Ok... the couponing thing. It's really easy to do, I promise! and once you start to figure it out, it becomes a touch addicting. It's like a game, or a challenge. I get ants in my pants when I get to the register, wondering if I'll really have done as well as I think I have.
I also get ants in my pants wondering if I'm going to get a nice cashier or a witchy one. That, however, is a saga for another day.
There are a few basic ideas and things that you need to get yourself started.
First of all, the majority of the coupons I use come from the Sunday newspaper. I buy more than one paper most weeks, in addition to collecting the coupons from my grandparent's newspaper. If you live where I do, you'll want to find a Seattle newspaper instead of the Daily O, because the coupons are so.much.better.
I also find coupons at the grocery store. They're located near the product they're offering a discount on, either on a "tear pad," (like a note pad--rip off a coupon--ahem, or ten...) or in a "blinkie," which electronically spits out one coupon at a time. (yes--I make a trip around the aisle and return for extras...)
You can also get printable coupons from the web, coupons by mail (by signing up on manufacturer websites), coupons inside product packages, store circular coupons, and coupons from Catalina's--those machines at the cash register that print coupons based on your previous purchases.
You will want to sign up for the "club card" at every grocery store you're likely to visit. You should see my key ring... I've got 15 different plastic tags for various stores. Ryan makes fun of me for it, but rarely do we shop somewhere that I don't have a plastic tag that EARNS US SOMETHING, gosh-darnit!
Make sure that, in addition to collecting the coupons from the Sunday paper, you are collecting the weekly sale ads. They might also come in the mail on, say, Tuesdays, and they're likely to contain store coupons, which can be "stacked," or combined, with manufacturer coupons.
You'll need somewhere to store your coupons. Mine are stored in a boring, black, giant zippered binder (I knew I should've kept that Lisa Frank kissing fish Trapper Keeper!), all sorted by category and tucked into baseball card pages. I've typically got a LOT of coupons. Inside that binder, I also store a notepad, pens, scissors, and anything else coupon-related.
So there. You've got your "stuff," or at least the basic knowledge about how to acquire the necessary stuff.
Tomorrow, when I'm (hopefully) not buried under a schleeping bebe, I'll post a picture of my coupon binder and I'll give you some hints about how to find the best deals and how to work the system to your advantage.