key to couponing
Couponing Basics

The Key to Couponing

Many people who want to start couponing feel instantly defeated because they think they can’t unlock the “secret method” that will allow them to save a lot of money. I think couponing has developed a bad reputation of being complicated and time-consuming when, in reality, couponing is actually quite simple.

I’m going to teach you the key to really saving money with coupons in just 5 simple steps. Ready?

  1. Find a high value coupon.
  2. Find a good sale.
  3.  Find a rebate, store coupon, ECB offer, or some other stackable savings.
  4. Combine them all.
  5. Ta-da! You have a great deal!

I hope you aren’t disappointed, but there really is no complicated algorithm. You don’t have to spend hours doing research or clipping coupons. You just have to use your coupons at the right time.

That means, don’t go buy your newspaper and use all the coupons right then. You want to hang on to them until the right time.

The right time is when the item is on sale at a very low price. It would be even better if you could combine a store coupon, Register Reward, or similar store savings.

Use your coupon on the item that’s on sale and you have a great deal!

An example would be when Electrasol put out some high value $2.25/1 Finish product coupons. I would have still had pretty good savings if I went and used my coupon right then and bought them at Walmart. However, I waited until Target had them on sale for $2.50 AND they were offering a $0.50/1 store coupon. By combining the sale, coupon, and store coupon I was able to get the detergent for FREE!

By following the five steps I listed above, I was able to get even greater savings than I would have if I’d just used my coupon right away.

Don’t let couponing become more complicated than it really is. If you give up before you start, you can really miss out on this very easy way to save money.

Are you overwhelmed by couponing? Is there any information you feel like you’re missing?

photo credit: greeblemonkey via photopin cc


  1. I have read your advice word for word time after time but evidently, I continue to not understand how the concept of couponing works. Trust me this is not a put down. I have read various other articles on this and it just seems to not register in my mind. I would like to get a firm grasp on this. I think I just might need a little more explaining. I’ve attempted couponing many times. The only thing that gets in my way is how to use them, how do i tell if it doubles, does the coupon automatically go to 1.00? I realize that this website was lat updated a while back, but if you’d be so kind, could you get back to me or anyone else on the page?


    • Hi Camryn. Sorry to hear you’re having troubles. I recommend reading some of the beginner’s resources. It has everything you need to understand how to coupon, where to start, and all the rules. Good luck! 🙂

      Oh – and as far as your question about the doubles. Yes – the coupon will automatically double if you store allow coupon doubles.


  2. I don’t understand how you can save on couponing. I buy store brand items, I boycott big box stores for environmental reasons and I never find coupons for brands I do use. How does this help if you want to be conscience of the environment and big box policy toward its workers, etc?


  3. I’ve seen one episode of E.C. where the lady created her own table on Excel that had her pricing all organized. I’m trying to make one too but I am such a newbie at all of this. HELP PLEASE!!

    Oh, and I’ve been reading down the list of posts and I think since this whole “shelf-clear”-ing thing is kinda getting out of hand because of the show, they should cancel it. I mean, its not that I don’t like the show, but because of it, most policies are starting to change and whatnot. If you really think about it, every show has the same plot. It shows the couponer explaining why they got into couponing, they go on their shopping trip, wait anxiously and nervously at the register, and everything goes as planned, saving a whole lot! I love the show, but if its going to affect the couponers in the future, cancel it.


  4. I started couponing a few months ago, but I am just now getting back into it after about a month hiatus. My biggest issue with couponing is trying to come up with an efficient filing system. I keep a spreadsheet so I can easily sort by category, brand name, source, and expiration and my coupons are stored in a 13 pocket clutch organizer by category. I print out my spreadsheet when I go shopping. But them I am easily overwhelmed when I spot an unexpected deal and I have to pull out my fat stack of “pharmacy” coupons to find that one particular coupon. Even more overwhelmed when it comes time to purge the expired coupons. I like efficiency and it was just taking too long to do the things I wanted to do, hence the hiatus.


  5. T.V. has definitely distorted reality when it comes to couponing. It’s hard not to feel stupid when you see other people getting things for free as if you just can’t figure it out. When I stopped couponing like I had something to prove I found that we were grocery shopping and spending a lot less and living off of our pantry and modest stock pile more. This DEFINITELY came in handy when my husband suddenly got laid off last month and we’ve been just fine 🙂 He’s working again and I’m enjoying couponing more…really it shouldn’t be anything that adds more stess to our lives.

    Oh and in regards to buy milk products (and other perishables) I love finding the “price reduced for quick sale” items. Often times they are still good for at least a week or can be frozen until use. Rcently I bought a gallon of milk for $1.59 and the sell by date was almost a whole month away! I do the same thing with hot dogs…seriously when did milk & hot dogs get so dang expensive??? Lol…sorry for the long post!


  6. One other important key is to be patient. It takes awhile to build up your coupon stash and your pantry so that you really only need to shop the deals, not for just what you need — that is how you get the really good deals. I still haven’t figured out how to save more on dairy products (milk , plain whole milk yogurt) but I am encouraged by my progress. Couponing 101 has been so helpful and inspirational. Thanks!


  7. I have notice that the people I talk to are discourage about couponing. I always say that it is ALWAYS one step to your millions! ha! Also, you have to be willing to try new things.


  8. I have been couponing for 6 months and I have seeing the savings.. YEA
    I take the time and the effort to look and find deal on my own and from blogs. I just hate the fact when I find a deal and I walk down the row and turn to see the deal and the whole shelve is empty and the person turning the corner had 3 carts and all the febrezes from that shelve you are standing infront of. I say leave some for the others who took the time to save to.


  9. I agree with this. Start simple work with a few items and learn and grow. Making it complicated makes for defeat. I started small stockpiling only 10 major items- laundry supplies, bathroom essentials and worked from there. After two months my coupon binder has grown and I have added a lot more to my stockpile by following deals.
    I also believe if I need it and don’t have a coupon that is okay too get it and when it comes on sale and I do have coupons get more. Couponing takes me an hour a day preparing coupons, checking deals and seeing if any specials on items I need have popped up.


  10. I agree with you Carol. I have been couponing for about 4 or 5 months now but even before then when we got the paper I would use them if I could. I don’t think the expiration dates are long enough either. Plus I think that the amount on the coupons is getting less and less. It is either that or they want you to buy 3 of the item in order to get $.75 off. When I first started there were some really good deals and coupons. Target used to have a lot more items that got you the $5 gift card but in the last 3 or 4 of them, that has not been the case. I really do think that E.C. on t.v. is not helping at all. The majority of people do not do that kind of hoarding and emptying the shelves. It really is to bad that it seems to be affecting the way the coupons and deals are going. Just MHO.


  11. I am sorta new to couponing (I have tried in the past and always get frustrated and stop) but I have noticed that the expiration date on the coupons now do not seem to be very long. Most that I seem to get in my paper are only for 3 weeks to 6 weeks max. Is this my imagination? Is this because of all the TV shows on extreme couponing? It makes it really hard to use them because it seems like when I try to hold them for a sale, by the time the sale comes around the coupon is out of date. Am I doing something wrong?


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