So you've been reading my Coupon Boot Camp posts and following along and you're feeling a little overwhelmed, here's a summary of what you absolutely need to know to pull it all together and start couponing!
Look at your current budget and ask yourself the following questions:
What am I spending total each month on food?
Am I spending more than I can really afford to?
How much do I need to reduce my budget by?
Set realistic goals for reducing your budget and remember that it takes time to accomplish. Baby steps.
Collect and organize your coupons. Organization is key in couponing. If you're not crazy about my binder system, figure out a system that will work for you.
Start a price list. Keep a little notebook in your purse. When you're out at the store jot down the items you frequently buy and what the price of those items is at various stores.
Pick a store. Learn it's coupon policy. Start matching up coupons with sale prices at that store. When you're comfortable, move on to another store. Drug places are the best stores to start out with. The grocery store can be a little overwhelming when you're just getting started.
Take a step back and evaluate how much you've spent with how much you've saved. This is important to make sure you're actually saving money in your new couponing venture. You can be so excited by great deals that you're getting here and there, that you may overlook that you haven't actually reduced your spending. You can call it a success if one of the following is true:
You're providing adequately for your family and you're spending less than you did before.
You're spending about the same as you did before but you have much more to show for it.
Once you notice that your stockpile is piling up, reduce your budget and fully implement your meal planning strategies. A lot of couponers spend way more than they need to because they get addicted to the good deals they've learned to get. Once you've built a good supply of food in your pantry and personal products, put the breaks on the stockpiling for awhile.
Remember to plan your meals based on what's on sale and what you have on hand. A house full of food isn't going to do you any good if you keep bringing more and more in each week. Use what you have!
It's time to start putting what you've learned into action. Let me know how you're making out. :)