I wanted to do a quick, easy, beginner tutorial for people wanting to learn to coupon.  However, I'm long winded in my typing so you may want to grab something to drink...maybe even a snack...and settle down into a comfy chair. 

I recently taught a couponing class and decided to share my Powerpoint Presentation.  Check out the slideshow below and if you need more information, read on for what I had on here before.

Couponing 101                                                                                                   

ATTENTION:  There is a new website called Saving Star that allows you to put ecoupons onto your store loyalty card that don't come off directly at the register.  Because of this, you can pair these with a paper coupon.  When your coupon redemption reaches a certain amount ($5.00, I think) they send you an Amazon or Paypal giftcard (or a number of other options) to get your money back.  Take advantage of this! 

There is also another new site that I haven't had time to check out recently called Recycle Bank.  I haven't had time to do anything more than register and take a quick look around - but the general gist is that you can earn points in different ways and then "spend" them on coupons!  :)  Enjoy!

Firstly, I encourage you to go to Southern Savers because her tutorial is probably way better than what mine is going to be.  I'll be pulling some things from her site, as well as Hip 2 Save.  These are my two go-to sites when looking for a couponing deal.  These ladies do all the searching work for you!  There are several other blogs that do the same thing but these two are my favorites.  You can look on my left sidebar to find other helpful couponing sites.  There is a new blog from a friend that I worked with in college who is listing deals closer to the MS area, The Saving Life.

Okay, now on to the actual couponing part.  Let's start by saying that couponing doesn't have to take 70 hours a week to save money.  If you clip ONE coupon - you've saved money that you wouldn't have saved otherwise.  You can do it as much or as little as you want.


Let's start with the simple basics of Kroger.  Kroger is a great place to begin couponing.  Tip:  ALWAYS check your local store's coupon policy.  The policies of individual stores are different so what is true for my store may not be true for your store.  

Most Kroger stores will double coupons up to $0.60.  That means if you have a $0.50 coupon, it will double to $1.00 off.  However, if you have a $0.75 coupon, you will only receive $0.75 off.  In other words, $1.20 is the largest amount you can get off from a "cents" off coupon.

Now let's talk e-coupons.  You can get "e-coupons" that you can load onto your Kroger card.  Cellfire, P&G, & Shortcuts are three main places where you can load coupons on to your Kroger card.   (You can also add other shopper loyalty cards into these sites, depending on other places where you shop.)  You select the coupons you want to use and when your card is scanned at the store, the valid coupons are automatically removed!  No clipping involved!  Please read on before you begin adding these coupons!

You may read in some places that you can put a paper coupon with an e-coupon at Kroger.  That is no longer the case.  Kroger has changed their coupon policy in all stores where an e-coupon can no longer be paired with a paper coupon.  Your e-coupons will not double.  For this reason, you should wait to load coupons onto your Kroger card until you are ready to go shopping and have checked what you have paper coupons for.  A paper $0.50 coupon will get you $1.00 off, whereas a $0.50 e-coupon will simply get you $0.50 off.  Make sense?

You can save gobs of money simply by shopping sales instead of full price for an item.  By combining sales and coupons, you can save a lot of money!  Never, ever, ever pay full price for an item again.  You are getting ripped off.  So shop the sales!  Most stores go through a cycle.  Click Here to read about the store cycles.  I'll wait while you go read that....

Now that you understand the store cycles, you are ready to go shopping at Kroger!  The hardest part for me was learning what was a good price and what wasn't.  You will learn that as you go.  Watch the prices of your staples.  A lot of times, stores will say they put something on "sale" and really they've knocked off an entire 4 cents.  That's ridiculous and definitely not a sale!  Pay attention!  Tip:  Do not buy something just because you have a coupon for it.  Have a coupon because you want to buy something!  Buying things just because you find coupons for them will cause you to spend more money. 

Give yourself a couple of months of couponing before you decide if it's for you.  It takes about that long to work up a good coupon stockpile.  Get a couple copies of your Sunday paper.  Ask your neighbors or friends for their coupons if they aren't using them.  Start a coupon swap.  We have a box at church where people donate their unused coupons and you can take what you want from the box.  You can get coupons from a variety of places!  Be on the lookout for coupons in places where you wouldn't expect them!

Get something to organize your coupons.  Some people use binders, but I like the smaller collapsible organizers that fit in my purse.  I like to take my coupons with me everywhere I go.  You never know when you'll need to run into a store somewhere!  But that's strictly what I like!  Do what works for you! 

