My first couponing excursion was a true mess. I had done DAYS worth of research on all the “hot deals”. I thought I was all ready to jump right in and well, I DID jump right in – head first, without looking. I think we ALL know how those situations end up, right? Truth is, I got to the store had my coupons all over the place, didn’t know what I was looking for – the trip took FOREVER and was frustrating. But, try again I did and eventually got a good system down for a successful couponing trip. I think there are a few important couponing tips for beginners to take note of before they start their first couponing trip.
Learning how to get started couponing really isn’t super difficult. There is some research you need to do in order to understand all the terminology, rules and tricks. But the main couponing tips for beginners that I believe are important are more about HOW to go about doing your couponing.
No matter your reason for couponing, whether it is to cut down on your food budget, make more room for saving money, create a cheap home gym or just to create a buffer in your general budget, everyone just getting started should follow some basics steps.
Let’s talk about the 5 couponing tips for beginners.
If I had followed these 5 tips when I was learning how to get started couponing my first few trips would have gone SO much smoother. But hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it?
1) Planning – this is really so important, really PLAN your trip out. Know what store you want to go to, what you are going to get, what aisle items are on (if possible). If you will have multiple transactions, know what order to do them in and what items go on what transaction. If you will have overage, know what you are going to apply that to. Get the whole trip thoroughly planned, it will really cut down on your stress and decrease mistakes.
2) One store at a time – don’t be like me and try massive couponing trips at FOUR different stores on your first shot. You are likely to get overwhelmed (I know I did!). Just take the time to learn how one store works before moving on to your next one.
3) Organized – make sure you have everything all organized before you start shopping. There is nothing worse than getting to the checkout and not having your coupons cut. Make sure you have your coupons ready, in order and easily accessible. I don’t leave the house without my small coupon binder. Make sure that you keep your inserts at home organized too. I LOVE this binder that I use to organize all of my inserts.
4) Know your totals – be prepared for your totals. When you are couponing, sometimes those before sales and coupon totals are SCARY! Calculate them beforehand so that you know what to expect. Also, make sure to know what your total after coupons should be so that you can make sure everything processed right.
5) Don’t buy what you don’t need – let me tell you a secret, probably no one needs 75 frozen tv dinners. Ok, maybe some of you LOVE frozen tv dinners. But on one of my first trips I bought 75 of them because they were like ten cents each – a great deal! Well, I don’t really eat tv dinners and choking down 75 of them was painful. So, just buy things that you like, want and need!
Couponing can be a great way to help keep your budget under control. I use these budget tracking spreadsheets for our household to make sure I know exactly how much we can spend on each area per month.
If you are learning how to get started couponing and follow these couponing tips for beginners, the sky is the limit in your couponing journey!
What was your first couponing trip like? Drop a comment below to tell me how it went!