How to Coupon

Welcome to couponing week! All week long, I will be posting information about coupons, discount stores and online specials.  In today’s post I will show you an example of a coupon scenario that I experienced over the weekend.

I went to Family Dollar this weekend and I saved over $60 with sales and coupons!! Amazing, right? Coupons really do make a difference! I am going to show one example (I just did this with lots of different items), so it will be as easy to follow as possible. I hope that the information will help others learn how to do the same thing to save more money at the store!

Let’s get started!

Here are seven steps to successfully using coupons:

1) Decide which store you are going to go to beforehand. I live in a small town, but there are two discount stores here that accept manufacturer coupons: Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. I knew I wanted to go to Family Dollar for this shopping trip.

2) Sign up for the mailing list andor email list to all of your most frequented stores. Heads up! You will get a lot of messages regarding coupons and special offers if you sign up for any email lists, so you might want to create a separate “couponing” email account on yahoo or gmail for this. For example, I have one email account on gmail that all my friends and family use, and another on yahoo that I keep mostly for coupons or when I sign up for any email offers. I signed up for Family Dollar’s mailing list and received a store coupon in the mail, for 20% off my entire purchase. Because this was a store coupon (a Family Dollar coupon), I could combine this with any manufacturer coupons (Wisk, Snuggle, Tide, etc) that I might also have. This is sometimes referred to as stacking coupons by couponing websites.

3) Look at the store circular ad to see what is on sale. Here is a picture of the circular ad for Family Dollar this week. For my example here, I’m going to focus in on the Wisk detergent. It’s normally priced at $5 a container, but it is on sale for $4 this week.

wisk 500

4) Look in coupon books or online for any coupons that match the items already on sale. Many times the weekly sales of stores like Family Dollar, Kmart, Walmart, Target and Kroger (FoodsCo in my area) coincide with the coupons that are available. I most often find my coupons in the sunday paper and online. (More on where to find coupons in tomorrow’s post!)

Here is a screen shot of the coupon I used yesterday. 

wisk coupon image

 The $2 off coupon is no longer available (don’t worry, this coupon comes back every few months). In the meantime, there is a $1 off coupon available here. Just like their facebook page and print.

5) Combine your coupons with sale and clearance items. In this example, the Wisk laundry detergent was on sale for $4. My manufacturer coupon was for $2 off. So, $2. Plus, my store coupon for 20% off my total purchase brought my total for each container of Wisk to $1.60 each (plus tax).

 6) Don’t over buy! I know it can get pretty exciting to see your receipt drop so dramatically, but you need to set limits. I happen to have a very large family, so there are times when buying a lot of laundry detergent makes sense (I’m going to attempt to make my own laundry detergent one day, but for now I’m happy to find good deals). My point is, not everyone needs, or will use, so much laundry detergent. In fact, many stores, such as walmart and target will limit your purchases to only 2 or 4 items per transaction. Part of setting a budget is following that budget, even when there is a coupon or a sale item. These coupons and sales come back every few months. You are not losing out by waiting until you need to buy something. The deal will be there again! In my case, my supply of detergent and dryer sheets (which I also use for dusting, see here and here) was running low. Set your budget and stick to it. Coupons are just a tool to help you achieve your budget.

7) Don’t forget to check often for more money saving tips. Tomorrow’s post: Where to find coupons

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