Basics of Couponing

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Below is my basic outline for the beginner coupon classes that I teach. PLEASE do NOT use this outline unless you have received my permission and include on your sheets my blog
I have put a LOT of time into my outlines. Thank you!

Couponing- what’s the BIG idea??

Basic Idea- Shop when it’s a CHEAP sale, use coupons WITH that sale, and stockpile!
How do I shop?
1.) Preplan my grocery trip.
a. Put ALL my coupons needed in an envelope.
b. ONLY buy what is on my list.
c. ONLY buy what is on sale and with coupons.
d. Generally- if it is NOT on a great sale, and if I don’t have coupons for it, I USUALLY do NOT buy it!
2.) STOCKPILE when it is cheap!
a. Would you rather pay $5 for your favorite bag of coffee or buy 5 bags of your coffee for $5?
b. My general rule when stockpiling is buy enough for about 2 months. Coupons & sales generally go in rotation every month or so.
3.) Plan your meals AROUND the sales.

Where do I find coupons???
1.) Sunday newspaper (Inserts)
2.) Buy them online through a clipping service. ( I personally use
3.) Print them online. Some great resources are:
d. The manufacturer’s website.
4.) Blinkies/Peelies
5.) Home Mailers/Booklets

Coupon “Lingo”:

Here are some basic terminology familiar in the “coupon world”:
1.) B1G1 / BOGO = Buy One Get One
2.) TMF = Try Me Free
3.) MIR = Mail In Rebate
4.) Peelie = Peelie sticker off of products
5.) Blinkie = Blinkie machine with red light in store aisles
6.) Q =Coupon
7.) SS = Smart Source
8.) RP = Red Plum
9.) Overage = when your coupon amount is more than your product price
10.) MM = Money Maker
11.) OOP = Out of Pocket
12.) YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary

Coupon “Rules”

1.) When getting a Buy One Get One (B1G1/BOGO) sale, you are getting TWO products, therefore you can use TWO coupons- EVEN though 1 is “free”. (The free item is the store sale-not the manufacturer’s sale) SO if the sale is B1G1 hot dogs, you can use TWO coupons- one for each pack.
2.) You can use a STORE coupon AND a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item (but NOT two manufacturer’s coupons for one item). SO if you are buying a box of mashed potatoes, you can use one STORE coupon (like a Publix or Target store coupon) AND one manufacturer’s coupon. Once in a while I run into a cashier that doesn’t know this rule- just tell them to ask the manager.
3.) You can also use a B1G1 coupon AND one other coupon for 2 items. For example, I want to buy 2 candles. I can use my B1G1 coupon (which goes towards your free item) and my other coupon which goes towards the item I bought. Sometimes a cashier doesn’t understand this, however, and you may have to tell them to talk to the manager.
4.) If there is a B1G1 sale, AND you have a B1G1 coupon- your item is FREE! This is how that works: The B1G1 SALE is put on by your store, therefore your STORE is “buying” your free item. Your coupon is put out by the MANUFACTURER. So the manufacturer is “buying” your second item. The same rule applies to using a STORE coupon AND a manufacturer’s coupon. If you have a B1G1 COUPON from the STORE AND a B1G1 coupon from the manufacturer, you can use BOTH coupons and your items are free.
5.) For most stores, you cannot have more number of coupons than you do number of items. For example, if you are using a lot of store coupons stacked with your manufacturer’s coupons, you cannot buy 4 items and have 8 coupons. You must get what we call “fillers”. You would need 4 “filler” items, so that you have a total of 8 items & 8 coupons. (cheap fillers = bananas, Ramen, Koolaid, etc.)

My Method:

Here is what I do in a week:

Sundays- Buy 2-8 newspapers OR order coupons online at as needed.

Mondays- Check for the SNEAK PEEK of the upcoming
Publix ad. (Publix runs their sales from Thursdays-Wednesdays)

Tuesday- Start working on my grocery list.
– ALSO check They usually start posting
the list of coupon inserts for the NEXT Sunday.

Wednesday-Saturday- Finish planning my grocery trip & go shopping!

CVS has a program called “Extra Care Bucks” (ECB). You sign up for their free “grocery card” that you scan when you buy items. Every week they have different items on sale. SOME items you receive “Extra Care Bucks” when you buy it. What are Extra Care Bucks (EBC)? It is a printout receipt that you will receive at the register when you buy the product on that sale which is good to use on your next purchase. FOR EXAMPLE: Say the sale is on Aussie Conditioner. And the ad says that it is on sale for $2.99 with $2 EBC. You would pay $2.99, and then at the register it will print a receipt that says “$2 good on your next purchase of anything in the store”. It is like a gift card- it is like money! Now, if you used a $1 coupon on your Aussie conditioner AND received your $2 ECB, it’s like you made money on it. (you’d get $3 back when you only paid $2.99)

Walgreens has the same sort of reward program called “Register Rewards”, but you don’t need a grocery card for it. Same exact concept as CVS.

PHEW-How much time does all this take??
Generally- I spend about an hour a week getting together my grocery list & coupons (sometimes about 2 hrs. for a huge week). BUT I save on average 85% of my purchases. What would you do with your extra couple hundred a month? I use it so that I can stay home with my kids! I literally spend $100-200 a month in groceries, and save anywhere $400-1000 (my average savings is 85%).

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