I was putting together a new tab on BargainBabe.com that features long-term strategies for coupon clipping (as opposed to coupons that expire in a few days) when I realized I had never written a basic how to clip coupons post. Shocking!
There areï¿½five steps to coupon clipping for grocery products, toiletries, and drugstore items. Here’s how I organize my coupons.
1. Subscribe to the Sunday newspaper, which is when coupons are distributed. If you don’t want to subscribe, you may live in an area that the three major coupon inserts – RedPlum.com, SmartSource.com, and PGeSaver.com – want to reach. You can inquire directly by signing up on their sites.ï¿½ Online coupons are becoming more prevalent and may replace newspaper coupons someday.
2. Quickly flip through the inserts and clip any coupons that you are absolutely sure you will use no matter if the item is on sale this week. (I used to recommend clipping every single coupon and filing by category but that is not as efficient as this method).
3. File the rest of the inserts in one folder, noting the publication date. (i.e. Feb. 28, 2010).
4. Look for sales in the store circulars that arrive by mail or in your inbox if you have signed up for store email lists. Match sale items with what there are coupons for. There are two main “matching” databases that tell you when coupons were published so you don’t have to sort through each insert by hand. They are AFullCup.com and HotCouponWorld.com. To help find matches, read some of my favorite coupon match blogs, including CommonSenseWithMoney.com, CouponCravings.com, and KouponKaren.com. These blogs often do much of the work for you!
To get an idea of how much you can save by coupon matching, check out my extreme couponing adventure.
5. Take your coupons to the store and buy when the item is on sale! It always helps to be especially nice to the cashier when you are using a lot of coupons. Sometimes their cooperation can make a big difference in your total bill.
Bonus Tip: If you want more coupons than you can clip in your newspaper, check out these websites toï¿½ buy and trade coupons.