FAQs

I do my best to respond to as many questions, comments, and emails as I can, but unfortunately, there are many times that I just can’t get to them all.  I promise it doesn’t mean I don’t like you!  I love reading all your questions and comments, and even if I can’t always answer directly, I hope you’ll keep ‘em coming.

In the meantime, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:

What is Living Well Spending Less all about?  Can I still read it even if I am not interested in coupons?

Absolutely!  LWSL is “the adventure of finding the Good Life on a budget.”  I write about a huge variety of topics, including DiY projects, recipes, budget & money-saving ideas, parenting, homeschooling, party planning, homemaking, faith, & more.  While many LWSL readers use coupons, there are just as many who don’t.  My philosophy is that a life well lived isn’t so much about what we have or how much we spend, but who we are.  You can read more about me here.

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I am new to this site.  Where should I start?

If you want to know a little bit more about who I am, where I’ve been, and how I tick, you might want to start by reading my depression story and how I finally found financial peace.  If you’re still up for more, you can read about how I took all my kids’ toys away, why we started homeschooling, and then how I realized we were doing it all wrong.

I want to save money with coupons, but I don’t know where to start.  Can you help me?

Yes!  Start here, with the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons.   It is an eight-week course that breaks down the whole process into manageable “baby steps.”

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How can you use so many coupons at one time?  Mine all say “One Coupon Per Purchase.”

A single item is considered a “purchase,” so “one coupon per purchase” really just means you can use one coupon per item.  Every once in a while, a coupon will state “one per transaction,” in which case you will only be able to use one at a time.

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How do you save money on meat and produce?

Honestly, I save the most money on meat by not buying a whole lot of it.  I am vegetarian, and while my family is not, we usually end up eating a lot of meatless meals.  If cutting back on meat is not an option for you, then try to save on meat by watching prices and stocking up as much on possible when there is a good sale.

For more ideas on saving money on meat you can reference this post 7 Easy Ways to Save Money on Meat

As far as saving on produce, you can check out my tips here for 7 Ways to Save on Produce.

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I don’t have a big family.  Can I still benefit from using coupons?

Everyone can benefit from using coupons!  It doesn’t matter if you are single or have a huge family, have dietary restrictions or eat mostly organic.  Granted, the degree to which you save might not be as significant as someone (like me) who is very strict about buying and eating ONLY what is on sale, but any savings is better than none.  You can still use the methods and techniques outlined in this site to buy the things that are right for you and your family, in a quantity that is reasonable for the size of your family.  Saving $25 a week of your groceries will put an extra $1,300 a year in your pocket.  That is a lot of shoes!

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What do I do if my coupon expires before I can use it?

Don’t expect to use all your coupons.  Don’t even expect to use half of them.  The key to extreme coupon savings is matching up a coupon to a great sale price.  Lots of times, a coupon will expire before a sale comes up.  And that is okay.  More coupons and more sales will come along, and there will always be more match-ups.  But if you want to do something useful with your expired coupons, consider donating them to the troops, who can use coupons expired up to 6 months at the Commissary.

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I am afraid to print too many coupons because printer ink is so expensive!  How can I save on printing coupons?

If you are serious about saving money with coupons, then I highly recommend investing in an inexpensive black & white laser printer.  I personally use the Brother HL2140, but you can purchase the slightly newer Brother HL2240 on Amazon.com for less than $100.  A high-yield toner cartridge costs about the same as an ink-jet refill, but will last anywhere from 4 months to a year.

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How do you organize your coupons?

The way I keep my coupons organized has evolved over the years, and will probably continue to evolve as time goes on.  I started by using a Couponizer book ( currently out of print), then, as my coupon supply got larger, eventually switched to using a filing system, which I wrote about (and made a video about) here, where I filed my entire inserts by date and then clip only the ones that I needed for a particular shopping trip, based on my coupon matchups.  I would still use my Couponizer ( currently out of print) to store my printables and loose coupons.

