Coupons 101 – How To Coupon at Wal-mart

Part 6 of Coupons 101 Series - Learn how to Coupon at Wal-mart to maximize your savings!

Coupons 101 – How To Coupon at Wal-mart

 

Continuing our coupons 101 series, today, we’re going to talk about how to coupon at Wal-mart. I hear so many people say that using coupons at Wal-mart is too much of a hassle, that you can’t save big there and that it isn’t worth the hassle they give you. To be honest, I’ve couponed at Wal-mart since 2004 and I can only count three times since then where I’ve had issues and two of those three were with the same cashier. You really should give it a try and if you did happen to have a bad experience, be sure to give it another shot…maybe at a different store. I promise, the rewards are worth it. :)

Before you head out to the store with your coupon binder, there are just a few things you need to know.

  • Wal-mart has NO limit on the number of coupons you can use per transaction unless the coupon itself has a limit. Be sure to read the fine print of the coupon to see if it does.
  • Walmart will match any advertised price in your local area as long as they carry the exact same brand, size, etc. Advertised price mean that it must be in the other store’s weekly sale ad. Some stores will match store brand for store brand, others will not, but the Walmart Ad Match policy does say that they’re not supposed to. They will not match an online price, even from their own website.
  • Walmart registers will lock at more than 50.00 savings and/over 40 coupons. This is nothing to worry about, but you will need a CSM come over, turn a key and punch their numbers. They will likely want to verify that each It can be a pain in the you know what though if the store is very busy, so if you know you’re going shopping during a busy time and you’re going to lock it up it may be better to do multiple transactions.
  • Price matching prices AFTER RR or ECB is truly a YMMV (your mileage may vary) situation. I have been told by corporate that it’s the same as a store rewards card price, which they do price match, but others have been told that they don’t.  Never go in expecting to get that after price because you may not.
  • You are NOT required to bring in your sales ads with you when price matching via their own policy. However, it is always best to have them with you. At my store, I have cashiers who want to see them and some who don’t. It’s a YMMV situation.
  • When matching coupons with sales, don’t forget those coupons that work together, like a buy 2 x product and a free wyb x product. Just be sure to follow the coupons legalese and the store’s policy when trying to stack. In the case of the a $1/2 and a free wyb coupon, you would need to buy 3 products total to use both coupons, but in the long run, you may save more.
  • Walmart does give overage via their coupon policy. Do NOT let someone tell you they don’t! Be prepared to fight for this if needed. Overage is the one thing that is worth fighting for as long as it’s legitimately owed! However, even when fighting for overage, stay calm and respectful. You will get a lot farther if you do than if you yell and cause a scene.
  • Walmart DOES accept competitor coupons, however, they do NOT accept store coupons. It is a bit complicated, but in order for Walmart to accept it, it MUST have a specified price on it. Look at a Walgreens in-ad coupon to see what type they accept. In essence, they price match the item. Using Target coupons that do NOT have a specified price at Walmart is fraud. Plain and simple.

Now onto the how to coupon at Wal-mart part:

Step 1: Print out the Walmart Coupon Policy and the Walmart Ad Match Policy. Both policies are available as pdf files so print them out and put them in your binder, your organizer, your wallet, or anywhere else that’s easily accessible to you. You want to have them with you in case of problems at checkout.

Step 2: Gather the sales ads from the stores you normally would shop at. Make sure you gather the weekly ads for all drugstores, all grocery stores and in some cases office supply stores, etc. Why are you doing this? You’re doing this so that you can price match the sales. Price matching saves you in more ways than one, but most noticeably because you won’t be spending out gas money to travel to a ton of different stores.

Step 3: Go through the ads and find all of the deals you’d like to get. I find it easier to keep track of them if I circle them.

Step 4: Go thru your coupons and see what you have to matchup with the sales. If Gillette ProGlide razors are on sale, you want to be looking for a Gillette ProGlide coupon. Also make sure you check coupons that you did not pull out for personal use. I have found a lot of great deals this way. I won’t pull the coupon b/c I don’t think I’ll use it, and then the product goes on sale. So I’m able to go back and pull the coupon and get a deal. More often than not, I fall in love with a new product when this happens. When you’ve exhausted your own coupon supply, move onto step 5.

Step 5: Get online! When you’ve exhausted your coupon supply it’s time to start looking for the coupons and deals you don’t have. Come here and check the deals, head to Facebook and check the product’s page, or hit up your favorite coupon clipping service.

