Sunday, December 6, 2009



1. Start building your coupon library. Where do you get all of those coupons? Read this first.

2. Organize those coupons! The number one reason why so many coupons go unused is because many (with good intentions) clip them, only to forget they have them when it comes time to purchase the item. Some people like to clip every coupon and file it right away, some people like to keep their coupon inserts in tact, file them by date and clip them before they go to the store. I am a clipper! I take the time each weekend to clip and file all of my coupons right away, so it frees up my time during the week. So what do you do with all of those coupons once they're clipped? For starters, get yourself a small accordian style coupon organizer (usually only a couple dollars at Walmart). When you find yourself with too many coupons to fit, it's time to graduate to the coupon binder.

Here is a picture of mine

It is basically a zip-up case with a 3-ring binder inside. Baseball card inserts house all of my coupons. (As you can see, I need more inserts to accomodate). Some people like to add divider pages with each section labeled. I never got around to that, and I do just fine. I organize the pages by aisle at Kroger (the store I use most of my coupons). So, for example, my first page has all of my coupons for produce, bread, organic foods, peanut butter and jellies, and snack cakes (all found in the first aisle at my Kroger). The next page(s) have coupons according to the remainder of the aisles at Kroger. The last few pages have all of my cleaning, and health & beauty coupons. Then finally miscellaneous stuff (restaurant coupons, etc.). I also have several store-specific envelopes that I fill with the coupons I am going to use on that day. This is what works for me! You do what works best for you...and it might take you a few tries to get it just right. Play around with it until you find the method that helps you get the most out of your coupons.

3. Get to know your local store policies (and keep a printed coupon policy with you to avoid cashier disputes). Coupon policies vary, so ask them at the service desk if you're unsure. Some stores don't accept internet coupons, some do. Some double coupons, some don't.

The only store in my area that doubles coupons is Kroger. They double a coupon up to and including $0.50. So if I have a $0.50 coupon, it will actually deduct $1.00. This makes for some awesome deals!  And, this means I would rather have a $0.30 coupon that doubles to $0.60, than have a $0.55 coupon that does not double.

Some stores also have policies regarding how many "like" coupons they will double. For example, if I purchased 4 cans of tuna for $1.00 each and gave them 4 tuna coupons for $0.50 (doubled to $1.00), they technically only have to double 3 of those (my store's policy). From my experience this has NEVER been enforced, but just be forewarned this may happen.

Some stores will allow you to combine or "stack" their store coupon with a manufacturer coupon. All manufacturer coupon bar codes start with a 5. I do this mostly at Walgreens and Kroger. Some coupons have a store logo printed on them, but they are actually manufacturer coupons. Sometimes you can just cut them off to avoid problems. Some stores accept competitor coupons (Walmart does this).

PRICE-MATCHING: This term means you can take a competitor ad into another store and they will match (or beat) that price for that specific item. Each store has their own policy, so you'll want to find out before you try it. Walmart, Kmart and Target are the stores in our area that price-match. It's nice because many times Walgreens will have a great sale on something, but since they are a smaller store, they don't stock much...which means they run out quickly. I just take their ad into Walmart and get it for the same price! As long as no rewards or store coupons are involved, it's better than getting a raincheck!

Now that you have your coupons organized, it's time to STOCKPILE.

STOCKPILING basically means getting your groceries at the very lowest prices, and then purchasing enough to last you until you can get to the next great sale. This way, you never pay full price for any groceries at all. Organize a space to store all of these items and before you go to the grocery store, check your stockpile first. Make sure you don't purchase too much of anything with a short shelf life, and of course, always use the items that are due to expire first. The whole point is to get your weekly grocery bill down as far as possible. My personal goal is to get my bill down to about $40 a week. I'm still working on building my stockpile, so I'll keep you posted on this.


SS - Smart Source coupon insert
PG - Proctor and Gamble coupon insert
RP - Red Plum coupon insert
GM - General Mills coupon insert
Q - Coupon
CAT - Catalina coupon (Manufacturer coupons that print out from a little machine at the register, triggered by what you buy.)
BOGO - Buy one get one Free
TEAR PAD - A pad of refund forms or coupons hanging on a shelf.
BLINKIE - Machine that spits out coupons.
PEELY - Sticker-like coupon found on products.
OOP- Out of Pocket Expense
ECB - Extra Care Bucks (CVS)
RR - Register Reward (Walgreens)
WAGS - Walgreens

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