Friday, January 29, 2010

Coupons 101

I used to think that coupons were just plain silly. You were wasting your time cutting them on Sundays, and printing, and looking for that special item in the store. You were really ridiculous when you went to check out and handed the cashier 10 coupons while I was waiting with my handful of items behind you. Then I realized that I was the silly one for not using them.

Manufacturers spend billions of dollars yearly to supply us with coupons and most of the time not even half of those are used. I am the one sitting at home with the empty pantry with my $1 generic noodles and some 0.99 cent cheese to top them with while that coupon lady or man still has their pantry full with name brand foods that are actually good! Don't get me wrong the cashier does look at me funny when I hand her 30 coupons but, I look at her with a smile when the bill decreases by $50.00.

Couponing is somewhat of a game. You start slow and as you move on you become knowledgeable of all of the In's and Outs and before you know it YOU win. I will start with the basics of couponing and as we move ahead and you will learn more with the homework I have done already for you on my site. I guarantee you savings!

The first key is getting your local paper on Sunday, checking out the coupon printable web sites, and knowing what magazines are best for coupons.

*If you are an adventurous couponer then you will be purchasing more than one of your paper. Also check out the 2010 Coupon Insert Schedule so you know when there will be multiple inserts and you want to purchase more.

If you are ready for printable coupons my favorite sites are Coupons.com, Red Plum and SmartSource.com.

All You is the absolute best magazine for coupons! You can save at least $20/month by using the coupons in this magazine. It is sold exclusively at WalMart (on newsstands) or you can get a one year subscription for $15.00 here. TOTALLY worth it!

Be on the watch for: "peelies" peel-able coupons on the product, hangtags under the product, and "blinkies" - coupon machines that blink throughout the store.

Don't necessarily think that because there is a coupon for $1 off of 2 frozen meals that it is a good deal just because you have a coupon. Most of the time those meals are quite pricey when not on sale and if you have to buy two -- well then you have really wasted some money on something you don't even know if you will like.

Try to be organized with your coupons. It is hard enough if you are a Mom shopping with your kids in the first place. If you're not a Mom, or aren't shopping with kids, then keeping your coupons organized and keeping a list of what you want to purchase will be much easier. (Keep a list and keep to your list, unless you forgot to add bread).

My method is keeping a file folder for the weekly inserts by date, also known as the Coupon Mom system. . When the advertisements are posted I then pull out the date of the specific insert and clip the matching coupons.

Here is a breakdown of the abbrevations : I use SS for Smart Source, GM for General Mills, PG for Proctor and Gamble, K for Kelloggs, UN for Unilever and detail any printable match ups in the advertisements. I will list the matching coupons to the sales advertisements by writing, (1/25, RP) this means the coupon is in the Red Plum insert on January 25th.

Now that you have a stockpile of coupons it's time to match them up to the sales ad's.
Each week it seems as if the same coupons come around so you should have a few coupons for dish washing liquid when it finally goes on sale for $0.99. Being aware of the sales is really the key to making all of this work. If you just go to the store with your coupons and there isn't a sale price on the item then the Palmolive you just bought for $2.85 with the $0.25 coupon didn't really save you money. You have to watch for the sales, every 2-3 months they will come around on the same items.

Last but not least is creating a stockpile of items so you don't have to purchase out of necessity. This means your non-perishables, toiletries, etc. Pick them up when they are on sale and don't just purchase one purchase as many as you have coupons for. If you just get one then the previous purchase that cost $1 may cost you $4 next time even with your coupon.

If you are really into this you can purchase coupons online. I recommend the Coupon Clippers first, or Ebay secondly.

Each store has its own coupon policy and it is important that you know what that policy says. I will keep you updated with policy changes if/when they arise. They can all be found on the store's website or located at the customer service desk in-store.

Cut yourself some slack. Don't worry if the first few deals don't go as planned. Eventually this will get easier and you will feel more confident in your savvy saving skills!



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