First and foremost, don't get discouraged if you aren't able to get massive amounts of stuff immediately. Honestly, that really shouldn't be your reason for couponing in the first place. You want to save money and using coupons is the way to go but you might have to wait a while to build a "stockpile".
Some people say that the first thing you should do is to set a budget. Decide how much you want to spend and stick to it. Perhaps you should only allow yourself $20 a week for spending to start your "stockpile". If you can do that then that would be fine. We operate on a completely different scenario.
Since most of our bills come due around the first, we usually stock up on meat and frozen items in the middle of the month. We hit the sales and find the best deals we can and go from there. This means that most of our grocery budget is done in the middle of the month. However, we still allow for a lot to be spent during the week, depending on the sales.
The main thing to remember is that you have to look at your situation and decide how you want to approach when to spend for your coupon items.
Here is a list of rules I would follow when starting out couponing:
- Take the time to learn your store(s) coupon policy. You can find most policies online or you can request a copy from your store's CS desk. Each store is different and you will have to learn this to know what you can and cannot do there.
- You might want to take the time to learn one store at a time. It will be easy to get distracted and want to go here and there and save as much as possible but you will have more success if you take the time to learn each store slowly.
- Try to build a rapport with your store(s). Be friendly when you go to checkout and when you make a mistake with a coupon, and you will do this, let them know that you are still learning and thank them for helping you along. I go to my local Harris Teeter just after midnight each night and see what is available. Most of the stockers know me pretty well now and we often just chat for a minute or two.
- Find a few good sites for coupon matchups. This will help you save a lot of time and energy when getting ready for your shopping trip. My biggest suggestion would be to join We Use Coupons and search through there as a starting point. I have a few favorites but each location will be different as each location has different stores in their areas. Also check out Amit19 Deals World if you like CVS or Walgreens!
- Make sure you stay organized! Just starting out you can use a small coupon organizer and set it up as you would like. I still am using my coupon pouch that I got from Wal-Mart but I am seriously thinking about switching to a binder method. Whatever the situation, find a system that works for you and make your experience fun, not tedious.
This is just some off the wall suggestions that I am throwing out there. I'll have more later but I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven't forgotten about them at all! I've just been busy saving! :-)
Have a great Memorial Day everyone!