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Couponing 101

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www.insidesocal.com

Read this and you'll be hooked. It's not rocket science.

People don't "coupon" because they don't feel like they have the time, they don't know where to find coupons, and they feel like most coupons are for items they don't need.

I am a mother of two and I don't have time for all that. I will simply tell you how easy it is to save hundreds of dollars a month couponing. Here we go.

Step # 1.  Once a week, make a "menu" for your family for the meals you are going to prepare. Every meal. Some of you may already do this, but here is the twist.....you are going to make your menu with the sale items of the week. I shop Publix because it's the closest, so I go here and pull their weekly ad online. Every store has an online weekly ad you can flip through. Plan all your meals with the sale items only. Meats, fruits, veggies, sides, ect.

Step #2. Let someone else do the work for you. Here is my biggest secret out in the open. I use my favorite site here (click on the side bar for printable coupons if you don't have a paper) and also this site to do it. (click on printable grocery coupons and grocery deals by state). These moms have done everything for you. They have not only listed the sale items, but they have found the coupons to go with the sale items. You can do the math, but if you buy something on sale, lets say it's buy one get one free (which also means if you buy only one, it's half price) AND use a coupon (that grocery stores double up to 50 cents), then you can get items up to 75% off. Over time, you will build up a supply of coupons to flip through.

Step 3. Print out coupons from these sites or clip them from the paper. These moms tell you what section to find the coupons in and post links to the ones online. The Sunday paper is where these coupon inserts are found. If you click here on my site, you can get a coupon for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Step 4. Check your receipt. Make sure all your items rang up correctly and make sure you gave the cashier all your coupons. If something didn't come up right, tell them!

This may take a little time the first go around, but I am down to 30 minutes a week planning our menu and matching my sale items with coupons. 30 minutes and I always save at least 40-45%. Example, I typically spend $60 and save $40.

My 2 rules of thumb:

Rule #1. Don't buy anything that's not on your menu list. Just buy what you need for meals and snacks. Don't impulse buy when you get to the store. That's how they suck you in.

Rule # 2. Don't pay money to join any site or buy coupon organizing systems. You are saving money, remember? I think you can do just as good of a job.  I just take out my coupon inserts (don't spend hours clipping them out, that's ridiculous and you'll lose them), 3 hole punch the sides, and put them in a notebook. I can flip through the whole thing and see each one in about 5 minutes.

Just take the plunge and give it a try. If you save money and don't like it, you can always go back to not saving money. My way is more fun.

Congratulations, you just completed Couponing 101.

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