Tuesday, February 28, 2012

29 Days Of Couponing Tips: What I've Learned Along The Way!

Day 1: Coupon Inserts 101
Day 2: Printable Coupons
Day 3: eCoupons
Day 4: Coupon Clipping Services
Day 5: More Ways to Find Coupons
Day 6: How to Organize Your Coupons
Day 7: How to Quickly and Easily Clip Your Coupons
Day 8: How to Purge Expired Coupons
Day 9: Know Your Coupons {What does the fine print mean?}
Day 10: Coupon Rules & Tips Every Couponer Needs To Know
Day 11: Know Your Store's Coupon Policies!
Day 12: Know Coupon Lingo & Abbreviations
Day 13: Stacking Coupons
Day 14: Save Money With Coupons, Know When To Shop
Day 15: Get Organized With a Plan, Before You Hit The Store!
Day 16: Don't Be Brand Loyal
Day 17: Stockpiling Part 1 (What is it?)
Day 18: Stockpiling Tips Part 2
Day 19: Understanding Sales Cycles
Day 20: How to Read a Sales Ad
Day 21: How to Make a Price Book
Day 22: Rock-Bottom Prices & Sales Cycles
Day 23: Finding Coupon Match-Ups and Deals (part 1)
Day 24: Learn How to do Coupon Match-ups (part 2)
Day 25: Menu Planning 101
Day 26: Freebies 101
Day 27: Tracking Coupon Savings
Day 28: What I've Learned Along The Way

While I have always been a coupon clipper, I didn't realize the true value or power of couponing until I had to. I have now been a "serious" couponer for about 4 years now. Today, I wanted to share with you some lessons that I have learned along the way from my perspective.

I will never forget the first time that I accidentally found a coupon/freebie website. I was doing a google search for a coupon for the first time after I watched a daytime talk show and they mentioned a coupon online for a product that I wanted to try. Freebies4Moms came up in the google search. I found the coupon that I was looking for, and for my very first time ever, I printed an Internet coupon! As I started reading Freebies4Moms I saw more printable coupons and how to use them at Walmart to get items Free! I couldn't believe it!

So, I did what any other novice couponer would do… I printed off the coupons, and headed to my local Walmart store... Scared, I must add! I found all of the items on my list, and headed to the checkout lane petrified of what might happen. The cashier scanned all of my items, and with shaking hands, I handed over the coupons. My total before the coupons was over $20. After she scanned the coupons, my total came out to be only $1.47! WooHoo!!! No one chased me out of the store accusing me of shoplifting, Phew! At this point I was on top of the world, and I was hooked!

Here are some things that I've learned along the way...

* As long as your honest, you are not doing anything wrong. Though I was scared in the beginning, I now know that I was not doing anything wrong!

*Be Organized - Many mistakes can be eliminated with a little organization. If you’re like most couponers, you plan your shopping trip ahead of time so that you know exactly what you’re doing when you arrive at the store. Still some mistakes can and will happen. If you make a mistake, it's okay to tell the cashier to void an item (ect.)

* Small savings can add up, even those 25 cent coupons make a difference especially if your store doubles coupons! And an item is on sale!

*Take Baby Steps!  If you need to reduce your budget, take baby steps!  For example, set a goal to save just $5-$10 this week at the store pairing coupons with sales. Then increase this amount as you get the hang of it. Start with just one store at a time. And only a handful of coupons/deals at a time. After while you will be a Coupon Pro!

* Do what you can – some weeks you’ll be able to give more time to planning and saving than others. Something is better than nothing!

* Treat saving money as a game. Challenge yourself and make it fun!

* Find like minded people to share your excitement, goals and progress with. It has been so fun for me to meet and become friends with other like minded women, plus it helps to keep me accountable! If none of your "in real life" friends/family seem interested, there is a whole host of people online (blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook) to connect with! I would love to connect with you! Just give me shout! Send me an email bragging about your freebies or deals that you got & you might just see it posted here on Tips From A Mom of 3!

* Find a formula that works best for you and your family - there is no one size fits all approach to anything in life. Do whatever approach works the best for you!

What is your Couponing Story? What Lessons Have You Learned Along The Way! Send me an email or leave a comment below!

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