Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Important info for couponers

The first thing you need to do is get some coupons!
  • You can find coupons in many Sunday papers.   I usually buy 2-3 copies of the paper, but will buy more if it is a week with a LOT of coupons!
  • Ask your friends and neighbors for coupons. If they get a newspaper but usually throw out the coupons then they’ll probably be happy to give them to you.  My friends will clip the 4-5 coupons they want, and give me the rest! 
  • Check the internet. There are many great online printable coupons to be found! I have a list of good internet sites on my homepage, or you can click HERE
  • Order coupons from a clipping service or ebay. If there is a great coupon that you would like to have multiples of then you might consider ordering the coupons from a clipping service.
  • Check the store. There are many varieties of coupons that you can find in the store.  The most common are called blinkies, and can be found in a coupon dispensing machine next to the item they are for.  You might find others called peelies, stuck to the item you want to buy.  Peel it off and hand it to the cashier with your other coupons.  (In my experience sometimes cashiers miss these coupons, so don't leave it up to them to take them off for you.)

Find a way to organize you coupons!
  • Flat pencil case. I've seen many couponers keep their coupons in those vinyl pencil cases.  They would work great, but when you acquire a LOT of coupons, you will need to think bigger.  The pencil case would come in handy when you go to the store, to organize just the coupons you plan on using.
  • Filing cabinet. You can file all of your newspaper inserts in a filing cabinet by date, and when you see a deal posted with the date listed, you can just pull out the inserts from that date.  (ex- A website might list a deal this way: jif peanut butter 2.50, use $1 off from Red Plum 6/26)
  • Coupon Binder. This is what I prefer. You clip all of your coupons and file them in baseball card holders in a three-ring binder. With this method you can carry your binder to the store and have all your coupons with you while you shop. I organize my coupons by item based on the aisles of my local grocery store, so produce first, then medicine/health, cosmetics, etc.  You can find out more about my binder HERE.
Know your store’s coupon policy!  I would suggest checking your stores website to see if you can print a copy of their coupon policy to bring with you when you shop in case questions arise.
  • Member Cards If your store offers a loyalty card then make sure to get one. Some stores only give the sale prices to card-holders. Loyalty cards are Free! You can usually just sign up at a register or at customer service.  I keep the big card in my wallet, and the key chain card on my keys and my husband's keys.  That way we never forget it!
  • Double/Triple coupons. Double/triple coupons is when the store will take your 50¢ coupon and double it making it $1. The register does this automatically! Many grocery stores will offer this perk.  Price Chopper, my local grocery store, will double coupons up to 99 cents, so a 99 cent coupon would deduct 1.98.   A dollar coupon would only deduct one dollar.  Call your store and ask!
  • Stacking coupons. Most stores will allow you to use one store coupon (the discount is provided by the store) and one manufacturer coupon (the discount is provided by the manufacturer) per item.
  • Internet coupons. Find out if your store accepts coupons printed from an internet source.
  • Competitor coupons. Some stores will accept competitors coupons.
  • Expired coupons. Some stores will accept expired coupons!
Get your shopping list together.  Check the following to find out what you want to buy!
  • Weekly Ads. Read the weekly store ads to see what is on sale and which stores have the best prices on the items you need. If you don’t get the weekly ads delivered you can usually view them on the store’s website.
  • Coupon Matchups. Try to match your coupons to the items on sale.  I offer weekly price and coupon matchups for CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Price Chopper.
  • Pricematch. Some stores, like Walmart and Target, will pricematch. This means that if Captain Crunch is on sale for $2 at Price Chopper, you can take the ad to Walmart and at checkout tell the cashier that you would like to pricematch the Captain Crunch. Show them the ad and they will charge you the sale price.  You can use a manufacturer coupon on the sale item as well. This comes in especially handy if your store is out of stock!
  • Make a shopping list. A list helps you remember what you wanted to buy and helps you spot errors in pricing.  I try to write my list in the order I will find items in my store, with produce first and frozen foods last. 
  • Get a raincheck when necessary. If your store is out of the sale item, get a raincheck! Go to customer service and ask for a raincheck for the item you wanted. They will fill out a piece of paper with the item details and price. Then you can come back when the sale is over and buy that item at the sale price by giving the cashier the raincheck. You CAN use a coupon if you are using a raincheck.
You may not see hundreds of dollars in savings at first, but as you buy extra things you need all the time at sale prices, you won't be forced to pay full price when you run out!  Take special advantage of items that don't expire (toiletries), or items with long expirations (cereal), and buy more at the lower price to save money in the long run!

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