Couponing 101

Here I will do my best to help you understand a little more about couponing.

The Basics

Where do I find coupons?

In the Sunday Paper (redplum,smartsource, or pg inserts), magazines, peelies (on products or in the box), store displays, loaded on a savings card, online, store receipts, coupon trains (or swaps, sometimes found in places like your local library), weekly circular papers, or in your e-mail or postal mail.

Why coupon?

Why not? Couponing saves you money and can even make you money.... why not take advantage of what the companies want to give away? Not couponing is like giving your money away..... and at this point I would assume we all need a little extra jingle in our pockets :)

Important Things to know

  • Your store's coupon policy.... all stores are different and require or allow different things. Study the policies and know what is allowed.
  • You may only use a coupon once... in order to get the deal more than once you need more than one coupon.
  • Do Not copy your coupons.... each coupon has it's own upc code. Copying  coupons is FRAUD and is punishable with jail time. This will also cause the store to refuse Internet coupons.
  • Read your coupons! The pictures on the coupons are not always correct or may not show all options.
  • Check the clearance section. Coupons work just the same for these items and can sometimes score you FREE product!
  • Plan your trip to the store before you leave
  • Don't forget to use your coupons! When I first started I was famous for forgetting to hand over all of my coupons :(

How I organize my coupons

This is my coupon binder (pictured above). While its not always the easiest thing to carry around, it is the easiest way to keep all your coupons available when you find unexpected deals :)

What you need to make yours:
  • three-ring binder - I use a 3inch (can be any size depending on how many coupons you have) normally about $3.97 at Walmart
  • tabbed dividers - the plastic ones are around $3.88 at Walmart for 8 (you may need more than one pack)
  • baseball card inserts - around $5.77 at Walmart for 35 (they are located in the front of the store near the pokemon cards)
So for less than $20 you can have a great way to organize your coupons!

There are many other different ways to keep up with your coupons if you don't want to carry around a binder.

There are NO right or wrong ways to carry your coupons....... its a personal preference.

Start Small.....

Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to clip coupons from 6 papers or keep up with 10 stores coupon policies in the beginning. Start off with just 2 papers and learn 2-3 stores coupon policies. Pace yourself and you will have it down in no time!

Some Abbreviations

B1G1 or BOGO = Buy One, Get One Free
B2GI = Buy Two, Get One Free
DEAD = Offer No Longer Valid
DND = Do Not Double
FAR = Free After Rebate
FILLER = Item Purchased to Reach a Minimum Total in Order to Get a “Deal”
GC = Gift Card
IP = Internet Printable
MC or MQ = Manufacturer’s coupon
MIR = Mail In Rebate
NED = No Expiration Date
OOP = Out of Pocket
STACKING: Using Both a Store Coupon and a Manufacturer’s Coupon on One Item
TMF = Try Me Free Offer
ECB = Extra Care Bucks – CVS money
SS = SmartSource insert
RP = RedPlum insert
PG = Procter and Gamble
RR = Register Reward
SCR = Single Check Rebate