We’ve all seen those crazy coupon shows where women cart a ridiculous amount of groceries out of stores for a mere $10.00. Who wouldn’t want to be able to manage that kind of budgeting?
There are a few problems with going “extreme” with savings, though.
- Many coupons available are for unhealthy food items such as candies, cookies, and other items that are ultimately bad for you in bulk.
- Coupons can be for items that you wouldn’t otherwise buy, making you spend more money than you would in the first place.
- Buying in bulk can lead to waste when you buy more than you need and items go bad before you can use them.
- The level of dedication needed for “extreme couponing” can be time-consuming.
Grocery shopping on a budget can be done, though. All it takes is a little planning and organization!
Knowing Where to Start
Take the time to really think about what items your family uses on a regular basis. Are there items that you use frequently enough to buy in bulk? Good examples of these could be lunch box snacks, juice boxes, meats, or even bath products such as soap or toilet paper. These items are a good place to start when you first start couponing.
One way to know exactly what items your family uses frequently, and to consequently know what you need is to keep a constant stock of what you have. It can be a daunting task to catalog everything the first time, but once you have a running list it becomes easy to keep track of everything. This is also helpful for meal planning!
Finding the Right Coupons
Sometimes the number of coupons out there can be a little overwhelming for someone who is just looking for the basics of couponing, or couponing 101. However, there are a lot of them that can just be avoided. Always go into coupon searching with a plan of action. Have a list of exactly what you are looking for and search for that rather than browsing. Often, when just browsing we can fall victim to “ooh that’s a good deal” syndrome and end up grabbing something we didn’t really need.
Where to Find Coupons
There are various sources for finding coupons available these days. One of the most well-known sources is the Sunday newspaper. However, the internet often provides more targeted resources. There are multiple sites available for searching coupons. Many brands also offer coupons from time to time if you sign up for their newsletters or Facebook pages. In most instances, they will allow the coupon to be printed twice so be sure to get two copies!
- Coupons.com – Most of the best-known brands will be found on this site. However, be cautious to read the details on each coupon such as locations where the coupon can be used, the amount you must buy to use it, etc. In some instances, there will be certain circumstances that need to be met to use the coupon.
- RedPlum.com – Red Plum is an online version of one of the long-time newspaper inserts. They offer a variety of coupons for the larger brands.
- SmartSource.com – SmartSource is another online version of newspaper insert coupons that offers a variety of coupons from larger brands. I have personally found that SmartSource tends to offer more coupons from natural brands.
- P&G EveryDay.com – These are printable coupons for Proctor and Gamble brands.
There are other sites that offer coupons, however, I have found them to be less secure and spammy. Therefore, I personally do not recommend them.
Some sites have created searchable databases of coupons that take all of the legwork out of finding what you are looking for. There are a few that I prefer and personally use on a regular basis.
- CouponMom.com – Coupon Mom has a searchable database and a variety of money saving tips and offers.
- AFullCup.com – A Full Cup is my personal favorite. I have found their database the easiest to use and the most complete. They also offer a variety of other money saving tips and offers.
- CouponSherpa.com – Coupon Sherpa offers printable coupons and promo codes for saving online.
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