I have only been couponing since the beginning of April '11, but have increased my average savings to over 90%. It can be hard and frustrating getting started for a number of reasons.
1) If you just started saving/collecting coupons you may not have that many. You will hear of deals about coupons that you do not have. This will stop after a while because you will soon be caught up and have the same coupons as every1 else and the other coupons you heard about will expire.
2) There is or may be a little start-up cost involved. In order to start an organization system to insure easy retrieval and viewing of coupons in order to match them up with sales and store coupons. (more on this in the strategies and techniques tab of this blog) It will depend on what supplies you already have on hand. It will also depend on what supplies you feel that you need and what system you choose to organize with. For example, I get 10 or more coupon inserts and print several pages of coupons. In order to save time on cutting them, I invested in a paper cutter. For some of you, a pair of scissors will be sufficient. I chose the book/binder method to view and organize my Q's. I have recently discovered that I would prefer a binder that zips as opposed to an open 3 ring, so I will be investing in one as soon as I find the best deal on one.
If I am still without one by back 2 school time, I will pick it up on tax free day, get it at Walmart on a day that I know that my coupons have overage in order to lessen my OOP (out of pocket) expense. (more on Walmart overage in strategies/tech.)
3) Another reason for frustration is the time it takes to do it all. You will get faster as time goes on. You will find and develop systems and procedures that work for you personally, thus cutting the amount of time taken to cut, organize, and shop. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to coupon. (except for those who break the law & do not follow coupon/store guidelines/policies and are out to deceive) Everyone is different. Take our tips and what you read as suggestions and find YOUR way that works for YOU.
My advice for getting started is
1st: Be Patient!
2nd: know that you will make mistakes, even if you make a mistake but still saved money, you are doing better then before you started couponing. So don't give up on it because you didn't get the best deal possible. If you give up on it you will go back to paying more for stuff than you should.
3rd: Be organized! if you are not organized and do not set up a system you will get discouraged because of all the extra work you will be doing that is not necessary. Your systems will be a WOP (Work in Progress) for a long time, I am STILL experimenting. A WOP system is better then no system at all.
4th: Study and learn the different strategies and techniques to using coupons. This will be worth the time to do so......I PROMISE! :)
If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask, I will answer what I know quickly, and find out the answer if I do not. I want to help any1 & every1 I can.
Happy Saving/ Shopping!