1. As you receive your coupon inserts (from the companies, "Red Plum," "SmartSource" and "P&G Brandsaver,") put them in the hanging files according to the date received. You'll be referring back to them later.
2. As you scour magazines, find coupons on products, get coupons in the mail for promotions you've signed up for, etc., put them in your "loose coupons" folder to review before your shopping trip.
3. Consider signing up for The Grocery Game ($1 for 3 month trial). TGG will match coupons with sales for you and will also let you know if an item is at a good, rock-bottom price - giving you a jump on your price book. At any rate, go to The Grocery Game website and read about what they do.
4. Sign up for The Coupon Mom (free) for a list of current online (printable) coupons as well as coupon matching for sales for stores in your area. They won't tell you if items are at the rock-bottom price, but you can get the feel of it as you go along. It does tell you a % off of each item, so you can judge if it is a good sale.
Truly - I am not impressed with any website's WalMart coupon/sale matchups. I wonder if our local Wal-Mart is a week or so off, because whenever I try to go by what I find online the sales don't match up in real life. Just a word of caution so you don’t get in the checkout line and the cashier looks at you like you're nuts….
5. Sign up for A Full Cup and read around that website for awhile. Its free. There are black-belt coupon ideas and how-tos galore.
6. Shop at Home is another good website to peruse.
7. By all means, sign up for Grocio if it is available in your area. Unfortunately, here in rural Virginia, notsomuch. Grocio compares sales among stores , ensuring that you get the lowest price on your grocery list items. Ah, now that is a great idea. But if you don't have access to Grocio, you have to do that part yourself!
8. Read couponing blogs and learn how others do it. Some of my favorite money-saving/homemaking/couponing blogs are:
and there are many, many more out there. Sign up to get updates delivered to your email. Follow their links and the links of their readers via the comment section. Some of the blogs I subscribe to are specific to stores here in our area. Mythical stores like Albertson's, Frys, Aldi - they sound delightful, but they're just not available for us.....but we do have PLENTY of mountains and sunshine, right??!
9. Use your store's loyalty card. You can load coupons on some of them from the websites. For example, go to Kroger.com, sign in and look for "coupons." You can use these coupons IN ADDITION to paper coupons.
10. Find and use online coupons. A couple links are coupons.com and other links on AFullCup.com and CouponMom.com.
Don't sweat it. If you can save a few dollars here and there, gradually you'll get the hang of it and start saving more and more. You might even want to venture into ordering coupons in bulk for items you frequently use - to build up your stockpile. You also don't have to go to every sale or use every coupon. The sales will roll around again on about 12-week cycles or so. Do what you can . Save where you can.
Next: Your Shopping Trip!