Beginning the Coupon Journey

Before I get into the couponing bookmarks that I plan to save in my bookmark project, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite resources for beginning couponing.

First word of advice: Unless you have to coupon to avoid a financial crisis, master meal planning and your diet first. If you are struggling with meal planning, work on that to begin with. This will help you transition into using sales and coupons to influence your meal plans. But if you have no framework of how to manage your household meals, couponing will confuse and frustrate the process. Also, if you have ambitions of improving your family’s health through diet changes, work on that before you fully embrace couponing. It will be much harder to give up that junk food if you have a six-month stockpile that you don’t want to go to waste. Of course, if you just want to coupon household items and clothing and such, ignore my advice and plow forward!

As an introduction, I recommend Jill Cataldo’s Super-Couponing System. Just the video excerpts and clipless system instructions should be enough to get you started.

If you’re doing the clipless method, you’ll need to follow a couponing blog that publishes coupon deals for your store(s). My favorites are The Krazy Coupon Lady and Hip 2 Save.

Also, learn your store coupon policies. This will help save you some frustration and embarassment. As you begin to shop with coupons, you’ll get a feel for the stores and cashiers that are the most coupon-literate. Honestly, they can make or break your couponing experience.

Once you’ve gotten past your extreme couponing high, you’ll more likely settle down into a pattern like this:


Bookmarks: Couponing

Two years ago I went through an intense couponing phase. It was a lot of fun and I was very successful with it. Laundry detergent for pennies, free toothpaste, super cheap cosmetics. There were frustrations, though. I got really upset each time I made a “mistake” – like my printer malfunctioned and I couldn’t print the right number of coupons, or something didn’t scan right and I didn’t save the max amount that I could. It was a little stressful and honestly it led to a lot of waste. I would buy things I didn’t need or too many things to reasonably store. So gradually the phase wore off.

The question is, do I plan to go back? Have I given up couponing completely?

I have 20+ couponing articles or sites bookmarked. The highlights:

  • How to save on ink. My printer refuses to use refilled or generic ink cartridges. Therefore, I save by buying branded but unboxed ink cartridges off of eBay. Delete.
  • Posts of old deals. Delete.
  • Couponing and tax-deductible donations. Since I’m never planning to extreme coupon again, this won’t really apply to me. Delete.
  • Couponing blogs. Because evidently the two that I already follow weren’t enough? Delete.
  • Store-specific couponing tips. Not anything earth-shattering or difficult to remember. Delete. [Note: this is very different from store-specific coupon policies. Those are important.]
  • Healthy couponing tips, several of them. Basically, pick good stores, buy in bulk, print off organic coupons etc. Some of these tips become second nature (in your memory, at least) once you’ve couponed for a while. Delete.
  • Coupon clipping service website. Nah, that’s okay. Delete.

Turns out, there may be a few couponing bookmarks that I’m going to keep. To be continued.