The Art of Couponing

by Michelle Fox


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Are you new to couponing? It's okay! Everyone has to start there. Just pay attention, don't be afraid to ask questions and read everything you can. Before long, you will be answering "newbie" questions yourself. Okay, take a deep breath and let's get started.

  1. Saving coupons - Start saving coupons. Any coupons! All coupons! The more coupons you have, the more money you can save. I realize there are "brand loyal" people out there, but when you begin getting products free or nearly free, it tends to make you pliable and willing to try other brands and products that you aren't familiar with.

  2. Organize coupons - Now, here comes the "sticky" part. Which method of coupon organization should you use? File Box or Binder method? I have used both and, to tell you the truth, I am still looking for the "perfect" way to utilize my coupon stash in the store.

    We all know that coupons do you no good sitting at home on your desk or on the kitchen table. To me, they are like money. They are money. It would be like leaving my wallet at home. So, get off the fence and choose a method to organize your coupons.

    File Box - It's like a recipe box of sorts. It's easy to file coupons and flip through to find the coupons you need. If you can find one that's compact, has a handle and holds a ton of coupons, like the one here at the middle of the page.

    Binder Method - I use this method. I use a black, fabric zippered three-ring binder. It has a clear, zippered section that covers the front of the binder that would easily hold an 8x10 photo. But I keep receipts and "need to use this trip" coupons, etc. in there.

    I am in the process of converting my pages to this method because you can lay the binder, spine down, in the shopping cart child seat and flip through the pages. Some people like to use the "trading card" pages, but I think it is too cumbersome to trim the coupons so close. And I have found the pockets too small to retrieve the coupons. I want to come up with a prototype to be the "perfect" page for my binder. We shall see.

  3. "Study" the grocery ads - After sorting, clipping and filing your coupons, trust me, you will see an item on sale and the "light" will come on. "I have coupons for that!" The adrenaline will start to pumping.

  4. Product size - I don't know about you, but I had it "drilled" into my head that buying the larger sizes will save you money. Sometimes, yes, that is true. But in the land of coupons, smaller is better. Let's say you have a 40 cents off coupon for Joe's Ketchup. Your store doubles coupons so you will get 80 cents off a bottle. A 16-ounce bottle is on sale for 99 cents and a larger size (32 oz.) is $1.87. Most people would go for the larger bottle of ketchup, thinking that it is a better deal because you get more. But, with your double coupon savings, you would pay 19 cents for the 16-ounce bottle. If you have two coupons, you'd get 32 ounces (same as the larger size) for 38 cents versus $1.07 for the larger size ketchup ($1.87 - .40 - .40). Going for the smaller size proves to be the better deal.

Many, many times I have gotten things free by coupling a sale + a coupon + double coupon = FREE. I love it. This is no longer a hobby. It's a way of life. To save money, I build up stockpiles of regularly-used items and share the surplus with those in need around me, which does my heart good.

My DH (Dear Husband) says that I remind him of a fisherman, coming home and boasting of my "catch of the day."

Even if I had all the money in the world, I would still "coupon." It truly is a way of life. And it's one that I am passing on to my children. My daughter is a "coupon princess in training" and my sons, who are watching, can't help but listen to me about all "my deals." My husband just rolls his eyes. But he knows why I do this. Sure, it gives me a sense of satisfaction, but it benefits my family and those around me in need. Plus, through my frugal ways, in some way, I hope to raise people's awareness in the art of couponing and saving money.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to email me at michelle@frugalandfree.com.

Now, go forth and save. Help the needy. Start in your home… in our country… one family at a time.


Michelle Fox is a busy and frugal wife and mom in Pueblo, Colorado. In addition to her coupon shopping and frugal lifestyle, Michelle also maintains her own coupon-clipping service at www.frugalandfree.com.

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