Welcome to Southern Savers, where finding deals and steals is simple and rewarding!

See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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5 simple ways to stress free couponing

Yesterday I shared a fun free eBook with lots of simple ways to save money, use coupons, entertain your kids and more.  Now it’s time to share 5 new simple tips.

Couponing is “in” there is no doubt about that.  Just because everyone is doing it though doesn’t mean it is easy.  For some of you this is a sea of abbreviations and terms that are Greek, and others of you see something that looks like math and you’re done!

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or foreign.  Here are 5 simple ways to get started couponing.  I am assuming that you already understand the basic concepts, if you don’t read the learn to coupon page first then come and apply these 5 tips to get started with the least stress!

Does the thought of coupons stress you out?  Check out these 5 tips to get you on your way to saving money with stress free couponing.

1.  Don’t Cut Your Coupons

As you get started you will run into folks that have a large binder (or multiple binders) of clipped coupons.  While this can help people feel they are saving more money, it also VERY time consuming.  When you are just starting out, going that intense will only make you more frustrated.

Instead of cutting everything, try taking the inserts from the Sunday paper and filing them by the date in an accordion file.  Then when you pull up your list of deals for the week cut only the coupons that you will need that week.

For example: You see SS 1/01 at the end of a coupon.
This means the coupon was in the Smart Source newspaper insert on January 1st.

2.  Pick One Store to Shop

There is no need to run all over town getting every deal you see at every store.  If you wait, you will see many of the same deals at the store you shop at.  Grab what is on sale at your store this week and head home proud of your savings rather than frantic from a day of shopping.

3.  It’s Okay To Not Use A Coupon

Yep, I just said that.  One the most frustrating things for folks is when you see a coupon on your shopping list but you don’t have it.  Because coupon inserts vary by region, you will never have all the coupons.  It is better to buy something on sale without a coupon than it is to pay full price.  Disregard the coupons you don’t have and shop away.

4. Everything Does Go On Sale

The number one excuse folks give me as to why they don’t coupon is, “The things I buy never go on sale”.  Not true.  Everything goes on sale.  It may not be a wowing BOGO sale, but your favorite items do have a period that they are marked down.  Start watching sales and you will eventually learn what a good price for your item is.  For some items, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  We buy some gluten-free foods on Amazon, their prices for a bulk size package almost always beat the grocery store sale price.

5.  Drop Brand Loyalties

If you just aren’t agreeing with #4… I promise you will save more money if you are willing to change up a few brands.  There are a few brands that will never hit the sale prices of others in the same category.  It doesn’t hurt to try a few others if you can get them for a fraction of the cost.  Being content with a few different brands will also decrease the amount you need to stock up on, since you will see more frequent deals.

Hopefully these can help take away the stress that can be associated with couponing.  Remember that anything you do to save money is better than saving nothing at all.  Even if you aren’t up for being a “couponer” yet at least start small and save something!

    • guest

      I have found that it is “do-able” to have brand loyalties if you are buying for one or maybe 2. Example by the time my daughter was 12 she found she preferred a particular shampoo. That was my less preferred brand so she got that brand all to herself and I got the one I preferred

    • Onethriftydiva

      For me, it is actually easier to clip the coupons from the paper and file them in an accordian style coupon organizer. That way, just from clipping and filing away the coupons in my organizer I generally know what coupons I have so that when I see a sale, i know to look for that coupon. I feel like if I didn’t do it this way, I’d never know what coupons I have that might not be listed on your site. Also, if I see a great deal in the store that I wasn’t expecting, my coupons are clipped and ready to hand over to the check out clerk!

      • AP

        I agree.  My local grocery stores have great clearance racks, and a lot of times I’m able to stack a coupon with the great deal just by taking a few seconds to check my box (I use an index filing box and arrange it by departments–ie: baking, frozen, etc).

    • Onethriftydiva

      For me, it is actually easier to clip the coupons from the paper and file them in an accordian style coupon organizer. That way, just from clipping and filing away the coupons in my organizer I generally know what coupons I have so that when I see a sale, i know to look for that coupon. I feel like if I didn’t do it this way, I’d never know what coupons I have that might not be listed on your site. Also, if I see a great deal in the store that I wasn’t expecting, my coupons are clipped and ready to hand over to the check out clerk!

    • April

      I def have to clip the coupons out or I dont have a clue what i have

    • April

      I def have to clip the coupons out or I dont have a clue what i have

    • tryn2sav

      For me I think it’s much easier to file them in a accordion folder. I have kids and don’t have time to cut all those coupons all the time.

    • tryn2sav

      Oh Jenny, I love the way you said don’t run all over town, getting every deal at every store. When i started earlier last year I was getting burnt out from doing that. Until you posted that back then, and I was like so it’s okay to shop at one store. Whew! what a relief.

    • Mel

      I’d also add that sometimes it’s okay to take a break.  I’ve been doing it for almost 2 years now and just getting burned out.  I have a stock pile of almost everything I need for the next few months, so I’ll just look at the ads for the few things I can always use more of (TP, for example) and we’re going to try to live off of what we have (of course, minus fresh fruits and veggies and some meat and things like that).  It took me a long time to give myself the okay to do this, but I need to focus on other things right now and the world isn’t going to end if I take a break for a few months (right?) ; )

    • BamaGirl43

      Filing whole inserts is definitely best for me.  I was getting a constant inflow of coupons from people who would give me stacks of inserts.  The clipping and the filing took hours and as soon as I was through, someone would give me more.  I almost pulled my hair out.  Sure, I may miss a deal here and there, but my time is worth so much more.

