Getting started

Where to find coupons

*The Sunday newspaper. I buy the Saginaw News if it's my only choice (which it is on Mondays, when I often buy the paper) but prefer the Detroit Free Press because the coupon selection can be better for bigger cities.

*The online coupon sites: Big ones are, Redplum, Coupon Network, Smartsource
All You has the same coupons as, but also has some that are exclusive to All You.
Snackpicks often has good coupons for snack type food (must register)
Betty Crocker (must register)
Pillsbury (must register)
Swagbucks has the same coupons as, but you get 10 SB for each coupon redeemed (takes 8-10 weeks after you used it, but well worth it!) Find coupons in the Earn dropdown, or the left sidebar of the main page.

*Sometimes if you just go to the website of a particular brand or product, you'll find a coupon for what you need.

*Several bloggers have coupon databases, where they list available printable and insert coupons and where to find them. I use Hip2Save's.

*Sign up for P&G Everyday Solutions. Once a quarter you can request samples and/or coupons.

*Sign up with Right@Home. You get emailed coupons, and a chance to win giftpacks. I've won twice, once a pack with some Pledge wipes and a Swiffer duster. Another time I received Ziploc containers and bags. Nothing fabulous, but great to get for free!

*Email companies and tell them how much you love their products, or maybe about a bad experience. Often you can be rewarded with coupons.

*Request free samples when available, for things you will use. Often a coupon will come too, or if not you get to try something new for free. Or get an extra use/dose/whatever of a product you know you like.

*Facebook. Companies are starting to feel the power of social networking, and everyday some new promotion is popping up, from giveaways to coupons.

*All You magazine. Sold exclusively at Walmart, or available by subscription, All You has money saving tips and many coupons inside. I found mine at a great price through a school fundraiser, or subscribe here

Know the coupon policies of the stores you shop

*Some bigger stores have corporate policies you can find online. Print it and keep it with you so you can bring it out if the cashier has any doubts. Here are a few: Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Meijer (found near the bottom of the page) Walmart

*Know whether your store doubles coupons, and if so, to what value.

*Find out if there are limits to the number of coupons the store will accept and/or double. Realize this may vary from store to store. For instance, the Meijer in Midland will double three like coupons, but the one on Tittabawassee will only double two.

*Know if the store issues rainchecks. If you get a raincheck, make sure your coupon for that particular deal doesn't expire before you can use it.

Be prepared

*Look at your local ads to see what is on sale that matches with your needs.

*Check the coupon blogs. Many have match ups, but pricing may be slightly different if the blog is not local.

*Realize that couponing takes more time and effort than just grabbing whatever you want off the shelves. But as the savings start adding up, it is well worth it!

*As you start to coupon, you'll start recognizing good prices and see the sales cycles. If you miss a good deal,  don't stress, another one will come around.