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May 30th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Beginners Guide to Couponing – Maximizing your Coupon Use

So, you have spent the entire Memorial Day weekend collecting and organizing your coupons, right?  Just the task all of us had at the top of our list for the start of the summer season. I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend, but now we can put all the hard work of couponing to use. This is the fun part; where we start to see our money stay in our accounts instead of going to the store! In the end it is all about dollars and cents, right?

Did you know that the number one complaint is that items with coupons are more expensive than the items you would normally buy. This can be true when you are using a coupon with an item at regular price. The first rule is that you don’t just use a coupon because you have it or because it is about to expire!

Make a Plan!

  • Weekly Ads: Read the Store Ads to compare what items are on sale and what stores may have the best prices on items. If you don’t have access to the actual store ads, most of the time you can find them on the store’s website.
  • Coupon Matches: Match your coupons to any sale items to get an even better deal. One of my favorite sites to do this is Money Saving Mom. There you can subscribe to your local stores and the match-ups will be mailed to you. Coupons Trackers also do this automatically for you for a fee. One of my favorites of these is The Grocery Game. If you can’t find your stores match-ups, just Google it!
  • Price Matching: Some stores will price match items that are on sale at other stores. You just need to take the ad to the store and tell the cashier that you would like to price match the item. Walmart is a well known store that price matches.
  • Have a list made: You can bring anything from a hand-written list to a spreadsheet. Lists are a must because they keep you on task and keep you from buying anything extra. This could effect whether your overall total is GREAT or just good.
  • Rainchecks: Did you know that if your store is out of a item that is on sale you can get a raincheck. Customer Service or the cashier can get you one so that you can come back when the item is back in stock you can buy the item at the sale price.

Here are some tips to help you while making your plan:

  • If your store has a double coupon day you want to make sure you shop on that day.
  • Know your stores coupon policy and check often. Sometimes stores change the coupon policies.
  • Try to use as many coupons by stacking them. This means using manufacturer and store coupons together with any rebates while the items are on sale to maximize your savings.
  • Some stores place limits on items, so watch what items have these.
  • If there is a 10 for $10 promotion you do not have to buy 10 items to get the $1 price per item. Always double check this though, because there may be a restriction that makes you buy 10 items to get the $1 price.
  • Read the words on the coupon and ignore the pictures. You do not need to buy the item that is in the picture. Typically, the item in the picture is usually the most costly item covered by the coupon.
  • Shop with as few distractions as possible.
  • Bigger does not always mean better. More often than not, a trial size item will bring in the best deal.

Once you have your plan in place you are all ready to go to the store! Although, you might want to wait until next week when I talk about how to survive the checkout lane!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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