Ever since I discovered how thrifty some people are (shortly after we got married, so about four years ago), I wished that I could shop similarly for my family. Since I am a vegan and do not eat as many processed foods as the average American, in addition to using mostly natural products; however, the amount of couponing that would benefit my family was rather limited.
Fast forward a few years.
The number of stores that carry natural and organic products has increased greatly. Manufacturers of such products have made coupons more widely available. And technology has made it easier for me to find sales, coupons, and the like.
My top tips for beginning couponers:
1. Let others find the deals for you.
Think that you don’t have enough time to coupon? I probably wouldn’t either if I didn’t have others providing all of the matchups for me, but there are entire blogs devoted to helping people find great deals. I subscribe to several such blogs via Google Reader.
2. Don’t clip coupons.
I recognize that my system will not work for everyone, but my preferred method of coupon organization is to simply place all of them in a big folder and simply clip them when the time comes to use them. This way, I don’t end up spending large chunks of time clipping coupons, and don’t waste time clipping the coupons that I never end up using (or throwing away the coupons that I think I won’t be using, and then regretting it). Also, the days of the Sunday paper being the best coupon source are over. I find most of the coupons that I use online and print them from my home computer.
3. Start small.
Every store seems to have a different coupon policy. Trying to figure out all of the stores that you regularly shop at once may be overwhelming. In my area, I find that I consistently get the best deals couponing at: Kroger (for groceries), Meijer (for groceries), Rite Aid, and Walgreens.