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video: How To Coupon

Disclaimer: This is not me. I found this video on YouTube and think it's very helpful for the purposes of this blog. I hope to eventually make videos myself but for now I don't have the resources. Enjoy this one in the meantime, though! :)

About Me

Before we really get going on how to save money, which is probably what you're really here for, let's be real, I thought I should let everyone know who they're hopefully going to be listening to.

One of my goals with this blog is to counter the misconception that a lot of people have when it comes to coupons: that it's lame. A lot of people seem to think that couponing is only something little old ladies do with their 12 cats, or the people like those depicted in the show 'Extreme Couponing,' which is completely inaccurate, by the way, but I'll probably get into that in more detail in a later post. The point I'm trying to make is: lots of people use coupons, and lots more can. It's not "lame," it's actually a great way to stretch your budget, which is something everyone is interested in, not just little old ladies.

So who am I? I already mentioned my name, and it's in the title of the blog, but I'm Rachael! Nice to meet you! I'm 23 years old, and I'm a student currently. I'm going for my Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications, with a focus in Advertising. I love to read and write in my spare time, and I also enjoy graphic design, both in a professional sense and as a hobby. I consider myself an amateur photographer.

So that's me! Who I am and what I like to do, when I'm not couponing, that is.

Here is a picture: 

I don't want to put a picture of myself on here, so here is my cat. His name is Hemingway and he is a very cool cat, as you can see.

Okay you convinced me, there I am. And now, you're probably asking, 'but Rachael, why didn't you go to Art School?!' I know, I know, but it was option, believe me. It just didn't pan out.

Anyway, all joking aside, I really do want to try and convince people with this blog that couponing can be something that the "cool kids" (or cats, although I have to cut his coupons out for him because of the thumb situation, you know) can do as well. Money is money people. And extra is the best kind of money, in my humble opinion.

Okay, that's the last of the introduction posts, the next ones will actually get into couponing and its practical use, which I will show you how to do. Hope you're excited, I sure am!

Until next time,

Peas out.

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The Basics.

Before I get into real couponing, let's go over the basics.

Just what are coupons?
I'm glad you asked! A coupon is many things, but if you want the dictionary definition, here it is, courtesy of dictionary.com:


[koo-pon, kyoo-]
a portion of a certificate, ticket, label, advertisement, or the like, set off from the main body by dotted lines or the like to emphasize its separability, entitling the holder to something, as a gift or discount, or for use as an order blank, a contest entry form, etc.
So there you have it. Coupons are a ... something. Really, though, for our purposes, a coupon is: money in your pocket. Everyone likes money, right? Right! So who wouldn't be able to keep some money when buying something, especially things that everyone has to buy, like food? One of the first lessons coupons taught me was that just because you don't have a lot of money doesn't mean you have to settle for less because you can't afford better. With coupons I'm able to purchase the basics, but then also have money to have some "extras," or things you want rather than need. Because what's life without some self-indulgence every once in a while?

But literally, a coupon is a piece of paper you can print out or cut out from another source that entitles you for a certain amount or percentage off of a service or product when you present that coupon at the time of the sale. There are many different types of coupons and not all places of business accept all coupons, so it's important to know ahead of time what coupons you can use for whatever you are shopping for. Which brings us to our next question:

Where can I use coupons?
Lots of places! It's great! But beware, different stores or places of business have different coupon/discount policies, so check ahead of time. For this part, Google is your best friend. Most stores will have a coupon policy, but it may be hard to find. Here are few of the most popular stores, though, and the stores I'll talk the most about for this blog:
  • Target - I seem to be having some trouble finding a link to the coupon policy on Target's own website, but this website explains it nicely for you. My favorite thing about Target is that they allow one manufacturer coupon AND one Target coupon on the same item. More about that later, but that is a huge money saver and a huge reason I do the majority of my shopping at Target.
  • Walmart - Pretty self-explanatory. They now accept competitor's coupons, but only if they specify a specific price on a specific item. They don't accept them for dollars/cents off an item.
  • Hy-Vee (Midwest grocery store chain)- Hy-Vee also accepts one manufacturer coupon plus one store coupon per item, but they don't have nearly as many store coupons as Target. Most of their store coupons are found in their weekly ad.
  • Kroger  - Again, I'm having trouble with their website, but this site explains it nicely.
  • Schnucks  - Specific stores may double coupons! Check with your local store.
  • Publix - Now I'm wishing I had a Publix nearby. Unlike every other store on this list thus far, Publix will accept competitor's coupons for a dollar amount off your total purchase, even coupons from competitors that want you to present a rewards card for that competitor. That's pretty nifty!
  • Rainbow Foods - Again, from an outside source, but this tells you everything you need to know.
Is your store not on the list? You can try Googling the coupon policy you need, or leave me a comment and I'll get on tracking it down!

