My non-expert advice to getting started is:
1)Buy the Sunday Paper.
2)Hang on to the ads for the stores you love, so when you are at home with your coupons preparing, you can see what your store has to offer.
3) Know the stores’ coupon policies. Print them and take them with you.
4) Be prepared to spend time learning and preparing. (It gets easier and less time consuming as you get a clear picture of how it all works)
5)When the ad starts, shop as close to that time as you can to ensure that items will be in stock.
6) Be courteous and generous. Don’t clear the shelves. Stock up but don’t be greedy. DONATE DONATE DONATE! People are in need!
7) Find trusted resources. The “core” blogs, websites etc. that you can use as your “go to” info for the week. Be familiar with these, and get into a routine.
8. Don’t be afraid to branch out. Try new products and recipes. Evaluate whether you really need the $8 frozen pizza, or can you do without and find a healthier and cheaper option? (After learning to coupon $8 seems like $100 to me.)
9) Set a goal. How much money do you want to save each week? Are there items you can hold off purchasing until a good deal or a coupon comes along? Do you want to donate a certain amount of retail $$$ to your local food bank, shelter, or church each month?
10) Don’t assume that something is a good deal just because it’s “on sale” and you have a coupon! Sometimes it’s just better to let the coupon expire! Be familiar with different stores and their prices. Don’t be afraid to spend time investigating.
11) If possible, go to more than one store in a shopping week getting only the things you absolutely need, or only stock up on the things that are at rock bottom prices or FREE.
12) Sales are cyclical, items go on sale every 3-6 months. You do not need a stockpile larger than a 3-6 month supply. If it is free now, it will be then too! Instead, DONATE.
13) PRINT PRINT PRINT! A lot of printable coupons go fast on the internet (only allow a certain number of prints.) If there is a coupon you see on an item you’ll use, go ahead and print it! Even if there isn’t a deal on it this week, it may be free with that coupon next week!
14) Be organized! I have all of my coupons in a binder (31 sections). I have reusable envelopes for each store. I organize my deals and my list before I go to the store, but I always have my binder with me, because stores never advertise all of their sales every week!
15) Pray before you go to the store, and ask the Lord to help you make responsible decisions with the resources He has given you. It may seem dramatic, but He is in control of EVERYTHING- even your grocery shopping!
**All of my suggested blogs/websites have coupon matchups each week! Each store has different ads that start at different times with different rules and end on different days.
**Email me with questions! I am not a pro, but I am working hard to learn how to help others!