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Coupon savings

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The coupons around here have been slim pickins lately. Our Sunday paper has a lot but they are mostly for over processed crap or "chemical products" i.e. Hair sprays, cosmetics etc. I used to get 10 good coupons a week at least, now I am lucky to get 2.

There's always a Harbor Freight coupon page as of late. And when they are good coupons a lot of times it's save a dollar on two or more instead of 50 or 75 cents since the stores will double up to 99 cents but not a dollar.

I have the advantage, depending on how you look at it, of having 4 different stores within 2 miles.
I am also close to 2 others where I work so I have the ability to pick and choose sales.

Check the Costco website. BJs has printable coupons and there are usually a couple goodies like 3.75 off mccormick seasonings or 2.00 off peanut butter. And you can usually use 2 per transaction. So you can get 2 things of peanut butter with 2 coupons.

some of the people on the show use coupon clipping services where they pay a few cents per coupon and they will buy 50 and wait for the product to go on sale and then if the store doubles them, they are set.

One woman I saw contacted the newspaper depot and they drop off all the extra coupons that don't go into the newspapers so they don't have to recycle them. Other people dumpster dive behind places they sell newspapers or swap with people.

I hope this helps.

I have never had the kind of luck others have described, but am giving it another shot. Apparently, the philosophy of couponing has to do with:

1) buying things you'll use at bottom dollar prices and stocking up when the target pricing is available
2) specials go in approximately 6 week cycles
3) coupons from newspapers and mailers and online printables come out in cycles that do not necessarily match when the store specials occur
4) by saving coupons and using online resources, match up coupons that have been issued with loss leader pricing at grocery stores to maximize savings
5) look for coupons in stores when shopping, collecting up several of items you would want to save for sales

Here is an example of a sale I got this weekend: Ronzoni pasta varieties were on sale at Kroger's for 99 cents when you buy at least 10 qualifying items. If you used a Kroger's card, you got them for $.50 each. I found printable coupons for Ronzoni pasta for $1.00 off when you buy two packages. I had enough coupons to buy 8 boxes of pasta with coupons for each. (I found two other items with coupons to make the other two items needed to make 10).

Calculations:  8 packages Ronzoni pasta:  $7.92
            less: Kroger card discount:            -$4.00
            less:  4 - $1.00 off coupons           -$4.00
                       Total cost on grocery bill:    -$.08 = -$.01 per package
modified because I had forgotten about the Kroger card discount

While I was there, I noticed there were $2.00 off coupons for Community coffee (which I like very much). It was not on sale, however, so I'll be saving the coupons I gathered and watching to see if Community coffee goes on sale there (or anywhere else, since the coupons were not store-specific) before they expire 5/31. The regular price on the coffee was $6.49/12 oz package. If I watch it and wait for it to go on sale for anywhere around $5.00-$5.50, it will be a very good deal. It's not terrible even at regular price with $2.00 off, but I'm hoping for better :D

This is just an example of how you can use those coupons to buy things you'll actually use in your home. I also have found that certain stores will double or triple coupons (not Walmart or commissary -- usually the more expensive grocery chains, like Publix or Kroger's). By using a $.25 off coupon that is tripled, you can nearly get a small bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid for free in regular cycles... things like this are a good way to start with it. I'm still trying to get the hang of this, so I am no expert. Still, I can see how this will allow people to stock up on food items at very good prices.

If everyone did this, there would not be enough profit in it for the stores and manufacturers to continue it, but happily I don't see many people doing it in the stores when I am shopping, only a few hardy souls. I strongly recommend you pick a time to shop when the stores are not crowded if you are new to this... way too hard to gather your list and coupons if people are bumping your cart every few seconds.  Hope this helps...

I would add one of the easiest ways to get started is to tie your store savings card to an online account.  I went onto Safeway's site last week.  I registered my card and instantly I had more coupons available to me.  The cool thing is there is no clipping.  Just add them to your card, then Email the list to yourself from the web site.  Now using an Iphone just walk down the isles.  I ended up knocking $38 off a $75 grocery bill last week.

Here's what I do and I think some of it has already been mentioned.

1. Ebay- I got 300 coupons for 12 dollars shipping included. I threw out 5, 2 of them were for Publix deals(we dont have a Publix). And the other 3 were for prunes. Most of the coupons were for a dollar off and a few buy one get one.

2. Blinkys(Coupons in the store in random location with the blinking lights.) I am finding these for pizza lately and with my schedule a pizza in the oven is the quickest thing I can think of.

3. .coms,, Also most of these websites have forums and a few have regional forums try and get on board with them. These websites do all the work for you with price matchups per store, but some of it is regional so you need to pay attention in the store.

4. Google Alerts- I set up a google alert for "Facebook Freebies". Any time the key words are found I get an e-mail. I have yet to use them yet because I am never home when the freebies are offered, and they often go quick. (I have my gmail on my cellphone and am alerted everytime I get an e-mail.) Most of the time they either give away so many freebies or they will let you access a link for a printable coupon.

5. Youtube- anything you want to know. I learned everything I need to know about couponing from Youtube.

6. Make a list of items and matched coupons. Only buy the items on the list. (I have a habit of something catching my eye and ending up in the cart.) Unless of course it's produce,meat,dairy, etc. stuff you don't always find coupons for that you would consume.

