Coupons and Me!
Couponing and Ad Matching A Better way to Shop!
Never used a coupon in your life? This beginner’s guide to couponing will teach you the basics so you can start saving money with coupons. So Lets begin!!
How to Get Coupons
- Coupon Clipping Service. I do not use I am trying to save money not spend money to buy coupons!
- The Sunday newspaper is a great source of coupons. Buy the newspaper with the largest circulation in order to get the best coupons. You can sometimes get them cheaper by buying a double pack. I find that a good rule of thumb is to purchase one newspaper per family member.
- Here is a tip, the dollar stores all around the city have left over Sunday Papers, so on Monday morning they have them for sale for 1.00 a paper. You can buy 3 papers per dollar store, some however some stores are not a strict on the 3 paper rule but you can always ask. Here is how I break it down For each family member 1 newspaper. This allows for those extra coupons to feed your growing family.
- Ask your friends and family for coupons. If they get a newspaper but usually throw out the coupons then they’ll probably be happy to give them to you.
- Peruse the Internet. There are many great online printable coupons to be found! There is a list of legitimate coupon sites attached to the back of this packet. DANGER Beware of fraudulent sites that offer coupons. Verify that the site is a legitimate coupon distributor.
- Check the store. There are many varieties of coupons that you can find in the store. Attached is a list of coupon resources you can use.
Organize Your Coupons
- Envelopes. You can start by clipping and putting them all in an envelope or check file. Once you’ve been couponing for a few weeks you will need something bigger. Make sure that if you are doing more than 1 paper that you have small and big paperclips so you can paperclip like coupons together.
- File by insert. With this method you just file your inserts by date in a box and use an online coupon database to find the coupon you need. This method doesn’t require much work but you might miss out on unadvertised deals by not having all of your coupons with you at the store.
- Coupon Binder. With this method you would 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. You can also use a 4×6 photo binder and sleeves, or you can use a coupon wallet. Coupon Wallets are very cheap and can be bought at the dollar store. You can also use a recipe box and index cards to separate your coupons , Some people already have these on hand.
Know Your Store’s Coupon Policy
Every person on the planet except those who resist technologies advances has a smart phone. Each type of phone androids have Google play, Amazon phones have amazon.com, and iphones have iTunes. There is a application called Flipp. This application once you load it and put in your zip code will show you every sales flyer within 10 miles of your home. It also has a searchable feature. Say you want to buy Lettuce, you type in Lettuce and every type of lettuce that is on sale in your area will show up by store. This is a awesome resource I use this every time I go to the store.
- Loyalty 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! Make sure you log into their website with your loyalty card there are coupons online at Fry’s Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Bashes all have coupons online you can load directly to your card.
- Double/Triple coupons. Doubling or tripling coupons is when the store will take your 50¢ coupon and double it to make it worth $1. This is done automatically at the register; you do not have to do anything to take part in this promotion. First, find out if your store doubles or triples coupons. If they do, find out the maximum double/triple value and how many they will double/triple. My Albertson’s will triple up to 35¢ and double up to 50¢. That means my coupons that are 35¢ and under will triple and my coupons that are 50¢ and under will double. So, at Albertson’s, my 50¢ coupon is actually worth $1. They will only double/triple the first four like coupons, so if I have ten coupons for 50¢ off of shampoo, only the first four will double. HOWEVER, there has been some coupon changes, some of the stores say that they will only double coupons that are 51¢ before they can double it. So be sure you know your stores policies before planning. Stores in the Phoenix metro area that do double/triple coupons are as followed Safeway, Albertsons, Bashes and Fry’s, however some of them only have certain days while others do it all the time, again check your local store policies, just pick up the phone and call.
- Stacking coupons. Some 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. Target is one of them, they are known for stacking coupons, from their website to the paper coupon and even use it as a advertising tool. Use can also print coupons from target to stack with other manufacturer coupons.
- Printable coupons. Find out if your store accepts printable coupons.
- Competitor coupons. Some stores will accept competitors coupons.
- Expired coupons. Some stores will accept expired coupons, though it is rare.
Make a Plan
- 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. When you make your list from the weekly ads make sure you know what store the sale is at, the price, the oz or size. Be specific because your cashier will be.
- Plan Your Meals. Planning your meals is a fast and easy way to get thru your ads. It may just make you rethink your meal plan for that week since other items may be on sale and can be gotten cheaper right now than say next week. I like to go thru the ads first and look at the meat what meat might be the best for that week. Then go to side dishes and veggies, and you can build your meals to be less expensive per person and save money for your family to do fun things too! Remember to shop in season, vegetables, and fruits that are in season are much cheaper than those that are not. I adjust my eating habits each season to enjoy those vegetables and fruits so I while are fresh. Enclosed is a list of Fruits and Vegetables by Season.
- Coupon Matchups. There are hundreds of websites that will do coupon match up for you, you just need to find the site that works for you. Again I love this website she has all the things I ever need to know and gives me tons of tips to improve my own coupon skills http://thekrazycouponlady.com/deals/. I also get free books from amazon on my kindle to read up on new coupon trends. I am never above learning new tricks to save money.
