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I recently went to a couple of Coupon Classes locally and was sort of surprised that my brother's wife was very interested. She had no idea that there was such a thing. So since she was interested, I wrote down a few things that I learned and then after reading it a few times decided I should share what I learned. Below is my written response and keep in mind different areas of the country, cities, etc. have their own networks. Another thing to keep in mind is the location of the larger retail, chain stores. We don't have a Bilo or Whole Foods where I live, but the Coupon Lady raved about them.
Anyway, here's my message to Cindy:
Check your area and see if anyone is offering one. Both classes were free and they fill up quickly. One of the things that I learned and was fascinated by was rain checks. I saw Kroger had a sale on broccoli for $1 a bag, and by the time I got to the store they had all been sold out. I was really quite disappointed and halfway home, remembered about the rain checks and went back. A week later I went back to the store, got 10 bags of Broccoli, presented the Rain Check and got them for $1 each, instead of their regular price at $1.99.
I also taught the Coupon Lady something, and she now uses it in her presentations. All cities have peak hours for electricity and during those peak hours customers are charged a surcharge. I called Huntsville Power and learned our peak hours are Monday Friday 11 AM - 8 PM. I do not use the washer, dryer or dishwasher during those hours. Also, when I first wake up, I lower the A/C to 75 degrees F. At 11 AM, I turn it up to 79 degrees F and our house is actually cold. Also my rule of thumb is, if I touch the glass and it's warm, I close the blinds until very late in the afternoon. My electric bill last month was for $180, compared to my neighbors whose bills ranged from $225 - $400.
Kroger and Publix in my area both double coupons up to 50 cents, but the Publix where my sister lives in South Florida doesn't. Both grocery stores compete for customers and there are a ton of sites that have coupons. If you like a certain brand of mustard, e-mail the company and ask if they have any coupons. I also learned that you can only use one coupon per an item and can only print 2 coupons for the same item if you go to assorted coupon sites and I was amazed at how many there were.
The last class I was in went over all the drugstores. Walgreens was the best for coupons followed by CVS. Rite Aid has it's customers practically jump through hoops for any sort of discount. If you have a .50 cent coupon for a Mounds Bar at Walgreens (and only Walgreens, at least here), I could buy 35 candy bars and each one would be discounted .50 cents.
Also, find out if you can order an extra Sunday paper so you can get double the coupons. The Coupon Lady worked out a deal with the local paper for customers to get an extra Sunday paper for a $1. She also said if you have 5 people in your family, you should have 5 Sunday papers.
The class was very, very interesting. You should see some of the ladies who keep huge binders with their coupons in little plastic sleeves. The Coupon Lady also has a Facebook account, and she posts all the assorted stores, sale items, faithfully every Sunday. Her Facebook page is MoneyWiseShopper but it's for our area, but nothing says you don't have something like that in your own city. Even though it's from here, you can learn a lot by just seeing it. Click on LIKE and whenever the Coupon Lady posts something it will go to your Facebook page.
She covered other ways to save money. Costco provided breakfast and gave their pitch about memberships. Costco and Sam's both have their strong points, depending on what your family eats. We also have GasBuddy.com to find the cheapest gas, Groupon, Swagbucks, and so many others. Walmart's is okay but as far as coupons go it's not all that great. Sure they'll match prices, but always have the information with you from their competition. Also the PetSmart near us has discounted shots every Thursday and you don't have to pay for an office visit, though you do need to make an appointment. I also order all my Frontline from Petshed.com, I get a 6 month supply for $60 and with shipping it came to $72 something or another. They are a lot cheaper than the local Vets and PetMed.com
Hopefully, I didn't bore you. I just wanted to share.
By Pritchard C. from Madison, AL
I have been a staunch couponer for years. One year, I kept the money I that I saved and was able to buy a new washer and dryer at the end of the year. Two to five dollars a week at the grocery store adds up.
Once when my local market doubled, I saved $98 on a $300 food order. With three teens in the house at the time, the free food fed the empty legs the boys seem to have.
If you get a large coupon for product that you don't usually use, keep it for food baskets that churches and schools usually gather near Thanksgiving or Christmas.
By Becky from Addison, AL
I keep my coupons in the car. That way if I am doing errands and decide to shop, I always have my coupons. This has worked especially well for me with coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond, Joann's, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.
If I have an extra coupon that I am not going to use, I always ask another shopper if they would like to have it. So many people forget theirs. Everyone I have ever offered a coupon to has always been so appreciative.
By Susan B. from Columbia, SC
When using coupons or gift cards in restaurants, I've discovered that it is very easy for the server to become confused, as to the ownership of these items. Make it a point to mark them with something that catches the eye, like the first initial of your last name circled in red, info marked in indelible ink, or a piece of masking tape indicating the dollar value left and your first name.
I've had a waiter tell me that my gift card had only $2 left, when I knew it was much more (my initials were on the card and the waiter managed to find it after much disgruntled effort), and one tell me that my coupon wasn't the big one, but a smaller dollar amount off, or that I never gave them the coupon in the first place.
By marking them, your misplaced property is more easily identified and the waiter is less accusatory. Since I've been marking them, there is less of a problem.
I once had a waitress make a scene, and that image has stayed with me a long time. She managed to 'find' my coupon (which she'd given to another party that had left. There it was, my coupon stapled to their bill), but we didn't need to go through this type of public disturbance.
Yes, she was probably overworked, underpaid and stressed out. She had my sympathies. But marking these items makes the meal out run much smoother.
By cookwie from Dallas, TX
When you go to a store or a restaurant and have multiple coupons, consider sharing with other guests. My husband and I recently visited a restaurant and a woman offered us a coupon for $3 off our bill.
Don't expect the cashiers at the check out to pull coupons off of products for you! Some do but some do not! I have been disappointed several times about this.