Walgreens & CVS:

Walgreens is a little more tricky than Kroger.  It has a higher learning curve, but once you get the hang of it – you’ll never go back!  Let’s start out with the basic pointers:
  • Walgreens does NOT double coupons of any value.
  • Walgreens requires you have equal item to coupon ratio.  Ex:  If you have 5 items, you cannot have 6 coupons.
  • Walgreens DOES allow stacking of a Walgreens coupon and a MF coupon.
  • Walgreens prints things called “Register Rewards” at the checkout that gives you money back on your next purchase.  They are basically Walgreens bucks – but they are from the manufacturer of the item you purchased.
  • Walgreens RR can be used at Walmart.  This is a VERY new policy.  I recommend printing the Walmart coupon policy before you try this!
  • It is very common for your cashier to have no idea what s/he is doing.  Print Walgreen’s coupon policy from their website to save from future hassles. 
  • Most stores require you to pay the tax on your items, regardless if your coupon would put you below that price.  Your coupons usually cannot pay for your tax.
Those are the basics.  Are you thoroughly confused?  Don’t be!  It’s very simple once you get the hang of it.  Walgreens puts out a weekly ad.  In it, you’ll find all of their advertised specials, coupons, and their RR deals.  The coupons that you find inside the Walgreens ad will be WAGS (I'm tired of typing out Walgreens everytime, so I'm going to use shorthand of WAGS) coupons, not MF coupons.  This means that you can stack their coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon.  WAGS has coupon booklets throughout the store.  At the beginning of each month, a monthly coupon booklet comes out full of WAGS coupons.  These are replenished throughout the month so don’t feel like you need to grab 400 of them to sustain you through the entire month.  A couple of things about WAGS coupons:
1.       You cannot stack two WAGS coupons.  Even if one was in the weekly ad and one was in the monthly book.  They cannot stack.
2.       These coupons DO count toward your item to coupon ratio. 
3.       If you’re buying 3 packs of Huggies baby wipes and you have a WAGS monthly booklet that has a $2/1 pack of wipes coupon in it, you only need that one coupon to count for all 3 packs of wipes.  When that one $2/1 coupon is scanned, it will take off $6 since you bought 3 packs. 
4.       There are booklets all over the store in the different departments.  There is an “Infant Care Booklet” with diaper, wipes, formula, etc. coupons.  There is a “Beauty Book” with makeup coupons.  There’s a “Health & Wellness” book with vitamins and other medicinal item coupons.  If you can’t find these books, ASK SOMEONE.  They’ve recently had problems in some stores with people taking too many books so they’re keeping them behind the counter.  Other times, they’re in the aisles around the item itself.  (Ex:  Infant Care Booklet will be in the baby aisle.)  Be courteous to other couponers!  Don’t hog the books! 
5.       These coupons should be handed to your cashier SECOND.  We’ll go over this part later.
Now let’s talk about Register Rewards.  As I stated earlier, RR are simply coupons for x amount of your total next purchase.  You get RR for buying certain products throughout the store each week.  The RR are essentially coupons from the manufacturer of the product.  The WAGS ad will tell you the different advertised RR deals, and sometimes you’ll find unadvertised RR deals as well.  A few things about RR:
1.       RR print at the end of your purchase only to be used on your NEXT purchase.
2.       If you purchase a P&G razor to get $2 RR, you cannot do a separate transaction and use those $2 RR to do the same P&G deal again.  In other words, if you buy another razor and use your previous $2 RR to PAY for the 2nd razor, it will not print you another $2 RR.  Read that statement again and make sure you understand it before you proceed!
3.       If you wanted to buy 2 razors, the way around losing your RR is simple.  Buy razor #1, receive your RR.  Buy razor #2 in a totally separate transaction and do not pay for it using the RR from razor #1.  Try to do a transaction in between and get more RR from a different deal and use those RR to pay for razor #2!  That would make it even cheaper!
4.       RR work best in separate transactions.  I usually despise doing separate transactions, so if you’re doing them try to be courteous and checkout at the beauty counter where there are usually less people.
5.       You CAN use MF & WAGS coupons for items that you will be receiving a RR for at checkout. 
6.       RR DO count towards your item to coupon ratio when you’re using them to pay for your next purchase.  Make sure you count it as a coupon.
7.       If you want two of a certain deal (2 razors), you MUST use separate transactions.  If you purchase both razors in the same transaction, RR will only print for ONE razor. 
8.       RR expire quickly.  Use them!  The best way to do this without forgetting is to do separate transactions and purchase your 2nd transaction with your 1st transaction’s RR, etc. etc., so on and so forth. 
9.       RR should be the LAST coupons that you hand to your cashier.
Okay, now that you understand RR, it’s time to talk about the checkout process.  When it’s time to check out, the best way to hand your coupons to your cashier is this: 
  •  MF coupons 1st.
  • WAGS coupons 2nd.
  • RR from previous deals 3rd.
This has shown to cause the least amount of cash register issues. 
Walgreens is a great place to get shampoo, razors, deodorant, makeup, medicines, soft drinks, and cleaning supplies.  Their grocery deals aren’t usually worth making a special trip outside of your large grocery trip, but sometimes they have good sales.  You may notice I said their soft drinks have good deals.  Pay attention to those.  I got 5 twelve packs of Diet Coke for $13.  After I used RR from my last transaction, I paid $3.47 for all 5 of them.  Coke & Pepsi products are EXPENSIVE!  Our area (southern states) doesn’t get great Coke/Pepsi coupons so finding a good deal on these items is a necessity!