When I’m at Pathmark checking out at the self-serve lanes, I always get my feelings hurts. The computer always asks me, “Do you have any coupons?” and I always press the button that says no in defeat. Each time this happens, I shake my fists at the screen—I feel like I’m missing out on savings.
As I exit Pathmark, I promise myself that I would start couponing— and raise my frugality to the next level, but I never do because the idea of couponing feels overwhelming for a new jack like me, despite my years of expertise as a frugal chic.
Recently, I tapped into the wisdom of two frugal elders: Sibyl Mind, a military mom of five and one of the most committed members of the $20 Cash Crash Diet and mommy blogger Tai McNeely of His and Her Money to get some beginner tips on couponing. These tips will get you feeling like seasoned on your next trip shopping trip.
Get started on Sundays. “I started by getting the Sunday paper and asking everyone for their papers.” Mind says. Similarly, McNeely believes that the best place to purchase Sunday papers is at the Dollar Tree, for $1 which will have manufacturer coupons in them.
Go online: There are some of us that don’t want the hassle of clipping a coupon. McNeely offers the following advice for the couponer that wants less paper: “Before you sign up for newspaper subscriptions, check online sites such as Coupons.com, RedPlum.com and SmartSource.com to print coupons.”
Follow coupon blogs: McNeely says, “You don’t have to find deals on your own, there are plenty of people out there who will do it for you. Follow sites such as DoubleSavingDivas.com, and ForTheMommas.com. These sites will give you step by step instructions on specific deals.”
Check Cotsco: Cotsco isn’t only great for buying in bulk. According to Mind, “Costco offers a multitude of discounts such as car buying, vacations, furnishings and home improvements!”
Buy What You Need: Knowing what coupons that you need ensures that you won’t be spend unnecessarily just because you have a coupon. During Mind’s lunch breaks, she scours store ads that she receives in the mail to see which stores have what she needs and if she has coupons to match.
Bank the savings. Mind says, “If I saved $80.00 with coupons, I would put that amount of cash into my savings account. I made sure to have a coffee can and I would put loose change in it. This would be for extra emergency/end of the month cash.”
Take It Slow: With reality shows like Extreme Couponing, you may feel like your not doing anything with your two little coupons, but McNeely cautions beginners about comparisons, “couponing can be very overwhelming, but it does not have to be. If you save 10-20% off your bill, that is great!”
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If you need deeper work around healing your relationship with money or overcoming your blocks and fears, maybe it’s time for some money therapy.