Understanding and knowing how to coupon takes time. It takes a lot of reading, patience, and understanding. So here’s a few notes on training to be a couponer.

Training #1: Save Start saving Coupons

This is the first and probably the most easiest step any person can do. Don’t know where to get a coupon? Start your favorite grocery store, such as Ralphs, Vons, or Albertson. In some aisles of the grocery store, there is bound to be a little machine that spits out coupons. If it’s not spitting out coupons, than subscribe to your local newspaper. In San Diego, it’s the Union Tribune, in L.A. – the L.A. Times. There are some pretty good deals out there. When I have an opportunity, I will include details on how to get better deals. For now, Hip2Save.com, has a newspaper subscription deal that by far has not been beaten. So check her site out and subscribe and save, save, save. Go to google and search “How to organize coupons.” A whole list of other blogs will come up on how to organize one’s coupon booklet. My method is a little different from most and I will share that as soon as I get the description together… Sorry. For now, let’s keep it simple, and get a coupon book (available at any 99cents store, Target, or Walmart.) If a binder works best, then go for it. Don’t forget the baseball card like holders, which are obtainable and much affordable at a nearby comic book store. When googled, the websites will also provide and give ideas on how to categorize one’s binder. As for the coupon book, keep it simple, and separate each tab by stores. Then insert all the coupons that may be used in each store when you get to Training #4.

Training #2: Read Start reading up on a Couponers Lingo.

Just like any other language or abbreviations, it’s important to understand the language, even if it means just being able to get by. The best site I recommend for this is Couponing 101. This site helped me understand what WYB, B1G1, RP, RR, and SS means. If you don’t know what these means, then you definitely need to start studying to get started. It’s easy to find a coupon and save it, but even coupons come with instructions.

Training #3: Search

The best part about shopping is looking at what’s on sale. Sales are everywhere: Target, Walmart, Vons, Ralphs, Rite-Aid, and CVS. These are just some of my favorite stores that I like to shop to. Some sales come out sooner than others. Rite-Aid, for example, comes out on Fridays for Southern Californians, whereas other regions are the typical Sunday release. Searching means looking for the right deal, and making it even better.

Training #4: Match Most sale items often have a coupon it can match up with.

If there are no coupons in hand, visit printable sites that allows you to upload/ download/ and print coupons for free from the website. The most common printable sites includes: Redplum.com Smartsource.com Coupons.com These sites often allows the member to print a minimum of two prints per computer. So if there are more than one computer in each home, than it is coupon heaven… well, except for the use of ink and having to buy more, it’s probably best to print the coupons in black and white and in the lowest ink level (fast draft) to save. Of course, there are other sites that will allow a person to print out other coupons not available on the three common sites noted above, so just becareful on what is being downloaded and uploaded on one’s computer. For those who have an iPhone or an Android phone, there is an app that I found super helpful for anyone beginning to coupon. It’s called “Grocery Smarts.” This breaks down a store’s current sales for the following week through state and city, plus matching that sale with a coupon (if any), then calculating the cost before AND after the coupon attached. Math is not everyone’s best subject, so when it comes down to calculations and numbers, this app topped it off.

Training #5: Sort There are many ways coupons can be sorted.

My two favorites are the binder method and the coupon accordian holder with tabs. Couponers can use any binder and purchase baseball card holder inserts at a bookstore or their local office store such as Staples or even Walmart and Target. I got both products at Target. The coupon holder with tabs are available at store for $1. Check your dollar section at Target for availability.

In the binder, I sort them in the following method:

1) By Inserts from newest to Oldest Date:

– Smart Source
– Red Plum
– P&G
– Walmart 
– Target
– Walgreens 
– Rite Aid
– Restaurants
– Other: Bath and Body, etc.

2) Then, I sort by Category for my printable coupons and coupons I receive in the mail for other stores. This can be anywhere from Baby products to Canned Goods, from Personal/ Beauty Items to Misc. Ehow and Stock Piling Mom are two sites that were helpful in coupon organizing.

For my Coupon Accordinan Holder, I categorize the tabs by stores. This is what I use to put in the coupons I plan on using for the week. This keeps me from staying in the store longer than I should by disciplining me to not bring my BIG BOOK of COUPONS. Otherwise, looking for all the great deals will never be bring me back home. I mind as well work at the store. Either that, the store will think I work for them or something! By sorting, you can now separate the coupons you plan on using in an orderly manner without feeling lost at the store. When all coupons are sorted and matched up to the item you want to buy to the store where you’re going to buy it at, then GO FOR IT! Shop away and have fun.

There’s more to couponing, but for now, take this first step and smile your way to the store,out the store and then home sweet home. You’ll be Addicted to Savings. Enjoy and Happy Shopping!