Saturday, January 4, 2014

Couponing: Part 1

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. I am not a couponing expert and cannot be held responsible for any errors that may occur during your couponing experiences. At times store rules and store policies can and will change, making some information provided on this blog to become incorrect. I will do my best to always provide the most accurate information but again - I am no expert.


                                    


Welcome to my first informational couponing post! Couponing, although abused by some, can be one of the most rewarding ways to save money and relieve the pain of grocery costs. I started couponing in 2011. No one taught me, i just sat down one day and started figuring things out. It took a while, but it was so exciting once I learned how everything worked.
     In 2013 I opened a small business, got out of the Army, had a baby, got married, and started training to run a full 26.2 mile marathon. My husband was also deployed for some time so as you can imagine I was very busy. I got away from couponing throughout the year, but plan to get back into it for 2014.
     DownSideUpMommy.com was originally FOR couponing. I needed a place to share my recipes, my DIY, and everything else, so my blog kind of became place to dump my daily life.
     Enough about that. Let's get into couponing:

YES, It can be time consuming, but once you get into a routine and know what way of doing it best works for you, its just about maintaining! You will get out of it exactly what you put into it! I was working full time when I first started and I got 2 years worth of paper towels for $30 and a pantry packed full of food for next to nothing! It doesn't come over night, but once you get into it, you'll be glad you stuck with it!

I want to coupon! Where do I start?
The first thing I recommend is to make a email just for your couponing.
YourNameCoupons@gmail.com should work.
This account will receive massive amounts of emails, so its good to keep it away from your personal email account. Keep up with it though, a lot of these emails contain great information, discount codes, sale notifications and sometimes free stuff.

Now What?
Find your favorite brands, foods, and companies. Go to their website and sign up for their newsletters. At first the emails can be a little overwhelming, but once you become a seasoned couponer, you will usually be able to tell which emails are worth keeping and which ones you should unsubscribe to.
There will be times when you have to enter your email to receive offers, deals, and free stuff. This is the nature of the beast. That's why its always good to have the couponing email. If you decided you don't like the emails, there's always an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email.

If you're feeling motivated enough, you can always visit the webpage of your favorite brands and contact them. Tell them how much you love their products, let them know that you are getting into couponing, have subscribed to their newsletter and would love a coupon or two for their products! Most companies are happy that you took the time out of your day to write them, and have no problem sending you coupons and sometimes samples in the mail.

What Else?
Never miss a Sunday. I recommend you pick up 1 Sunday paper per person in your household. If you have a household of 4, then 4 papers would be a great start. Don't wipe them all out -- that would be poor couponing practice and just downright rude. Check around and ask your friends, neighbors and co-workers if they are using their coupons. The more coupons you can get without being a newspaper hoarder, the better! Sign up to get it in your driveway on Sundays for additional copies. Make sure you get your papers early in the morning! There are other couponers out there, and there is nothing more disappointing and discouraging then getting to the newspaper stand or check out and there's no newspapers!
Make sure to recycle your newspapers!

And?
One of the most important things you can do for your couponing hobby is get a store loyalty card for any store that provides them. Make sure to make accounts at all the store sites and make sure your information is updated. Example: I have a MVP card from Food Lion. I went to Food Lion.com, made an account with my bobbiejocoupons@gmail.com email address, and made sure all the information on the MVP card was correct. If youre not comfortable with using your phone number, i recommend downloading an app like SendHub and getting an additional phone number (free) and using that number for all your couponing stuff. The last 4 digits of my actual number is 6704 so the last 4 of my phone number for couponing is 6700. This way its easy to remember, and I'm not giving my number out. I always use my couponing phone number at checkout if i forget my MVP card.


Coming Up on Couponing: Part 2 - I got my Sunday Papers - now what?


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