Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coupon 101

I've only been couponing for about a month now but I have learned and saved so much and I want to share with you all!  If there are any unanswered questions, let me know and we can find out together!

So first off, we all get coupons in the Sunday newspaper...SAVE THOSE!  Better yet - subscribe to your local newspaper.  I have a subscription for weekends only.  This saves me the hassle of having to go out and hunt down a newspaper with ALL the ads in it.  Plus it saves on printing!

Secondly, there are TONS of online resources for coupons!  (WARNING: You WILL go through a ream of paper in about 2 weeks!  LOL!)  Most of these coupons will print at least twice so make sure you print the max limit.  Here are a few top sites:

Third, make sure you are a member of your local store's preferred customer/savings card!  I have one for Vons (Safeway), Albertsons, Rite Aid, and CVS.  They come in handy for extra savings!  I'll write up a post about each individual store sometime this week.

And finally, make sure to look through your weekly sales ads.  I get mine in the mail on Tuesday.  There are usually coupons in each store's ad.  If the coupon says "Manufacturer Coupon" at the top then you can use it anywhere.  Coupons that are only redeemable at a certain store are great too because you can stack those!  Here are the stores that have their own online coupons:

My absolute favorite coupon secret is stacking.  Stacking is when you use more than one coupon on one item.  This is only possible if you have a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon.  You cannot use 2 manufacturer coupons on one item.  

Another couponing secret is catalinas.  Ever notice the box next to the cash register that prints out slips for stuff like discounted oil changes?  Those boxes are managed by a company called Catalina.  Catalinas are received by purchasing a certain amount of a product during the promotion period.  The tricky thing is that these aren't advertised.  However most coupon enthusiasts will share the promotions they find.  Last week at Albertsons the promotion was buy 3 boxes of Pop-Tarts and get a $3 catalina redeemable during your next shopping trip.  These are treated just like cash at the store in which you received it.  So make sure you keep an eye out for those and hang on to them!

I try to remember the prices of items I regularly buy so I can make sure that I'm getting a good deal.  If something is really cheap and my family uses it often then I will buy as many as I can when they are on sale.  In the coupon world this is called stockpiling.  

Trying to figure all of this out on your own is confusing and can seem pretty intimidating.  However, there are TONS of online resources that will help you put together coupons with sales ads.  All of these pages have a Facebook page so you can get your updates all in one place!  Here are a few I like:

This should get you started on your way to coupon success.  Remember, if there's something you're still wondering about just ask!  If I don't know the answer then we can find out together!  And if you try any of this, please send me an email about your coupon experience!  I love hearing from you guys!

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