Coupon 101: How to Get Started

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Everyone agrees that couponing is fun and a great way to say money!

If the idea of finding and using coupons seems complicated to you, here’s a quick guide to show you everything you need to know to get started!

Your favorite stores offer Loyalty cards:

Grocery stores and some retail stores have a card that allows you, as a loyal (read: repeat) customer to reap rewards by using a loyalty card.

This makes you eligible for in house sales and more- some offer points to save you money on fuel purchases when used with participating gas stations.

They are easy to sign up for and most only need a phone number. Once registered many stores don’t require you to have the actual card in hand- they can look you up in the system by your phone number. By adding your email address, the store can send you exclusive offers online as well.

The card is handy enough to carry- most come in a credit card size and have an additional smaller card designed to fit on your key ring!

Watch for ‘group’ discounts:

Did you serve in the military? Are you a senior citizen?

Some stores designate special days dedicated to your particular group. Next time you’re in check at the customer service desk and see what they offer if it’s not already posted.

Check coupon sites online

Presuming you’ve already made your grocery list you’re ready to hop online for coupons that will make your shopping trip cheaper.

Some good sites to try are AllYouSmartSource and RedPlum

Hop on, browse around and print out a custom set of coupons for you!

One method to get more savings from online coupons is this: use two printers! Most sites will only allow 2 coupons per customer’s printer.

If you have access to another printer you can print double the coupons and it’s all legal! (companies set a harmless ‘cookie’ to track only how many coupons have been printed from each printer to keep people honest.)

Of course, don’t forget to share and trade extras with your friends and family!

Check your receipt

It goes without saying that you check your receipt to make sure you got the right prices for your purchases.

Some stores print advertisements and additional coupons of the back of your receipt or have an additional ‘receipt’ that they give you that has more coupons too.

Visit Rtui and type in your zip code to see what they offer in your area.

Control your coupons

Don’t just stuff your coupons in your purse or an old envelope- if you have to search for them  you’ll be less likely to use them!

Buy an accordion file folder, preferably check book sized at any office supply, retail or even one dollar shop. There’s plenty of room for different categories to be sorted to keep your coupons organized and handy.

Keep coupons with the most value in the front of each category and be sure to use them!

Be sure to go through your coupons (only takes a minute) once monthly to get rid of un-used and expired coupons to avoid embarrassment at the checkout counter!

With a little pre-planning, you’ll be couponing like a champion!