Saturday, February 1, 2014

So You Want To Be A Couponer?

     In recent weeks, I have been posting pictures to Facebook of my coupon, shopping trips.  Every time I post an image, I have people ask me to teach them how to "Coupon".  So, I decided this would be a good place to get you all started.
     I started using coupons when my husband was out of work.  I HAD to find a way to save a large amount of money each month.  Many of our expenses were not negotiable.  I had seen, like you, that using coupons could really change my monthly grocery budget.  So, I decided to try it out.  My first few months were confusing and sometimes frustrating.  Very quickly, I figured it out and changed our monthly grocery budget from $800 per month to $400.  Once I knew how much I could save, I was hooked! 
    Over the years, I have had times when I used coupons a great deal and times when I did just a little.  No matter which way I go, I am saving money, sometimes a little, sometimes alot.  You have to know that couponing takes some time.  It can take a lot of time or just a little, it all depends on you.  Also, ANYONE can do just have to want to and commit the time and effort.  The only reason someone CAN't do it is because they don't want to put forth the effort.
     Currently, I do most of my couponing at Target.  Target has a number of great ways to save and prices seem to be about the same (there is some difference) across the country.  Totally Target is a great blog I read each week to find my deals and to learn new ways to save.  I thought about typing out all the details of everything I do, but realized that was silly.  It is already all spelled out in the blog and you simply need to head over there and start reading.  I will, however, tell you the main tools I use to save money at Target. 
     Each week, I head over to Totally Target, usually toward the end of the week (this gives a chance for lots of deals to be posted) and scroll through all the posts for that week.  The blog is great, because the posts tell you exactly what you need to make great deals.  This is what I look for in the posts:

DEAL IDEA: Buy 4 Wonka Classroom Exchange Card & Candy Kits ($2.99 STARTS 2/2) = $11.96
-$3 off Seasonal Holiday Dept. purchase of $10 or more  Target Coupon x2/13
-$3.50 (use two $1.75 off 2 Wonka, Nestle Crunch Candy & Card Kits
= $5.46 for 4 or $1.36 each after all coupons

     This tells me, in black, what I am going to buy and what the regular price will be.  In red, it tells me which Target coupons to use and where to find them, in blue, it tells me which manufacturer coupons to use and where to find them and then in green, it tells me the final price I will be paying. As I peruse the blog, I copy the deals I like and paste them into a word document, so I have a simple list to use.
     As you look through the blog, you will see a whole lot of different coupon sources.  I use three main ones:  Target coupons (printable and mobile), manufacturer coupons (from the newspaper and printable) and the Target Cartwheel App.  (The Totally Target blog has a "Search" box on the top right.  You can search for any one of these savings sources and the author has written great posts on how they all work.)
     Once I make my list, I click on the links to print my coupons, I cut my coupons out of the weekly coupon inserts (from the paper) and I add everything I need to my Target Cartwheel.  I then head out and look for my deals!
     A few things to remember:  since every store is different, there are always things I can't find in my store and prices do vary regionally.  This can be very frustrating at first, but do not give up.  The available savings are still huge!
    I recommend just starting with one or two deals at a time.  Since there are so many pieces, it is common to feel nervous while trying to hand your cashier all your coupons.  So starting with just one or two deals will help you to see how it all works together before you have a huge stack of paper coupons, coupons on your smart phone and your Cartwheel.  Here is a deal that starts on Sunday for you to try and if you don't eat cheerios, donate them!  Or, if you have kids getting ready for Valentine's day parties, try the deal I listed above!  I would love to see pictures of your success!  Please feel free to ask me any questions you think of?

DEAL IDEA: Buy 3 General Mills Cheerios Boxes ($2.50) = $7.50
-.75 off With purchase of two General Mills cereal items Target Coupon x2/23
-.34 (use 5% Off General Mills Cereal (excl. Individual/Cup Sizes) Target Cartwheel x2/8
-$1/1 General Mills Big G Cereals any Box any flavor zip 77477
-$2.50 (use B1G1 FREE Box of Cheerios Cereal Coupon HERE
= $2.91 for 3 or .97 each after coupons & cartwheel

I have written many posts on my coupon experiences, on this blog and at! 

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