Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Frugal Files: Couponing Tricks of the Trade!!

Welcome back frugalicious ones!!

This week in The Frugal Files we’re going to chat about some couponing tricks of the trade. I’ve now been a couponer for a little over nine months and it has really had an impact on my life. I post a lot of my deals and steals on my Frugalicious Diva Facebook Page, but I still don’t really consider myself an Extreme couponer, just a frugalicious diva who likes to save money.

Couponing has allowed me to try new foods, drinks and beauty products, learn how to clean and do things around my house both naturally and on my own and it’s also allowed me to get beaucoup free items; items that my family uses and items to share with family, friends and non-profit organizations. It really is a way of life and I’ve learned a great deal in this coupon journey. Today, I just want to share a few more of the tricks I’ve learned. So, let’s dive in. Here’s my semi-professional advice to those getting into the game.

1) Keep it Simple…and cheap. One famous couponing blogger gave this advice, as she does it herself. Buy ONE newspaper. Look through it and find out, based on the sales, which ones you will be using. Now, if you can get others to give you their coupons, then great, but otherwise, use a coupon clipping service. She chooses the coupons she’ll need for the sales and orders the coupons online. She suggests the following sites:

Coupon DedeKlip 2 Save and The Coupon Clippers  

They are not selling the coupons, but you'll typically need to pay an administrative fee and shipping costs. For a nominal fee, you usually get 10-20 of the same coupons. It seems to work for many. I haven't ventured into this, as my family is small, but I've heard great things. I used my local couponing groups and we share coupons. I like it free.

2) Go Small. Oftentimes coupons have no size restrictions. In that case, the smaller items are typically the best way to get items super cheap or even free. Take a look in the trial size section of your favorite stores and see if you can get that product for free. Remember, those coupons are always floating out there, if it's your favorite item and you want more (because the small one runs out too quickly), then refer to #1 and use the clipping service to get more of that coupon. Free tastes and feels good!!

3) Rip off the store...coupons. That's right and it's not illegal. There are coupons throughout the store that you can literally rip or tear off the shelves. They are called Tearpads. They add great savings to your shopping trip and are most often Manufacturer's Coupons, which means you can use them at any store, not just the one you're in. So next time you're scanning the aisles, look for these frugalicious nuggets and go save.

4) Take advantage of others'...negligence. I used to think other people were so lucky to find money randomly and I never did. Now, at the grocery stores, especially, I see people drop or leave money just laying around all the time. If you're not a couponer, you may not recognize that coupons are indeed money, but they are. Sometimes people don't pay attention to the coupons that print along with their receipt and leave them behind. If you see them in carts or left at your register, take them and use them. After all, it's just money left on the ground.

5) Let your money make money. With or without coupons, you can make your money do just that on your shopping trip. Ever heard of a catalina? Well, get acquainted because this is free money to use again and again. This is when you purchase a certain quantity of a certain product and the store or manufacturer awards you for getting their product. They give money back to you to use at that store. If you're using coupons with your order, you're just sweetening the deal. The good thing about catalinas is that they often "roll", meaning you can do the deal over and over and keep getting more money to spend.

I usually let them roll 1-2 times and I take the last catalina to purchase items for which I have no coupons. In a recent cataliina run, I got my catalina items, used coupons, paid out a little and got back my catalina. Then I turned around and got brown rice, ketchup, cotton balls, eyeliner, nail polish remover and even ground turkey, ALL FREE!! You are certain to walk away with several items for FREE, which is the absolute best part!!

Glad to have learned these things in my coupon journey and even happier to pass them on to other frugalicious divas!! Let's save Belles!! Feel free to share your saving stories with me on Facebook and Twitter!!

Frugalicious Diva
Follow me on Twitter at @FrugaliciousDva

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