When I was little, we would stay with my mom's parents during the summer on the east coast. Every morning when I would wake up, I'd find my grandpa where he was the evening before—hunched over the breakfast table "working the numbers." Grandpa loved horse racing, and would sit for hours studying the odds, calculating his chances of winning by placing this bet or that one.

It was only later when I started couponing that I understood why Grandpa was so addicted to betting on the horses. He loved to win! He loved to sock away the extra cash from a well-chosen race and wake up to do it all again the next day.

Today I know that couponing is way better than gambling or any other kind of "get rich quick" scheme. No matter what, if I just use my coupons, I’ll be guaranteed to save money and win every single time. Here are a few fun ways to begin your winning streak today!

All it takes is one coupon

Let's say you love pizza. One day you’re in the grocery store, and a previous shopper has left the store circular in your basket. You happen to spy a coupon for $1.00 off your favorite frozen pizza (priced at $2.99). So you tear out the coupon and nab the pizza. At checkout, you get the pizza for $1.99.

This is all it takes to get hooked. You’re now $1 richer—and you just ate the tastiest pizza ever!

Getting organized

We all get lucky sometimes, and finding someone else's circular in the cart you chose is definitely getting lucky. But once you’re aware of the money you can save, it’s time to get organized.

1. Choose your couponing method

Unlike my grandpa, who had no choice but to scour the papers and work the numbers longhand, today's couponing "gamers" have a lot of options (and you don't have to pick just one!).

  • Mobile coupons (digital coupons, coupon codes, etc.) are among the most popular new coupon options. They’re easy to find and—no paper needed!
  • Printable coupons are easy to find, and all you have to do is download and print them!
  • Newspaper coupons are the coupons that come tucked into the pages of your Sunday paper. Just clip and use!

2. Set a savings goal

Here is where the game starts! You can't win if you don't know what "winning" looks like—so make it fun by setting a savings goal. You can set your goal two different ways (or combine both ways for more of a challenge!).

  • Save this much: Here, you might say, "I’m going to save $25 at the grocery store this week by using coupons." Not only is it so satisfying to watch the savings add up, but at the end of the month, if you meet your goal each week, you’ll have an extra $100 in the bank.
  • Spend this much: Here, you might say, "I’m only going to spend $50 (instead of $65) on groceries this week." At the end of the month, if you meet your goal, you’ll have an extra $60 in the bank.
  • Track your savings: You’ll want to have a way to track your couponing savings to make the game more fun (and more fair!). Check out The Krazy Coupon Lady's couponing spreadsheet for an easy way to track your savings!

3. Increase the stakes

The better you get at saving through couponing, the more you’ll want to play this fun new game that earns you cash! So don't get complacent—up the stakes as your skills increase! Or add in new challenges when special needs arise.

Here are some fun challenges to try:

4. Always keep learning

My grandpa never stopped studying the mechanics of picking a winning horse—he was 99 when he passed, and he was still studying the odds and placing his bets. In the same way, to get better at your couponing game, you must always keep learning.

Here are two must-have couponing textbooks:

This is a guest post by Shannon from Texas.

Couponing: A “Sure Thing” Game Where You Always Win