Getting Started with Jill Cataldo's Super-Couponing

Want to learn couponing? This is a great place to start!

Hi, I'm Jill Cataldo. Since 2008, I've been teaching people how to use coupons to effectively cut their grocery bills with coupons in a way that's fast, easy and fun! Even if you've never picked up a pair of scissors before, you can learn to cut your grocery bill in half.

My blog is unlike most other coupon blogs. I'm not a deal-of-the-day blog, though I post good deals and coupons throughout the week. Each week, I also write store-by-store roundups of the best "Deals of the Week."

Deals of the Week is written in a step-by-step, beginner-friendly format that is easy to follow. In fact, I've been accused of making couponing "too easy!" My goal with my blog has always been to create the website I wished existed when I was learning to coupon. When you see a deal you like, click the checkbox next to it to add it to your shopping list. Your list sits in the lower right corner of this screen under the "My List" tab - easy!

If you're a once-a-week shopper who doesn't want to think about couponing on the other six days of the week: You're in the right place! Deals of the Week writeups are always completed and posted on the homepage of this site by 6:00am CST Monday mornings, though if I finish the writeups earlier, it may be posted on Sunday.

If you love coupon talk, all the time: Come back to the blog throughout the week for deal updates, coupon news, new printable coupons and more. Particularly high-value printable coupons often hit their print limits and become unavailable. I like to give you a heads-up on coupons like these so that you have a chance to print them before they're gone. You'll find these time-sensitive offers in the right column on the homepage. As I finish working on stores' ads throughout the week, I'll also post ad matchups as I complete them.

Learning more: There are no stupid questions here. If you have questions about sales, couponing, or what a good price is for a specific item, please feel free to ask your questions in the Forum. I and other readers will answer them as quickly as possible. Feel free to post any great deals you spot too!



What we do:

We to cut the price in half on what we buy. There is a good time and a bad time to buy just about everything! Here's an example:

The All laundry detergent's regular price is $5.49. To know I'm getting the best price, I want to cut that $5.49 price in half or better, so ideally, I'm looking to pay $2.75 or less. It's on sale for $2.99 this week, and I have a $1 coupon from the paper. With coupon, I pay $1.99 - that's about a 64% drop in price.

In a nutshell, this is what we do! We watch products' prices cycle high and low, and we aim to buy only when the price is lowest -- then cut it with any coupons we have for an even better deal. But there's a catch. The week you receive a coupon in the newspaper, or online, may not be the best week I used it. The week I got the All coupon, the detergent was priced at $5.49. By holding onto the coupon and waiting for the sale, I paid a much better price.

Through strategic shopping and coupon use, we cut the prices of our favorite products down to the bare minimum. Often, this means we enjoy better prices on name brands than on store or private-label brands.

In my Deals of the Week writeups, I would write a deal like this one in this way:

All laundry detergent is on sale for $2.99. Use the $1 coupon from the 7/29 RP and pay $1.99!

The 7/29 RP refers to the date the coupon insert came in your newspaper, and the name of the insert it's in. This is the July 29th RedPlum. To get this deal, you would pull that insert from your file, cut that coupon, and add it to your pile to take to the store. Again - it's easy!

This simple, conversational style is the format I use for all of my Deals of the Week writeups.



How to save and file coupon inserts:

You're only going to cut the coupons you need for this week's shopping trip, and the rest stay in the newspaper insert that they came in. This "clipless" system is designed to do just that... you will clip less!

When your coupon inserts arrive in your weekly newspaper, keep all of them. Write the date on the front of each one large enough that you can read it. Then, keep the inserts in an expandable accordion file.

 

I am a big fan of the "split" accordion file, which has both large, letter-size pockets and a smaller, lower set of half-size pockets. You can purchase a split accordion file at this link.

Use the upper, large pockets of the split accordion file for your newspaper coupon inserts. I file my inserts in reverse order, newest to oldest. All of the inserts from this current month go in the front pocket. The previous month's inserts are filed in the next pocket. Two months' ago behind that, and so on:

As you're planning your weekly shopping trips, simply pull the corresponding insert from the file, cut just the coupon(s) that your shopping list is calling for, then return the insert to the accordion file.

Use the lower, small pockets of the split accordion file for loose coupons. This is a great place to store all of the loose coupons that you may be picking up at the store (Catalinas that print at the register, coupons from tearpads or "blinkie" dispensers,) any coupons that you might find in another product (a coupon found inside a cereal box or on a product's packaging.) This is also a great place to file any printable coupons that you printed to hold onto for a future sale. File these loose coupons by your choice of categories:

The accordion file does not go to the store with you! Because we're not taking a large amount of coupons to the store each time, it's not necessary to use anything special to carry coupons in! Many people simply carry them in an envelope or sandwich bag. A small coupon wallet is another great way to carry coupons:


Want to learn more? I teach live Super-Couponing workshops regularly all over Chicagoland - click here for a schedule of upcoming workshops! And, I also offer my Super-Couponing workshops on DVD. Watch preview clips from my Super-Couponing and Super-Couponing 2 DVD workshops below and order your own DVDs online!


Still reading? Here are a few more tips:

The links on the left side of the blog are great tools for you! Print coupons, look up stores' coupon policies, and more. A few links you'll like:

Coupon Database: Want to see if there is a coupon available for a product you're interested in? Look it up in the database.

Grocery Roundup: Want to see which stores in your area have the best price for a product you're interested in? Visit this link and search by item, and it will return a list of stores in your area that carry the item and their selling prices.

Extreme Couponing: What I teach is not "Extreme Couponing." If you're here because you've seen the show and want to duplicate what's shown, take a few minutes to do your homework on the show.

People featured on the show have been busted for using counterfeit coupons, as well as coupons for products they didn't even buy. Stores have been guilty of bending the rules too, doubling coupons when it isn't their normal policy to do so, staging scenes for the filming, and allowing shoppers to misuse coupons to lower their end total in the lane. It may be a "reality show," but the amount of reality in the show is debatable at best. Most normal shoppers would not be able to duplicate what is depicted on the show.

We can save plenty with coupons without breaking the rules and bending the ethics. That's what I teach and advocate.