Step 6: Now that you’ve got your sales picked out and your coupons stocked and matched up. It’s time to make your list. When making your list you want to keep your price matches separate from your regular items. This allows you to easily reference the prices on them when you’re checking out. I do my lists like this:

  • Store name:
  • x number of  x product y-price-
  • (i.e (5) ProGlides-4.99)
  • (number of coupons I have) coupons I have are listed here
  • (i.e (5) 4/1)
  • any limits in the original ad AND any coupon limits.

This ends up looking something like this: (5) ProGlide Razors – $4.99, limit 2, $4/1 Gilette ProGlide Coupon (limit 4 per txn) – Final OOP after PM: 99¢ ea.

 

When I’m done listing my price matches, I will list the regular items in pretty much the same way:

(# of) x product-(# of ) coupon I have here – coupon limits – final price of item

Step 8:  Now that your price matches, coupons and list ready, you’re ready to shop! Head out the door and down the street to Walmart! Do your shopping as normal, getting the items on your list. When you’re ready, head to check out and step 9.

Step 9: When you get to the register, smile (even if you don’t feel like it. A smile can go a long way.) and tell your cashier that you have coupons (add the word a lot if you shop like I do) and price matches (this is not required, but it makes for an easier transaction if you let them know what to expect ahead of time) and  load all of your items on the belt. Its not required, but it is helpful if you separate your price matched items from regular price items. I like to put my price matches at the end of the order so that I have time to load the rest of the items on the cart w/out having to worry about stopping the cashier for a price match. This way, they can go ahead and scan the regular priced items. Make sure when doing price matches that you group like items with like items. This makes it so that you don’t have to keep repeating yourself on prices, avoids items being forgotten and makes it easier on your cashier.

When your cashier gets to the items you’re price matching, tell them the price of the item before they scan it. They will scan the item for regular price and then override that price and enter the new one.

Step 10: Use your coupons. Once the items are rang up, use your coupons like normal. If a coupon beeps, be prepared to prove you have the correct product or the correct number of products. Most of the time, once you prove it, they will manually enter the coupon. Keep in mind that there are certain coupons that will beep every time they’re used. I have never used an Ortega coupon at Wal-mart without having them beep, even though it is clear that I have the correct product. It isn’t your fault, it is simply an issue with the register.

 

Once all of your coupons are scanned, you’re done!  Pay for your order and go home to figure up your savings!

 

I hope that with this guide I have helped you guys to understand how to coupon at Wal-mart. It’s NOT as complicated as it seems and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be doing it like a pro and saving money left and right. icon smile Walmart 101

 

 

Coupon Lesson 5 – How To Coupon at Walgreens

Walgreens-101-how-to-coupon-at-walgreensCoupon at Walgreens ? Sure! I’m sure you’ve heard that most coupon users love to coupon at Walgreens, but you aren’t sure why and want to know. That’s how you landed here, is it? You want to learn how to coupon at Walgreens. Well, I can help. This is long, I warn you, but read it and practice it and you’ll be saving in no time!

Walgreens 101 – How to coupon at Walgreens

First things first, head over to the check our the Walgreens Coupon Policy. You’ll want to get very familiar with it. Also, be sure you’re familiar with the commonly used coupon terms. You’ll need to know these in order to decipher coupon match ups and deal scenarios.

 

The 3 biggest things you need to know about shopping and how to coupon at Walgreens are this:

1. Coupons: Coupons are definately your friend at Wags (short for Walgreens). You can use manufacturer and store coupons and you can stack both together for maximim savings. You can NOT use competetior or expired coupons at Walgreens.

2. Register Rewards or RR’s: RR’s are a catalina that prints off at the register, after you purchase certain items, that is good for $$ off of your next trip (or transaction in some cases).

3. The Walgreens Balance Rewards program is also a friend to you. It’s a card that you register for in store or on the Balance Rewards website that will allow you to earn points that you can trade in for dollar off store coupons. Read our post on the Walgreens Balance Rewards program for more info.

 

Making money and learning how to coupon at Walgreens is actually really easy, but a lot of people tend to make it harder than it is. It doesn’t have to be though. Let’s learn. :)

On Sunday, sit down with your weekly Walgreens ad. Take note of every deal that you’re interested in, playing very close attention to the ones that potentially earn you RR for buying them. Once you have the sale items that you’d like, get your coupons out and match the sales with the coupons you have. Then, head over to our Where to Find Coupons Lesson and try to get the ones you don’t have, but need.

