Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Start Couponing:

I honestly don’t know how I go involved in couponing. It was probably mid October 2008 when I discovered couponing. With the help of a friend from church HERE, I was able to get my questions answered, and learn about the world of couponing. With a lot of research and trial and error (BOO!) I have come to love and enjoy every aspect of it all. (I am still learning a TON, though.)

It takes a special kind of person to coupon. Sometimes it really sucks cutting all those coupons, organizing them, researching deals, pricing different stores, making sure everything rings up at the right price. It really can be an exhausting hobby. Luckily there are tons of resources online that can help minimize your efforts.

With all the hours of preparation, I find great joy out of seeing my final total be so low. In fact, saving 60%-100% of my grocery bill really makes all the hours of effort seem well worth it. I get a HUGE kick out of shopping with someone else and seeing their jaw drop when they see my total on the cash register. In fact, I went shopping with my mom earlier this week, and she was stunned that I bought over $25 worth of stuff at Walgreens, paid $.20 for it and got back a $5.00 register reward.

And I LOVE coming home to my husband and showing him my totals and how much I saved. He doesn’t really understand how I do it, nor does he want to, but he still tells me he’s proud and I’m doing a great job.

As a young woman and a newlywed, I think I’m smarter than the average bear. Even before I got married, I have always typed up budget spreadsheets and been a fairly frugal person. Of course, it helps to have great grandparents who are a true example of frugality. So now that I’m married and want to have kids in the future, I’m thinking about finances more realistically. I don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck or paying interest on credit cards. I told Brian, my husband, the other day that if we can develop a habit of living like we live in an apartment, than we will never have to worry. If we can manage to live below our means, we will be able to save that much more money.

For those of you who are newlyweds and just starting out, or for those who want to change their lifestyle…or anyone really, I would recommend couponing. There are tons of resources around you to help you save money. If your response is “I don’t have time,” really, how much is your time worth? I’m sure you have a couple hours a week to spare to save $100s. It is totally well worth it!!

Here is how to slowly get started:
Sunday Newspaper – Go buy one, or use one that someone isn’t going to use
Inside the Sunday Newspaper are 3 coupon resources: Red Plum, P&G Saver & SmartSource. These are your main sources for coupons. Then do some research on deals at stores you usually shop at.

I mainly shop for groceries at Kroger & Albertsons. They do double/triple coupons, meaning that $.01-$.39 coupons triple, and $.40-$.50 coupons double. So sometimes shopping at Wal-Mart isn’t always the best answer for a tight budget.
*Note: Even with the double/triple coupons, sometimes the off-brand items are still cheaper.

I’ve already been asked tons of questions, in which I am more than happy to answer. One thing I will be doing in my blog is posting little tricks of the trade, and how to get started.

Do you have any “starting out advice?” Can you remember when you started couponing? There are tons of people who want to start couponing but are somewhat confused. If you have any advice for a newbie, post a comment with some words of wisdom.


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