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Couponing 101

Clipping coupons have been in my life since I can remember. My mother did it for years, then I learned to do it, and I will teach my kids to do it. The reasons why we do it, is for the simple reason of paying less for something so we can have extra money in our pockets. And ALL retailers have coupons (and sales) to help bring in new customers as well as bring back long-time customers.

Clipping coupons have gone a long way in the past decade or two. The internet has allowed us to go beyond the Sunday newspaper as our main source of coupons. You actually have several options to get your money-saving coupons now.

1. Newspaper/Magazines

As stated before, you can get many coupon pack from your local Sunday newspaper. Usual packs include P&G, RedPlum, and SmartSource. Certain magazines, like AllYou, have coupons in them too. The Entertainment Book has many local coupons for Fast Food, Fine Dining, Movies, and much more fun stuff. I love using it every year for trying out new places.

2. Printable

There are 2 options here:

*Direct from retailer- Many retailers offer coupons and free samples with registration on their site. You can print their coupons directly from them. Examples:,, and CoffeeMate (my favorite).

*Coupon Forums/Sites- and are some more widely known coupon indexing sites. will give you a selection of local coupons to print out, while AFullCup will gather info and coupons from many stores (Target being their favorite...with a nifty generator that can print out multiples). Places like QualityHealth and Freeflys also have a ton of coupons (as well as other free offers) to take advantage of.

3. E-Coupons

A few sites have figured out a way to "load" coupons straight onto your Shopper's Discount Cards. This definitely helps reduce paper waste and clipping time. You only need to print out the fairly short "shopping list" to bring with you just in case you forgot what you loaded onto your cards.

*UPromise- Has many ways of saving money (cash back for shopping, etc), but also has an e-coupon section as well. You can load many different shopper's cards with them.MOney saved from the coupons goes into your Upromise account instead of savings at the checkout.

*Shortcuts- My first e-coupon site. I've saved several dollars using their system. They also have printables and online shopping.

*Cellfire- Never clip a coupon again. With Cellfire you can save online grocery coupons directly to your supermarket savings card. No clipping, no printing, no forgetting! Save hundreds of dollars on your groceries with Cellfire’s free paperless coupons. Click Here

*Savingstar- Similiar to Upromise, Savingstar has ecoupons that you add to your loyalty cards, but get the savings in your Savingstar account to cash out or redeem gift cards for.

If you opt for using printed/clipped coupons, you will need an organization system to make shopping trips easier. There are many methods out there, but I'll share the one that works for me. I made a personal coupon organizer from a 3 ring zippered binder. I added folders and Baseball Card sheets for organizing the coupons and any other papers I need. It also has a pencil holder, and 6 pocket accordian file in it. I found it at a yard sale for $3.

I label each section with sections in the store for easy finding. Some sections include: Frozen, Dairy/Refrigerated, Meat, Boxed, Canned, etc. I also make a special pocket JUST FOR coupons about to expire....these will be ones expiring within the month (3-4 weeks away from current date). You might want to get a second folder specifically for Catalina/Store Only coupons....the ones that are ONLY redeemable at a certain store (Fry's almost everytime prints out a few coupons with my receipt).

If you don't feel like making your own Coupon Organizer, you can purchase a really kool system from Coupon Clutch for about $30. It's a binder system that is stylishly disguised as a clutch.

It includes:
  • 8 Tabbed Dividers
  • 3 Plastic Binder Pockets
  • 11 Three Pocket Pages
  • 11 Six Pocket Pages
  • 18 Nine Pocket Pages
  • 5 Page Instruction Booklet

Here's a list of blogs/sites with more info on Extreme Couponing:

Stockpiling Moms
Money Crashers  (explains much more than other sites)
Hot Coupon World

Happy Couponing!



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