Next, head to the store. If this is your first Walgreens trip, you will have $0.00 RR and Balance Rewards to work with. You will not be able to get the massive savings that Walgreens veterans can because you have NO RR’s saved up. That’s okay. Go ahead and get the sales and the RR’s and points that you can earn from them and pay a bit for your items instead of getting them free. This does work out for you in the end. If you can roll them and get more items free or cheap, go for it, but be sure to leave yourself some RR’s to use next week.

 

Done shopping? Got a few RR’s to use next time?  Great. Now lets get down to the real savings and using how to coupon at Walgreens.

 

The next week, pull out that Walgreen ad again. Again, go thru the sales, paying close attention to the deals where you will earn an RR. That is the MAJOR key to effectively using a coupon at Walgreens and getting those freebies you’re always hearing about. Keeping a supply of Register Rewards handy and building up your Balance Rewards points. Once you’ve got your list made with the deals you want (remember to add some deals that will earn you RR’s and/or points) and your coupons pulled, head to the store.

 

Now, when you get to the store, it’s going to look like this:

  • Pick up the items on your list and head to the cashier.
  • Hand the cashier your Balance Rewards card and let them scan it. (Be sure to get your card back…lol)
  • Cashier scans items.
  • Hand your cashier your coupons, including any Walgreens store coupons that you have.
  • Cashier scans your coupons.
  • Hand your cashier any RR’s that you are using.
  • Cashier scans your RR’s.
  • Pay your final out of pocket cost. (which will now be considerably less because you’re using Register Rewards)

 

“But Stacy! How am I actually saving money?? It seems like I’m not saving a dime and I’m so frustrated!”

 

I can understand that. For the longest time, I avoided shopping at the drug stores like Walgreens because I just didn’t “see” the savings. I didn’t know how to coupon at Walgreens. Once I sat down and really did the math though, it was very easy to see. Now? I love it! Let’s look at the math:

 

Let’s say that Suave Shampoo is on sale 2/$4. You want to get 2 bottles. You have (2) .50/1 coupons to use.

Without RR your transaction would look like this:

2 bottles of Suave- $4.00
Use (2) .50/1 coupons
Final OOP-$3.00 or $1.50 each.

Now I don’t know many experienced couponers who will pay $1.50 a bottle for shampoo/conditioner. I know I won’t.

Now, lets look at that same transaction again. Suave is on sale 2 for $4.00. You have (2) .50/1 coupons but this time you have (1) $2.00 RR to use on your purchase AND you’ll earn a $1.00 RR for buying 2 Suave products. Now, here’s where it gets kind of tricky. The Walgreens coupon policy says that you can not have more coupons than you do items and and an RR is considered a coupon. So now you have 2 items and 3 coupons. What do you do? You purchase a filler item. A filler item is a small ticket item, usually .25 or less to bump up the number of items you have so you can use all of the coupons you’d like to.

 So let’s run the transaction again with the RR and filler:

2 Suave Shampoo-$4.00
1 small piece of candy- .25 (this is your filler)

Subtotal: $4.25

Use (2) 50/1 Suave
Use (1) $2.00 RR from a previous trip

Final Our of Pocket Cost (what you pay the cashier):  $1.25

Now, subtract the .25 you paid for your filler. That leaves you with a final OOP (for the Suave only) of $1.00..or .50 a bottle.

You also got $1.00 RR for purchasing the Suave which means that it’s the same as getting both bottles for FREE! (because they handed you $1.00 in store “money” back when you got the RR). Now THAT is a price that I’d be willing to pay!

 

A few more things and I’ll end this thing:

 

  • Register Rewards are usually 1 per deal, per transaction when earning them. When spending them, you can use as many as you’d like as long as you don’t have more coupons than items.
  • Usually if you pay for a deal with an RR earned from the same deal, you will not get another.  Sometimes you will, and when it happens, the RR’s are known to be “rolling.”
  • RR’s have an expiration date. Use them before they expire or lose them.

 

 

There you have it! The very basics of shopping at Walgreens! Have fun and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

Coupon Lesson 4 – How To Make A Coupon Binder

 coupon-binder

How to make a coupon binder

 

When I first started couponing, I remember being so lost on how to make a coupon binder. It wasn’t until someone took me by the hand and showed me step by step that it all really started to make sense. Creating a coupon binder is not as hard as it may seem. Does it take time? Yup. Do you pretty much constantly have to keep working on it? Sure. Is it all worth it in the end. You betcha! A lot of people find the binder method to be the best way for them to keep their coupons organized. Not sure it will work for you? Learn about other ways to organize your coupons too.

