Friday, April 15, 2011

Couponing 101 (The Ali T Version)

First off... If you've been watching Extreme Couponing on TLC and it has sparked your interest in couponing and saving money, that's cool. But if you're expecting to do anything like on the show, know right now that it is completely unrealistic. Notice how every cast member says it's their 'biggest haul yet'. Yeah, there's a reason for that - it's NOT normal. People don't coupon like that on a daily, weekly, or even monthly (with few exceptions) basis.

Start off slow. If you dive in head first, you'll get overwhelmed. Remember, you're starting to save money on things for which you'd normally pay full price. So any savings you may have is just that - savings. Begin by getting the Sunday newspaper. Find out which local paper has all the inserts and the best place to acquire it on Sunday. Some dollar stores sell the Sunday paper for only a dollar. And they are generally well stocked.

Learn one local store or drugstore at a time. If you try to learn too much at once, you will likely get confused or again, overwhelmed. Each store has a different coupon policy. Some are simpler than others. Throw in a store loyalty card and you've got a hot mess.

Take it all one day at a time. Couponing is a constant learning process. You win some, you lose some. But deals are constantly cycling. Some cashiers/managers might give you a hard time. That's where knowing the coupon policy inside and out can come in handy. But don't let a bad day or a lost deal discourage you. The more you know, the more you will save. But all in time.

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