Well first things first, before you can use coupons you have to find coupons. There are many ways to get coupons; coupons can be found on food packages, most Sunday newspapers, Wal-Mart's "All You magazine" (sold only at Wal-Mart), and coupon clipping websites. As you begin to collect your coupons keep in mind that you won't just walk out of the store with a cart load of free items on your first shopping trip. There is a system to getting the most out of your coupons, and it also takes time.
Beginner Mistake #1 – Print any and all coupons you can find online. In my experience this was a huge mistake, you most likely are not going to use all of these coupons. And when you are ready to use them they will be expired. 90% of online printed coupons expire within two weeks of printing; so this will be a problem when you looking to use that great coupon with a killer store sale.
Beginner Mistake #2- Use a coupon as soon as you get it. This is fine if you are just looking to save a few dollars here and there; after all don't we want to use coupons to help us save? That is true however, if your goal is to save as much as possible hold onto your coupons. Example: you have a $1.00 off coupon for glade air freshener, but glade this week is not on sale and is priced at $2.99. Let me start by saying most coupons from the Sunday papers expire about 3-12 weeks and on some occasions if the discount is a really high value coupon for maybe $5.00 or $10.00 it may expire in a week. Now with that being said you may say okay $1.99 is not a bad price, but many times these items go on sale for about $1.00 so this could be a free item!
Beginner Mistake #3- Wait for the store flyer to learn what is on sale. With the internet things are now more advanced, so now you could just type CVS scan with the upcoming week or whatever store you like. This makes it a little easier when you are trying to decide should I use that coupon this week, or is it priced better next week. Most time you can even see the weekly sales ads two weeks in advance.
You can get started on your coupon collection by purchasing Sunday papers that have coupons. (When I first started couponing the advice I was given was to purchase one paper per person in your household). You can also print coupons from your home; and best of all there are websites that clip coupons and mail them to you for a small clipping fee, or they will send you the whole inserts. A few sites that I use and like are coupons.com, couponclippers.com, and wholecouponinserts.com.
Now that you have your coupons, you will need to check sale papers for your local stores. Pair those sale items with coupons that you have, this is how you will get your items free or at a very low price. If you don't have time to search all of you coupons, there are site that will do this for you for free. You can find these sites by typing in the search box CVS matchups 5/20/2012 whatever store you like. Some stores will allow you to use overage from higher priced coupons to be applied towards things that you won't normally have coupons for. These could be things like meat, produce, and so on. Some stores like ShopRite and Pathmark offer a coupon for a certain dollar amount off of your next shopping order, when you buy certain items. So it is good to keep eye out for these types of deals.
I know that all of this sounds simple because it somewhat is; but it takes time to organize your coupons, compare store sale prices, and make a detailed list. But the most important thing that you must do is find out the coupon policy for each store that you shop at. This is usually available on the stores website, or you can send an email from the websites contact us tab and request the policy to be sent to you. This is important because some stores only allow you to use a certain amount of the same coupons per order, some will not double coupons, etc. It is also very important in to check to see if the store has changed their coupon policy, because they will not give you notice that their coupon policy has changed. Unfortunately this is something they won't tell you until you are trying to use coupons according to the stores old coupon policy.
Another thing to watch out for is stores that are now changing their coupon policies after a popular show, extreme couponing aired. Coupon manufacturers are also cracking down on how coupons can be used, and in what quantities. Many stores are no longer offering overage on coupons. Example: if a product goes on sale for three dollars and you have a coupon for five dollars off that same item, many stores will no longer give you the two dollars change. Nor will they allow you to use the overage for you to apply to other items that you do not have coupons for. What they will do is adjust the coupon amount down to the price of the item, and you will still be responsible for taxes on that item.
However there are some ways around these coupon changes. The most important thing is, as I mentioned before, know your stores current coupon policy and check for updates often. Another thing to consider is possibly changing where you normally shop; going to different stores may be the way to get the best possible deals. It also helps to be open to new brands, products, ideas. Because usually as new products come out, coupons for these products are often put out to promote them.
I hope that the tips that I have shared are a help to you, and help you get started on the road to successful couponing and great savings. As always happy couponing.