“I’m new. I want to use coupons, but I have no clue.”

Last week, a certain TLC show about coupons aired.

And since then, I’ve seen an uptick in emails and questions on how to get started. Here are some of the questions and comments I’m getting.

“I know nothing about coupons.”

You came to the right place. Two years ago I knew nothing about how to use coupons, but found that with a little bit of know how and practice,the savings came quickly. My best advice would be to head to my Coupons 101 page and read through the Coupon Lessons posts I assembled. These are peppered with many images and take you from square one to coupon pro.

“Can you teach me to do this?”

If you learn best by hearing someone teach, check out my webcast page! These are 20-30 minute long recorded videos that cover topics related to couponing including stockpiling, where to find coupons, and shopping strategies.

“Do stores in this area take coupons?”

Yes, many stores do. Check out the sidebar of my blog for the store deals I cover weekly. I am blogging in the Seattle/Tacoma vicinity, so I do share many local deals.

“Are you a hoarder?”

Absolutely not. I do believe in stockpiling, which means I anticipate my family’s needs and buy items before we need them. We keep a full pantry and avoid paying full price for items wherever possible. But do I need 40 years of toilet paper or 60 bottles of mustard? Heck no. Hang out here long enough and you’ll learn the difference between proper stockpiling and a hoarding issue.

“Do you steal from stores?”

Absolutely not. Coupons are incentives manufacturers put out to choose their product. When used in accordance with store policies, coupons are an acceptable form of payment. I won’t tell you how to decode coupons, or suggest you use expired coupons (among many other deceitful practices). I pride myself on maintaining ethical coupon practices. You can trust that I’m working hard to ensure the deals I share here are ones you can feel good about doing.

“What’s on your blog?”

Besides finding you great deals and freebies, I spend a fair amount of time finding other ways to help save you money, discuss coupon-related topics, and otherwise amuse you. I usually update this blog several times a day. (Unless I want to take a day off, of course.) If you’re on Facebook, you’ll want to follow me there, too. I update my pals there whenever there’s a new post, plus I share tidbits and resources that never make it to the blog. It’s also a great way to get any quick questions you have answered.

“What’s your favorite dessert?”

I’m torn. I really love bread pudding (especially if it involves some sort of rum sauce), but there’s nothing like a well made creme brulee. It’s a tough call.

I hope that clears everything up. (If not, see my About page.)

Most of all, I welcome you to The Coupon Project. I’m so glad you found my site and glad to have you aboard. It’s a fun ship and I’m a nice captain, I promise.

(PS like this post and want more information? Please check out the post I wrote called Four Secrets of Couponing Success. In it, I explain how folks just like you get items for free and cheap using coupons.)

Photo credit Paul Szustka


  1. says

    I have been following this blog for a while and can I just add that not only will you find the answers to these questions but also be entertained and inspired to be a better person along the way. Angela you are GREAT at what you are doing!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for all your inspiring posts! I have been couponing since January and have an amazing stockpile already. Tonight I am teaching my first coupon class and very excited about it! I live in Gig Harbor and it’s been nice to see all your posts on local stores :) Thanks so much for all you do!

  3. Yvonne says

    I’ve been following you and a few others for a few months now, and you are the one who most closely aligns with how I want to do things. I don’t need a huge stockpile, I don’t need to go shopping 20 times a week to get all the deals, and I want to take care of my family first. You also don’t make me feel like I don’t “get it” because I didn’t save 90% on my bill. I may not be spending less money each week, but I am getting a greater variety of foods and have a small stockpile to fall back on if need be. Before couponing, I was just buying the exact same things each week, because we were out and that was all we could afford. I was tired of having hamburger and chicken all week, every week, which would lead to us eating out. And with two toddlers, even fast food isn’t that cheap, as you well know! But now through actually paying attention to sales and using coupons, I have a chest freezer full of meat, and a reasonable stockpile of health and beauty items and cleaning products. I love the feeling of knowing that if I don’t make it to the store that week, it’s actually ok and we will still have stuff in the house. We’ve also been working towards paying off all our credit cards, and should be done with that by the end of the year! I feel the weight lifting off my shoulders, and it’s a wonderful feeling. I’m in northeast Indiana, so the only store you cover around me is Walgreens, but I still prefer your blog over most others. Thank you for all the hard work you do!!!!

    • arussell says

      Wow, thanks for the feedback Yvonne! I actually have many folks that follow me across the US, not all are local. My goal if you aren’t local would be to demonstrate how you could do this, and I’m glad to hear that’s working for you. My trips aren’t always the craziest, but I believe in balance, balance, balance. I don’t want folks to learn to live cheaply, but to learn to live well for less. 😉 Again, I appreciate your feedback, very helpful.

  4. says

    I ran across your blog a month or so ago, then also saw the coupon show and have been learning ever since. As a result, my first coupon shopping trip was this last weekend and I save $50 for my first time out! Looking forward to working it out to save more!

  5. Angela says

    Hi, Love your website. Joined last week – new to all of this. But started making coupons a part of my life as a new years resolution! :)
    But I have a tech question. A lot of the coupons out there use that “coupon printer”. I’ve downloaded in on multiple occasions but every time I try to print something – it asks me to download it again. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
    Thank you for any help you could pass along my way – or if any of your other followers have any pointers – that’d be great!
    Thank you & awesome website!!

