The complete Beginner’s guide to using Coupons

If you are new to the concept of using coupons, you have been binge watching Extreme couponing show, or you are just interested in living a bit more frugally, then you are in the right place.
I was once in your position but once i settled to understand the basic concept, I realised it is a great deal of fun and with the right strategy, you will be walking in to almost any store grabbing your supplies for free or nearly.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of using coupons and how to find them. I’ll also share some of coupon secrets so you don’t have to fall for every trick in the book.
I’ll suggest you grab yourself a cup of coffee and let’s get started.
Write on history of coupons
Couponers can be split into four different categories
  1. Basic – Users who dabble into coupon but not on a regular basis. They do not go out of their way to find a good deal but are happy to use one if they come across it.
  2. Circumstantial – Users who seek out coupons only for a specific category of product such as high-end products but do not use coupons on regular everyday purchases.
  3. Budget Seekers –  These are users that rely on coupons on a regular basis. They use coupons  for just about every visit to the grocery store or to the movies. This lifestyle enables them stretch their earnings while still enjoying their daily habits. These are the users who frequent coupon sites in search of printable coupons, users who are likely to fill surveys online to get 10% cash back on their daily shopping.
  4. Extreme – These users are looking to beat the system, to get “hundreds of dollars” worth of groceries for pennies. While this can be exciting (sometimes feels like euphoria to insert your code into that “Have you got a promo code?”checkbox ), we do not recommend spending hours of your week compiling vouchers to outsmart the system. Unless you’re on a tv show, extreme couponing does not work
Now that you know the type of couponers that are out there, you will need to know the kind of products to search for.
common product categories are Baby products, cleaning products, cosmetics, pet supplies and toiletries. These products are quite useful and tend to get used up very quickly in the house. We recommend you make a list of specific brands your family uses before starting your coupon search online.
Some popular websites for digital coupons are cubedeals.com, brad deals, slickdeals and Retailmenot.com
There are also printable/ clipping coupons that can be cut out from inside magazines, newspapers and fliers found in grocery stores.
Many people tend to stay away from printing coupons because it makes them look cheap and draws attention when they hold up the queue at checkout.
Extreme coupons will tell you on the contrary that the best deals are found in printing coupons because 90% of people will rather not check for them. The best websites and Facebook page are these three – coupons.com, redplum.com and smartsource.com.
    1. Start Slowly :- Avoid the many pitfalls of couponing. Don’t over do it, especially in the beginning. It can cause you to stress out looking for the best deals. depression could lurk in the corner when you do not find a coupon for a particular store you want. Instead, pick out stores based on coupons you find and keep a note of where to find them for the future.
    2. Set Reasonable Savings Goals :- Don’t expect to start saving 90% of your grocery shopping cost. This is setting unrealistic goals too early. You want to work your way to huge savings by bookmarking the best sites with incredibly unique coupons
    3.  Review your store’s coupon policy/If you live in an area with more than one major grocer, you’d need to learn the various policies and decide which is most favourable to you. For example if 2 Stores offer same value coupon, check to see there are no 2 for 1 coupon offers for customers who buy a drink or pay with credit card.
    4. Check for store coupons in the right places: Non coupon users or basic couponers are usually unaware of the right places to check for discount codes.  Budget seekers know to look for coupons in places right under your nose. They are usually in the most Obvious places. Some products usually have coupon codes on their covers or on the body wrapper close to the barcode ( these are referred to as peelies). Few Play station 4 players know to find a $10 coupon code right at the back of the user manual. I recommend you pay a friendly visit to the customer service desk when shopping, you will usually see flyers of what’s on offer in that store  or you could ask the attendant. Just don’t forget to tear off codes before paying full price for your items – been there, done that.
    5. Measure your growth: we recommend you track every savings you take advantage of. This can be easily done in a simple spreadsheet showing store name, initial price and amount saved because trust me, as you get better at couponing, you start to lose count of all the best savings you grabbed which may come back in a few months. Recent studies show people who track their goals are 48% more likely to achieve them
    6. Grow your Coupon IQ: The best way to be skilled at any activity is constant practice right? You need to get out more and practice saving on the smallest of items. Search the oddest of places, read to be come more educated about tricks grocery stores use to trap coupons. I can just lay it all out for you as well if you let me. To get you started, here is a link to (25) of our favourite places to find free printable coupons.
    7. Don’t be afraid of generics: Being brand loyal can get very expensive quickly. You have to realise those brand name products are only popular because of their large advertising budgets which are included in it’s inflated cost.There is very little risk in trying out generic brand products – if you don’t like it, you simply don’t buy it next time around. generic brand drugs for example are just as good as brand-name drugs, after all they got the same approval for consumption as the expensive alternative The most common areas to consider generic brands are cooking supplies, cleaning supplies, drinking water, dairy products and medications.
    8. Embrace the digital era: As earlier mentioned, printable coupons in newspapers and flyers cannot get you more than an avid/ basic couponer savings. As more millennials begin using coupons, its recommended you get on the band-wagon by downloading coupon apps and grocery store loyalty apps which reward customers with bigger savings than printed coupons. If you are not taking advantage of loyalty points, you are seriously missing out.
Now, you may ask, what are some tips to avoid falling for the easiest trick in the book. I list a few below:
 
  1. Don’t buy products you don’t need
  2. Don’t go the extra mile in couponinig without learning and sticking to a system.
  3. waiting to print coupons
  4. price matching

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