Daily deals and coupons promise savings on diapers, baby food, formula and other baby-related staples, but can a new mom with limited time and patience make a dent using them?
Absolutely, says coupon queen Joanie Demer, co-author of Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey (Aviva Publishing). "People think couponing has to take over your life. But even if you dabble in it, the savings can add up quickly," she says.
We asked Demer for step-by-step advice on how to gracefully become a couponer.
STEP 1) Dedicate an email address solely to couponing. Join manufacturer programs (e.g., Pampers, Gerber, Enfamil) and have offers sent to you at that address.
STEP 2) Create a coupon organizer out of a three-ring binder with plastic inserts. When you receive coupons, stash them there, arranged by category. Look for coupons online, with your cash register receipts, in the Sunday newspaper and in the mail.
STEP 3) Focus on one retailer. Newbies often make the mistake of trying to hit a bunch of stores, and they burn out, warns Demer. "For a new mom, I suggest focusing on one store close to your house." Demer recommends starting with a drugstore, such as CVS, Walgreens or Rite-Aid: "You can find some incredible steals—90 percent off and even free stuff." Target and Wal-Mart also offer printable store coupons on their websites.
STEP 4) Check out your store's weekly circular ads, in the Sunday paper or online. Remember that couponing is more effective if you aren't loyal to a brand.
STEP 5) When you find staples on sale at your store, use a manufacturer coupon and stock up. If the couponing stars align, you may also cash in on other deals (e.g., a "buy one, get one free" offer or an additional coupon offered directly from the store).
Visit Demer's site (thekrazycouponlady.com) for weekly deals at various stores as well as advanced couponing tips. —Victoria Clayton