Couponing for Beginners: How to Make it Work for You

couponing for beginners
We’ve all seen one of those extreme couponing shows. It all seems so easy. Ten cents here, a dollar there, and BOOM you’ve got a cart of groceries for less than an Extra Value Meal. It’s not surprising that couponing for beginners is one of the hottest topics for moms.
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Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how good you do with couponing 101, or couponing for beginners. Your chances of pulling off these kinds of deals are slim to none these days.
The amount of time and effort it takes to amass the coupons needed for extreme savings is, well, extreme. Few moms have the time or energy it takes for that level of dedication to couponing. As with most things, if it’s that difficult it’s not going to be sustainable over time. ( Unless you are REALLY into saving money…)
The good news is that it is totally possible to lower your grocery bill without all that devotion. But wait, there’s more! You can lower your grocery bill without clipping a single coupon. Finally, you can even do it while eating fresh, healthy food.

Related: How to Save Money at the Grocery without Clipping Coupons 

couponing for beginners

Knowing Where to Start with Couponing

Every family has those items they get every single time they go to the grocery. Maybe you have a Nutella addict in the house. My son would start a revolution if I didn’t have pickles stocked at all times.
My point is if you pay attention you should be able to make a list of the items your family uses regularly. Once you know the items you use more regularly you can focus your couponing list on those items.
 
Some users on eBay, Instagram, and even Facebook groups sell lots of coupons for a set price. This can be a great way to pick up a good number of coupons on items you KNOW you will be buying.
You just need to be careful to not spend too much picking up things that seem like a good deal but you wouldn’t use as much. This can quickly become costly as those coupons sit unused and expire.
Note: Don’t throw away those expired coupons, though! Coupons up to 6 months expired can be used on base by military families who are living overseas. It was a fantastic surprise each time I got a box of coupons from the states while we were living on an Air Force base in Japan.
keeping stock of your pantry
Keeping a tally on the items in your refrigerator and pantry can be a great way to quickly figure out exactly what items you need most of.
Naturally, most people will go through cold items faster so you will need to alter that list more frequently. It may take you a while to complete a pantry list, but you should know what items you use regularly even if you don’t have to replace them often.
By keeping stock of what you have on hand and how much your family uses regularly you can quickly assess what items need to be added to your grocery list. This can also help you in selecting what coupons to use or look for each week.
 
A great way to keep a constant tally of what items you have on hand is to use a dry erase marker and a printable list. You can put your list in a frame or just put it in a protective sheet. This way you can add and remove tallies as needed to keep an accurate list with ease.
 
I have found this list a great tool in helping with meal planning as well. When I know what I have on hand at all times it is easier to plan meals without having surprise trips to the grocery for items I thought I had.

 

Finding the Right Coupons

Do you ever go to find coupons for your weekly grocery trip and just get completely overwhelmed? There are so many different coupons available out there you can quickly get sidetracked looking up deals. The best way to avoid this is to have a plan of action ready before even looking at coupons.
 
If something seems like a good deal but isn’t on your list then you don’t need to waste your time on it. Now, if you have time later in the week you can always go back and check it out. However, having a list of coupons you need can save you a lot of time and headaches.
 
Naturally, there will be some exceptions. If you have one brand written down but another is cheaper that week then absolutely make an exception. If you find yourself out of luck for a whole recipe you may want to alter your meal plan for the week. I’ve done that plenty of times!
 
Having an overall idea of what you need will help you to pinpoint your weekly shopping and give you the extra time needed for any last-minute adjustments or additions.
It’s a great way to relieve the stress of grocery shopping and couponing. It’s also a great way to keep yourself on track saving money rather than wasting it on things you don’t need in the first place.

 Where to Find Coupons

There are so many places to find coupons available these days. One of the top well-known sources is the Sunday newspaper. However, the internet often provides more targeted resources when it comes to free grocery coupons.

There are multiple websites where you can print coupons now. 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! 

Coupon Websites:

  • Coupons.com – Printable manufacturers coupons from some 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 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.

Other sites offer coupons. However, I have found them to be less secure and spammy. Therefore, I do not recommend them.

Related: How to Start Your Own DIY Herb Garden 

Coupon Databases

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 coupon database and a variety of money-saving tips and offers.
  • AFullCup.com – A Full Cup is my personal favorite printable coupon database. I have found this option 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.

helping the homeless with coupons

Buying in Bulk

Do you still find yourself fighting the urge to buy items in bulk when you find a good deal? There are a few great options you could implement when it comes to avoiding waste. 

Try to find a local food pantry, women’s shelter, or a lunch program that accepts donations. When you are getting items for a discounted price you can donate much more than if you were paying full price. Many of these services do have guidelines on what they accept though so be sure to call ahead to find out what will be allowed. 

If you find yourself with a lot of coupons on toiletries and non-perishable snacks it may be a good idea to consider setting up a free locker for the homeless in your community.

Many cities have groups that work together to keep one running. There are laws and ordinances that differ in every state and community so be sure to find out your area’s laws before deciding anything. However, this can be a great way to help those in your community that have no money for basic needs. 

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Learn simple tips and tricks to learn couponing for beginners and grab out free printable organizers! #couponing #frugalliving #savemoney #groceryshopping

Learn simple tips and tricks to learn couponing for beginners and grab out free printable organizers! #couponing #frugalliving #savemoney #groceryshopping

 

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28 thoughts on “Couponing for Beginners: How to Make it Work for You

    1. Yeah, it can be so hard. I prefer a lot of organic items which can be almost impossible sometimes. Sales racks are my kryptonite… I LOVE them. Glad you liked the post! 🙂

    1. I am the same way! My grandma grew up during the depression and more or less raised me so I think saving money is just ingrained in me, so many of my values come from her. I am also such a scatterbrain ( I always have 80 tabs open in my brain, seriously) Having a plan of attack has made my life so much easier in so many areas.

  1. Your organization inspires me to set goals for myself. Great suggestions. Looking forward to how to coupon without paper coupons as these always just end up at the bottom of my purse.

  2. This was great information. I tried couponing once and I ended up with 10 bottles of hot sauce and that was all she wrote. 🙂 Maybe I’ll give it another go.

    1. hahaha yes, I have totally been there. For me it was ramen. I think we still have some of it sitting around from when I went through a stockpiling phase.

  3. I use coupons from time to time but not like the extreme couponers that we see on TV. It’s a great way to shop when you’re trying to follow a budget!

  4. It’s all about finding ones that work for you. No use using ones for things you won’t use or stocking up on things you won’t use by expiry dates x

  5. Such a great idea – who wouldn’t want to save money on things you were going to buy anyway. Coupons can be great for that reason but you’re so right – sometimes you end up buying things you don’t need/want just because they’re on offer!

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