Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guest Post - Tutorial 1 Beginners on Hot Coupon World

This is the first post of three from Lori at Moms by Heart. It is an excellent "how to" for beginners.




{TUTORIAL #1}


For beginner couponers who want to get on the fast track to becoming a money saving expert, your first stop should be Hot Coupon World. This forum is filled with couponing pros from across the country sharing tips and deals for dozens of stores. They also have an excellent coupon trading forum which we will discuss in a future post.

The easiest way to go through this tutorial is to open a second window and follow along on hotcouponworld.com. If you’re not already a member, you’ll want to begin by registering HERE.
My two favorite features are the Forums and the Coupon Database. We’ll begin by discussing the Forums. Click on the tab shown by the black arrow to access this part of the site.



Forums exist to give couponers a place to discuss current deals, ask questions, learn the ropes and share experiences with each other. They are grouped into categories:


~Greetings & Getting Started
~Swingin’ Deals
~Free Deals
~Show Me The Deals
~Happy Holidays
~Forums For Trading: Share The Wealth

Within each of these categories, you’ll find relevant discussion threads. Here is what the GREETINGS & GETTING STARTED forum looks like:





This forum is where you’ll find the Hot Coupon Rules, Couponing Basics tutorials and the Trader In Training Program. Trading coupons is the best and most affordable way to grow your stash, and this program is intended to help “get your feet wet” in the trading world so you learn how it works. Your first trades will be under the supervision of a moderator who will be there to help you every step of the way. Very often you’ll be able trade for peelies, tearpads, hangtags, rebate forms and other hard-to-find stuff. Here’s a pic from one of my favorite HCW trades:





I’ll cover the basics of trading in a later post. For now, the best way to learn is to take some time and look around this section of the forum.

Next, we’ll look at the forum category called Swingin’ Deals:






My favorite.

Here you’ll find the latest and greatest deals, clearance items and unadvertised bargains for just about every store under the sun brought to you by fellow HCWers! Wanna know what’s been spotted on clearance at CVS? Looking for a JoAnn’s Fabric printable coupon? You’ll find it here! Take a few minutes and look around this section so you know what’s available.

Next, scroll down until you find Forums For Trading: Share The Wealth.



Once you’ve completed the trader in training program, this will be one of your favorite spots. You’ll find:
~Coupon auctions
~Items up for trade
~Coupon Trains
~Classified ads
~Trading rules
And lots more.


Even if you’re still a Trader In Training, it will help you learn the ropes to see what is available and how folks are trading here.

Now, on to the Coupon Database. This is by far the most comprehensive database of coupons around. If a coupon exists for a particular item, chances are it’s listed here. To view the page below, click on the Coupon Database link shown with the black arrow:





You’ll see several tabs:
• Search (in orange)
• Have List
• Keep List
• Wish List
• Trades (Actual and Potential)

For now, we’ll discuss the Search feature, since the other four pertain to trading. You’ll see a Description box shown by the red arrow. Type in the name of the product you are seeking a coupon for and the results will be shown below it. As an example, in the screenshot below I’ve typed in a search for Kingsford Charcoal. I’ve also indicated that I’d like to see only insert coupons for this product. You can see the results show expiration date, insert date/type along with a description of the coupon. If I wanted to find a printable coupon for this product, I’d change the Source option to Printables. Easy as that, you can find out how and where to get the coupons you need!



Thanks goes to HCW for allowing me to use these screenshots and of course, for helping me save so much moolah! Be on the lookout for the next tutorial, which will explain the HCW trading system!

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