 

To get started, you’re going to need a few things:

Item you’ll need #1 - A 3 ring binder Creating A Coupon Binder

When you make a coupon binder, obviously you’re going to need a 3 ring binder. Grab whatever you have handy or if you’re up to purchasing a new one (which I would recommend) I would recommend purchasing a Case-It brand binder. They are extremely well made and will stand up to the harshness of being pulled out, filed, shoved in a shopping cart, dropped half a million times, chewed on by the dog, used as a scratching post by the cat and..oh..maybe that’s just what happens to a binder at my house. They also have models with dual rings, straps, handles, add ons and more so they’re really versatile. I would also recommend going with the zippered option so that when it gets dropped (and believe me..it will) your coupons don’t slide out and all over Target’s floor (been there, done that..wasn’t pretty).

I’m raving about Case It here, but do I practice what I preach? Sure do, mine isn’t zippered b/c I was in a pinch when I bought one but it’ll be replaced here shortly with one that is.

 

Item you’ll need #2 - Page Dividers Creating A Coupon Binder

The second item you’ll need when you make a coupon binder is page dividers. Page dividers Creating A Coupon Binder will allow you to separate your binder into whatever categories you want. You can go with as many categories as you’d like or as few. I personally have sort of a medium number right now, but am getting ready to re-sort it to add more because it’s getting rather hard for me to find anything anymore because of the number of coupons I have in my binder.  These are cheap and inexpensive, especially if you’re buying during back to school time.  I would however recommend getting plastic ones vs paper ones. Paper dividers will not stand up to the amount of use that you coupon binder will be getting and you’ll only end up spending more money replacing them in the long run. Avery Big Tabs are what I turn to when I’m adding or need to replace. They’re durable and cheap and work really well.

Item you’ll need #3 - Baseball Card Sleeves Creating A Coupon Binder

The other big item you’ll need when you make a coupon binder is card sleeves. These little beauties are a staple in any binder. They are pockets in a 3×3 row and are perfect for storing smaller coupons. Each pocket is the size of a baseball card so they’re the perfect size for storing most coupons from the Sunday coupon inserts. There are however, a few coupons that won’t fit in them. Read on for what I use to store those…

Must have item #4 –  Currency Holder Sleeves Creating A Coupon Binder

This is an probably an optional item but for me, they’re a must have when I make a coupon binder. Why are these a must have item? Because they are fantastic for storing longer coupons..like printable coupons, without having to fold it or stuff it in a smaller baseball card pockets. You can usually purchase them in a 1×3 Creating A Coupon Binder or a 1×4 Creating A Coupon Binder. Personally, I have a mix of both and find that this is what works best for me. The 1×3 Creating A Coupon Binder allows me to store taller coupons because the pockets are deeper and the 1×4 Creating A Coupon Binder allow me a place for the rest of them. Amazon is usually a great place to find a deal on these because you can usually get 20 of them for around $5.00.

Other items you may want to consider adding when you make a coupon binder are a good pair of scissors,  a reliable ink pen, a calculator to stay in your binder so that you always have one with you, lined notebook paper, report covers Creating A Coupon Binder for storing your coupon policies in your binder, and 4×6 Pocket Pages Creating A Coupon Binder for those just plain oddly sized coupons that won’t fit anywhere else.

So by now you’re sitting there at your pc surrounded by all of these items going…”ooookkkaaaayyy? But how do I make it look like a binder?!!?” Read on…

The first step to really getting down to it and putting your binder together is to decide which categories you need or want to have in it. Make sure you cover everything that you think you’ll be saving coupons for. The list could include (but is in no way limited to):

Produce, Salty Snacks, Granola Bars, PB &J, fruit, vegetables, pasta, soup, baby, cat, dog, razors, cleaning and and a whole boat load more categories can be done if you want to get uber specific for them. Your categories can also be as simple as food, beverages, baby, health, household, pets, etc or as complicated as you want it to be. It’s your binder! Make it work for you! Now take your page dividers and label each one with a category. Printing these from your computer is neater, but write them in if you can’t print. You’ll notice that when you buy a pack of them, they have a specific order they go in so that each divider is easily seen. Make sure you keep them in the order that you want your categories in your binder otherwise some of them will end up hidden by the others.

