Friday, May 13, 2011

For starters

as I compile coupon policies, current coupon inventories and weekly ads, I wanted to give you all some basics, here is an email sent to my coworkers that resulted in them encouraging me to start a couponing site to teach everyone:

Here are some of the money-saving websites I use to supplement: – great for looking up weekly deals for each store, they compile the weekly ads and deals for every grocery store by state and tell you which coupons to use, I print my shopping list from this. I've noticed they don't include store coupons and do miss some deals though, as well as some posted deals are not accurate. – a blog by a GA housewife somewhat similar to the site above. She’s really good about posting online coupons to print out and really good sales. These two sites are great to supplement each other. I last week I printed a coupon for free Heinz vinegar ($.50 coupon that doubled at Publix, which had it on sale for $1, and $.50 Silk Soy Milk and Smart Balance milk, each a half carton) all because she found the coupons and posted the sites to print them at. – really good daily deals on everything from restaurants, activities, services, etc. They’ll send you an email daily with their deals when you subscribe. – Discount gift certificates for everything from restaurants (Chow Baby currently has a $25 gift certificate for $12 on there), salon services, activities, and ridiculously cheap hotel accommodations. They’ll send occasional emails on deals but it’s one to check back on often. The deals run for longer than 1 day, unlike groupon. – similar to the other daily deal websites. – not yet offering services in ATL, but you can get online deals like 4 AMC movie tickets for $24…that’s $6/ticket!

As always, MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR SUNDAY PAPER, EVERY SUNDAY. That’s where 80-90% of the coupons you use will be, and the coupons in this week’s paper don’t necessarily correspond with this week’s sales, however, a coupon from two weeks ago might score you some free merchandise with the current sales. Go through the paper early Sunday or even buy the early edition on Saturday, that way if the coupons are awesome that week, you’ll have time to go get another paper. AJC has a delivery special where you get the first two months for the cost of one month.

Check the online circulars as well, Publix posts printable store coupons on their weekly ad online, under the coupons tab at the top of the circular. Remember that you can double up a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon for EACH item you purchase. If each coupon is worth $1 off, and the item is on sale for $2, it’s FREE.

Also make sure to keep an eye on the drug store weekly ads…they’re pretty sneaky about their awesome deals, but between Walgreens and CVS, I have gotten free toothpaste (always save Colgate coupons), $1 Purex and Xtra laundry detergent, $.50 Playtex tampons, $.50 Stayfree maxi pads, this list goes on and on…

Publix is also sneaky with their deals, since their new ads start on Thursdays, so always check out the deals and corresponding coupons on both Thursdays and Sundays when new coupons come out. They constantly have coupon books at the store entrances with the store ads, pick them up when you see them. Sign up online for their home mailers too.

Grab coupons from the machines mounted on the store shelves whenever you see them…sometimes you can use them to get a great deal down the road.

There is usually an awesome sale days before a set of coupons is set to expire, so NEVER throw them out before the expiration date. You can also donate expired coupons to soldiers overseas…they can use coupons up to six months after they expire. If you find a coupon expired 1-2 days ago, ask the store manager if you can still use it…worked for me yesterday and I scored free cat food. If you do have ton of expired coupons, you can donate them to the troops overseas...they can use them for six months past their expiration date.

You can use two manufacturer AND two store (if you have them) coupons for a BOGO (buy one, get one free) sale. You can use one store and one manufacturer coupon per each item you are buying. Or you can use a BOGO coupon during a BOGO sale and get BOTH items for free! Depending on your state, you may have to pay tax, but I had no problems paying 70 cents for $20 worth of body wash last week. BOGO rules can vary by state, there will be a post devoted to BOGO later on.

If you have an Ingles nearby, make sure to get an Ingles card, and register it online. Every week they have a special deal only available to card members registered online. This week it is 1lb of Oscar Meyer bacon for $1.99.

Don’t be afraid to make multiple transactions. If you’re buying something that will give you a gift card or coupon for money off a future purchase, buy that item first and by itself. Then use the coupon/GC toward the second transaction of the rest of your items.

Stock up on an amazing sale...sales on an item are about 6 weeks apart, so make sure you can make it until the next sale. If you see a really good coupon, buy extra papers. Or you can find online clipping services that will mail you additional individual coupons for about $.20 each.

Kroger and Publix double coupons up to $.50 (up to a dollar for you lucky Ohioans), Food Lion doubles up to $.60. Walmart honors competitor’s sale prices if you bring the sale flyer in. However, it has to be a legitimate competitor, for example if you live in Ohio, you can't use a southern store like Publix. A good rule of thumb is if the store's sale flyer is in your local paper, they're most likely a competitor.

Purchase Sunday papers when you travel. The coupons differ by region.

If the item is out of stock and the sale is almost over, go to customer service and ask for a raincheck. They never expire and you can go back the next week or right before the coupon expires and get your item. Heck, in the meantime you might get more coupons for the item and can get multiple of the item when you go back.

If you need any help, or want to go through a shopping list at lunch once or twice a week until you get the hang of it, let me know.

Yesterday I spend $23 and saved $88. In the past week and a half alone I have saved over $131, and spent just under $40. I haven’t paid more than $.30 for cat treats or over $1.50 for cat food. I’m single so that savings is just for me. Imagine how much your savings will double or triple with multiple person households.

As far as produce, you can  use your grocery savings to get good deals at local farmers markets or even find international or ethnic grocery stores nearby…that’s where I go to buy my produce and meat…on my last trip I got 3 green peppers for $1, 4lbs of oranges for $1.99, and 4lbs of ground beef for $.99/lb. – your freezer is your best friend when it comes to great deals on meat and veggies…divide it up and place in Ziploc bags before freezing. They also bake fresh Mexican rolls that resemble hoagie buns...SOOO good!

Don’t pay attention to the Extreme Couponing show…those bitches are crazy. Although I did like one of the lady’s 11th commandment: ‘Thou shalt not pay retail.’ Hence the blog name :)

Remember – as long as you can shut your cupboard/pantry doors, it’s not hoarding!

Happy shopping! J

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