Several months ago I decided to try out the binder method, which I wrote about here. While I liked having all my coupons in a portable, ultra-organized format that I could take with me everywhere, I found that clipping ALL my coupons every week was just too much maintenance for me.  So now I use a hybrid system that combines the Qubie binder method with the filing method; I use the Qubie to store all my printables, loose coupons, and any super high-value coupons that I notice when the new inserts come out on Sundays.  Then I still file the whole insert by date and find the coupons that I need when I make my shopping list.

Don’t be surprised if the way you sort and organize your coupons changes over time too.  For more information on where to find these items, go here.

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I don’t understand all these acronyms and abbreviations!   Can you please translate?

Click here for the Coupon Lingo Guide.

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I’m still only saving 30-40% at the grocery store.  How do I save more?

Mega-saving (70-80% or more) on a regular basis takes time.  You need to first establish a plentiful and varied stockpile, as well as a good supply of coupons.  You also need to commit to buying only what is on sale each week.  A few non-sale–especially milk, eggs, dairy, & produce– or impulse items will really affect your bottom line.  I personally almost always buy milk at CVS using Extra Care Bucks, and I usually buy eggs at Walgreens using my Register Rewards.   But be patient and consistent, and you’ll get there.  And remember, ANY savings is better than none!

Click here for a more in-depth article on maximizing your coupon savings.

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Can I link to an article on your site or share your content in a print publication? 

Please refer to the Living Well Spending Less Copyright and Reprint policy for all questions relating to reproducing content from the site.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Printing a coupon or ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ 20 comments… add one }

  • Cheryl gibson February 17,

    I live in Knoxville TN. I cannot find a store that will take triple coupons. Kroger is the only store that will take double coupons up to 1.00. I cannot figure how to cut my grocery bill more than 29%. What am I doing wrong or how can I save more? Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Anonymous February 17,

      Same here, different part of the country. I also would rather be healthy with less money.

      Reply
    • Mike February 23,

      My wife and I are also new to this, but we have been able to save between 50-60%, really our average is about 50.75% savings. Not having a Kroger near us, we do not know a whole lot about them or their policies. I would say that’s one of the first places to start, either by contacting their corporate office or the local store’s manager. One of the things we have found out is a store near us will accept Catalinas that print at their competitors’ stores. Now, I don’t want to take away from this site’s visitors, so hopefully the owner, Ruth, will chime in and correct me if I’m wrong and she does put up deals with different stores, but if not, you can google ” Coupon Matchups”.

      I’ll give you an example of something we did just a week or two ago with one of our stores which accepts Catalinas from competitors as long as it says “Manufacturer Coupon”. We went to Walgreens and got a bottle of the new Chloraseptic Warming Spray, they had it priced at $3.99 and you got a $3 coupon that printed out from the Catalina machine. We then used a $2/1 Walgreens Coupon and a $1/1 Manufacturer Coupon making our out of pocket expense $.99 and we got a coupon for $3 off our next shopping order over the amount of the coupon. We used that at the local grocery store that accepts them. So, we got the Chloraseptic spray plus $2 worth of groceries for free.

      Reply
  • Anonymous March 16,

    How do you know what quantity of each item to purchase?

    Reply
  • Anonymous April 7,

    I was just wondering, can you print coupons in all black or do you have to us color and black?
    Thank you

    Reply
  • Camille Duckworth June 5,

    I just came across your blog today and LOVE It! As a homeschooling mom I found that section particularly entertaining and helpful, but after you raved about how you coupon and think everyone should coupon I had to check out this little corner of your world! So question is, when you say coupons are great, you love couponing, it’s the best and everybody should coupon, are you really meaning everyone? Because honestly? When we talk about balance in life, I’m afraid couponing takes too much time to allow balance in my life. I have 5 kids (and obviously I said I homeschool) and have found that I best save my time and my money by shopping once every two weeks (when I have more storage space some day it will be monthly), I shop at Wal-Mart (gasp…it’s there or Fred Meyer in my town) and figure I can in one shopping trip get everything I need for my family at reasonable prices. OR I could coupon, go to multiple stores, multiple times, using many different sites and newspapers for coupons and using lots of my time to organize them….to hopefully save money. PLEASE tell me that I have it all wrong cause I would LOVE to save money without spending my precious family time on something slightly less important. In the mean time I’ll continue to enjoy and be inspired by everything else you post about on your blog!

