I’m new to couponing! How do I start?
Well firstly welcome to your new lifestyle of money saving! Couponing is one of the easiest ways to save a few pennies here and there, and we all know if you look after the pennies, the pounds take care of themselves! To get started, you need either one of two things, a smartphone or a computer and printer. Once you have these you can download Cashback apps (such as shopitize) or start hunting the Internet for money off coupons! Take note though as not every product you buy will have a coupon for money off, but don’t be discouraged, there are new coupons coming out all the time!
Where are the best places to find deals?
For the best range of coupons, you can use my coupon list which I update daily www.ukcouponing.co.uk/couponlist But if you fancy doing some digging of your own, you can always check a certain product manufacturers website for possible news about promotions or deals that are coming up. In Store magazines (such as the Tesco Magazine) have money off coupons on the second page, but don’t forget to look through all the pages, sometimes there are a couple of hidden gems buried within the pages!
What are the best systems in place to organise your coupons? files, online? (don’t keep in purse etc!)
Fortunately the Internet lists are updated and ready to print so you can just grab them as and when you need, but organising your coupons by expiry date is always good so you don’t miss out on a good deal. Fortunately ladies purses are often huge and come with lots of compartments so start organising by date and product type and you’ll have a quick find system that can’t go wrong! The biggest No No is to keep coupons in with other receipts or clutter because you may find yourself rummaging around for something that just isn’t there!
What are the best things to buy in bulk?
The best bulk buy products are the non perishables. Last year I bought over 20 tubes of toothpaste so that’s something I haven’t shopped for in a while! Items such as cleaning products, kitchen roll and canned goods will last for ages so if there’s a deal to be had, grab it while you can. Prices change but you will always need to clean your house!
Any items you should avoid getting over excited with if there are deals on? aka, fresh items…
Yes, definitely think carefully about things that you can’t freeze or products with short expiration dates. The deal may seem tempting to scoop up but think to yourself will you go through 8 pots of yoghurt a within a week? If you know you have a party coming up, by all means stock up but always think before you buy!
Best place for bargain holidays..
The trick is to wait until last minute (if you can) Lastminute.com have ‘Top Secret Hotel deals’ which are 5* Hotels that have loads of rooms left but don’t want you to know the name of the hotel until after you book. They give a brief description such as ‘5 Star Hotel in London’s West end with Swimming Pool and Spa’ just type this description in Google and it will often pull up the name of the hotel. in 2009 I booked a 3 night stay in London using this method and spent £270 instead of £900!
Worth signing up to loyalty cards, members websites. Good deals? do you ever get taken for a ride?
Yes, any loyalty card is worth signing up for (as long as there are no hidden sign up or membership fees) because you never know when you will pop into a shop and earn a few points here and there. My personal favourite is Tesco Clubcard as you can boost the vouchers to up to 4 x there value for things such as Cinema Tickets, Family Days out, Holidays! pretty much a whole range of things! you can go to there website to find out more.
When is a deal not what it seems?
Don’t get drawn in by half price and buy one get one free. These are sometimes there to entice you to buy something that you don’t always shop for. A half price offer is often the better deal since you get the same item you buy normally for half the price. Buy one get one free can tempt you to buy something because of the extra quantity so always think carefully before you see a saving.
Can you do an entire shop on coupons? (like the hardcore Americans!)
Yes, it is possible and I’ve managed over £60 completely free in the past but it takes a lot of time a preparation, gathering coupons, checking and rechecking store promotions and finding the best way to combine savings for an ultimate coupon haul! Unfortunately this is usually out of the realm of possibility for a weekly shop, but I manage around a 30% saving on my food bill each week with only a fraction of the effort needed. It’s always a good week when a new coupon comes out that really boosts your savings!
When people watch the American TV show Extreme Couponing it looks fantastic but the truth is these shoppers have 8 months to prepare their hauls and most of it is allowed (when it normally wouldn’t be) just because it’s going to charity.
Should i look for deals on money saved or longevity?
I’d say why not both? If you can sniff out a deal that will save you a little bit that’s great, but always remember the rule of “SAVE” Sale – is it likely to go on sale again soon? Amount – how many can you keep or use? Value – is the deal a good one? Expense – can you afford to pick up this deal? If you can answer these questions truthfully, you will know if this is the right time to stock up.
Any unlikley shops/sites that do good deals?
Approved Food is a site which sells products past there ‘sell by’ date for a fraction of the cost, I use them a lot to stock up on cooking sauce. Just because an item is past there ‘Sell by’ doesn’t mean they are inedible, it’s only the ‘Use by’ date you should pay attention too.
Or things you didn’t think you’d be able to get as a bargain? cars? house things etc?
I believe you can get anything you want for fraction of the cost! One man’s trash is another mans god! I’ve known people to decorate their homes with items from local freebie pages on facebook! there are also some really good swap sites on the internet, I tend to swap my Children’s clothes once they grow out of them for larger sizes, you will see this a lot amongst local baby ‘free, for sale or swap’ pages on facebook.
Do you need to clear space for storgae? (mega surplus food cupboards etc!)
Well I found myself running out of cupboard space so I looked into more shelving. It just so happened I found a self assembly shelving unit half price in my local B&Q. It was exactly what I was looking for and now I have a 4 tier unit that houses all my stocked goodies!
When is the best time of year for bargains?
Honestly, if you know where to look, all year is a great time! Shops are always changing their stock so they are always reducing to clear in old merchandise! Obvious times for sales are around Christmas and the January sales but Summer sales have some great opportunities. If you’re looking for specific items then it may pay to hold off as long as you can because you never know when a new sale is coming up.
Should you start looking for things for xmas next year now etc?
I’ve actually done 90% of my Christmas shopping already! I managed to get over £150 worth of presents for just £19! That was just one store and its ticked off 4 people from my Christmas list! Always keep in mind you can store presents in a box in your attic so a lovely candle gift set perfect for your Mother-In-Law will last until the time is right. If you can spend now your Festive budget won’t feel so tight!
and ANY other bargain hunting tips!
Keep an eye on Facebook pages listing bargains, mine is ‘UK Extreme Couponing and Freebies’ www.facebook.com/couponmumuk I have a community of over 135,000 and we are all active bargain hunters so you will find deals at a click of a button without searching yourself! BUT REMEMBER only buy something if you need it!