Are you ready to learn how to save tons of money by couponing? Our Beginner’s Guide to Couponing will teach you everything you need to know.
Below we are going to go over coupon basics, like couponing terminology, and how to organize coupons. After reading through this guide click here to move on to the Publix Beginner’s Guide and you will soon be on the way to savings!
If you have recently joined our Facebook coupon group, you have likely seen a post, like the one on the right, from a member. We call these break downs “BD”, for short. Reading break downs of coupon trips and comments can sometimes be like texting with your 15-year-old daughter. Below are some of the basic abbreviations you will see in coupon groups.
OOP: $3.23 Saved $128.53
6 Nabisco used $3/2 from SS 6/4
4 Dove Used $3/2 RP 5/2 and $1/2 PQ from PF
8 Smithfield Ham cubes used $1/2 SS 4/2
Q – Coupon
MQ – Manufacturer’s coupon
PQ – Publix coupon
ESF= Extra Savings Flyer
OOP – Out of Pocket
BOGO-Buy one get one free
NLA- No longer available
SS – Smart Source – coupon insert found in your Sunday paper
RMN -Retail Me Not – coupon insert found in your Sunday paper
P&G – coupon insert found in your Sunday paper
$1.00/1 – One dollar off one product
Where Do I Find Coupons?
Manufacturer coupons are printable, and in inserts (found in the Sunday Newspaper) and also digital.
The first place to find manufacturer coupons is printing them. So many great coupons are available to print only, you can not find other places.
If you do not have a printer, I recommend purchasing an HP printer with Instaink click here. The ink for these printers is only $2.99 – $4.99 per month, and they deliver it to your home, it is well worth the small extra cost of the printer upfront. Sign up for Instaink here
Here is a list of trusted websites who offer printable coupons click here
Most printable coupon providers allow you to print each coupon two times per device or account. These coupon prints are tracked through your devices or your phone number, not the actual printer. So you can get two prints from your phone, two prints from your tablet and so on using a wifi printer. You may also try printing from different browsers to get a few extra coupon prints on a device (i.e Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome) this does not work with all coupon printing sites but it’s worth a shot.
Once you have printed the coupon, most printable sites will allow you to easily print it again by hitting your browser back arrow. Some, however, you have to go back and click on the link where you found the coupon and print again.
You may not ever copy a printable coupon there is a unique code on the coupon which tracks it to only be used once. Most coupon sites have a disclosure or warning against copying a coupon, which is also printed on most coupons. Sometimes your computer may prompt you to print additional copies of a coupon, this is simply printing a copy. It is not generating a new unique code. So choosing more than one copy is not the right way to print multiple coupons. Going back to the link or hitting the browser back button is the proper way to get your second print.
Do not buy printable coupons from coupon sellers. While this also may seem like an easy way to get more coupons, you are not sure where the coupons came from, or if they are legitimate and they can be tracked at the store through your customer loyalty card or credit card. Many couponers have been prosecuted for using fake coupons they have bought on the internet and have faced jail and penalties. Please do not abuse the privilege. Print through the legitimate coupon sites listed above, and use multiple devices in your home.
Printable coupons are available for a limited time or for limited prints, once the coupon has reached the manufacturer’s limit, it’s gone. So if you see a coupon you know you will use, don’t wait, print it immediately
Sunday Coupon Inserts
Coupon inserts are found in your Sunday newspaper. There are 3 types of coupon inserts distributed in the Sunday paper. The first is P&G (Procter & Gamble) which comes out usually on the first Sunday of every month. The other two coupon inserts come out more frequently, SS (SmartSource) and RMN (RetailMeNot) on most non-holiday weekends.
Peelies, Hang Tags and Blinkies!
You can also find coupons in store on products. These coupons are commonly called hang tags, peelies or blinkie by couponers.
Organizing Your Coupons
There are many ways to organize your coupons, below we will go over the top methods and you may tailor them to what is most comfortable for you.