Now that we have the categories down, let’s make a coupon binder!

Start with the page divider of whichever category you want first, then place a few (or a lot) of your holder sheets behind it, then the next few sheets behind them. Then repeat the process for as many categories as you have.

When you’ve FINALLY got all of your categories and your sheets inserted it’s time. Yes…it’s time to put all of those coupons away in the binder! I wish I could tell you some super fast and efficient way to get this part done, but honestly, I can’t. This part, depending on how many coupons you have to file, can take a while. What I do is sort them into piles for each category on the kitchen table. This allows me to simply grab a pile, flip to the right category and file all of them for that category at one time vs flipping back and forth in a binder that weighs about 12lbs (at least).

Each coupon gets it’s own card slot in your binder. You’ll want to store multiples of the same coupon in the same spot so that you don’t have a ton of the same coupon taking up precious space in your binder. If you don’t have your coupons yet, be sure to check out where to find coupons. You’ll find great information on a few different places and ways to get your coupon stash built up.

 

Once your coupons are filed…grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy your handy work! Congrats! You now have a fully functional coupon binder!

 

Coupon Lesson 3 – How To Organize Your Coupons

how-to-organize-your-coupons

 

 

Organize Your Coupons

Okay, so there you are….sitting at your kitchen table with a stack of coupons in front of you and no idea what to do with them. They’re falling all over the place, they’re getting drinks spilled on, the baby’s cereal is all over half of them and worse? They’re expiring before you can use them and you’re missing deals! You sigh and realize…you have no idea how to organize your coupons. No worries. We can fix this. Below I will explain the three more popular ways of organizing your coupons and keeping that mess under control.

 

1. The Envelope System -  This is the easiest way to organize your coupons, but it’s also the most unreliable. Basically you just sort your coupons into different categories and then write the category on an envelope and load it up with coupons. When you’re in the store you can quickly grab the categories you need and go. However, you will go thru a lot of envelopes because in my experience they only hold up to one or two shopping trips before you need to replace the envelope as well as have a lot of coupons expire on you before you can use them. I believe the reason for this is that you can’t “see” which coupons you have to use.

 

2. The File Box Method - With this method there are actually 2 ways you can organize your coupons. The main thing needed for both is a plastic file box to use. Make sure that it either has dividers built in or that it will accept tab dividers or hanging file folders.

The first way to organize your coupons with the file box method,  is to clip your coupons and separate them into your different categories and just file them away by category. When you need a coupon, you just go thru that category and find the one you need. Personally, this seems like it would be really disorganized and messy to me, but it does work for others. I would suggest that if you’re going to use this one that you either staple or paper clip multiple coupons together so that you can sort them easier.

The second way to organize your coupons with this method (and works well if you get multiple inserts every week) is to cut 1 insert each week, make a note of which insert and date that the coupon came out in, file the one coupon in your box and then file the rest of your inserts in your file box by the date and name of the insert (i.e. 8/12 SS). This way you don’t have an overstuffed coupon carrier and you still have easy access to your other coupons. This also saves you from clipping several inserts and allows you to just clip the coupons you need, when you need them.

3. The binder method-  Any 3 ring binder will work for a coupon binder,  however I recommend you use a zippered binder if you’re going to organize your coupons this way. A zippered binder will keep your coupons from flying everywhere should it be dropped (and believe me…it will be). You will also need (at the very least) baseball card holders and tab dividers. You can find 35 card holders at WM for around 5.00 (these are very thin though) or thicker better quality ones on Amazon. You can also find the tab dividers you’ll need on Amazon priced pretty reasonably.  I also recommend that you pic up some currency holders and keep a pair of scissors, a calculator and pen in it too, but they’re not needed if you don’t have the extra cash.. Currency holders are usually 3×3 pages that are great for holding printable and long coupons.

Once you’ve got everything you need to start a binder, you’ll have to put it together. Read our How to Make a Coupon Binder tutorial for step by step instructions on how to make your own coupon binder.

Coupon Lesson 2 – Where Do I Find Coupons To Use?

Sunday Coupon Inserts

 

Places to Find Coupons

 

So you want to coupon? Do you have any coupons to use? No? Take a look below then. Listed are a few ways and places to find coupons. Some are easy peasy and some will take a bit of work. Please remember that not all methods are going to work for everyone. Not everyone will be comfortable with the same things that you are and vice versa.

