Diary of a Couponing Newbie: Learning as I Go

by Marcy on July 6, 2011 · 3 comments

The following is a guest post written by Devin Ventre for Stretching a Buck Blog, chronicling her journey into the world of couponing. This post is part 3 in the series “Diary of a Couponing Newbie“. Learn more about “Extreme Couponing the Smart Way” in the All About Couponing Series.

Read Part 1 and Part of this series.

I was bent over the computer last night, coupons spread all around, my keys with those little grocery keyfob thingies laying next to me, three lists printed, highlighted and circled, and one more in the printer. My husband walks up and says, “Why is this taking so long? How hard can this really be?” Yeah… for someone who is dedicated to saving the $400 this month that she wants, it’s a lot of work. And now I’m a little frustrated, because I just discovered what I did wrong a few days ago, way back when I was new at this.

Here’s what happened.

A friend recommended the Grocery Game, which is a website that shows you how to maximize your savings by using coupons in tandem with store sales. Probably everyone else already knows this, but it’s news to me. When I signed up for my free trial and plugged in my store, I saw that I had made a grave mistake by only clipping the few coupons I thought I would need out of the Sunday paper and then chucking the rest of them. There were some items which I could get for FREE if I had the coupons. Maybe it wasn’t something I needed this week, but I could stockpile it! French’s spicy mustard, toothbrushes, bathroom cleaner! FREE! Sigh…

This means, you have to SAVE the old coupon inserts. You’re supposed to date them, and save them in some sort of file folder or bin or something. To get the free bathroom cleaner, I would need coupons from two different dates. It’s starting to look like this month is going to be a starter month.

Still, I can clip the coupons I have and buy the stuff I need. Well, sort of… There are actually a lot of coupons out there for things I don’t buy. And there are coupons for really expensive things that are cheaper if I buy the store brand – even with no coupon. Well, for now, these ones can get dated and go into the bin and maybe I can get these undesirable or expensive things later for free…

To make things worse, I read on a local blog that the Post that I just subscribed to will have no coupon insert this week. WHAT?! Don’t they know that that’s why 96% of subscribers are getting the paper? Why else would I want a dirty old newspaper with yesterday’s news in the house? As a side note, they actually offered me the daily Post, delivered, absolutely free. When they told me there were no coupons in there, I politely declined. What would I do with all that paper?

Note from Marcy: Check out my Coupon Insert 101 post for more tips about the Sunday Coupon Inserts. I also publish weekly Sunday Coupon Insert Previews here.

Devin Ventre is a homeschooling mother of two living in northern Virginia who wanted a cleaning lady. She couldn’t afford one, and decided to save some money using coupons. Now she has her house cleaned twice a month. This is her story.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole July 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

As for what to do with all that paper, I take it over and donate it to a local animal shelter. They line the cages with it.

2 Nicole July 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

BTW I love knowing that there is someone else out there new at this having similar issues as I do! Thanks for sharing!

3 Amber July 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM

I work for a national newspaper. Newspapers do not get to decide when coupons will and will not be in the paper. Manufacturers tell newspapers when to put the coupons in the paper and how many inserts to include. Newspapers simply deliver as they are told, per their contract.

There are never coupons before a major holiday. It’s standard practice with all newspapers and coupon manufacturers.

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