Becoming a savvy saver doesn't mean you have to devote hours and hours of your week to clipping coupons or that you have to hop from store to store in order to nab the best deals, says Kelly Gubler, blogger and couponer for Discount Queens.
She says people often get overwhelmed when they try to take advantage of every sale at every store; instead, she recommends starting small.
"To be honest, to this day, I have one favorite grocery store and one favorite drug store that I shop at weekly," she says. "Sure, other stores have awesome deals too, but not everyone has time for that."
It's OK if you don't have time to shop around; if you're saving money on your bottom line by keeping it simple, then there's no need to worry about what you might be missing out on.
Kelly recently shared some more of her expert couponing tips with us. Read on:
Tell us about Discount Queens ... when and why did you start your site?
The site was started amongst friends just trying to share good deals with each other. I was friends with one of the original Discount Queens and loved it so much they allowed me to be part of it. Everyone loves a good deal, so it wasn't long before it grew into something more. And it keeps growing today!
What will we find on it?
On Discount Queens, you'll find the best deals around! We feature everything from grocery deals and teaching people how to be successful at couponing, to retail deals that help people provide for their families' needs without breaking the bank. We even feature money-saving DIY tips and projects!
How did you get your start as a couponer?
I started couponing about six years ago. I had a 2- and 4-year-old at the time and was a stay-at-home mom. Living on only one income can be challenging. I wanted to be home with my kids, but I was always looking for ways to help supplement our income. I learned that I didn't necessarily need to MAKE money, just learn how to SAVE money. Soon enough, I had cut our grocery bill in half and was learning how to get the best deals on kids clothes, toys, etc., that I was saving about $400 a month and only spending about an hour or two per week doing it. Best part-time job I've ever had!
What were the biggest lessons you had to learn early on about smart couponing?
There's definitely a learning curve to couponing. Each store has its own set of policies and rules. Coupons also have fine print on them, and I learned the hard way to make sure to read it. It didn't take very long, and I quickly became good and fast at it. If I can do it, anybody can do it!
What tips do you have for anyone who's just starting couponing? What are some basic rules of thumb to be aware of? Some couponing dos and don'ts ...
For someone wanting to learn more, my recommendation is to start small. Don't overwhelm yourself. Pick your favorite store to shop at and begin there. Become familiar with their coupon policies and weekly sales. There are tons of coupons available online that you can print for free. My favorite is Coupons.com. It's all about pairing a coupon with items that are on sale or other store promotions. As you feel more and more comfortable, branch out to other stores and consider getting a newspaper subscription for added savings. I promise you'll be surprised at how much you can save!
Seems like couponers have their own special language ... is it universal? What are some basic couponing terms everyone should know?
Yes, I suppose we do have our own special language, haha. Luckily on Discount Queens, we break down this "lingo" for everyone so they're not in the dark when it comes to reading the deals. We have an entire Couponing for Beginners section with a complete breakdown of Coupon Lingo.
What are some basic tools every couponer needs?
Just a computer and a printer! And a binder or folder of some sort to organize your coupons. It's convenient to have a newspaper subscription for added coupon savings and store ads ... but not required. You can view just about all stores' ads online as well as print coupons for free.
How much time do you spend a week collecting, curating and using coupons? How much effort is involved in finding big savings with coupons?
I probably spend about an hour or two a week preparing my coupons and store lists. It depends on how much you want to save and how much time you have to work with. I have four kiddos with two heavily involved in sports that keep me busy, so at this point in my life that's all I can spend.
What's the most exciting purchase you've made using your couponing savvy?
Too many to share! Recently I walked away with $90 worth of products from Rite Aid, with only paying out of pocket $5.72!