Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting started with coupons

I wanted to write a post about getting started with coupons. I know many of you are here because you have seen the Extreme Couponing show. I want to share a little bit about how we got started couponing and some advice on getting started:

How we started couponing
We started couponing when I found out I would be losing my job. I was the larger income in the house and  that income was going to be gone.  We had to look at our finances and start to figure out what we were spending money on.  I will admit prior to this point we were not very focused on what we spent money on.  I wanted to find a way to contribute to the household budget when I was not bringing in a paycheck. I started with 1 $.25 coupon. Yes a quarter value coupon!!! I went to Safeway with a good friend and used the coupon on a product I was already buying. I was so excited that I had saved a quarter I had to call John and tell him. He thought this was crazy funny since I had never paid attention before. I was the girl who went out and bought the cute $100 shoes because I liked them. This was a drastic change for me. My love of coupons quickly grew from there. I bought a newspaper subscription and spent my Sunday mornings clipping coupons. Last year we were able save over $10,000 with coupons and sales.

Advice on getting started
The shopping trip that we do on an upcoming episode of Extreme Couponing is larger than our normal shopping trips. Please do not pressure yourself to go to the store and save a couple hundred dollars the first time you use coupons. If you manage to do it that is great but do not feel like this is something you have to do.  Even if you save 1 dollar with coupons that is a dollar that you are keeping in your checkbook!

I would suggest figuring out how much you spend now on groceries and other products. I would write this down so when you do start saving with coupons you have a reference point of how much you are saving. It is a great feeling when you look up after a month or two and realize how much money you have saved by using coupons.

Please ask questions! I am happy to answer any questions I can here on the blog, via email or on the Facebook page. I know that when I started I had a ton of questions. I can honestly say there are still days that new things come up and I have to look for answers.

Couponing is like any other skill you are trying to learn it takes time. 

Organization is key to being able to save the most money with coupons. Your coupons do not help you save money if they are on the kitchen counter while you are at the store. I highly suggest finding a system that you are comfortable with. I started with an envelope in my purse. When the coupons started to take over my purse I moved to a larger organizer and then up to a binder. I really like using the binder system because I am able to easily see the coupons I have when I am at the store.

I hope that this helps as you start using coupons. Please let me know if you have questions about coupons and how to use them. I started this website so I could share coupons and how they have impacted our lives.


Empty Nest said...

Tammilee, first thanks for answering my question about matching the coupons with the store the other night. That is how I found your site and glad I did. I started couponing years ago when my kids were growing up. Seems a little silly to be doing it now "just for two" but this is when I need the extra savings even more than I did back then. Am looking forward to following your blog and learning all I can.

Matt Wells said...

You here about the "Extreme Couponers" and there staples of toliet paper, tooth paste, deodorant as always being free and never having to pay for them. Any advice on how that is possible?

Tammilee said...

It really depends on the product. Most of the time you can find toothpaste and deodorant free at some point during the month. TP takes a little bit more work. We pick up TP when we have overages from coupons.
Each Sunday I try and point out exactly what items you can get for free at Rite Aid and Walgreens. These are the two stores that I have the best luck finding these items for free.
I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Tammilee, I watched the episode you were on and heard you mention an excel spreadsheet you use to keep track of your couponing. Would you be willing to share it? I'm just starting couponing and understand the concept so far, even saved 47% on my first attempt, but organizing a shopping list and calculating an estimated total is where I'm needing a little help now. Thanks so much! My email is

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