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Coupon Shopping Tips to Get You Started

Here are some coupon shopping tips to get you started saving money by using coupons.

Find the Best Coupons
Did you realize that the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper may not be the best ones available? If you live in a smaller size town, you’re probably getting sub-par coupons compared to a larger city near you. It’s not a widely know fact to beginning coupon shoppers, that papers from bigger cities will have more coupons, and the coupons it contains will be higher value!

Coupon Newspaper Inserts vs. Coupons on Websites?
You don’t have to wait until Sunday morning to see what coupons will be offered! Sites like Coupon Inserts Preview post a list of coupons for the upcoming week so you can get organized and plan your shopping ahead of time! Use this list to compare with your grocery store’s sale flyer to maximize savings by matching up coupons to products that are going to be on sale

Coupon Shopping Tips to Get You Started
Filing Your Coupons
I like to compare coupon organization to how people keep their kitchens, cars, or computer files organized. Everyone has their own method that works best for them. There’s no right or wrong way to organize, but you will shop better if you have some sort of way to organize coupons. Here I’ve listed a few ways to get your coupons organized before you leave for the grocery store.

Have a Coupon List Before Going to the Store
Would you ever leave for vacation without first looking at a map or looking at places to visit along the way? Of course not, and you shouldn’t just leave for the grocery store without first checking out the weekly sales, matching up coupons, and making a list of things you need! Check out this article I wrote a while back to help you prepare to grocery shop each week.

Learn About the 12 Week Coupon Shopping Cycle
Have you noticed that your favorite box of cereal is on sale for $1.50 one week, and then the next week it’s back to its regular price of $3.50 or more? Or why is it that things like coffee and tea are on sale during November? Or why are there always cleaning coupons in the paper during the spring? The answer is simple. Everything you buy is part of the 12 week shopping cycle.

Best of luck coupon shopping in your local shopper area.

Is there a coupon for this item somewhere ?

When shopping online, search for the store’s name plus “coupon code” before making a purchase. Many sites will advertise coupon codes to help give consumers a break. Sometimes you’ll enter coupon codes and it will not work, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and get some savings like $5 off shipping fees or 20% off your entire purchase. It’s always worth taking a few minutes to look.

Combine sales with coupons, and you’ll save even more. For the internet-savvy, eBay can be a great source of coupons, such as 10 buy-one-get-one-free coupons (abbreviated B1G1 in eBay lingo) of your favorite dish soap. The coupons might cost you $2.60 total including postage, but if you use all 10 of them, your net savings of $2 on each bottle of dish soap will be at least $20.00 plus tax. If you have time to look through a few pages of content, then sites that offer free printable coupons, like Coupons.com and Groupon.com could be a good option.

Negotiate or Trade When Possible

Some prices are set in stone, and it’s a waste of time trying to negotiate with someone who won’t budge. However, when you think there’s some room to negotiate it might be worth to consider the following:

Can you negotiate a lower price?
While you probably can’t negotiate the price on many items, like new DVDs or a package of gum, there are plenty of situations where you can negotiate, even in a retail store. For example, if an item is cosmetically damaged, a store may be willing to offer a small discount because that blemished items tend to be more difficult to sell. If a salesperson wants you to buy a bunch of extras with a new computer or cell phone plan, ask for a discount – the salesperson they may be allowed to offer discounts in order to close the deal on big-ticket purchases. In many retail situations a “managers discount” may be available.
Of course, if you’re buying an item from a private party, you can always negotiate. Also, you probably already know not to automatically pay the sticker price on a car or house, because negotiation is standard practice on these major purchases and the sticker price is generally higher than the real amount the seller will accept.

Can you barter or trade?
Barter can be difficult because many people are not accustomed to doing it and it’s hard to find someone who wants the service or goods you have to offer in exchange for the what another person is selling. If you have some valuable products or services to offer and you’re purchasing from a private party, it’s worth asking. Even if the other party isn’t willing to barter for the entire item, he or she may be willing to at least reduce the price in exchange for an hour of your expertise. This situation works well with business to business transaction especially if it represents a sale that will not happen with cash.

Negotiate for a Better Price

From Forbes;

As the downturn drags on, we went looking for products and services that, with a little skill and moxie, you can get for less than advertised. Here are 19 we found over the past two years.

Click Here for 19 items that are currently very negotiable.

How to Use Coupons Wisely

The key to effective coupon use is to be organized about the process. Every coupon you need but can’t easily locate is cash slipping through your fingers.

Try those little wallet-shaped coupon organizers you can slip into your purse or pocket to keep your coupons organized by category. Once a month, go through your coupon organizer to check for expired coupons.

Coupon Shopper Helpful Tips

We’ve all heard about the coupon-savvy shopper who can feed a family of five on $50 a month. What is her secret? She’s perfected the art of couponing. While the examples you see in the media may be the extreme end of the spectrum, regular shoppers can save a lot by learning how to use coupons. I guarantee that if you follow the couponing tips below you will be able to slash dollars from your monthly grocery bill in a way that works for you.

Trade coupons with friends and online. Start a coupon group with women in your area. Let them know which items you need coupons for; and offer to trade with them. I have a friend who uses Pampers diapers, so whenever I see a coupon for that item I give it to her. In turn, she looks out for the items I use. To get started, e-mail 5-10 of your “thrifty” friends to see if they’re interested. Have each friend list 10-20 items that she always uses, and print out the lists. Keep the lists handy when you’re clipping coupons, and then pass on the coupons to your friends.

Organize! Make coupons easy to file and easy to use. I used to have my coupons clumped together in an envelope in my purse. I could never find the coupons I needed, and I ended up throwing out expired coupons I could have used. I use a large plastic index-card box for my coupons now. I have it divided by categories such as: canned goods, baby products, cereal, baking, dairy, etc. After serious couponing for a few months, you will discover which categories work the best for you.