That list is of grocery stores (and Super Centers) that accept coupons, but did you know you can use coupons elsewhere as well, on more than just food? Going back to Target for a moment, they offer store coupons on a variety of items over the year, including clothing, electronics, movies, music, and much more. Go here to see for yourself! They have a lot of great coupons available with the Holiday season upon us.

But other types of stores accept and offer coupons as well. Bed, Bath, & Beyond usually offers 20% off any item coupons with their flyer in the weekend paper in most places, or you can get one when you sign up for their email offer program. Some shoe stores also offer percentage off coupons in the paper, or even from the Catalina machines that a lot of stores use now to print off coupons at the register when you check out. I also get oil change coupons this way! There really are coupons for everything. You can also find hair cut coupons with relative ease, and then there's always sites like Groupon, which offer deals and discounts for various things in your area, like restaurants, shows, or other entertainment venues, plus much more.

Really, this day and age, if you want something, chances are there's a coupon for it! Again, Google is pretty much your best friend in that respect. If a coupon exists, chances are you can find it online, or at the very least someone has posted about it. You've just got to find it! Yes, using coupons does usually take some time, but the reward is great: more money for you! Who doesn't want that?

What can coupons do for me?
The main benefit is what I've said a few times at this point: MONEY. That's the big one. But there are other benefits to coupons. Is there a product you've always wanted to try, but don't want to spend a lot on it in case you don't like it? Use a coupon, get it at a deal, and then see how you feel about it without the guilt! Want to try something new? Try a website like Groupon and find something fun to do, but save money on it! Again, then you won't have to feel guilty for having some fun!

Are you living on a budget? Stick to it! Only use coupons for things you were going to buy already. Then what do you have? Some extra money. A good idea might be to then save that money in case of emergencies. You'd be surprised how fast it ads up. Have a $100 budget? Spend $100 but use coupons, and you could potentially spend only $80 or $90 of that. A couple weeks of that and you will see it start piling up. Then when you drive over a nail on the way home, it won't be the crisis it otherwise might be. Or you could put it away for a Holiday fund. Presents for everyone can get expensive, so you have money put away over the year that you'd otherwise be spending on food or other necessities, it can lighten the load considerably. Those are just some examples of ways to utilize your savings: it's up to you!

Coupons can also help you stick to your budget in other ways. If you're like me, once you get to the store you see all the delicious food and start thinking you can get a few extra things, but then those extra things start to pile up. If you tell yourself you won't buy anything "extra" you don't have a coupon for, it limits the extra money you might potentially spend on things you really don't need, or even wanted until you saw it. Once you get home, chances are you'll forget all about it, and you'll feel proud of all the money you've saved.

And there we have it, the basics of couponing. Or some of them, at least. We'll get more into detail in later entries. Try exploring some coupons on your own in the meantime if you're interested. Some websites I'll cover later that are good for coupons are: target.com, which I already linked to above, coupons.com, redplum.com, and I highly recommend signing up for both the Pillsbury and Betty Crocker websites as they always have awesome coupons, and again, that's something I'll go into more detail about later. Have fun, and stay awesome until next time!

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Welcome and Hello!

Hola! Guten Tag! Aloha! Hello! Welcome to Rachael's Coupon Spot, the place where I, Rachael, will talk about couponing and how it's helped me out, as well as give tips on how to start and be a successful couponer.

I started couponing a few years ago when I began to buy the majority of the groceries for my family, instead of paying my mom a monthly rent for still living at home after high school. When I started grocery shopping, I was shocked at how expensive most of the food was. I worked at a grocery store so I had a store discount, plus I tried to take advantage of sales whenever possible, but even that wasn't enough to buy all the things my family needed, and yes, wanted. Everyone deserves Oreo Cookies every once in a while, am I right?

I was first introduced to the world of couponing through online coupons available at the store I worked at. I was also cashiering at the time, so I got to see first hand how much you could save if you used coupons properly, and how much some people needlessly paid by not utilzing coupons. I began to use the online coupons, then expanded my search across the internet and found such websites as coupons.com and redplum.com, which both offer a wide array of very useful coupons, and then I began to use the coupon inserts from the weekend paper. I was shocked and amazed, in a good way, at how much money I could save simply by taking some time to print and cut out some coupons.

That was a few years ago, and these days I rarely shop anywhere without a coupon in hand. You can find coupons for everything, and I do mean everything. A lot of my clothing has been purchased with coupons; I bought my bicycle with a coupon, even; I have coupons when I go out to eat; and of course I have coupons when I go to the store. My usual rate of savings at a grocery store these days? Roughly 50%. Which means if I stock up on $200 worth of food, I'm walking out with it for only $100. Get $100 worth of food? I pay $50. When you're short on money, that can make all the difference in the world. Sound like something you could go for? Then feel free to look through this blog and stay tuned for further updates! I'll show you some easy tricks to same money, as well as show you how even using a few coupons can make all the difference for you budget.

I hope you enjoy my site, and feel free to look around! I hope it can help!

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Latest Month

December 2012