Couponing in a Nutshell

3:49 am

in couponing tips, coupons, grocery, money saving tips

I’ve had a lot of requests for me to start a discussion on “couponing.” Although I’d been coupon clipping for several years, I only recently learned how to truly maximize my savings through couponing.

For those of you who aren’t exactly sure what couponing is, I should point out that it is NOT simply clipping coupons.  At least, not entirely. Couponing is really more like combining the coupons you have with the sales and other deals available at the various stores. In other words, the way to maximize your savings is to use your coupons on items that are already at their lowest sale price.

It’s not extremely challenging, but it does take quite a bit of research and organization.
Here are a few simple concepts/rules about couponing:

You should familiarize yourself with the various types of coupons/offers available at your store.Those include:

  • Manufacturers coupons  (also printable here)
  • Store coupons – these will normally explicitly say, “Only redeemable at …”
  • E-coupons – these are the coupons you can upload directly to your store’s value card, such as Kroger, etc.  Cellfire is one company that offers these for free.
  • Catalinas / Register Rewards – Catalinas are the coupons you get from the registers after you complete a purchase. Register rewards are those that come from Walgreens stores. They can read something like, “$2.00 off your next purchase,” etc.
  • Other store promotions, such as buy one, get one free (BOGO), 10 for $10, dollars off total purchase ($5 off a purchase of $50, etc).
You are allowed to use more than one coupon on an item. This is referred to as stacking.
However,
  1. You typically cannot use multiple manufacturer’s coupons or multiple store coupons on one single item.
  2. The number of coupons cannot exceed the number of items you buy. In other words, if you have two coupons for one item (such as a manufacturer’s and store coupon), you must also have at least two items that you are purchasing total. Hint: the 2nd item does not have to cost the same or more than the 1st item.

Some stores do accept competitor coupons, but it is up to the discretion of the individual store as far as whether or not they will accept them and what stores they consider to be competitors. I know of one Publix store in my area that accepts Target coupons, but again, that decision is ultimately left up to the each store.

Always turn in the dollars off total purchase coupons (‘$5 off $50 purchase, $10 off $100 purchase) first. The scanners will automatically deduct your coupons as they scan and doing those first may invalidate this store coupon if your balance gets reduced.
Finally, and here’s a big one, most stores will automatically double coupons that are .50 and less. I had no idea that this was the case until it was explained to me. It made perfect sense since I’d never actually seen any coupon discount on a receipt for less than .50. I am not certain that all stores do this, so this is another one you’d want to check with your store’s couponing policy.

This is a huge plus for couponers because in many instances, doubling coupons can generate free items. At Kroger, for instance, when they have their 10 for $10 deals, each item is only $1.00. Use a .50 off coupon on that item and it’s free!

So, where do you go from here?  Click here for some tips on getting started.

Free Coupon E Course

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