save your gas, energy, space, and time.

If you build a stockpile and carefully maintain it you can save a lot of money and always have your favorite products on hand! No more running to the store at 10 pm because you’ve run out of shampoo!

Do you stockpile? Let me know what your go-to stockpile products are!

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Top 10 Extreme Couponing Mistakes

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If you’re new to couponing, you’re probably very eager to get started! Before you do, you may want to prepare for some of these common couponing mistakes before you dive in.

1. Going Overboard

When you first begin couponing, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the “game.” It is FUN after all! However, I recommend you don’t try to go to 6 stores every week or try to grab every single freebie. Trust me when I say, the deals WILL come around again.

Choose 2-3 of your favorites stores (for instance: 1 drug store, 1 grocery store, and 1 super store) and stick with just those. Also, try to limit your shopping trips to just once per week or only when you are already out and about near that store.

2. Spending Too Much Money

Anyone else see their spending INCREASE when they started couponing? While building up a stockpile could be the reason for it, you might also be buying more than you need. If you don’t need the item (or know someone specifically who does), don’t buy it – even if it’s an amazing deal! It will just clutter your home and drive up your grocery bill.

3. Spending Too Much Time

Spending hours and hours couponing is actually something I do NOT want to do! I try to limit my time couponing as much as possible. While I do enjoy the thrill of a good deal, I have to make sure my priorities are in order and that I’m not neglecting other responsibilities just so I can go grab another free razor.

4. Being Unorganized

Don’t you just hate when you discover a can of something in the back of your pantry that expired a year ago? It probably happens to most families, but with couponers, it is probably even more common. Having a stockpile of items means you have to be careful to rotate your goods (put newer items at the back and bring the older ones to the front) to avoid letting them expire. Wasted food is wasted time and money.

5. Junk Food

One pitfall of couponing is buying lots of junk food that you normally wouldn’t buy. While the coupons for junk food are more common than the coupons for healthy food, it doesn’t mean that’s what you have to buy. Don’t normally buy cookies? Don’t bother clipping the coupon for them!

6. Just Because You Have a Coupon…

This mistake is a doozy, and one of the most common reasons people believe they can’t save money with coupons. Just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you have to use it! If you don’t like/need the product, the item isn’t on sale, or the generic brand is cheaper, then you need to put the coupon down and step away slowly.

Please don’t clip all the coupons from the paper and try to use them right then. Hang on to your coupons for the right sale and then make your move.

7. Not Using Stockpile

Stockpiles are pretty to look at but they aren’t meant to be home decor. They are there to be used! Sometimes we work so hard to build them up that it can make us sad to see some of the stockpile being used. Well, that’s what it’s there for. Go ahead and let your husband take a bottle of mouthwash off the shelf. You’ll thank me later.

8. Clearing Shelves

Trying to build your stockpile can be quite a bit of work. It takes time. Sometimes we get in a hurry and want to see a nice supply of shampoo in our closet right now. It can be tempting to clear the shelves of every bottle of Herbal Essences when it goes on sale – and at every store within a 50 mile radius. However, others who shop there are trying to build their stockpile too (or maybe they are out of shampoo and are just needing to pick up a bottle). Take the amount you need but be courteous toward other shoppers and don’t clear the shelves.

9. Trying to Get EVERY Deal

It can be hard to pass up a deal. The savings are fun and you like a pretty stockpile. But remember to ask yourself these questions before you buy: “Does my family or someone I know specifically need it? Do I already have an abundance in my stockpile? Do I have room in my grocery budget to buy it?” Asking these questions first will help you determine whether you need it or if you’re just wanting to grab another great deal just for the thrill.

10. High Expectations

I frequently get emails from people who are so disappointed that they only saved 49% on their grocery bill. Yes, upset about it! While saving 99% is certainly possible, it’s not going to happen on every single shopping trip. It’s important to set realistic savings goals and remember that even saving a $1 here and there is still saving money.

I hope these tips do not discourage you from couponing. I think pretty much every couponer (myself included!) has made one or more of these mistakes! Hopefully by reading this, you can learn from our mistakes and start your couponing journey with realistic expectations.

What do you think? Did I forget any?

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A Busy Mom’s Guide to Couponing the Easy Way!

Couponing is not hard. Or rather, it doesn’t have to be. This post should give you some perspective on how easy couponing and saving money can really be!

There’s a trend when introducing couponing to newbies – they all ask, “Isn’t it hard?”

Easy Couponing

First of all, the effort that you see bloggers and couponing pros put into couponing isn’t necessarily the norm. There is such a thing as realistic couponing for the average shopper.

While it may seem that couponers spend an extraordinary amount of time planning, clipping coupons, and shopping, it isn’t really necessary if you just want to save a little money on your grocery bill.

Believe it or not, some people just enjoy easy couponing and take it up as a leisurely hobby that happens to save them money!

Multitask

Do you watch at least one hour of television per week?  If you do, you do not have to spend ANY extra time clipping coupons. I always clip my coupons while watching my favorite show each week – which I would sit and watch with or without couponing.

Couponing is an easy way to multitask. Whether you’re waiting for the laundry, sitting outside your kid’s karate lesson, or killing time at the car wash, you can bring along your weekly ad and clip coupons just about anywhere.

To make it even easier, you don’t even have to clip coupons. Some people prefer to file their coupon inserts away whole and uncut. I actually did this for a while myself. The only downside is that you might miss out on some unadvertised deals and clearance.

Go Digital

You can also go paperless with digital coupons using sites like this, or mobile apps like Flipp or SnipSnap. Find manufacturer’s coupons for brands and products you regularly buy and use them at any store (just be sure to read the fine print first). At checkout, simply pull the coupon up on your phone and scan it at the register, just like a traditional paper coupon.

Some stores even have dedicated online portals and mobile apps for loyalty card members where you can search and digitally clip coupons to save them to your rewards account. When you check out using your loyalty card or phone number, the coupons are automatically applied.

While this isn’t exactly couponing, you can also earn cash back on your purchases — online and in-store — with the Ibotta mobile app. Similarly to the coupon apps, you search for offers in the app and digitally add them to your account. When you go shopping and buy a qualifying item, scan your receipt into the Ibotta app and you’ll get cash back!

Start Small

You don’t have to go to every store and get every deal. Pick your favorite stores where you already regularly shop and stick with those to start.

The very first coupon I used was for $1.50 off diapers almost 4 years ago. I am just as proud of saving that $1.50 as I am of the hundreds of dollars I now save our family every month. Remember, no matter how much you save, you are saving something!

The post A Busy Mom’s Guide to Couponing the Easy Way! appeared first on Couponing 101.

#coupons #deals #shopping #extremecouponing #couponing #freebies #grocerystoreads #grocerystorematchups #matchups #discounts #savings