Newspaper inserts:

I subscribe to the Sunday only paper. This costs me $5.00/mo for 4 weeks worth of coupons. On Sundays, I go thru the inserts, pull out what I need and then set the rest of them aside for other uses. Also make sure you ask your neighbors and friends if they’re using their coupons. Chances are they’re not and they may be willing to save them for you. Freecycle is another good way to get extra inserts. Just post that you’re looking for coupons that people aren’t using. You may get lucky this way. I did. This is probably the easiest of all of the places to find coupons. It’s as simple as a phone call to your local paper.

If you’re looking to subscribe, be sure to look for a discount newspaper subscription in your area. Never pay full price for one if you don’t have to.

In Stores and on Product Packaging:

A lot of the time there are good coupons that can be found right in your local stores. Whether it’s from a Blinkie Machine (the red machine on the shelf with a blinking red light), a tear pad coupon or a peelie found on a product, coupons in store are very easy to find. A lot of the times these coupons are a higher value than what you’ll find in the newspaper so they are very much worth keeping an eye out for. Again, this is one of the easiest places to find coupons. We all shop so be sure to be on the lookout!

Free Samples:

9 times out of 10 when you get a free sample from a company it’s going to have a coupon in it. That makes samples one of the best places to find coupons! They want you to actually buy the product after you try it so most of the time they will include at least one coupon with a sample. Most of the time, these coupons are much better than you’ll find anywhere else (short of a free product coupon) so make sure you request all of the free samples that you can!

Magazines:

Magazines are another one of the fantastic places to find coupons. The most popular for finding coupons is AllYou Magazine.  You’ll find it stocked with exclusive coupons that you won’t find anywhere else. Each issue averages around $80.00 in exclusive coupons! That more than pays back a years subscription price with one issue!

Coupon printing websites-

Another one of the most popular places to find coupons are coupon printing websites. USUALLY you can print 2 coupons per computer at these websites. This means that if you have 2 computers in your house, you can print 4 total coupons. The major printing sites are:

Coupon Network
Coupons.com
Smartsource
Red Plum

 

Also for printing coupons try going directly to the products website. 8 times out of 10 there are coupons there. Just search the product name (i.e. Tide, Michalina, Xtra, Snuggle, etc) and it will take you to the website. What you want to look for is “coupons” “special offers” “promotions” or something along those lines. Usually you can print 2 of these from each computer as well.

Another great way to get printables is to “like” the products Facebook page. Just log into Facebook, search for the product and “like” them. MOST companies offer printable coupons on their Facebook pages at some point. If they’re not when you like them, keep an eye out for them to post a status update telling you they are. This is also a great way to get free samples.

It’s important to note that before you can print coupons  from home you must install the various coupon printers. These are 100% safe to install..although some anti-virus programs will tag them as spyware. The reason for this is that they track your printing activity (this is why you can only print 2 per pc) so some programs will consider this to be spyware when its really not.

 

Emailing manufacturers:

Emailing the companies that make the products I love is one of my all time favorite places to find coupons! Companies LOVE to hear that consumers like their products. Dropping them a quick email telling them how much you like it, can often net you a good amount of (usually) really good coupons. I can think of numerous companies who will send out free product coupons just for a compliment. Complaints work the same way. Almost 100% of the time, if you email a company with a complaint on a product they will not only replace the product but usually send other high value coupons to “make it right.” I’ve never seen a company that didn’t make it right. For instance, for contacting companies recently I’ve recieved free Glad trash bags (was a complaint), 2 free bottles of Ajax (complaint), 2 free Michelina dinners (compliment), Free Glade automatic refill (compliment) and a $5.00 Bar S voucher (compliment).

A word here: PLEASE, and I do mean PLEASE, don’t email companies and ‘complain” about a product that was okay just to get the coupons. It’s not ethical and it’s just plain wrong. Chances are, you could get the same coupon for a compliment too and you wont’ have to lie!

 

Trading coupons-

Trading coupons is not for everyone, but it can be very effective in your search for places to find coupons . Please make sure that if you are going to trade coupons that you are able to follow through on your end of the trade and please make sure you are 100% comfortable giving your mailing information out over the internet. There are many forums online that have coupon trading boards. You take the coupons you don’t need and trade them to someone (who does need them) for coupons you do need. You can also trade for stamps or in some cases a paypal handling fee. Two of the more well and reputable known forums to trade on are We Use Coupons and A Full Cup.

 

Ordering Coupons from a clipping service.