- Price Match. Some stores, like Wal-Mart, will price match. This means that if grapes are on sale for 99¢/lb at Kroger, you can take the ad to Wal-Mart and at checkout tell the cashier that you would like to price match the grapes. Show them the ad and they will sell you the grapes for 99¢/lb versus their higher price. REMEMBER that the store you are price matching with must be within 10 miles of the store you are price matching at.
- Make a List. Don’t go to the store without a list. Lists remind you what you came for and keep you from buying items you don’t need. The only time you should deviate from your list is when a instore name brand product beats your name brand product price with coupon, this saves more money. Deviating from your list for all other things are budget breakers.
- Rain checks. If your store is out of the sale item, get a rain check! Go to customer service and ask for a rain check for the item you wanted. They will fill out a piece of paper with the item details and price. Then you can come back another day (usually no more than 30 days) and buy that item at the sale price by giving the cashier the rain check. This also gives you more time to gather coupons for the item! You can still use a coupon if you are using a rain check.
Don’t Be Fooled
- 10/$10 promotions. You do not have to buy 10 items to get the $1 price! The only exception to this rule is if the ad states that you must! Those times are rare and are usually for items that are buy x get y free, final price 2/$5, etc. Unless they specifically specify that you must buy x amount.
- Rock-bottom prices. Don’t go out and use your coupon immediately! If you use that 25¢ off toilet paper right away when it’s not on sale you aren’t reaching your saving potential! Wait until toilet paper goes on sale for $1 then use the coupon. If your store triples coupons then your toilet paper coupon could be worth three times as much! Matching sales with coupons is getting a great price. Combining sales plus coupons plus another promotion (rebates, double coupons, store coupons) is getting the best price!
- “One per Purchase.” I’ve heard this so many times! Most coupons say “one coupon per purchase” somewhere in the fine print. Cashiers will try to tell you that that means you can only use one coupon per transaction/day. This is NOT true! One per purchase means that you can only use one coupon per item purchased! So if you are buying 10 items and have 10 coupons then you can use them all!
- Make a Price book. Start paying attention to prices and keep a list of items you regularly buy with the best and regular prices for those items. This will help you when you see that canned veggies are on “sale” for 10/$10 but the regular price is actually 99¢! This is really important. Let me give you an example. On my recent shopping list I had avocados. 1.00 a piece at bashes, however Wal-Mart had a sale for 68¢ I almost cost myself 32¢. Egad! How could that happen Not on my watch! Always watch for non advertised in store sales. Price books will keep track of the sale trends. Again the trend is about every 12 weeks. Usually sometimes they can throw in a nice curve ball but that always gives us something new to add to our price book!
- Limits. Stores will sometimes put limits on the item to make you think it’s a great price! If cereal is on sale for 2/$4 you might not even notice it. But if it’s on sale “2/$4 — limit 2!” then you will likely think it’s a great price since they had to put a limit on it! This is not true, make sure you double check the stores website, browse other stores to get the price of your favorite items you use all the time so you are sure you are getting a great price.
- Shop early. If you have couponers in your area then it’s best to get to the store as early in the sale as you can! Im right here!!!!
- Bigger is better really? Not so much. The cost per unit of the bigger box of cereal may be less than the smaller one, but when combining coupons with sales, the smaller box is likely the better deal. Watch your sizes, be observant and you will win in the coupon game.
- Watch the cashier. When checking out pay close attention to the price screen to make sure everything rings up at the correct price. Also, make sure that the cashier scans all of your coupons. Coupons sometimes stick together or get dropped or the cashier will scan the coupon but not realize that it didn’t go through. Kindly point out that they missed one and they will correct it.
- Check your receipt. BEFORE leaving the store look over your receipt to make sure everything rang up correctly and all of your coupons were scanned. If there is a problem take it to customer service immediately so they can fix it. If you leave the store and come back at another time then it might not be fixable. If the cashier missed a coupon and you notice right away it’s easy to see the mistake. But, if you come back later after several other coupons have been added to the cashier’s stack or the stack is gone then there is no way to prove that they missed a coupon.
Build Your Stockpile
- Start slowly. Don’t buy a ton of everything as soon as you get started or you will blow your budget! A stockpile takes time. Set aside a portion of your weekly grocery money for stockpiling and do what you can with what you have.
- Buy for the future. If an item goes on sale for a great price (or free!) then buy more than you need for just the week. Typically sales go in 12 week cycles so you only need to buy enough for 12 weeks. If you eat one box of cereal per week then when you find cereal at a rock-bottom price then you should buy 12 boxes. This way you have cheap cereal that will last you until you can buy it at a rock-bottom price again.
- Expired Coupons NO PROBLEM! If you have expired coupons DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY, you can put your coupons in a envelope and send to coupons for troops, How to Send Troopons Simply mail your coupons the cheapest way you can to us, and we will make sure they get to the troops:
Support Our Troops®
P.O. Box 70
Daytona Beach, FL 32115-0070
Troops can use the coupons in the PX 6 months after their expiration date. They could use a little coupon love too!