    • Polly

      So I have to agree,  on many accounts, but I have a question……I live in an area where I can’t find a site that matches up the deals to my local stores (I thought I had found onesite but it is 3 weeks behind in posting), thus if I have to start on my own — how will I know which coupons I have in my accordian file?  Words of advise?  I’ve tried clipping and its a wonderland of paper (and not so pretty!!)  Looking for any guidance……. Wish I had a PUBLIX near me….

      • Wowalex

        You can use Jenny’s Coupon database if your paper is listed.  Maybe a little more time to type in every coupon but would save you from clipping everything!

      • Ginger

        Take your store’s ad flyer, and sit down with it and a coupon database. Jenny has one here, up at the top of the page, you’ll see a white tab. Click on that tab to get to the database, then if say, Pillsbury crescents are on sale, type in pillsbury, and the database will tell you what coupons are out. Another database I use sometimes is at Hot Coupon World. (dotcom)
        Then you can just mark the info down on your flyer, or your list, or your spreadsheet, or whatever you use to keep organized. HTH.

    • http://profiles.google.com/kbraden03 Kime’ Braden

      I have to say I did do the filing thing but then I noticed I was missing out on unadvertised sales. So, now I clip all my coupons that I know I will use their are some I don’t ever use like dog food, hair color etc. I find that doing that and having it organized according to how the store is set up is best for me. 

    • Deb

      One suggestion if you are going to cut your coupons (I do for the same reasons others mentioned)- get a paper trimmer, also called a paper cutter, instead of using scissors.  I have an old one that we inherited from my husband’s parents (no ideas what they used it for).  It makes all the difference in the world.  And kids think it’s fun to use (always nice to get some help!).

    • Deb

      One suggestion if you are going to cut your coupons (I do for the same reasons others mentioned)- get a paper trimmer, also called a paper cutter, instead of using scissors.  I have an old one that we inherited from my husband’s parents (no ideas what they used it for).  It makes all the difference in the world.  And kids think it’s fun to use (always nice to get some help!).

      • AP

        I also like the “Slice Cutter” (sold at Walmart).  It’s a ceramic blade that is used similar to an X-Acto knife, but much safer & easier!  You can trim out a q in the middle of a page w/out cutting off excess paper.

    • ann

      Thanks for stating that it’s ok to Not shop EVERY store. Sometimes I see great deals at stores I don’t frequent and wish I could go there for those few items. I’ve stopped kicking myself for missing these deals and just am greatful for the deals I get at my store. 

      • AP

        I used to also, but then realized I wouldn’t have gotten the great deals I DID get without this site & my organization, so I’m still better off than before couponing!

    • Donnag35044

      i’ve tried your approach to just keeping the coupons in its insert until you post whats on sale but i’ve noticed that i miss more coupons doing it this way where if i use my binder i can find them easier just from turning my pages in my binder with me its better for me to do the binder than filing system but i’ve heard alot of people say its easier for them with the filing system way but i think its just better depending on how ever you can remember where the coupons are best

    • Donnag35044

      i’ve tried your approach to just keeping the coupons in its insert until you post whats on sale but i’ve noticed that i miss more coupons doing it this way where if i use my binder i can find them easier just from turning my pages in my binder with me its better for me to do the binder than filing system but i’ve heard alot of people say its easier for them with the filing system way but i think its just better depending on how ever you can remember where the coupons are best

      • Monica Miller

        I totally LOVE my binder. Of course, I spend time clipping coupons, but I have gotten it down to a science now where I NEVER get behind each week and it takes me an hour to complete my madness.  I buy 4 papers, match pages, staple the coupons on each page, and then go back and cut the coupons.  i let them all fall to the floor(since the stapled like coupons stay together), then I sort by category, then file. Timed myself the last 3 weeks and it took 1 hour while I watch TV.  I found that MANY times I am out shopping and run into cheap discounted deals and if I had not cut those coupons, I would have missed out. I would love to be able to have a programmed list of coupons so I wouldn’t have to cut, but the binder is easy for me. You will learn to not rely so much on others to find deals

    • guest

      I got so frustrated with the binder method that I stopped using coupons altogether. I shop at Target for now.  They’re closer than the other stores and their prices are pretty reasonable.

    • Billie

      I’ve learned never to get behind on my coupons again! For a few weeks I was so sick of coupons I would still buy my papers pull the inserts out and throw them in my coupon bin. I keep a bin with a lid so my toddlers stay out of them. But it just became a mess of papers from pulling pages out and I missed deals because I couldn’t find anything. So now I keep up takes me about and hour or two (if I get board) to sit down and cut 6-10 papers a week and put them in my binder. I tried the use the file but never worked out because once you start cutting them it becomes a mess. I also tried to use the page covers and just file them in a binder in order by page, insert, and date didn’t like that either, I love my binder I just need to keep at it. And If I want a break to just not buy any papers.

      • Billie

        bored***…lol

    • Sandy

      I personally like clipping my coupons every week and putting them in a small box I have (that fits well into a shopping cart seat, along with my purse), I had a small box from some shipment I received, I cut dividers out of folders and labeled them all, used scotch tape on the tab of each divider I made so they would not tear anytime soon. :)  After every hectic weekend I take Monday evening to not cook, I sit on my bed, cut coupons, watch some of my favorite shows, file the coupons. Then during the week I pull out what I know I am def going to use along with my list and also take my box with me.

    • Leslie

      I also like clipping my coupons and keeping them in a binder. I clip anything that I would buy if it were on sale. Nothing more frustrating than going to a grocery store, seeing an unadvertised deal or clearance item and knowing you have a coupon for it in your accordion file at home. Also, frustrating to read there is a coupon in a SS or RP only to flip through it several times and there not actually being a coupon. That is very time consuming.