Best we have done yet with very very little prep is 75 dollars off a 200 dollar order. Im telling you we barely tried.

Also I wanted to point out please pay attention to what the coupon says. If the coupon says its for 1 can of beans do not buy a can of corn with it. Many manufacturers use the same barcodes. If you defraud the company by misusing barcodes some manufacturers won't reimburse the grocer and that's why you see more strict coupon policies. I would assume that if everyone did things the right way the grocer wouldn't care because they get reimbursed anyhow.

Finally I check the Sunday paper at work and clip the few out that I wan't. If it's a good week I may buy 1 or two more papers.

Lots of helpful info in this thread. Here's my contribution.

In addition to using coupons and rebates, there are a few "rules" by which I shop. I've described them below and I've linked to sites where you can get excellent information about the concepts.

If you don't use it, don't buy it.


1. The item is free or a money-maker and will push your purchase over a reward threshold. E.g., Rite-Aid offered a $20 savings reward for purchases totaling $100 in a particular period. I used free and money-maker items to increase my accumulated purchases enough to qualify for the $20.

2. You can give the items to those who are in need. I collect personal care items (shampoo, razors, skin care, toothpaste, toothbrushes, contact lens care, OTC meds, etc. to donate to groups that serve members of the armed forces or their families).

Don't shop for things you need now

You shop for immediate use items in your larder / pantry / storeroom and go shopping for items to stock your larder. This necessitates having a store of items, but don't despair, that will build up over time.

Shop sales and loss-leaders

Yes, even for staples such as bread, eggs, and milk. This is possible because I stock up on sale items (it helps to live in metro areas such as Los Angeles, where there is a great deal of grocery competition). Most times, if you looked in my shopping trolley, you'd think I had an eating disorder because there might be 10 boxes of mac & cheese, a dozen tins of diced tomatoes, 8 boxes of microwave popcorn (a weakness), and 5 boxes of plastic bags. Or 2 18-count cartons of eggs, 5 bottles of salad dressing, and 6 toothbrushes. And each week looks just as odd.

A word about name brands--

You don't have to buy name brands, though you might find that they can be more economical when using couponing techniques. I use Tide laundry detergent. It is significantly more expensive than generic or 2nd-tier products. So why do I buy Tide? Because 1. It consistently tops the Consumer Reports ratings for effectiveness (so I get clean clothes without having to use more than the recommended amount or having to rewash my laundry) and 2. there are frequent sales, promotions, and high-value coupons for name-brand products and by using them (mfg coupon + store coupon + rebate) along with $-off store rewards such as Register Rewards or ExtraCare Bucks, and my price book (see below), I can purchase Tide at prices that are lower than the sale price of generic detergent. Even if the price was equal, remember that price and cost are different.

Know the coupon policy where you shop

(This may sometimes appear to require an advanced degree :))  E.g., Safeway will only double the first of identical coupons. In order to get the maximum discount at stores with such a policy, you must divide your orders so that you don't have multiples of the same coupon in any order.

Don't be distracted at the register

You must pay attention in order to catch shenanigans such as: clerks not entering all your coupons, I've caught clerks in Target (there was a recent scandal regarding them cheating customers out of the value of some coupons with dodgy register programming) slipping some of my coupons beneath the register).

Registers not properly accepting your coupons (there is an error beep that will alert you. Sometimes clerks must manually adjust a coupon downward if it is for more than the price of the item; you'll get the item for free, but can't have a "profit". I caught a CVS clerk clearing the error but not giving me the coupon value and trying to pocket my coupon).

Sometimes honest mistakes occur or the clerks have not been properly trained on the official coupon policy.

Organize coupons for ease of location and access

There are many ways to organize coupons -- and no "right" way -- just customize the way that works best for you (you might need to try a few methods before you find the best fit). Southern Savers have the best descriptions of the various methods.

Know when a sale is really a sale

Each week, there is a colourful ad for the market, but not every item is on sale, and not every sale price is a good deal. In a given store, paper towels, salad dressing, ground beef, and pasta may be on sale 2-3 times a month and many more times during the year. They want to sell high and you want to buy low, but how do you know when to buy?

Sales Cycles and Stocking Up

To get the most saving on your purchases, you must know what the best prices are, the interval at which they appear, and where they are offered. This necessitates that you keep track of what you pay for your items. After a period of paying attention to this information, some of it will simply stick in your head (typically for the most frequently purchased items), but unless you posses an eidetic memory, you will need to use a price book. Don't panic, this isn't complex or particularly time consuming. The information you require is printed on your receipt. But since you don't want to have to sort through weeks or months of receipts every time you sit down to your make up your shopping list, you need to put it into an easy-to-use format.

Your price book can be a little spiral notebook, forms you downloaded, an online service, or a spreadsheet that you maintain on your computer. Electronic price books have the advantage of being searchable and sort-able and if you have a smartphone or PDA, you have the advantage of being able to see and enter information wherever you happen to be.

How to Develop a Price Book
Online Price Book w/ integrated grocery list and analysis
free downloadable price book spreadsheet (they have a more sophisticated version for sale and lots of other free spreadsheets.

Getting-Started Tutorials

Southern Savers
Online Video Coupon Class
Laura Williams Musings
another Couponing-101

Deal / Match-up Sites
Southern Savers

Coupon Databases



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