Consider this a Savings 101 if you’re new to couponing or budgeting – a “Start Here” for how to save money at the grocery store, if you will.
I used to think coupons were a waste of time. I didn’t like spending money on a Sunday paper for items I didn’t think I’d ever use. I now believe differently.
Here are a few of my tips I’ve learned:
* Get coupon inserts from the newspaper for free whenever possible
– ask neighbors, people who are getting ready to throw away the paper or get day old Sunday papers for a discount at certain stores. Get multiple inserts whenever possible – this is when your savings really begin to stack up.
EXAMPLE: Publix has Joe’s salad dressing on sale – Buy One Get One Free (BOGO). Publix (in Nashville) does not require you to buy two items to take advantage of the BOGO deal, so if the dressing is $2.50, you end up paying $1.25 per item. Let’s now say you have two $0.35 coupons for Joe’s dressing. Publix also doubles coupons up to $0.50. So here is how your transaction would look:
2 Joe’s Dressings @ $1.25 each = $2.50
2 $.035 coupons = ($0.70)
Publix automatic doubling = ($0.70)
Total spent = $1.10 for 2 bottles of dressing!
* Go directly to manufacturers websites
– many companies offer coupons on their website or if you sign up for their emails
* Pair manufacturers coupons with store coupons
– you’re allowed to stack manufacturer and store coupons together to further add to your savings. Look for sale flyers inside the entryway of grocery and drugstores – these often have coupons with the store imprint on them that you can use in conjunction with manufacturer savings.
* Sign up for Store Reward Cards
– if a store offers a free rewards program, sign up! You’ll get the best price possible without any further obligation.
*Visit sites like The Coupon Mom
– you can search grocery deals by state as well as national drugstore deals. This site not only lists what is on sale, but matches the sales with corresponding coupon inserts from Sunday papers and tells you your total savings when you apply those coupons!
Here are some of the terms you’ll see used around my site and others when talking about coupons:
Typically you’ll find several coupon inserts in your Sunday paper. The two most common are Red Plum & Smart Source, but occasionally you’ll also find brand-specific inserts like General Mills or Proctor and Gamble. When searching this site for what coupons to match up with what deals, you’ll find a date (which refers to the Sunday the coupons came out) along with initials (referring to which insert the coupon can be found in). Here are the abbreviations:
SS: Smart Source
RP: Red Plum
GM: General Mills
PG: Proctor & Gamble
Other commonly used abbreviations are:
BOGO/B1G1: Buy one get one free
ECB: Extra Care Bucks (Rewards you get at CVS to use towards a future purchase)
RR: Register Rewards (Rewards you get at Walgreens to use towards a future purchase
MIR: Mail in Rebate
FAR: Free after Rebate
MFR: Manufacturer (used when talking about coupons – remember you can stack store and MFR coupons together for the best deals.)
Find all the latest Printable Coupons to print right from home here!