Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Money Saving Tips for the Beginner - Part B: Coupon Clipping

Yesterday I touched on the important aspect of coupon attaining. Now once you have all these wonderful, money saving coupon books, how do you know which coupons to clip.

When you are first starting out, I would suggest that you only clip the coupons you think you will use. So, you will take your Red Plum, Smart Source, or P&G coupon books and you will scan through them first of all. This gives you an overall view of what products are represented. Next, you will grab your scissors and clip the coupons of items that your family will use. You will then place a sticky note on the front of the coupon book with the date and which type of book (Red Plum 8/10/08). This makes it easier to go back to these coupons later if you need to.

Be sure to hold onto these extra coupons. If there happens to be a great sale or by chance you will get something for FREE, you will be happy you saved these extras. I have found that the things that I would normally not purchase, end up being FREE or really cheap with a sale and I am willing to try them then.

When you get more comfortable with your coupon clipping, you may decide to clip everything. I have found that doing so works best for me because when I go into the stores and scan the clearance aisles, I can get great deals on the "other things" and want to have the coupons already clipped and ready.

You ask, “Do you bring all the coupons you have to every store?” Yes, of course! How do I know what could end up a great deal? I may not bring them all into the store but I definitely have them in the car and can run out there if I need one.

If any of you are on a tight budget, which happens from time to time, you may want to just stick to a list. You make a list of the deals that you want to get at the store and just stick to that (or print what I post for each store & highlight what you want/need of those deals). What works best for me is to have an envolope with the name of each store on the front. I will then place all the coupons that go with the deals for each of the respective stores. I will take these envelopes and the lists into the stores with me. I will get all these things and then check out. If you are sticking to a list, make sure you do just that. Do not browse the store or the clearance aisles. If you do this, you are bound to leave with more than what is on your list.

Internet coupons are a tricky aspect. I touched on internet coupon sites yesterday. The first of every month coupons are added and deleted from these sites, but not all. The tricky part is knowing which ones will be deleted. Unfortunately, there is no way to know this. What makes this tricky is that once you print the coupons, they are only good for a limited time. Once you print them twice, you have reached your limit and will not be able to print them again.

Say for instance, you print your two coupons for Dove bodywash, hoping to find a great deal. The coupons you printed say they expire on 8/23/08. You wait and watch and 8/23/08 comes and goes and there were no great deals. Now your coupons have expired and on 8/26/08, you find a great deal for the Dove bodywash. What a bummer! The coupons you could have had you do not now because you printed them too soon! Now you have to find a friend who will let you print the coupons from their computer to have them.

What I do is just wait until I need the coupons before I print them. That way they do not expire before I can use them. First of all this saves paper from being wasted and secondly they will be valid when I need them. There has only been a few instances when I wished I would have printed them because they were removed from the coupon sites and were not there when I needed them.
So now we touched on how to get coupons and which ones to clip. If you have any other ideas on Part B, please comment here. Come back tomorrow for Part C: Coupon Organization.

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