Coupons 101

WHAT IS A COUPON?

  • Coupons are like cash.  Money saved is just like money earned.
  • Manufacturer (mfg) coupons are like cash to the store, too.  The store is reimbursed the full value of each coupon, plus a handling fee.

WHERE DO I GET COUPONS?

  • The Sunday paper has inserts filled with great manufacturer coupons.  Sunday’s Tribune is available Saturday morning at the Dollar Tree.  Pick up extra papers when there are good coupons on items you will use.
  • The internet offers many sources of printable coupons:  coupon sites like Coupons.com or Redplum.com;  manufacturer sites;  store sites;  and even Facebook.  Often, the printable coupons are higher value than the insert coupons, since the processing fees are lower.
  • Some stores offer free coupon booklets.  Pick these up when you see them.
  • Request free samples of products your family uses, as sometimes these samples come with high value coupons.
  • Tearpads, blinkies, catalina machines, and peelies are other sources of coupons.  Find these in-store.
  • Electronic coupons can be added to your store card or even sent to your cell phone.  Take advantage of as many of these offerings as you can.

HOW DO I USE COUPONS?

  • Manufacturers issue coupons to entice you to purchase their products and stores issue coupons to entice you to shop at their store.  These are separate offerings and can be combined to maximize your savings.  This is called stacking.
  • Read the store’s coupon policy before you go.  Print it out and take it with you, if you can find it on-line.
  • Understand that not every cashier will be happy to see your large stack of coupons. Smile, take a deep breath, and remember how much you’re saving for your family!
  • Watch carefully during checkout to make sure that all your coupons are scanned correctly.  Cashiers make mistakes, and catching it in line can save you a trip to customer service.

WHERE DO I USE COUPONS? You decide on the level of saving that is best for you!

  • Shop at your favorite grocery store weekly for all your family’s needs.  You can do this and still save with coupons.  Check the blogs before you go to find out the best deals at your store that week.  Have a list and stick to it.  Clip the coupons you need before you head to the store.  Sales change every Thursday.
  • Shop weekly for your family’s needs, but stop at more than one grocery store.  By picking up the best deals at several stores, you will save even more!
  • Shop weekly at the grocery store, but also add drugstore shopping.  The drugstores are a fabulous place to get inexpensive groceries as well as free and better than free OTC medicine and Health and Beauty Aid products.  Drugstore sales change over every Sunday.  You will save even more with this method.
  • Shop several times a week at the grocery and drugstores.  This way you can take advantage of deals as they become available, and you have a better chance of  finding the shelves stocked when you get to the store.  It takes more time, but you can save the most this way.
  • Realize that couponing can overtake your life, if you let it.  Make a firm commitment to the level of saving you need or want to achieve, and enjoy the rest of your life!

HOW DO I ORGANIZE MY COUPONS?

  • Mark coupon inserts with the date they were issued and file them.  Don’t cut the coupon until you need them.
  • Organize loose coupons in a bin or binder, sorted by product type.
  • Organize coupons by store when you head out to shop.

HOW DO I MAXIMIZE SAVINGS?

  • Most store sales run in a 12 week cycle.  You save more if you buy enough of your favorite products to last your family until that product goes on sale again.
  • Store the extra products within your home.  A shelving unit in the basement is a great solution, if you have the space.
  • A BOGO Free coupon is a mfg offering, and can often be paired with a BOGO Free sale, which is a store offering.  Use both together and get two items free!
  • Some coupons do not specify sizes.  Take advantage of that when you can.  For example, a $1/1 Tide coupon can be used to get the 0.97 travel sized packets free at Target.
  • Some coupons picture one item but the wording is much broader.  For example, the coupon might picture Cheerios but the coupon is good on any General Mills Cereal.  Read the text carefully!
  • Holding onto coupons for Free items can be beneficial.  Some stores offer $/$$ coupons, and you can purchase the items for which you have Free coupons to get you up to the $$ level.  You’ll get the extra $ off your order without actually spending $$!

Any questions? Please ask!


Christy

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