Couponers Store Guide
You're working the lingo, have your coupons in hand, and are scanning the stores for deals. What's next? Plan of attack!
First, zero in on a few stores in your area. You're going to look for a some things that can really make a buck stretch:
- Store rewards, coupons, or member savings programs. (Such as the ECB and RR)
- Does the store have a pamphlet or magazine with coupons in them? (These are IVC)
- Also will they give you a "rain-check" if the store is advertising a deal but are all out?
- If you have the time, try to make a basic by-aisle list of products you use. (Shortcut: see if Customer Service has a map or list for you!)
Be familair with the coupon policy of the store as this will contain tons of useful info you need to save money. For example:
- Does the store double coupons for members or on special days? If so, then up to what value? One local grocer will double coupons valued up to $0.55 cents. So if I have a two coupons for an item and one is for a $1 off and the other is for $0.55 cents, I would use the $0.55 cents coupon for a savings of $1.10 over the $1 off coupon that they would not double.
- Also check to see if they limit how many items you can get at sale price, if it is something you use often you may want the maximum.
- Some stores will offer special days that they will even triple the coupon amount!
- Another thrifty thing, is competitor pricing! Walmart, as well as many other stores, will match the lower price of an identical item from a competitor.
- Some stores will allow overage, if your amount saved exceeds the item bought. Most will apply it to the rest of your purchase as a credit.
- Finally, stores like to run BOGO items, at times these items may actually be 50% off each item. Then you don't have to buy two to get the deal. Other times you may have to get both for the savings, also consider if the store will take a BOGO coupon for the item. If they do, you could get both for free!
Second, collect coupons and put them in an order that makes sense to you.
Collect coupons from every source you can on items you're most likely to buy or need to stock like toilet paper, plastic bags, etc. Think about snagging some extra Sunday newspapers either from friends or by buying them. Coupon organizers can be as simple as a few labeled envelopes all the way to full blown binders with plastic sleeves and unique order. But no matter how you do your couponing remember to ask these questions:
Will I or my family use this product?
If I get it free and cannot use the product, does it have resale value?
Do I know someone who needs this product?
These questions are important because if you can not answer yes to any of them then it would be a waste of your time and money! Keep an eye out for coupon caveats that say on it not to double or require you to buy certain sizes and types of products.
Shop Smart, Prepare Before You Leave Home
Decide on your grocery budget before you do any thing else. Having in mind how much you can afford to spend gives you the greatest motivation for getting deals. It also helps you to shop with-in your means and will give you a sense of satisfaction for having successfully done so. Here are a few steps to get you in your target range before you spend any money driving around:
- Make a shopping list of the items you need and where you are likely to find them in the store, this adds focus to your shopping.
- Try getting a copy of the store's coupons from their website. (We show coupon match-ups and deals for CVS & Walgreens on our Coupon page.)
- Do your Coupon Match-ups before you leave using as much is available to you at home and on the internet.
- If you find yourself more tempted to buy unnecessary things with credit or debit try shopping with cash.
- Buy only what is on your list unless you find a freebie, then do the three ?'s we mentioned in point two.
- Always check the clearance and sale items for things you may need in the near future or right now.
- Some stores give you rewards for buying certain items that they have a sale on, in this case you may want to buy what you don't need for the reward. Remember though to see if it might have resale value.
- Don't forget about coupon overage, that is money from a sale item applied to your purchase. Don't assume that because it is free you don't get any more!
- Forget brand loyalty! Aim for brand quality and value. Loyalty means nothing if the product is expensive or poor quality.
- Get friends and family involved to make saving money more fun and exciting. After all who else are you going to gloat to?
That's it! You're on your way to saving money without having to be extreme about it. Balanced saving will bring you more time and money to enjoy the important things! Learn more about tricks stores use and ways to save with our Money Saving Articles.