Here at Momma Making Moves we concentrate on saving money, time, and sanity. However, I will be the first to say that in order to accomplish this, we need to continue to learn and try new things. With that being said, I have to make a confession…
Couponing can be more than a little bit scary to me.
There! I said it! While I advocate doing what is necessary to save money, especially for us big families, I have just recently jumped on the couponing bandwagon. And I am going to share one more little secret…
I may not know much about couponing, but I know how to find good bloggers who do!
Tiffany at The Crazy Shopping Cart not only explains everything you need to know about couponing, but offers great resources to help you be successful. Annnnnd, she agreed to guest post on Momma Making Moves to explain couponing 101 to us. Here is her advice!
Couponing 101: The Crazy Shopping Cart Explains Why Couponing Isn’t Crazy
When you hear the word “couponing,” what do you think of?
For me, I remember my mother sitting every Sunday evening at the kitchen table, intently pouring over the weekly ads and clipping the newspaper coupons. She spent hours each week preparing and executing each shopping trip, only to save a few dollars. (Although, a couple of dollars was quite a lot of money back in…..well, let’s just say that when I was kid, it was quite a few years ago!)
This image is what came to my mind two years ago when, at a church activity focused on emergency preparedness, a woman in our church raised her hand and stated she used couponing to help build an emergency supply of food to have on hand in her home. I started to tune her out until she said, “I haven’t paid more than $.50 for a box of Cheerios in years, and I always get my toothpaste and shampoo for free.”
Couponing With the Internet
After that meeting, several of us surrounded her and begged her to teach us her ways. I braced myself for hours of work, repeating that it would be worth it. Imagine my surprise when our first meeting with her took less than 30 minutes, and I ended up saving over 50% on my groceries that week!
What makes the difference between my mother’s way of couponing and my own? Two words: the Internet!
Now, instead of having to find each deal on your own when the Sunday paper comes out, someone else has most likely already had an early edition of the ad and upcoming coupons, done a matchup, and posted it on the internet to share! What used to take hours of work to clip and catalogue coupons, read ads, and prepare shopping lists is now already completed several days before the sales actually begin!
In fact, there are now so many different websites, blogs, Instagram accounts, etc. that focus on couponing, it’s a bit overwhelming! When I first began couponing, I felt adrift in a sea of acronyms and phrases that were more like a foreign language than English. Thankfully, my friend from church walked me through it all until I was confident enough to go on my own. And now, two years later, I even blog about it!
Couponing can be very simple, if you follow the steps and go slow. Here are some steps to help you along the way:
- Get coupons. You can purchase the Sunday paper each week, or there are even some websites where you can order pre-clipped coupons mailed to your door!
- Start learning coupon terms, slang, and rules. It’s extremely important to recognize that there are rules to couponing.
- Pick a grocery store that you already shop at and feel comfortable with. Chances are, there is a website or Facebook group that is dedicated to that store! They will provide you with lists of deals each week, matching up coupons with sales to help you get the best deal.
- Choose just one or two deals that you want to try out. Perhaps something that you would normally purchase anyway (like diapers or cereal), collect the necessary coupons, and go try it out!
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help! If you get to the store and feel lost, just slow down. I found it helpful at checkout to tell the cashier something like, “Hi! I have some coupons to use today. I’m new to couponing and haven’t really done this before. Please let me know if I’ve messed anything up.” They’ll be very happy to help you out!
Continuing With Couponing
After the first few trips, as you start to get the hang of one or two deals, you can then start doing more. Please, please go at a pace that you feel comfortable with. It’s so easy with today’s technology to see posts on couponing Facebook groups of amazing hauls that cost almost nothing and feel like you are so far away from that. I used to feel that way, too! In fact, I still make mistakes sometimes! Just last week, I messed up my coupon count and ended up losing out on $10 of savings. It was pretty disappointing, but since it was something I normally needed anyways (diapers), I reminded myself that any savings on something I would already buy is better than the full-price I would have otherwise paid!
If you’re still feeling nervous or overwhelmed about couponing, you’re in good company! I can’t count the number of times I received emails or Facebook messages from people who just feel lost with couponing. To help them (and you!) get a firmer understanding, I’ve put together a free ebook: it’s called “The Beginner’s Guide to Couponing,” and it walks you through all of the different steps I mentioned above. You’ll learn all about where to get coupons, how to organize them, what the coupon rules are, coupon lingo, and so much more!
How To Find More Information
You can find Tiffany’s ebook (and so, so much more about couponing) at The Crazy Shopping Cart. I plan on utilizing her ebook when my hubby and I sit down to do our meal planning tomorrow. If you want ideas on how you can save money on meals for your family, go snag her ebook and then check out my series on meal planning here.
Tiffany is a former math teacher and SAHM who loves finding good deals! She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on The Crazy Shopping Cart. They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi, and saving money.