Today I took my very first step into the world of couponing. Not like those crazy hardcore extreme couponers, just a nice small step in the general direction of saving money. To be honest, I have never understood how the whole coupon system works. I’ve lived my life thinking manufacturers coupons and sales were the only two ways to save a few dollars and that the most you might be able to get was half price. A recent grocery excursion and a little research proved me wrong. Today, I’d like to share with you my first adventure with coupons:

  • Lesson one: There are multiple types of coupons and some can be used together. First, we have manufacturers coupons that can generally be found in your Sunday newspaper or on the products website. Next we have store coupons, put out by the store itself for a particular product. Third, we have store card coupons that you can load to your frequent shoppers card via the store’s website or app.
  • Lesson two: Stack coupons for the best deal. You can’t use more than one of the above types of coupons from the same category together. For example, you cannot use two manufacturers coupons together for the same item. You can however use a manufacturers coupon and a store coupon on the same item. This is called stacking coupons, and that is how you get the best deal.
  • Lesson three: Hitting the trifecta. Occasionally the coupon gods are on your side. For this to happen, an item goes on sale at a store and you have both a manufacturers coupon and a store coupon for that same item. This is how you can often get items for free or close to it.

To start my shopping experience I purchased a Sunday paper and cut out all the coupons for items that we use at home. For this trip I did not use any form of organization system, but later implemented one as I became more efficient with my couponing.

Next I compared the coupons to my local grocery store circular and made a shopping list for the items I wanted to purchase, as well as additional deals that were worth taking part in. Some deals with your frequent shopper card are worth stocking up on even without coupons to go with it. For example, Pepsi 2 liter bottles were $0.68 if you purchased seven or more. For our house, that was enough for several months all for less than $5.00.

Then I went shopping! It was rather simple with the small amount of preparation that I did. Total shopping trip was worth $182.48, and I paid $87.26!! I saved almost $100 and managed to get three items for free and six items for less than one dollar. This was all without any extreme couponing measures and very little planning. Do you have an extra twenty minutes a week? Imagine what you could save.

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