Today we’re talking about couponing and how to get started couponing in five easy steps without driving yourself crazy. Couponing can save you a lot of money. And if you start small, you can keep your sanity, too.

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Many people start couponing and soon give us because they feel overwhelmed with clipping coupons, sorting coupons, finding sales. And it gets stressed because they don’t know if a good price is a great price or when they should use their coupons or how to do all of this. So take baby steps and keep it fun. So the first step in couponing would be to track the prices of your regular items. You’ll see the same product at different price points.

So when you start keeping track of it, you’re going to soon learn the great prices on the items that you buy. Typically, that’s 50 percent off of the regular shelf price, but it can vary by region. So keep an eye on your prices. Step two. Get your coupons. The biggest place to get your coupons — there’s two. First, is your Sunday inserts? If you can get more than one copy, that’s fabulous. You can either get them through your subscription or from neighbors. You can pick them up at a coffee shop. A lot of people do not use their coupons. So get talking to people and try to get some inserts for free if you can. The other place to get your coupons is printable coupons from Grocery Coupon Network.

You’ll find tons of printable coupons there that you can print up at home and use on your shopping trip. So Sunday coupon inserts and Grocery Coupon Network. You can also find them in All You magazine, which you can pick up at Walmart or get a subscription to, lots of high-value coupons. You can also find them in stores, peelies on products, Catalina coupons at the register, blinky coupons. Those are those little coupons that you see that are kind of flashing by-products, and you can pull out. We have a video on blinkies if you want to take a look at that also. Step three would be to organize your coupons. A big thing for people is what they should save, what they should clip or if they should just save it or just clip it or whatever.

So some things you want to think about when you first start out. And this can change when you get more comfortable with couponing, but to keep it small and simple, think about a few questions here. Is it a product that your family will use? Is it something that’s in your regular rotation? Is it spaghetti sauce and your family isn’t very brand loyal to spaghetti sauce. I mean, clip the coupons that, you know, that you would use if there was a sale on them or you could get them at a good price. Also, if it was free or almost free, would you use it? If it’s a coupon for free Dr. Pepper, a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper, even if you don’t use Dr. Pepper, if it’s free, you know, you might pick it up. So clip your free coupons or coupons that would be almost free. Also, another thing as you get further along, could you donate it to a food pantry or an animal shelter? There are very frequently coupons out there for products that you may not use that someone else could benefit from.

So, as you further yourself along in couponing, you know, clip that coupon for a free can of cat food and donate it to your animal shelter. They will be most grateful. You can also clip coupons, save coupon inserts whole if you do not want to go through the trouble of clipping all of them. So when you get your Sunday insert, do yourself a favor and write the date of the insert. This is important when you’re couponing because many blogs, including Grocery Coupon Network, will refer to the Sunday circular insert that it came from and the date from when it came. So this is SmartSource, and this I got on January 15. If you’re going back, you have a bunch of inserts from the past, you can always look. It’s very small type, but it’ll say the date of the insert on the spine here of the insert. So you can look at it, that way, too. You can always just keep these wholes. And on Grocery Coupon Network when you’re referring to Sunday circulars, we’ll say look in your SmartSource 1/15, you know.

So you just pull out your SmartSource from January 15 and flip through it, and you can find the coupon that we’re referring to, that way, you do not have to clip every single coupon when you’re first starting out. Because it’s really overwhelming, and you are not going to enjoy it very much at first. So, you know, everybody’s different with how they save their coupons. Some people clip all of them. Some people just save their inserts. I kind of do a hybrid of both. I clip the things that I really know I’m gonna use and then I save the rest, in case a great deal comes up, and I could get something for free or almost free. That’s kind of how I do it. Everyone has their own method. So experiment and see what’s comfortable for you. Next, step four would be to pick one store to start at. You want to learn everything about that store. Pull up their coupon policy, print it, read it, keep it with you so that you can learn the ins and outs of how it works. Look at the store’s weekly ads and look at them online as well for offers.

Sign up for their emails, their club cards and then start matching your manufacturer coupons with your store coupons and pair it up with a sale at your store. This is called coupon stacking, and we have a whole video on coupon stacking. So please take a look at that, very informative. And try not to be brand loyal. Your coupon possibilities are much greater when you’re willing to switch brands with a sale. So if there are items that, you know, you can — you’re willing to try a different brand on, you can really save a lot more money than if you’re brand loyal. Go to the Grocery Coupon Network website often matchups with coupons. We have things every day out there in many different stores. We’ll refer to your Sunday inserts. We’ll talk about blinkies, peelies, all sorts of deals that we find. So you want to go back there often and take a look at what’s new.