I was like most people three years ago. I would see the coupon fliers in the newspaper and in the weekly ads bundle and toss the whole flier. Who has time to coupon? Let alone read these things? I was working 9 hour days and commuting and trying to just keep my dog alive. Coupons had little value in my life. This is the story of how to start couponing.
Occasionally I would clip a few coupons for items we normally buy, but using them was sketchy. I would either forget to use them before they expired, or if I did use them, it would be when the item was full price. How little I knew.
How to Start Couponing
Fast forward to spring of last year when I stumbled across an advertisement at the library for a couponing class. I’m a pretty frugal person already, so learning to coupon sounded right up my alley. I went to the class and came back in awe of how much money I was throwing away by not couponing. Case in point: contact lens solution.
I have been using the same contact lens solution since high school. It’s rather expensive but the only solution that has helped deter repeat eye infections. Normally Clear Care is about $9.99 for one 12-ounce bottle. I used to buy these bottles at full price whenever I ran out.
Now I know that I can get Clear Care on sale for $8.99. I can add on a $3 manufacturer coupon and add on an in-store $1 off coupon, and behold, I can purchase Clear Care for as little as $4.99 per bottle. That’s a $5 savings if you are keeping track. Considering I use a bottle of this solution at least every other month that alone is a savings of roughly $30 per year.
How I Started Couponing
If you are like me there are many things I would rather do with that $30 than spend it on my contacts! Thus, I started couponing. I did not have overnight success. It took me several months to understand the sales cycles, what coupons are routinely issued, how to use coupon websites and some of the basic rules of the game.
I also came up with my own rules. I would only coupon for non-food items. I would only coupon at stores very close to where I live and I would only coupon when couponing was less stressful than paying full price for an item.
Sometimes it is just easier to run out and buy what you need when you need it. For example, baby gas drops, when the baby is screaming in pain and you need that screaming to stop immediately. However, I do use coupons about 90 percent of the time when I shop now. I hope to share more about my couponing journey and my favorite tips for saving money in the coming months.