Tip of the day Tuesday – How do I start couponing?

One of the biggest questions I get asked by people is….how do I start couponing? The easiest answer, of course, is to start buying a Sunday paper and clipping the coupons from the inserts. The question that always follows that response is, “How do I know what I should keep? Should I just keep everything or just coupons for the stuff that I need?”

From my experience, most people who start couponing are probably already on a budget. In an effort to save money, they have probably been buying a lot of store brand items because it seems like this is the cheapest way to go and if you are not using coupons, it probably is. They don’t coupon because they don’t think there are many things that they would use coupons for.

Since I have started couponing, I have become a lot less brand loyal (I still have my favorites of course, and my husband has certain brands that he will only use). I have also been able to try a lot of products that I would have never purchased before because I thought they were too expensive. For example, I am now hooked on Tide and All laundry detergent, but I would have never purchased either one of those brands before my coupon days because of the cost.

So…..as you start couponing, my suggestion would be to start thinking about what coupons you would really use. Spend some time looking through your pantry and your refrigerator and your bathroom cabinets. Make a list as you go of the items that you use and be willing to set brand loyalties aside (once you have been couponing for awhile, you will learn the sales cycles and you can stock up on your favorite brands, but in the beginning, it helps if you’re willing to try some other brands). In one way or another, you can pretty much find a coupon for most items that you use (we’ll get to that later!)

Here are a few tips on coupons:
*BOGO (buy one, get one free) coupons are GREAT to have. Many times, the stores will have a BOGO sale and if you combine the store sale with your BOGO coupon, both items will be free.

*If your stores double or triple coupons, lower amounts are better (.35 or .50) because you can get things for free when the stores have 10/$10 sales.

*If your stores don’t double or triple, the higher dollar amounts are better.

*If a coupon comes out for an item that you use regularly, try to get multiple coupons. Chances are it will be going on sale soon and you can stock up.

I belong to several trading sites, so I have created a “wish list” for coupons I will use. I am sharing it here because as you look at it, you might get ideas. I have been able to find coupons for all of these items.

IPs (Internet Printed coupons):
Fast Fixin’ chicken: http://www.fastfixin.com/fanatics.php?section=4&catid=4
these go 10/$10 all the time making them free

Colgate Fresh Burst Max or Total toothpaste: http://offers.e-centives.com/siflo/r…NjlmYTI5ZjY%3D

Other ISO:
100 calorie packs
Advil (good on Cold & Sinus products)
Arm & Hammer laundry detergent
Baked Lays/Baked Ruffles
Betty Crocker fruit snacks
Blue Bell ice cream
Bounce dryer sheets
Bumble Bee tuna
Bush’s baked beans
Carnation Instant breakfast
Cascade 2in1 action packs
Cattleman’s BBQ sauce
Charmin tissue
Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers, any
Chef Boyardee (good on ravioli, regular cans or microwaveable, not “big bowls”)
Chicken of the Sea tuna
Claritin (Good on “D”)
Clorox ReadyMop items
College Inn (can be used on broth)
Cool Whip
Cottonelle tissue – OK for now
CVS – $/$ purchase (from mailers)
Daisy sour cream
Dawn Power dissolver spray
Dawn dish soap
Degree deodorant
Diet Coke
Dole canned fruits
Dole bagged lettuce/salad mixes
Dreyer’s ice cream (or Edy’s)
Edge shave gel
Electrasol gel packs or 3 in 1 gel tabs
Excederin (good on any)
Fantastik cleaners
Fresh Express bagged lettuce or salad mixes
Frigo ricotta cheese
Gillette deodorant
Gillette Fusion razors/blades
GM/Kelloggs cereals (off 1 or 2)
Green Giant canned vegetables
Gymboree store coupons
Healthy Choice meals (good on frozen entrees)
Hefty/Gain trash bags (*any brand of trash bags is OK)
Hellman’s mayo
Herbal Essences
Hidden Valley Ranch (good on packets as well)
Hormel chili
Hormel Cure 81 ham
Hormel pepperoni
Hormel bacon bits
Hormel canned chicken
Huggies Clean Team
Huggies diapers
Huggies Pull Ups
Huggies Little Swimmers
Hunt’s snack packs
IAMS dog food (especially good on Natural line)
Jello (good on Jello or pudding)
Jif peanut butter
Jiffy mixes
Johnson and Johnsons
Juicy Juice
Kellogg’s cereals
Kellogg’s pop tarts
Kellogg’s fruit snacks
Ken’s marinades
Ken’s salad dressings
Kraft cheese (good on any or on cheese slices)
Kraft dressings
Kraft Macaroni and cheese
Kroger catalinas (LMK)
Lawry’s marinades
Lean Cuisine meals
Libby’s canned vegetables
Lipton sides/seasonings
Luvs diapers
Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
McCormick’s seasonings/packets (good on any)
Mission flour tortillas or wraps
Mrs. Bairds bread
Nabisco (good on Wheat Thins)
Nature Valley granola bars
Old El Paso (taco sauce, taco seasoning, beans, enchilada sauce)
Orange juice (Minute Maid/Tropicana)
Oscar Mayer hot dogs
Oscar Mayer lunch meat
Pace picante sauce or beans
Pampers diapers
Pampers wipes
Paper towels (preferably Bounty or Bounty Basic)
Pasta Roni
Pepperidge Farm goldfish
Peter Pan peanut butter
Pharmacy coupons that include a gift card when you sign up for a new prescription (esp. CVS, Kroger, Target)
Philadelphia cream cheese
Pillsbury Grands biscuits
Pillsbury crescent rolls
Pledge dusters
Progresso soups
Purex laundry detergent
Puppy treats (T-Bone, Snawsomes, Puperoni, Milk Bone, etc.)
Quaker granola bars
Quaker rice cakes
Reynolds crockpot liners
Reynolds release wrap
Rice a Roni
Rosarita refried beans (or any other brand of refried beans!)
Sara Lee bread
Sargento cheese
Schepps milk
Schick razors (good on blades, too)
Scrubbing Bubbles
Skippy peanut butter
Skinny Cow (good on milk or on the ice cream bars)
Skintimate shaving gel
Smucker’s Uncrustables
Sun-Maid raisins
Swansons broth (good on beef or chicken broth)
Swiffer dusters
Target store coupons (LMK what you have, CRTs work, too!)
Totino’s, Tony’s or Red Baron pizza
Tyson fresh chicken (.50/1 or $1/1)
Van Kamp’s pork & beans
Velveeta Shells & cheeseVelveeta cheese
Weight Watchers frozen entrees (good on Smart Ones)
Weight Watchers – I can use all kinds of stuff (the yogurt/smoothies/candy/muffins/etc.)
Wine tags good on meat or chicken, produce, cheese (NWPN)
Wishbone dressings
Ziploc bags


  1. what does other ISO stand for?

  2. The Consumer Queen says:

    It stands for In Search Of. Those are all great tips thanks for sharing!