For Beginners

Hi, and welcome to the addictive world of couponing!  We know that couponing can be extremely overwhelming when you first start out.  Hopefully these articles here will be able to help you get going!  And if you want to know about specific stores, you can find that out here.

Getting Coupons
First, how do you get coupons?  There are several ways to do that!
  • You can print coupons off the internet.  Check out our Printable Coupons section of the website.
  • Many stores have their own digital coupons in their apps.  King Soopers/Kroger, Target (Cartwheel app), Safeway (Just4U), etc.  There are also apps where you can get rebates after you take a picture of the receipt.  Click here for a list of apps you can download.
  • You can get the Sunday newspaper and get coupons out of there.  There are small "magazines" that are called inserts that are full of just coupons.  They are Smart Source (SS), Red Plum (RP), and Proctor and Gamble (PG).  One of the most cost-effective ways to get your hands on these is to buy the Sunday paper at your local dollar store.  Or you can always ask your neighbors!  We recommend getting at least one paper per person in your family.  Here is a calendar of when each insert comes out.
The best way to coupon is to match up sale prices with coupons.  Before the internet, people would grab a newspaper and look at the ads with the coupons.  Now there is so much technology and so many people who already do that - take advantage of their hard work!  Flipp and Favado are two apps that help match up coupons with ads from all kinds of stores.

As you start getting involved in the couponing world, you will most likely find groups on social medial like Facebook or Instagram that provide coupon and sale match-ups, along with other great deals.  Some of these will be store-specific (like Super Safeway or Kroger Krazy).  Others will be like our website, that do multiple stores.  It's a good idea to follow both kinds of groups; store-specific groups will provide many more deals because the just focus on that store, whereas groups like ours will show you the top deals at many stores.

In all of these groups, however, there will be lots of new terms that you may not understand.  Check out our Coupon Lingo page if you're not sure what something means.  If it's not there, please feel free to contact us and we can help you out!

Finding Deals
You are also going to see A LOT of deals and sales out there.  Don't chase after every single one!  We recommend that you coupon for things that you are going to definitely use.  If there are free items of things we don't usually use, we like to get those and donate them to homeless shelters and food drives, and we also make blessings bags to keep in the car.  Also make sure that the deal you're seeing is truly a good deal, or if it's just hype from the store.  Use our Stock-Up Prices list to see what you should really be paying for common items and learn how to compare to different deals on the same item to each other.

Once you've start getting your coupons collected and together, you'll need to organize them.  There are a lot of different methods out there.  We've tried many of them, and we've found that sorting by categories seems to work best.  Check out our Coupon Organization post to see a breakdown of how to do this.

Shopping List
Now that you have your coupons organized and you have ideas of what deals are out there, you should make a shopping list.  The more detailed and organized the list, the easier it is in the store to know what you're getting and how much of each item.  Here is a sample shopping list:

Let's talk about this list.  We've color-coded it for you so that you know what we're talking about!

This list is for King Soopers (which is in the Kroger Family of Stores), as you can see from the top.  On the left, we make a list of all of the items that we want to buy.  We then put their sale prices (and if we need to give the cashier a rain check), then how many coupons and how much the coupon is for, then how many of that item will need to go into our carts, then how much each item is after the coupon price.  This should all be done at home.

Many times, the sale price of an item is dependent on how many items you buy.  For example, King Soopers has a Mega Sale (buy 4, save $4, for example) or Safeway does a Buy 4, save $2.  These can often be mixed-and-matched.  You could buy 3 of one item, then five of another item; as long as the items are all participating in that sale, and as long as you have the correct multiples (4, 8, 12, 16, etc.) then you are okay.  To help make that easier, we put a red circle around the items that need to add up to that amount.  As we add them to the shopping cart, we put tally marks in the top box to keep track on if we're meeting that amount.  As you can see, (x4) means multiples of 4, but we only have 19 tallies.  That means we need to buy one more item that is part of this mix-and-match sale (called a "filler" item) so that we can get the discount at the register.

The green writing is where we had to make adjustments to the amount of product we are buying.  As you can see, they were out of Oxi Clean, so we crossed it out and wrote "0."  Since they were completely out of this, we wrote a yellow "Y" so that we wouldn't forget to ask for a rain check from the cashier (we forget to do that all the time!).  Then they only had four Fiber One bars on the shelf, so we crossed that out and wrote "4."

As put items into our cart, we did a quick (rounded) count of how much we would be spending and wrote that in blue..  This isn't exact (although you can use a calculator on your phone or something), but we wanted a general idea of how much we would pay at the register.  We always rounded up a little bit.  That way, if our total is $35 instead of $25, we know that something wrong happened.  (Or we just didn't do the mental math correctly!)

Also, if you use rebate apps like IbottaMobisave, or BerryCart you may want to put stars or letters (I, M, BC etc.) next to the items that you are going to submit for a rebate afterwards!  And don't forget to sign into Shopkick and the Panel App when you go into the store so that you can earn even more rewards!

If you really liked that list and want a blank copy to print out, here is one.

Follow the Rules
As you make your list, make sure you are following all of the Coupon Policies and keep an eye out for Coupon Scams and Fraud as well.  We cannot stress this enough:  FOLLOW ALL COUPON RULES, both the ones on the coupons as well as in the store.  We personally know people who have been arrested and sent to jail for coupon fraud.  It just is not worth whatever money you save.

Special Sales
One last thought: if there is a BOGO sale and you have a BOGO coupon, here's how to use them:

Once you have your list together, you are ready to go!  If the store is out of anything, ask for a raincheck from the cashier.  Good luck!

Do you have any crazy deals or suggestions you'd like to share with us? Please comment at the bottom of the page! Or feel free to contact us here.

Note: any links in our posts may include affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policies here.Please make sure to double-check store policy and coupon fine print before shopping. Please follow all coupon rules.