I personally have used this method for the last few years. I like knowing if I find a deal or clearance items in the store I have the coupon available to use. However, I found clipping and organizing EVERY coupon from my insert is very time-consuming. So I have tailored this method slightly, which I will cover later.
To orgainize with this method, first decide how you want to organize your coupons – by type (dairy, toiletries, baking supplies),
by aisle, by expiration, etc. Then, create a divider for each of your categories.
Stick your dividers in the binder, and place several baseball card pages behind each one.
Print out a copy of the Publix coupon policy Click here
Stick a pencil pouch at the front of your binder, and equip it with scissors, a calculator and a pen
Then cut your coupons. I recommend pulling each identical page out of each insert and cutting
all like pages together.
Load the coupons into the proper category in your binder.
The File Box Method:
The pros of this method are it not time-consuming. The cons are you don’t have your coupons with you at all times unless you take this to the store which would be cumbersome.
What you need:
Each insert has a date on the seam of the insert. Use the dates of the insert
to make a file for each week. You can make sub files for Red Plum, SmartSource etc.
or you can just make one file for each week.
All you have to do is drop the inserts and label a file each week.
Magazine Holders are a great way to store your weekly inserts by date.
You can purchase them pretty expensively. click here
Each holder can store a week of inserts.
This is so easy because there is no cutting & sorting.
We will go over Coupon Matchups in the second part of this guide. Our deal breakdowns or Coupon Matchups tell you where the coupon to each deal can be found, however, it is good to know how to do it yourself as well.
When looking for the location of a coupon, we use a coupon database. Click here to view the database
Below I searched for “Sargento” in the database
The third choice is a link to a printable coupon, click on the link to go directly to the coupon.
The fourth choice is an insert coupon.
On the spine of your coupon inserts, you will find the date of the insert. Look in the 3/3 SS to find your coupon.
Reading coupon fine print is extremely important, but also can be very confusing.
You will find the terms of the coupon in the fine print, for example, how many coupons you can use per transaction. Often the terms are misunderstood, so below we have explained some common terms.
If you ever have any further questions, you can email the manufacturer of the coupon.
“Redeemable at Walmart”
Manufacturer coupon which state
“Redeemable at ….” or “Available at… ” mean the product is sold at this store. It does not mean you can only use the coupon at this store. The Store has just paid to advertise on the coupon.
“Redeemable ONLY at CVS”
If the coupon states its redeemable ONLY at a specific store, you may only use the coupon at that store.
“Limit one coupon per purchase”
You can use one coupon for every individual item purchased. Purchase 4 Tide, you can you 4 coupons.
Most coupons say this, the manufacturer is telling
Limit one like coupon per transaction” or ” identical coupons”
A transaction is each time you pay the cashier. If the coupon states limit one coupon per transaction you may only use that coupon one time per shopping trip.
If you have another coupon for the same product but is different you may use it in the same transaction. For example, I am purchasing two bars of Aveeno soap. You have a $2/2 printable coupon which reads in the fine print ” one like coupon per transaction” and you also have a $1/1 Aveeno printable coupon which reads ” one like coupon per transaction” in the fine print, you may use both coupons in one transaction because they are not ” like” they are for different values and have different bar codes.
“Limit one coupon per person”
As silly as it may seem, and I’ve emailed several manufacturers to confirm, this term means you can bring a friend or spouse, with you and use two coupons in the transaction. One per person means one coupon may be used per person with you in the transaction.
“Can not be combined with any other coupon”
This is another tricky term, many new couponers mistake it to mean you can not combine it with a store coupon. Can not be combined with any other coupon pertains to manufacturer coupon, meaning you can not use a Tide $2/1 printable coupon and a Tide $2/1 insert coupon on ONE bottle of Tide.
You may still use a store coupon if available. They are telling
Pictures vs. Text
Always honor the terms of the coupon in the text, companies often use stock photos on coupons and sometimes they aren’t even the product in the text. If a coupon states ” $2 off any Clearasil product” you are not limited to what is pictured on the coupon, you can use it on any product.