You need coupons to start! There are many different ways to get/find coupons. The first one being the old telltale way from the Sunday newspaper! I have 2 different subscriptions—one for my local Daily Review and one for the SF Chronicle.
Newspapers add coupon inserts in with the store ads. There are 3 typical types of inserts: Red Plum, SmartSource and P&G Brand Saver. Sometimes there will also be a General Mills or Walmart coupon insert as well, but these vary on location and newspaper. Each week varies on what inserts you will receive (see below to learn how to find out).
The Daily Review tends to have fewer coupons weekly and the values of the coupons are lower than the SF Chronicle. Watch for specials that come in your mailbox “junk mail” that will offer special pricing for Sunday only newspaper subscriptions. SF Chronicle recently had a special where you could get 52 weeks of the Sunday newspaper for $40 and they send you a $10 Safeway gift card too! This has since expired, but I am sure they will bring that back around again soon (I will post if I see it).
With the Daily Review, they didn’t have a Sunday only option, so I get Thursday, Friday and Sunday for $19.99 for 27 weeks. The SF Chronicle deal I signed up with was Sunday only for $19 for 27 weeks. You can call your local newspaper to see what they might offer. Signing up for a subscription is much cheaper than buying right off the newsstand which can vary from $1.50 to $3, depending on the publication and where you are purchasing it from. Remember, there are a lot of newspapers in the Bay Area that you can purchase and/or subscribe to that will have coupon inserts in them.
Note: Sundays that fall on or around a holiday won’t have coupons in them. You can check out http://sundaycouponpreview.com/ to find what inserts will be in your paper on a specific week. Look for the tab “2012 Insert Schedule” to get the calendar that will also note when there won’t be any coupons. This site is a great place to look to see what coupons will be in the weekly inserts as well. Remember that coupons in the inserts vary by region, area, newspaper, etc., so you may not get all of the coupons listed. The SF Chronicle usually has the same coupons shown on the site because this paper is from a large city which usually has more/better value coupons. Keep this in mind when choosing which paper you would like to buy or subscribe to.
Personally, I think it is best to get at least 2 newspapers every week, especially when you run into sales where it is buy 2 for $xx, etc., this way you can use 2 coupons to save extra money! I also ask family to save coupons and I host a coupon swapping club at my house a couple times a month—great to get extra coupons.
Once you have your coupon inserts, you need to decide if you will cut them all out, cut only the ones you think you may actually use or file them whole and go to them as you need a coupon. For me, I clip them all since I share the ones I won't use, at the coupon swap.
Stay tuned for the next blog: Getting Started Couponing; Where to Find Coupons Series part 2 of 5 where we will discuss Internet Printable coupons.
—Hayward Coupon Queen, Helping you save money, 'cause every penny counts!"