Saturday, April 24, 2010

Couponing 101

Couponing.  You're reading this article - so you must be interested. You're probably wondering how couponing works, how to get started, and - if you're local - what you will find in Kansas City.  Hopefully the information below will help you on your way!  


"Extreme Couponing" has unfortunately given some unrealistic ideas as to how much money can be saved by using coupons.  A good goal is to try to save 50% on your purchases. Here in Kansas City, the highest coupon that can be doubled is usually $.50 (this will vary by store). 

Where to Find Coupons.
 
The Sunday KC Star is a great place to start!  I actually don't clip any coupons - I keep my newspaper coupon inserts whole and use the Coupon Database to find where they are located when I see a great sale.  It saves me a lot of time!  Stores in KC that double include Hen House, Sun Fresh, Food Fresh, and Thriftway.

If you're looking for more coupons, you can check online printable websites such as Coupons.com, Coupon Network, RedPlum, and SmartSource; coupons from various brands like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Kellogg’s, Campbell’s and more.  Plus Target also has Target store printable coupons and mobile coupons which are electronically delivered to your phone. Many products now have Facebook pages that offer coupons when you "like" them.  
 
A really great resource to keep in mind is the Coupon Database!  The database will include online coupons if they are available.  Keep in mind that online coupons can disappear at any time, so if you think you’re going to use it, make sure you print it right away.  Most websites will limit how many copies of each coupon you can print; with some you can hit your browser's back button to print again (that will only work once in most cases).
   
Magazines can also be a source of coupons.  All You is widely regarded as the best coupon magazine.

Keep an eye out for free coupon booklets at grocery and drugstores (often placed near the store ad or on the counter) and coupon machines in the aisles.  Sometimes you’ll even find “peelie” coupons on products you were already planning to buy.

How to Organize Coupons.

It might take awhile to figure out a "perfect" method of coupon organizing for you.  You can try a Coupon Binder (I personally use the My City Mommy Coupon Binder), The Couponizer, or a small coupon wallet (which you may find at grocery stores or a $1 store).  

How to Use Coupons.
Once you have your coupons and you have organized, the important thing is learning hwo to USE them. 

My goal in writing My Kansas City Mommy is to help save you time.  Make sure you check out the weekly ad match ups.  I currently post weekly ads for CVS, Walgreens and Target.  Each week, you will find a list of the store sales, along with the coupons that are currently available to be "matched" with the sales.  Using coupons on sale items is one of the greatest ways to save.  You can keep track of the newest coupons here.


In order to save a lot, you should be willing to shop at multiple stores - and you may have to be willing to occasionally try a new brand. 

Most store sales operate on a cycle - so every item is on promoted every so often (usually around every 5-8 weeks).  The best way to take advantage of this is to purchase enough of a "stockpile" to last until the item goes on sale again.  When I say stockpile - I definitely don't mean to buy hundreds of it.  No one needs an entire bedroom filled with toothpaste.  Seriously.  Just buy enough for your family's needs, and maybe a little extra to donate! 

Make sure you follow along on Facebook, Twitter and by email or feed subscription here at My Kansas City Mommy so that you never miss a deal!  And if you find an awesome deal, let me know about it - it might be my next article!

Couponing can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be - don't get overwhelmed!  Take it slow - start with one store at a time.  CVS is generally the easiest drugstore for beginning couponers.  Once you have mastered one store, add in a second, and then a third - before you know it, couponing will be the way you shop!

I hope that you find some of this info helpful. Feel free to ask if you have any more questions - I'm happy to help! You can reach me by email at mykansascitymommy@gmail.com.



7 comments:

  1. Do you live in Kansas, cause if you do I would LOVE to meet with you and have you explain some things a lil bit more to me. I thought that I was doing really well cause I use coupons and would save 20-25 bucks sometimes, and then I saw the show!!! I really want to do this, well, I HAVE to learn how! One of the questions is, they talk about their store doing double coupons or making all coupons a dollar etc... I can't seem to find one around us. How do I find these kinds of stores?

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  2. Hi there!

    I actually live on the Missouri side. I am in the process of trying to get some Couponing Workshops in place - keep checking back for more info about those, I would love to meet up with you there. You can always email me with questions, too, at mykansascitymommy(at)gmail(dot)com.

    It's great that you are looking to save more money! That said - couponing to the extent shown on "Extreme Couponing" is very difficult, if not sometimes impossible! Kansas City does have a few stores that double coupons, including Hen House, Sun Fresh, Thriftway, Patricia's, etc. A really great goal is to try to save 50% on your grocery bill - getting EVERYTHING for free is a long shot, but getting a few items here and there is definitely possible.

    Feel free to shoot me an email if you have more questions, I'll be happy to help! :)

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  3. I am new to KC and to couponing, but would love to be a part of your network. Can you email me? gr8isrgod@gmail.com. Thanks, Susan

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  4. Just sent you an email, Susan! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  5. I live in Lees Summit and I do not believe I live close to any of the stores you mentioned that do double couponing. Do you know of any more stores?

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  6. Thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately I don't think Lees Summit has ANY stores that double coupons - since Hen House closed last December. I'm in LS too so I totally understand the frustration. I keep hoping a new store will pop up soon!

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  7. Thank you for the quick response! :)

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