Coupon Lessons & Resources
I am no couponing expert.
In fact, I’ve been couponing for a grand total of about two months now.
I have learned a few lessons though. You’d think handing a cashier a coupon would be simple, but it really takes a toll on my stressed-out-two-kids-in-the-cart-begging-for-treats brain.
I suppose the first lesson would be, when at all possible, leave your kids with your husband.
My favorite thing I’ve learned: if Walgreens/Rite Aid is having a buy-one-get-one-free sale, and you have a “BOGO” (buy one get one free) coupon… you get the item free.
Basically what I’ve learned is check your coupons before you check out. Then double check your coupon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a coupon at home that I swore I had, or it was a coupon for a specific item that ended up being not on sale. It’s a big bummer when you think you’re about to score a great deal, then realize you have the wrong coupon.
Especially because the kids are still whining in the cart.
Most stores will “stack” coupons (though I’ve heard Smith’s no longer will?), meaning if you have a manufacturer’s coupon you can also use a store coupon. You can never stack two manufacturer’s coupons, however, or two store coupons.
Good news: Walmart allows overages! Which means if you have a $1 off 1 coupon, and Walmart is selling that item at $.88, you get $.12 back, or if you have other items in your cart, you can apply the overage towards what is in your cart. Pretty cool, right?
Walmart also matches competitor’s store coupons. You can take a Smith’s ad into Walmart and they will price match the ad. My understanding is that you can also use a coupon with this. The item has to be identical, however, as the product Walmart carries.
For instance, if you want to buy a case of water at the Smith’s sales price (we’ll say $3), but you’re running to Walmart, you can bring the ad. They will give it to you for $3 (even if the price is $3.50 at Walmart) and you can use a coupon for say, $1, for a total savings of $2.50, paying only $2. Are you with me?
Another tip: Walmart’s in the Orem area price match with Ridley’s ad on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday Ridley’s doubles coupons (for a maximum coupon of $1). So if you have a $.25 coupon, they will double it to a $.50 coupon, if you have a $.50 coupon, they will double it to a dollar, though if you have a $.75 coupon, they will only go up to $1. You can’t also price match with this deal however. From what I’ve heard, Ridley’s has no intention of ending the double coupons, so this will go on indefinitely at Orem area Walmart’s as well.
From Freebies 2 Deals:
Last week, Freebies2Deals readers confirmed that Cedar Hills, American Fork, Lindon, Pleasant Grove and Orem are all participating.
A great place to get deals, particularly on hygiene products, are Walgreens or Rite Aid. They have “Register Rewards” or “Wellness Rewards.” This is essentially cash back on a purchase (printed on your receipt) good towards your next purchase. With a little ingenuity you can get incredible deals. Example: Say they are having a promotion where you buy $15 worth of hair care products, and you get $5 in return as a Register Reward. You purchase $15 worth of products, use your coupons, paying say, $12 oop (out of pocket), then get $5 towards your next purchase. You will then make another transaction. Let’s just say, deodorant is on sale! It’s only $2/6! If you can, you use another coupon, and use your $5 Register Reward. Then you get the deodorant for free, paying only tax!
One thing: you can’t use a Register Reward that you got from hairspray (or whatever), towards more hairspray and get another Register Reward. You’d have to do another transaction in between there. For example–spend $3 on hairspray, you got a $3 off Register Reward. You use that to buy another $3 hairspray, but you wouldn’t get another Register Reward. Learned that one the hard way, though it makes sense. :)
I’m still not very good about figuring out all these complicated Register Reward situations. That’s where blogs like Freebies 2 Deals come in handy. They do all the math for me!
I’ve said this before, but the best way to use coupons is to combine them with a sale, unless you really need the item. In their ads, grocery stores generally promote “loss leaders.” Loss leaders are a steep sale that the store is actually losing money on. Why do they do this? Because they know you, and they know me, and they know you’re not walking out of the store without 15 other things you “forgot” you needed too. The loss is covered by the profit from your other purchases. So you watch for these loss leaders and you combine them with your coupons to get amazing deals. Don’t feel bad about using coupons, manufacturer’s pay your store back, plus a handling charge! Anyway, if orange juice is on sale for $2/carton, and you have a coupon for $1 off 2, this is a great time to get a few cartons.
If a coupon comes in the paper (the best source for coupons, in my opinion!), and it’s something you know you use a lot, you can use a coupon clipper company to get more coupons. (You can also get your friends and neighbors to donate!) Legally, you can’t sell coupons, so a coupon clipper charges you to clip coupons from the paper and send it to you. Not a good thing to do on a general basis, but if you know it’s something you’d like to stock up on, I use TheQHunter.
Hey, apparently I know more than I thought about this coupon stuff! :)
Here’s some resources to get you started:
(This site tells you what all the sales are at the stores in your local area!)
That’s all I can remember right now. Just google “coupons” and you’ll be well on your way. Enjoy!