    Reply
  • Lynlee October 5,

    Ok so for the manufacture’s coupons I found many of the same ones on different sites. Can I double them up on one item or do I have to buy one item and then use one coupon? How can I use 2 or 3 or 4… coupons per one item?

    Reply
  • Kathy H. February 1,

    If you have an item that cost $3.00, then a coupon for .75 ( that’s states, save .75 on two) My store will double the coupon to $1.50. Can you use 2 coupons for that item?

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup February 3,

      Hi Kathy,
      You would need to purchase 4 items to use two .75 cent coupons.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • ariana March 2,

    HI! I’m working on organizing my coupon accordion and are having trouble trying to decide what the categories should be. I was wondering if you could share the categories that are in your couponizer booklet?

    Reply
  • jera March 23,

    So I am trying to fallow all your advice and read the questions others have asked. However I am stuck on what coupons can be stacked. If i have a coupon for $ off of three items and another for $ off two items I am gathering that I would need to buy Five alltogether to use them is that right? If you have the off so many items can you then stack it with a off single item and not need to purchase additional items? I hope I worded this correctly! Thank you in advance for the help and time spent!!

    Reply
  • Shannon S. April 3,

    Ruth,

    I live in Baltimore, Maryland- Arguably the worst location to live in for couponing. I’m having such a hard time with the stores in my state, and what they accept. It seems all of the amazing stores that enable couponing, are all south. Any advice you have for me?

    Reply
  • Julie April 18,

    Do you have to use certain coupons at certain stores? How do you know which store accepts the coupons you have? Obviously the coupons you get from Publix can only be used at Publix, but I am referring to those coupons that come in a coupon pack or the newspaper. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup April 19,

      Hi Julie,
      You will want to ask each store for their coupon policy. It will usually include a list of competitors coupons they will accept. I hope this helps! :)

      Reply
  • Chelsey April 20,

    If a coupon says “one item per purchase” up to 4 coupons per transaction does that mean i can only use 1 coupon per item and have to by 4 items so i can use 4 coupons for each transaction?

    Reply
  • Amanda July 21,

    Hi Ruth,

    I’m trying to find where you post your own shopping trips to see what you saved and what coupons you used. I can’t seem to find the right section. Where should I look?

    Reply
  • AnnaLisa July 24,

    Hi! I’m brand new to the coupon thing, but I’m having some trouble. I can never find coupons to print online! None of the websites I go to will let me have the coupons I want. And some of them take me to Facebook where I have to like the company’s page to get the coupon, and I do but it never gives me and option to print the coupon, or a link to a coupon, or anything. Please help me, I would so greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Ja'Varis August 23,

    Hello,

    I am new to this. I am trying to figure out a way to print my online coupons? I have a Mac laptop and I have tried to install the printers that they are asking, but it still doesn’t work. Can you help please?

    Reply
  • Maisa November 4,

    How do you print multiple copies of the same coupon with different codes?

    Reply
  • Jane Plymouth November 24,

    Hello,
    Just letting you know that there will be a FREE Kindle Children’s Christmas book from the 24th – 26th of November. It is Nancy Isaak’s “Flight 308 to Christmas”.
    This is a charming Christmas tale of a young girl flying a small Cessna through the Colorado Rockies on Christmas Eve with a military vet flying in a Shepherd plane alongside, trying to talk her to safety.
    “Flight 308 to Christmas” is a family-friendly book that is safe to read to children who still believe in Santa Claus.
    Below is a link to the book.
    Thank you. Jane P :o)

    http://www.amazon.com/Flight-308-Christmas-Nancy-Isaak-ebook/dp/B00Q0QPD8C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416804931&sr=8-1&keywords=nancy+isaak

    Reply

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