Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert in couponing, but I certainly have a new found passion for it and hope that I can help someone else experience this goodness.

To begin with, let me just say that I very much disliked shopping of any kind before my discovery of using coupons to my advantage. I had used coupons before, but felt like it was cheaper just to buy generic or to buy the other brand. I would just end up tossing my coupons in discouragement thinking it was a ploy on the companies part to get me to “think” I was getting an amazing deal. Also, I was a member of Costco. For so long I loved Costco…I still think the samples and the pizza and the rotisserie chickens are the bomb. However, too many times I walked out of the Bulk Store feeling defeated because I blew my whole grocery budget on one single run to Costco. I had buyers guilt each time. I had a philosophical dilemma in my noggin’ every time I went to the big box store. Yes, I have a big family now…but really?! Do I need to spend this much? So, I cancelled the membership and hoped that the simplicity of single items would bring our grocery budget down. And then, I watched “Extreme Couponing” on TLC and got hooked. How did they do that? I wanted to do that. Moms who had eight children were doing it. And fun moms were doing it. And thousands of dollars saved! Oh, I want to do that for my family. So, I researched. I was/am determined to provide for my family in this way. (Side note: my husband finds me sexier than ever because of this…WHO KNEW?!) With the help of some awesome ladies who take WAY more time than I do to research prices/coupons, I have nailed it. So, here is my Coupon 101 that I have learned so far:

1. Get the Sunday paper!!!
2. Don’t throw away Wednesday’s mail because it has coupons in it.
3. Pick one or two stores you shop at the most. (Mine are Walgreens because it is right up the street and Target)
4. Here’s the fun part: You match up what is on sale during the week at your store, then grab a store coupon, and a manufacturer coupon and BAM, you got yourself a deal. Sometimes it can widdle it down to becoming FREE or sometimes it isn’t a great deal and you just wait until a better sale. At Walgreens or CVS, you get Register Rewards which are awesome because then you get money back for your next purchase.
5. Dive in…to me, I just had to take a little time to make a coupon binder, look through the store ads, and BAM…I am addicted to couponing.

As far as finding time…well, Josh and I have a priority to put the kids to bed by 7:30…so after I clean up and sit down to watch the boob tube I usually browse the websites for deals, clip coupons, organize. And also, Copeland LOVES helping me by cutting out coupons. She told me the other day, “Mom, when I buy groceries for my family, I am going to use coupons for everything.” (Side note: I have let her help me sift through a recycling bin to find inserts). ha. She thought it was so exciting.

Great Coupon Sites I use:
krazycouponlady.com
hip2save.com
coupons.com
smartsource.com
redplum.com

So, that is Coupon 101…I hope that this will inspire some of you! And thanks to Jodi Koontz and Michelle Gutschick for guiding me in the right direction to guilt-free buying.

**Looking back, couponing was apart of my path since college…I think I was a rare student who had a coupon book. ha.

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