Ah, another one of my favorite places to find coupons! Clipping Services are a great way to find coupons that your area doesn’t normally get. Since different regions of the country receive different coupon inserts, using a clipping service can allow you to find those hard to find coupons. Clipping Services work on two scales. There are whole insert services and clipped coupon services. With a whole insert service, you get exactly that; whole coupon inserts. Generally you’ll pay for a “pack” of them and you’ll receive all of the coupons that came out that week just like you would if you had gotten the newspaper. For those of us who coupon heavily, using a whole insert service can really save a bundle over buying tons of newspapers each week.

The other option is clipped coupons. This is also exactly what it sounds like. You order whatever number of whatever specific coupon you want. The service then clips them for you and mails them to you. You pay a small amount per coupon and you pay for shipping.I personally like to use both.  A quick search will help you find these services and you’ll find your favorites in no time!

Please note that when you “purchase” coupons you are NOT paying for the coupon. You are paying for the clippers time to cut and sort the coupons. These services cut and sort THOUSANDS of coupons each week. It only makes sense that they would charge for their services.

 

Dumpster Diving:

This is not an option that I would personally do, but there are a lot of couponers who will do it. I like to joke that dumpster diving is the shadier side of couponing. It’s one of the more “squirmy” places to find coupons that people use. Basically, you head to your local recycling center and climb into the paper only dumpsters. I do have a couple of things to recommend before you try this: 1. check your local laws. In some areas it’s illegal to do and can actually land you in jail and paying a hefty fine. 2. Always be safe about it. Just because a dumpster says paper only doesn’t mean that’s all that’s in it. 3. Always..and I mean always, ask permission from the recycling company to dive. Again, not doing so can land you in jail for trespassing.

 

 

Now that you know where to find your coupons? Go get em! After all, you can’t save money without them! :)

 

 

Coupon Lesson 1 – The Basics Of Coupons

 

 

Using coupons successfully can be a tricky thing to learn. However, if you take the time to learn to use them correctly and ethically, they will more than pay off in the end. In this lesson, we’re going to go over the basics of using them.
Reading the Coupon 

First, lets look at the types of coupons available. Currently available are manufacturers coupons, store coupon and digital or e-coupons.  There are certain things that ALL coupons will have. This includes the expiration date, coupon information section, type of coupon (manufacturer or store), and legal information.
First let’s look at a manufacturer coupon:

 

In this example, I’ve used an image of an expired printable coupon. You’ll see the in the top row of the coupon we have both the type of coupon and the expiration date. In this case, it is a manufacturer coupon that expires on 1/26/2011. The expiration date means that this coupon MUST HAVE been used by 1/26/2011 or it is no longer valid. The manufacturer coupon means that the manufacturer issued this coupon and it can be used any place that accepts coupons.

 

Below that you will see “Save $3.00 on One  (1) BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage product.” This is the coupon information section. This section tells you what you have to purchase and how many of those items you must purchase in order to use the coupon. You’ll notice that it says “excluding trial sizes.” That means that this coupon is NOT valid on trial sizes and must be used on a full sized product.

 

Next you see the legal information for the coupon. This section contains all of the necessary mumbo jumbo information for the coupon. You want to pay attention to this area because it contains the remit to address (the address the store send the coupon to redeem), any limits (like 4 per shopping trip) and all legal info.

Store coupons are done pretty much the same, with the exception that the coupon type section will say “X coupon” (as in Target coupon or Publix coupon)

 

Digital or E-coupons are coupons that are loaded onto your shopper card for a specific store. They can only be used at that store and are “scanned” when your shoppers card is scanned and you have the correct item/number of items needed for the coupon to redeem.

 

The Actual Useage of Coupons:

 

I had a reader email me the other day and ask about this so I wanted to explain it. Say you have a coupon that says “Save 1.50 off 2 Tide  products, 32 load or larger,” in order to use this coupon you MUST purchase 2 32 load packages of Tide detergent. You can not buy 1 package and still use this coupon and  if you purchase 3, the coupon will deduct only $1.50 from the 3. This does not mean $1.50 off each bottle, it means $1.50 off 2 bottles as a whole.

 

Doubling Coupons:

Some stores will allow your coupons to double. In my area, Kroger, Giant Eagle and Meijer all double. What this means is that in my case, at my Kroger (which doubles to .99) a .75 off coupon will become 1.50 off but a $1.00 off coupon will remain at $1.00. Doubling coupons can be a GREAT way to really rack up some additional savings. Contact your local store to see if they double coupons. Make sure to ask them about the $$ amount it’s limited to and any limits for the # of coupons you can use per transaction.

