Getting Started with Coupons

Many people ask how we are able to save so much money with coupons.  We will tell you up front, couponing takes some time not only to learn, but to get the weekly deals.  That being said, we save HUNDREDS of dollars each month, and so we think it’s worth the time.  Now for the fun!

How To Coupon: The short version
Clip or print coupons and use them on items that are on sale to get the cheapest possible cost.

How To Coupon: The long-winded version
Each week, there are websites that match existing coupons to upcoming sales coupons for most grocery stores and pharmacies. To maximize savings, the key is to use coupons when the item is cheapest.

Finding Coupons
Newspaper Inserts: Red Plum, Smart Source, Proctor and Gamble and General Mills

Internet coupon sites:
Website for your favorite brands (

Store Shelves/On the Item

Decoding Coupon Lingo
The weekly matchups will have lingo like RP 1/30.  Translation: Coupon is in the January 30th (1/30) Red Plum newspaper insert.

Most Commonly Used
RP: Red Plum Insert
SS: Smart Source Insert
GM: General Mills Insert
PG: Proctor and Gamble Insert
Printable or IP: Internet Printable Coupon (usually limit 2 per computer)
WYB: When you buy
EXP: Expires

Brick: Link for a single coupon (press back twice to print it again–usually limit 2 per computer)
Catalina or Cat: Coupons that print out at the register
DND: Do not double
YMMV: “Your mileage may vary” –savings will depend on you having the right coupon
OYNO: On your next order
Peelie: Coupon found on an item
Blinkie: Coupon in a machine next to an item at the store
Tearpad: Pad of coupons near the item
ETS: Excludes Trial Size

Coupon organizing:
There are a million ways to do it, and we change our organization every so often.

Clip right away: Use a coupon organizer.  You may eventually graduate to something more elaborate, like a binder with photo album pages to keep you coupons sorted. Hint: Create categories like Dairy, Breakfast, Frozen, etc. and keep them in the same order as your grocery store’s layout.

-Clip as you need them: Each Sunday, write the date on the front of each booklet and make a file for it in a binder or a file box like Jessica. Then when the coupon matchups come out, you can grab the ones you need easily using the date reference as explained in “decoding coupon lingo”. Also, add a file for Printables, Loose Coupons, Magazines, P&G or the specific store where you shop. Keep coupon booklets for at least 4 months.

Jessica’s actual file box of newspaper coupon inserts

-Hybrid: Clip coupons for items you know you will absolutely use and save the dated inserts for great future deals.

How It All Works
For example, if Shoprite has Coffeemate on sale for $1.24 and there is a printable for $.75 off, SR will double the coupon and the item will be free! SR and many stores will double any coupon up to $.99. A $.75 coupon is worth $1.50.  But SR won’t double Catalinas.
Doubling varies from chain to chain and from store to store! Ask for a copy of the coupon policy at your favorite store.

Our Very Best Couponing Tips
-Start Small–you’re not going to get every deal.
-Your savings will increase each week as you stock up on items at low prices.
-Print Internet coupons as soon as they appear-they will disappear!
-Don’t photocopy coupons-fraud hurts everyone and isn’t worth it.
-Print coupons on multiple computers if you need more than 2.
-Some weeks are better than others in terms of savings.
-Consider getting different papers because they may have different inserts.
-Your insert may not have the right coupon due to regional differences in coupons.
-If an item is Buy one get one free, you can use 2 coupons, 1 coupon per item!!
-Stock up, don’t stockpile.  No one needs 16 of anything, even if it’s free.  There will be another sale.
-Ask for rain checks!! If your favorite deal is gone save your coupon until the item is back in stock.
Have any other good tips? We would love to hear them! Comment here or email us at

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3 comments for “Getting Started with Coupons

  1. June 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

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