- Know how much you use. Start paying attention to how many bottles of shampoo, packs of diapers, boxes of cereal, etc. you use. This will help you to have a better idea of how much you should buy and to not go overboard! If you only eat 1 box of cereal a month then there is really no need to buy more than a few boxes or they will just go to waste.
- Donate it. Every couponer will eventually go overboard and buy too much of something. If there is no way you will use it before it expires then consider donating the item to intake, Indian Food Pantry, Many Foster Homes around the community, the retirement home, Elderly Programs, Support our troops, there are tons of organizations sending care packages that will take your items and use them to bring a little light into their life. There are many people you can donate to that will appreciate your donation. Toothpaste and toothbrush coupons can get these items for almost nothing or add money to your balance to pay for items that you would usually use cash for, while the stores wont give you money if you have a credit you can use that credit to apply to your other grocery totals. A group us couponers donated 300 toothbrushes and toothpaste to the troops and we paid a little under 10 dollars at the store in taxes at the Wal-Mart with the exemption that the manager was able to give us because they were going to donation. Its good to give back!
Don’t Believe it, just take a look at the numbers.
Example of my shopping trip, yes I have been where you are now low on money, learning how to save on my grocery bill so I can pay other bills, however, once you get use to shopping this way, you will find it becomes an action, my motto never pay retail!
|Amount||Price Match Item||Price Match Price||# Coupons||Coupons||Store||Total|
|1||Store Brand Bisquick||$2.28||1||0.50||Wal-Mart||2.28|
|1||Better Than Bullion Beef||$3.72||1||0.75||2.97|
|3||Oscar Meyer Hotdogs||$2.52||3||2.25||Bashes||5.31|
|3||10lb Bulk Chicken||$0.37||lb||3.70a pk||Food City||11.10|
|1||Progresso Bread Crumbs||$2.38||Coupon||2.38|
|1 16oz||Bushes Baked Bean||Free||0.00|
|1||Celery||$0.79||Smart & Final||0.79|
|2||Tomatoes on the Vine||$0.79||Smart & Final||2.37|
|3||Green Bell Pepper||$0.33||Food City||0.99|
|1||Hillshire Farm Sausage||$1.99||Bashes||1.99|
|4||Hotdog Rolls/Hamburger Rolls||$0.88||3.52|
|2||White Mushrooms 8 oz||$0.99||El Super||1.98|
|2||Store Brand Sauce||$1.99||Fry’s||3.98|
|2||Old El Paso Taco Shells||$0.88||El Super||1.58|
|9||93% 2lb Roll Hamburger||$3.49||Fry’s||31.41|
|By My List||103.56|
To Show you what a few hours of work, checking coupons and price matching will do for your budget, lets show you a different view of my grocery list. How Much I would have paid without all my pre-work and coupons. A little time in and the work just pays off in big numbers
|Amount||Price Match Item||Total|
|1||Store Brand Bisquick||2.28|
|1||Better Than Bullion Beef||3.75|
|3||Oscar Meyer Hotdogs||12.75|
|3||10lb Bulk Chicken||17.85|
|1||Progresso Bread Crumbs||2.38|
|1 16oz||Bushes Baked Bean||1.49|
|2||Tomatoes on the Vine||2.98|
|3||Green Bell Pepper||2.07|
|1||Hillshire Farm Sausage||2.49|
|4||Hotdog Rolls/Hamburger Rolls||3.52|
|2||White Mushrooms 8 oz||1.98|
|2||Store Brand Sauce||4.70|
|2||Old El Paso Taco Shells||2.70|
|9||93% 2lb Roll Hamburger||53.55|
|What I Paid||103.91|
Remember that not all prices are the same as the Wal-Mart website, they may differ by a few cents, or prices can go out. If you want to be completely accurate then you can go to your store and ask for a print out of all their products in the store by aisle, and prices of each product. Some stores will do it for others will not. This also makes your shopping easier. I plan my trip and groceries in some of my stores by aisle. This makes me more efficient and no back tracking.
I hope these tips have been helpful! I know that you can save money and get great food for outstanding prices if we just take a minute and stop impulse buying and shop wisely.
Fruit and Veggie Arizona Season
Internet Printable Coupon Sites
- Target Coupons
- Whole Foods Coupons
- Mambo Sprouts
- Betty Crocker
- Box Tops 4 Education
- Johnson & Johnson
- Kellogg’s Family Rewards
- P&G eSaver
- Target Mobile Coupons
- Tom Thumb Just for U
- Newspaper Inserts: Coupons found in your Sunday newspaper in the section with the store weekly ads. Be sure to check out the Coupon Preview each week to see what coupons are coming out in Sundays paper! The website below is just one, you can type in your city and state and Sunday coupon review
- Blinkies: Pull these coupons from the “blinking” machines at the grocery store
- Peelies: Coupons that are stuck to the actual product
- Tearpads: Pads of coupons typically found on special displays at the store, tear off one or two
- Home Mailers: Coupons that are sent directly to your mailbox
- Magazines: All You is a magazine sold exclusively at Wal-Mart or via subscription and it almost always has great coupons in it.
A great tool for finding coupons is the Coupon Database! Search for a product you need a coupon for, and if there is one available it will display the source for it! I prefer these sites,