Using coupons to find the best deals can seem overwhelming at first.  But with a little time, organization, and practice, it will soon come easy and you’ll be giddy as you push your cart-o-deals out of the store! Okay, maybe I’m the only one that laugh maniacally when I load all my groceries in while I think of all the awesome deals I just scored…

Pick a day or days, that you can set aside a little time each week to organize the new week’s coupons.  I like Sunday afternoons because I just got the new coupons and it allows me to get the work done rather than setting it aside for another day (pretty sure procrastinator really is my middle name).

Check the 2011 Insert Schedule weekly so that you know how many inserts to expect for the week.  Remember when you get your papers to double check that the inserts are there before leaving the store!  There is nothing worse than shelling out your cash for a paper, only to get it home and have no coupons 😦

If you subscribe to the paper, many will “guarantee” that their inserts will be there, so be sure and give them a call if you find yours missing.

I get two papers because I have a family of 5, plus a dog and cat to supply for.   It’s really up to you.  However, if you’re picking up a paper from a machine, use your good citizen manners to remember that the newspaper delivery people, and the staff that keep that paper running are counting on your honesty to pay for each paper you take when using the machines to keep their jobs.  It’s a tough economy for everyone.

Start by pulling out your inserts and the store ads.  I clip out my coupons and then sort them into my coupon binder.  I do a quick check of my existing coupons and pull out any that have expired.  The expired coupons get put into an envelope for Coupons To Troops where they are sent to U.S. Military families stationed overseas.  

From here you can either go through the store ads yourself or use our handy online guide to check the current match-ups for your store.  This is when you check out your coupons to see what you have available to decide what deals you want.  Make a note of what store the deal is at, and what the details are:

Example:

Walmart

Dial Body Wash $0.97 – $2/1 coupon= $1.03 overage

 

Having notes available make the shopping trip smoother when you have the details with you rather than trying to remember them all.  Stores like Walgreens don’t always have “sale” tags with the special prices on them that are listed in the ad.

I then double check my list and make sure I have all of my coupons out and ready for the current trip.  

While not always possible, the first few times you may want to leave the younger kids at home so that you can focus on your shopping without the “hey mom/dad, look at this! mom, mom, mom, mom, mom can we get this?” distractions.

It also helps to take the store’s coupon policy printed with you to have on hand in case you come across any issues during checkout.  Also, try to pay attention to the checkout screen as your items are scanned as many times I see certain items scan at the wrong prices.  

If you’re at a store with a discount card (Winn Dixie, Albertson’s) I suggest handing over your coupons before the store card.  That way your coupons will scan before your items are discounted.  This is especially important if you are doing BOGO (buy one get one) items.  

Remember to keep those Walgreens/CVS/Rite Aid rewards safe because those can be used as “cash off” your next purchase!

Hopefully this will help you to get started.  Feel free to ask any questions or request clarifications if necessary.  

Happy Saving!

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