  6. Tiff W says

    I’ve been following couponing blogs for quite a few months now, and yours is the most level-headed and realistic couponing blog yet. You’re sense of humor and “realness” is so great! I love your post about not having the massive mustard and tp collection! I agree. Our pantry is full of things we’ll use, and we are happy with that. I won’t buy things that we won’t use – if it’s something I can donate I might buy it, but not always. I think since the television show started, it shifted a lot of obsessive and hoarding personalities to a whole new type of obsession and hoarding. I wish they would make the show more realistic and show NORMAL people saving money for their families with coupons and sales, and not being all about FREE FREE FREE!! Free is great, but a good price is great too. I’ve seen a lot of greed in the recent few months with couponers, and it makes me feel like “yuck…” So your blog is a nice breath of fresh air. And you have lots of information for us readers. And you’re local! The sales and deals you post benefit me a lot because you’re in the general area that I am. Thank you for your posts – it’s time-consuming for you I know, but beneficial to me personally and I appreciate them. Take care!

    • arussell says

      Thank you!! In my opinion, TLC wants ratings. People doing this normally (like me) won’t make good TV. Maybe PBS, but not on a channel whose other shows include a polygymist family, folks that hoard, and folks with strange addictions. 😉

  7. Linda says

    Hi, so I have a question. I am not sure if you can help me or not but I will give it a shot. I am starting out and I am getting a notebook together and have been printing out coupons and I have a neighbor that has been bringing over his coupons from the Sunday paper. I am very strapped on money. I am on disability right now so when I say there is no extra money there is no extra money. Obviously since I am on disability I cannot go and dumpster dive or anything like that. So where can a person go or call to obtain more newspaper inserts/either Tacoma News Tribune or Seattle papers? I can’t afford going and buying a bunch of papers or even get the great discount you can get if you purchase more than three. So what can I do? Please help me if you can.

  8. dbush says

    Question: Is there a place where you are able to print a particular coupon without going through all the pages? If I just want to see if there is a coupon for Bounty Paper Towels, for instance? I love everything that I’m reading and I’m trying to be dedicated but I feel that getting started is the hardest part.

    I’m a little confused about another thing – I find myself going through the paper for the “deals”, but how do I incorporate that part WITH the weekly menus? I’m assuming that once the stockpile is growing, you will have most of what you need (minus eggs, bread, etc) and can JUST shop the bargains? Am I even on the right track?? Thanks so much!

  9. Michelle says

    I started reading your blog after finding you on Facebook and love the breath of fresh air I get here. I do not watch the TLC show and have no plans to. I do not believe it is showing what can be done in a “real” situation. I know the stores are “bending” their policies just for the show.

    My question is this, do you or any of your followers know of a couponer/blogger in the greater Sacramento, CA area that I can follow for coupon matchups in my area?

  10. Liberty Heaton says

    I just started couponing. And your site is just what I needed to get started. Thank you!

  11. Tish says

    Hi Angela,

    I met you at Walgreens this morning. Thank you for the invitation to your blog. I did try Rite Aid again, unfortunately my experience was not any better than times past. I would like to remind all your readers to watch when your purchases are rang up at the register. I have been monitoring and tracking mis rung items sinces January…it is amazing 70 percent of shopping trips have at least one item rung up for the wrong amount! It can take a lot of coupons to make up for one item rung up for the wrong amount. Today…it was the Irish Spring body wash at Rite Aid :(

  12. Shavonne Holton says

    I would like to say that I live in the Los Angeles California area and none of our stores DOUBLE coupons. I have watched the show Extreme Couponing and many of the stores do not look familiar to me!! Please let me know if there is a store in or near my area that doubles copuons!!! I am a coupon user but would not call myself an extreme couponist!!

  13. Crystal Hatch says

    I attended your class on JBLM last night and I would love to thank you for all the great info! I purchased my first Sunday paper at the Dollar Tree today and can’t wait to get started!

  14. Lua Faamausili says

    I was at your couponing class tonight at JBLM, thank you very much. I’ve been collecting coupons the past month or so and I’m still trying to figure out the whole couponing thing. Thanks for showing me how to save on my grocery bill.

  15. Lknda says

    Hi Angela, I love reading your site. However couponing has become quite a frustration for me lately. I have been doing it a year now and the only great coupon deals I have gotten is on laundry soap to the point my kids don’t need to buy. As afar as anything else I just don’t seem to connect. I clip out, I have a notebook all organized but I just don’t see the deals. I live in Kent, WA and the go dries stores, etc. I dont see the savings. I do better with generic brands than using coupons. I don’t know what else to do. Frustrate and want to give up. Is there something I am missing?

  16. Jennifer says

    Maybe I am missing something here too. When I lived in southern California I couponed for many years and saved tons of money. Vons/Safeway double couponed. I moved up here to this beautiful state and found out that I save more money on purchasing the generic brands. The only store that double coupons is in Vancouver.

  17. says

    Hi My Name is Debbie,
    I want to start using coupons and saving money for my Family because i found out that i have Cancer and i am doing chemo right now before the do surgery o Dec 12. I would love to have someone to show me how the Coupons work. I live in the Tacoma, wa area. Maybe i could have someone take me on my first shopping trip using coupons. just to see if it does work like it does on Tv. Thanks Debbie

  18. chris says

    I just starting to use coupons for the first time I’m begining to like it thanks for sugestion. how can Ifollow your website?

  19. shenekah vallejso says

    Hi would like somebody to help me i am new at this please call me i have some questions my number is 1-714-400-4953 thank you grate to here for you!.

  20. Christina sepulveda says

    Hello I will love to learn how to use coupons since I have a family and I would love to save can you help me I’m lost !


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