Your First Time, Couponing That Is…

Your first time couponing is a lot like your “First Time”…it can either be a sweet experience you treasure the memory of for years to come…or an awkward spur of the moment disaster that makes you wince every time you think about it.  Except this time it’s all on you.  Don’t expect to be couponing at the equivalent of hanging from the chandelier right off the bat.  Start off simple and work your way up to the more advanced coupon moves.  There are lots of different methods on how to prepare for your first trip to the store, here is mine:

Step One-Get Your Coupons

What good is an empty binder?  Don’t have a binder?  Check out “Building your Coupon Binder” article and my “Coupon Resources” page to find out how to find coupons and what to do with them once you get them.

 Step Two-The Match Up

I’m lazy.  I don’t want to spend hours and hours staring at ads and coupons and plugging away at a snail’s pace.  I assume you feel the same way and that is why I recommend the first thing you do is check out my match ups page.  Grab a sheet of binder paper or open up a word document if you’re really lazy, and copy what you like off of my match ups to start your Shopping List.  Make sure to create a totally separate list for each store!  I write mine out and format it like this:

FoodsCo 8/16/11






Final Each


Lawry’s Marinade



Sale .98

Q  $1/3



Ocean Spray Cran



Q  .50/1




Now it’s time to take out your sales ads from the Saturday Paper.  I sit at the table with my binder and look at one ad at a time starting with my local grocery stores then move on to the box stores.  I look at the ad and flip through my binder trying to match sales with coupons to get the lowest price.  If I can find an item on sale with a store coupon and another coupon from the manufacturer then it is a great day!  Add those deals to your list and any other necessities or dinner ingredients you need for the week (I’ll be posting on saving money with meal planning in my upcoming article “One Meal 3 Days”).

*I make this into Me time by making sure I have my favorite coffee mug at my side, the lights slightly dimmed, and music playing…because just like your other “first time” it’s all about ambiance and making the mundane marvelous!

 Step Three-Forget Diamonds!  Envelopes, A Girls Best Friend

Now that you know what coupons you’ll be using at what store it’s time to sort them into envelopes with the store’s name on the front as well as the day you’re going to be using them.  Some stores sales start Sunday, some Wednesday and some are only one day sales events so it’s important to date your envelopes.  If you are advanced enough and want to do separate transactions at the same store also throw on Trans 1 and Trans 2 appropriately.  (Stay tuned for an upcoming article “DiscountDame Plus 8, Transactions That Is”).

 Step Four-The Store, Where the Coupon Meets the Conveyer Belt…

With envelope ready, binder in hand, and kids at your mother’s (don’t take them your first time, just don’t) it’s time.  Stick to your list, don’t get caught up, as Oprah always says “be present”, and take it slow.  Make sure you have the stores coupon policy in your binder, if this is news to you please go read my binder set up article for info on being prepared.  I hope your first trip is a smashing success!  Let me know how it goes!









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  1. Barb says:

    You say couponing has only been around for the past 5 or so years. Wrong. My ex mother in law used coupons and rebates since forever. When I moved she would send me rebate forms to get free things and where to go for triple coupons and which ones were the best ones. What stores to go to and when. Here basement shelves looks like some of the extreeme couponers I see today. That was in 1994 and she did it since they had coupons. Also in 94 there were no expiration dates on coupons, so u could wait till it was triple coupon and the item was on sale. She could of made money off of her knowledge back in the day as is done today.And she still uses her coupons.

    • The Discount Dame says:

      Well Hello There Barb,
      Couponing has been around since the dawn of retail. I simply meant that it has found a sudden surge in popularity over the past few years as more and more people are turning toward a more frugal lifestyle due to the tough economical times we now live in. I inherited some expiration free coupons in an old cookbook passed down from my mother. Unforgivably most stores no longer accept these so I keep them just for nostalgia sake. Hats off to your mother-in-law for paving the way, she sounds like my kinda gal! All The Best Doll!

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