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Now that I have your attention, let’s get started with couponing in the fast lane. Couponing is one of those activities that takes planning and organization. In order to keep up with and understand the heavy hitter coupon bloggers, you have to be prepared and have some knowledge as to what they are talking about. Most importantly, you have to have ammunition; by this I mean you need coupons. If you have ever been to a coupon blogger’s site, you already know that the majority of the time you cannot take advantage of the deals because you are not equipped with what you need or you do not understand what they are instructing you to do.  There are a few different coupon resources but the foundation are the coupon inserts found in your local Sunday paper.  Let’s start there and I will move you through one step at a time.

For those that already indulge in the art of couponing, hang in there with me, you may pick up on a new technique.

Let’s take a look at newspaper inserts:

The most obvious and most popular coupon outlet are those newspaper inserts that accompany the Sunday paper. The secret is to purchase more than one because you cannot possibly stock up with only one coupon. I purchase 5 papers every week from the AJC street vendors.  The investment is $7.50 up from $5. As mentioned in my earlier post, the AJC as forced the street vendors to increase their prices; however, it is up to you where you purchase your papers.  If you miss out, you can always order the whole inserts via mail-order. I do this if I am out-of-town or I somehow miss the Sunday paper. There are two outlets I have used thus far that you might find helpful either if you are stocking up or you miss the your local Sunday paper. You will also notice that these outlets offer stock up deals and clearance bundles. Check out Wholecouponinserts.com and Couponbeat.com. I have used both. Coupon Beat also sells clipped coupons should you be interested.  I have yet to invest in those.

Note:

  • Coupons are not typically published and distributed on holidays.
  • Check your papers to make sure inserts are present before driving off or leaving your purchase site.
  • Bloggers will tell you which inserts will be offered for the upcoming Sunday paper each week so that you know exactly how many inserts should be in your paper.

Storing Inserts
I keep 4 folders of inserts at all times. At the time of this publication I am housing April, May, June and July. August 1, I will discard April’s inserts to make room for the new month. If you go back further, you will be holding on to expired coupons. If you forget to date your inserts, you can find the date on the spine of the insert in very tiny print so you will need your reading glasses or a magnifying glass to see it.  Finally, as the inserts come in, I date and place the newest ones in front.

Types of Inserts
There are 3 core inserts: Red Plum, Smart Source and P&G (Proctor and Gamble). Periodically you will receive inserts specific to the Publix grocery store chain. They are generally referred to as the yellow and green flyers and valid for approximately two weeks. Save those and file in the hanging folder within the month that they are valid. I put those in the front. The good news about the green and yellow flyers is you can use them along side manufacturer’s coupons. For example, Visine is on sale for $2.79. Red Plum has a $1 off Manufacturer’s coupon and the Publix green flyer has a $1 off coupon. Publix will allow both coupons to be used on the same product bringing the total to $.79, a 72% savings off the original price. How cool is that!!! There will be times when those green and yellow flyers will not be in the newspaper. No problem, you can grab a couple from the advertisement stand at the store entrance (be nice and don’t grab the whole stack please).

With this information in mind, you are ready to begin a modest product stock up as soon as this Sunday.

In coming installments, you will learn additional coupon resources I use, how I go about finding the sales and blogs I follow.

<Photo Credit: OwenPrice/http://www.owenprice.com