How to start couponing – Figuring out how many coupons you need and the three types of shoppers
If you are wondering how to start couponing or have been thinking about using coupons, you will need to figure out how many coupons you need. You don’t want to see a hot deal at the store on a item that you need to stock up on, only to find you only have 1 or 2 coupons and you needed 3 or 4. Honestly, the best way to determine how many inserts you need is to get one insert per person living in your home. I have smaller children so I get one insert per two of them. So we are getting 4-5 inserts a week, and I find that it is enough to keep our pantry stocked up most of the time.
I often get asked “Why do I need more than 1 insert every week?”
The answer to that question is answered with another question – “How much money do you want to save?”
There are three basic levels of shoppers:
- Average Shopper
- Average Couponer
- Smart Couponer
Let’s talk about the average shopper:
This person usually doesn’t have a written shopping list, generally won’t use coupons, and doesn’t pay much attention to generic brands or how much you are paying, just that that is the item you want and so it goes in the cart. You hurry about your shopping trip, quickly getting what you think you will need for the week and pile it all in. This person usually save less than 10% on their grocery and household items
Next is the Average Couponer:
This shopper will go into the store with a grocery list in mind, and sometimes written down. They have a handful of coupons they have clipped from the 1 insert that they get. for items they know they like or want to try or need. They usually shop at stores like Walmart and Target and just use their coupons with the regular prices. They still don’t want to spend a huge amount of time shopping so they try and get the best deals, but want to get their groceries and get home. This person will usually save 10-25% on their groceries and household items.
Last is the Smart Couponer:
This person plans out their shopping list, knowing what they have at home and what they need to get. (I am sure you have all bought a few cans of soup thinking you were out, and then got home to find 10 on the shelf and you were out of veggies…lol). This person also takes the time to look at the weekly ads to see what is sale and stock up on items that they need while they are a good price. This person has a stockpile (big or small) of the items they use a lot. They buy these items at discount (on sale with coupons and rewards) so they don’t pay very much, and keep a few on hand so they don’t have to pay full price for them, if they run out. This person gets multiple coupon inserts and uses coupons with the sales every time they go shopping and can find a deal. This person will save 25-100% on their groceries and household items almost every time! (Average savings is about 50-75%).
Be sure to checkout our STORE DEALS AND MATCHUPS to save you time when you are planning your trips
To give you a more visual example, I want to show a shopping trip I did.
Here is how it would break down:
Average Shopper: $98.47 for everything pictured (About $75 + tax at Walmart)
Average Couponer: $65.58 for everything pictured (About $57.25 + tax at Walmart)
Smart Couponer: $14.63 for everything pictured (can’t get these savings at Walmart because of the sales, store coupons and rewards)
(to see all the details of this shopping trip, you can see them here)
The average shopper paid full price for everything – saving NOTHING.
The average couponer paid $65.58 for everything – a savings of 33%
The smart couponer paid $14.63 for everything – a savings of 85%
It took me about 10-15 minutes to get all of the coupons together and write out my shopping list. That 10-15 minutes saved me $50, so totally worth the “time” it took to use coupons!
You can’t get this kind of savings if you only have one insert. In order to stock up on the items you need and use, you need to have enough coupons to get them at the discount price.
How to Start Couponing Series:
- (Week 1) – Gathering and Organizing Coupons
- (Week 2) – Figuring out how many coupons you need and the three types of shoppers
- (Week 3) – Figuring out how much you need to stockpile & why
- (Week 4) – Preparing your Shopping List and Coupons
- (Week 5) – Shopping the Sales