Monday, August 11, 2008

Money Saving Tips for the Beginner - Part A

If you are just starting out in the couponing world, I have a few tips for you. I have learned many things through trial and error but am still learning. There is always something else to learn or try for greater success.

The most important necessity to money saving is attaining coupons. There are several ways of doing this:
  1. Receiving the Sunday paper is the easiest way. You can either get a subscription to the Sunday paper or go to a local business that sells them and purchase one every week. In the St. Louis area, the most inexpensive place to purchase the Sunday paper is at Dollar Tree or Big Lots. They are still $1 at both of these places (last time I checked). The first Sunday of every month usually contains 3 coupon books (Red Plum, Smart Source & Proctor Gamble) so you may choose to buy more than one paper.
  2. Another way to get coupons is to ask friends and family to save you theirs. Many people receive the Sunday paper and only take a few, if any, coupons out of it. Ask them to give you what they have left after they clip. I do this and find that the coupons they take are not the ones that I end up using anyways which works out great!
  3. Ask local businesses if you can have the papers that they do not sell every week. In some regions this does not work because the newspapers collect the remaining ones on Monday. Here in St. Louis, that is the case. The St. Louis Post collects their remaining papers from the businesses for credit. It is worth a shot though. Call the gas station near your house or the local market and ask what they do with the Sunday papers that they do not sell. You just might get lucky! You will have to be able to pick the papers up from the stores first thing on Monday, they do not want to hold on to them.
  4. Another method is to dumpster dive. You go to your local newspaper recycle bin and dig through the papers people leave behind for the coupon books. Sometimes this pays off, other times it is very disappointing. Don't drive a long way to get to a recycle bin in the chance that you may do it for nothing. Stop at one in passing. The key to success in this method is to find out when the bins get emptied and go the day before.
  5. Next is to find and use internet coupons. Most stores take internet coupons but there are a few that do not so this method is not always the best. There are several coupon sites that you can go to to print coupons. You can find the ones that I find the most helpful on my blog so start there. Most of the coupons sites have a cap of 2 prints per coupon per computer. If you know you need 8 coupons but only have 2 computer, find a friend or family member that will let you come over and print coupons. You can also visit your local library. You are able to print coupons from the library for their sheet charge which is usually around $.10. Also be sure to come back and visit my blog. I post several internet coupons on my deals postings every week so you do not have to search for them yourself.
  6. Grab blinkies or tear offs at the stores you visit. There are little blinking machines or tear off pads throughout many stores. When I see a blinking machine, I usually take a minimum of 4 coupons. For tear offs, I just grab a bundle of them. Even if you think you would never use them, it does not hurt to take them. You just might be surprised how handy they come in!
  7. Finally, sign up for FREE samples! A lot of the time if you sign up for a sample, the manufacturer includes coupons also. This is not always the case but I have received many great coupons this way!

If you have found other ways of attaining coupons, please post a comment here and let us know how! Don't forget to come back here tomorrow for Part B!

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