January 1, 2010

Couponing Info & FAQ

I figured it was time that I share some basic info and FAQ with you all. If you have anymore questions to ask, just head to my connect page and ask away!

How do I get started?
I would start by grabbing a few papers each week. Rule of thumb is a paper for each family member. If you are alone, get two. I like to stay with even numbers. If the coupons aren't that great, get less or if they are better, get more. You can check out possible coupon previews here. You can also print coupons from a variety of places, but try using Coupons first. If you're overwhelmed with coupons, start with ones you know you will probably use and go from there. Now after that, just match with your sales and shop! If you need a little help, The Krazy Coupon Lady helps out a lot! She even has a 'beginners' page. Keep in mind, that not all areas always have the same coupons. Just start out with ONE store first; one you shop at a lot. Then when you are more comfortable, you can try others.

Where do you get your coupons?
I get them from everywhere! Mainly, I get them from my Sunday paper and online at Coupons. There are other coupon sites as well, but that one is the main one everyone uses. I would get multiple copies of everything, or at least ones you would probably use. The Coupons website only allows two prints per computer, so use multiple computers if you can (I print from both mine and my husband's computer). If you're shopping, be on the look out for blinkies that are in little dispensers to take. Sometimes you can also find peelies that are attached to items. When in doubt, you can always ask friends or families for their left over newspapers or printing availabilities.

These coupons are only for junk!
That is definitely not true! I admit that some is for 'junk food' but a lot of times there are only coupons out for certain things at certain times. Coupons vary month to month and you wont always find the best coupons out there. I have found coupons for cheese, milk, healthier type cereal, granola bars and other such items. There are a ton out there, so you just have to be patient and look around!

I don't have time for couponing!

That is a LIE. I may have time because I am a SAHM, but I still have my son. If my husband is busy, my son comes with. If not, my husband watches him for me while I do my thing. You can always make time, even if it's just a quick trip. You don't have to go all out, just find your own rhythm and stick with that. You don't need a crazy binder or to clip every coupon. You will find your own way to handle it. Even if you just save $10 a week or month, that adds up. Don't give up and DON'T use that as an excuse.

Just because you have a coupon, doesn't mean you have to use it!
This is definitely wrong. You can use it if you really need that item, but it is best to hold on to the coupon and use it when you find a good sale. That maximizes your spending money and makes things super cheap or free!

Store brand items are not always best and neither are places like Costco!
If you branch out and try new things, sometimes you can save more than sticking to store brands. Sometimes these are in fact more expensive and coupons do not always come out for store brand items. Also, buying bulk at places such as Costco have downsides as well. Sure, you can get 10 bottles of shampoo for a decent price. However, you could find a deal so good that you could get all bottles for free. I don't know about you, but I would choose free any day!

What if the item I want to use my coupon on is out of stock?
This is easy! Always check to make sure none are left in the back stock room! If they are completely out, try asking the manager when they get restock in, or you can call the store at a later day to see if they have restocked. If you really want that item, ALWAYS ask for a rain check. It is basically a piece of paper that holds the price of the sale item for you, so that you can get it when it comes back in stock, even if it is no longer on sale. Check out more details on rain checks here.

 My store doesn't double or triple coupons. How will I save a lot of money?
You don't have to have a store that doubles or triples coupons. You can save tons just by catching good deals and using coupons that way. You wont get the same deals as couponers in other areas, but you can still succeed where you are. The only store that doubles where I am is Albertsons and that is ONLY when they have their special doublers. With or without those, I still save 50%-85% on average everywhere I coupon.

What does this mean? Lingo and Abbreviations
  • $1/2 (and the like) One dollar off two items.  The first number represents the discount and the second number indicates the quantity required to obtain that discount.  
  • BOGO (or B1G1) = Buy One Get One Free
  • B2G1 = Buy Two Get One Free
  • Blinkie= Coupon that you find on shelves in the SmartSource machine-usually has a blinking light.
  • Cat or Catalina. The coupons that print off with your receipt (usually from a machine directly beside the cash register)
  • FAR = Free After Rebate
  • Hangtag-coupon that is hanging from a tag around a bottle or jar.
  • IP = Internet Printable Coupon
  • MFR or MQ= manufacturer coupon
  • MIR = Mail In Rebate
  • MM-money maker…deal where you will make money after coupons are used
  • ONYO = On Your Next Order
  • OOP = Out of Pocket. The amount you actually spend.
  • Overage-This is money you earn when a coupon amount exceeded the purchase price of an item.  EX-a product is $0.75 and you have a $1 coupon…you now have $0.25 in overage.  Most stores will not give you this money in cash - but it can be used towards other items to reduce the cost.
  • Peelie = Coupon found on the package of a product that can be peeled.
  • RR= Register Rewards. Catalina from Walgreens.
  • Tearpad -these are coupons that are on a tearpad usually located on a display or shelf near the item.
  • TMF-Try Me Free. Form that usually require you to mail in proof of purchase for a full refund.
  • UPC= The bar code that is scanned to determine pricing. Often needed to fulfill MIR’s.
  • WAGS= Walgreens
  • YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary- this means that it may or may not be the case in all instances.
  • (RC) Rain Check = When a store is out of a sale item, many stores offer a rain check that allows you to get the sale price whenever the item comes back in stock and at your convenience. Each store has different policies on expiration date-this will usually be listed ON the rain check!
  • RP= Redplum. Coupon insert that comes in your local paper.
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble - another insert that comes in your local paper.
  • SS= SmartSource. Coupon insert that comes in your local paper.