Couponing Tips

Cathleen Zimmerman at Zim Zamcoupon has some great advice for couponing. I would like to thank her for writing this article about how she coupons.

If I had a nickle for every time I am stopped in the store and asked questions about couponing, I would be rich. I carry a large binder full of coupons and people are amazed at my organization and how I have time to do it. I normally have my four kids with me shopping, swirling around me like a tornado so it must seem like an impossible task. Many people want to save money but are daunted thinking there is a magic formula. I am here to tell you there is not one!

 First, start small! Get one or two papers a week and collect the coupons. My biggest tool is knowing my prices. When I first started, I thought I was getting a great deal just if I was using a coupon. It is more of a chess game than that and I think of it like the retailer versus little old me. I have an ideal price point for the products that I buy most. For example, I will not buy cereal if it is more than $1.00 with coupons. Figure out what you buy most and what you normally spend on it. Before couponing, I typically would pay full price for cereal which is $3.00-$4.00. Teach yourself what a good deal is!

 Second, once you know your price points get out there are try it out! Give it a good month of trying to use coupons because every store is different. All stores have different policies which are available on their websites. It gets extremely confusing what store doubles, what stores only allows 3 of the same coupons, and then what stores you can not use overages. And most of the stores have the classic line “at Manager’s discretion.” So even if you are within their policy the Manager can still come up and add some drama to check-out. Find those cashier’s that are nice about coupons. Go at off times so that the cashier’s do not feel the stress to get you through super fast. Also, be organized. If I have a huge order but only am using 10 coupons I put those products together so that the cashier can verify those easily if necessary.

Third, start talking to your friends. You will be surprised who coupons! There are so many of us from all walks of life. And everyone has at least one secret that is useful. And for those who do not coupon ask for their inserts. Word of mouth is also great to hear about unadvertised store deals. Facebook, Twitter and blogs have become great places to learn and get information too. Get yourself out there and absorb the information.

 Lastly, try different ways of organizing your coupons. What works well for most might not work well for you. Should you create a binder in that all coupons are cut or leave the inserts intact until you find a deal? Personally I like all of my coupons cut and in my binder because I am unable to get the stores first for recon because of the kids. So I have the coupons set aside for the deal I am going there for, but then I have the rest of my coupons for the sales we run into. Recently, I ran into Pantene clearance priced for $1.50 and if I had not had my $3 off of two coupons with me I would have missed out. Remember to have fun with it, and donate what you can.

By: Cathleen Zimmerman

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