 

Triple Coupons:

Same principle as double coupons and if you have a store that triples? I want to live where you do. LOL!

 

Coupon Limits: 
Go run and grab a current Procter and Gamble coupon. Go on, I’ll wait.

 

Back?
Remember where the legal info section is? Read it. “Limit 4 like coupons per transaction.” What does this mean? Well first, let’s make sure you understand what a transaction is. This is something that is misunderstood A LOT in the couponing world. Each time you pay for something it is a transaction. So if I go thru the line and I have 40 items that I split up into groups of 20, I pay twice, that is 2 transactions. A purchase is each item. If I have 10 toothbrushes, that is 10 purchases.

Procter and Gamble coupons (as well as some others) have a limit of how many can be used per transaction. You MUST follow the rules on this or the manufacturer can refuse to redeem the coupon and the store ends up losing money.

 

Those are the basics. Hopefully it’s enough to get you started. As always, if you have ANY questions at all, please feel free to contact me using the email button (looks like an envelope) to your right. :)

What Does That Mean? Commonly Used Coupon Terms Explained

coupon-lesson-commonly-used-coupon-terms

Commonly Used Coupon Terms

How many times have you heard someone use a coupon term and have asked yourself “What?” If you’re like me, my first few weeks of couponing, were spent searching just so I could figure out what the other couponers were talking about. Below you’ll find some of the most commonly used coupon terms. Learn them because you’ll need them as you go on your couponing and money saving adventure.

These commonly used coupon terms will be found here on Adventures in Coupons, on forums, on match ups and more. Wherever you find coupon users talking about coupons, you’ll find these commonly used coupon terms. :)

 

AYOR-At your own risk

AR-After Rebate

BC/AC-Before coupons/after coupons

B1G1 or BOGO:  Buy one get one free

Blinkie: Red Smartsource machine with a red blinking light on it. The coupons in it are refered to as Blinkies

BTFE: Box Tops for Education

C/O: Cents Off

Clipping Service:  A person or website that charges you for their time to clip coupons for you. You pay for their time and in return they send you the coupons you want free.

Catalina: Coupon that prints from a Catalina machine at the register.

CRT: Cash Register Tape (reciept)

DCRT: Dated cash register tape

DEAD: An offer is no longer valid

DND: Do Not Double

DBL: Stands for double..used when speaking of a specific store or coupon that’s value can be doubled.

ECB: Extra Care Buck (earned at CVS)

ES: Easy Saver Rebate booklet found at Walgreens

EX, EXP or X.: expires on

FAR: free after rebate

GDA: Good Deal Alert

GM-refers to a General Mills coupon insert. Comes every month or two in your Sunday paper

HBA: Health & Beauty Aids

HDA: Hot deal Alert

HT: hang tag

IP: Internet Printable Coupon (a coupon you print at home from the internet)

IVC: Instant value coupons – seen in Walgreens rebate booklet

MFR: manufacturer

MIR: Mail in Rebate

MRP: manufacturer’s retail price

NB: National Brand

NED: no expiration date

NFN: no form needed (usually used when speaking about rebates_

NT WT: net weight

NWPR: no wine purchase required

NBPN: no beer purchase necessary

OAS: A coupon that is good on one purchase of any size

OOP: Out Of Pocket

OYNO: On Your Next Order

Peelie: Coupon found attached to a product. You have to peel it off.

POP: Proof of purchase

PP: purchase price of a product

P&G-Proctor and Gamble coupon book that comes once a month in your Sunday paper

Qualifier: The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from the package

RP: Red Plum (Sunday Insert)

RIB: Reinventing Beauty (magazine found at CVS with coupons in it)

RR: Register Reward from Walgreens – use as a $ off coupon on your next purchase

SMP: specially marked package

SRP: suggested retail price

SS: Smart Source Sunday insert

Stacking-To use 2 coupons together…i.e. a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon

Tear pad: A pad of forms/coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display

TMF: Try Me Free–mail in rebate for full amount of product

Triple coupon: a coupon that a grocery store triples in value

UPC: Universal Product Code, barcode on the product

+Up-Catalina’s printed at Rite Aid for use only in their store as $$ off your next order.

WYB: When you buy

WT: Winetag

Wags-Short for Walgreens

WSL-While Supplies Last

WM-Short for Walmart

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary (a generic term for “It worked for me, may not work for you”)