After watching a program on television about extreme couponing, it got me thinking. One woman's bill was over $800, but by the time she doled out her coupons she owed less than $3.
Here is an additional way to use your coupons: Have you ever not purchased an item you needed because you had left the coupon at home, necessitating a trip back to the store at a later date? OR worse yet, paid full price, grumbling all the while?
I have a weekly grocery budget of $25.00. It was tight enough before, but now with rising prices it could be very tight. My husband raises a beautiful garden and fruit trees and I can the produce, and he even raises our own beef, and we have a milk cow because we raise baby calves. What we mainly needed was some variety. Coupons have made all the difference.
I am the world's worst, I think, for remembering to use my coupons when I shop! I have tried lots of different things, but nothing helped. I finally came up with a way to remember!
Many people do not realize that you can use coupons from the manufacturer along with the store coupon. For example, Walgreen has a coupon for Dawn soap for 99 cents. I have a coupon from the paper for 75 cents off Dawn. I can use them both and get it for 24 cents.
I am a coupon queen, and while I am not at the level of those extreme couponers, I can still do some damage at the store! Recently, I was able to save my friend almost $17 in hair care products with coupons.
I think I have totally mastered couponing. Follow my strategies and you will be buying more for less!
My local Rite Aid would not letting me use a buy one, get one free coupon on an item that was on sale for buy one, get one free. Rite Aid's web site listed their coupon policy and they do indeed allow customers to use BOGO coupons with BOGO sale items.
I print coupons. I have found I save a lot of time by placing several sheets in my crafting paper cutter. Voila, they are evenly cut and tidy also. No more hours with scissors.
Coupons, coupons, coupons! I would use these even if I did not need to. It is found money. Just yesterday, my grocery bill was $115. After coupons that I used, I found awesome deals when the store has a buy one get one free, and then I had a dollar off coupon, I lowered my bill to $86
I am also a coupon queen, there was a store in my area that would double any size coupons! Oh mercy! I had finally found coupon heaven, as not many stores in our area have double coupons of any kind.
I save thousands of dollars each year by couponing. I used to not use, trash, or give away coupons for items or brands we don't use, even if they were free or close to free.
Check out your local grocery store ads for coupons on gift cards. Today, I saved $10 on a $50 gas card with a coupon in the ad.
Although getting only encouraging information is great, it can be equally rewarding to have some of the reasons NOT to do something. When I had plenty of money, could afford mistakes or most anything within reason, I couponed for years on end as a hobby, making about $.75/hr. and accumulated so many products I really could NEVER have used up before they expired. I was a sucker for cleaners, and lotions, etc.
When using coupons, I organize them by month not the item. For instance, all my January coupons are in the December area of a coupon saver and my February Coupons are in the January, March coupons are in February, etc.
When using coupons, find out if the store you shop at has a double coupon day. I went shopping a couple weeks ago on a double coupon day when it was also a 2 for 1 sale. Instead of paying $3.30 for 1 item, I paid $1.30 for 2 items. (One of the best deals yet.) I have also picked up a sale item on a double coupon day once and only had to pay the tax. By Marlene
When shopping with coupons, if I decide not to buy the designated product. I leave the coupon for the next buyer. I'm just paying back for what others have done for me.
When I use coupons at the grocery store, I write my check that much over. When I get home, I put it in my flower pot that is covered with a silk Boston fern. If a crook robs my house, I figure he wouldn't look there!
Don't discard those coupons when you're thumbing through the Sunday paper. I rarely used them because compared with the prices at club warehouses and discount stores, I didn't find them to be a good deal.
This is saving me time and money at the grocery store. With trial and error, I finally figured out how to use coupons more effectively and efficiently. . .
When shopping with coupons, if I decide not to buy the designated product. I leave the coupon for the next buyer. I'm just paying back for what others have done for me. Nancy
This tip for people who use coupons. There is a website called couponmom.com that you can print coupons on.
If you are a coupon user and are always looking for the coupons for the foods you like to buy, here is an idea I have been using. Use any name brand of your choice and key that name brand with .com following it.
Start A Coupon Exchange. When you are close friends with other neighbors, and you have different needs, exchange coupons! E.g., 1 neighbor has 3 cats. Next door has 2 adult dogs. 1 has a newborn infant, and 1 is past the "Change".
When shopping use coupons. Sometimes you will find out that generic are a better deal than the name brand with a coupon, sometimes not.
Find coupon codes and special links to savings at major online merchants.. Get discounts on Apparel, Jewelry, Travel, and many other categories... plus FREE samples from merchants too!
My grocery store (Safeway) offers a strip of coupons with the register receipt. Sometimes the cashiers forget to give the coupons to customers so the strips can get pretty long. ]
To save some money at the dollar store, keep an eye out for coupons you can use when you shop there. This is a guide about using coupons at dollar stores.
Having more coupons to use will definitely give you more opportunity to save money when you shop. This is a guide about how can i get more coupons?.
I am into using coupons to save as much money as I can. To get the jump on savings. I subscribe on line to CVS and Walgreen's website. On Fridays, they will email me next week's sale paper, so I can plan around the sales.
Besides keeping my receipts for record keeping purposes, I started paying more attention to my receipts. You can enter contest or fill out surveys to receive free or discounted merchandise or food.
It's easy to save money while shopping! One trick is to gather as many coupons for items you use as possible. When the weekly flyers come out, spend a few minutes searching for items you use, and compare sale prices.
Save your grocery receipts for at least 3 weeks. Coupons often come up for something you have already purchased, some stores will accept them within a reasonable amount of time after the purchase.
Here is a really good tip. When you get any kind of coupons for free items, save them for times when you really need them. Times like these would be when you are low on money and/or when there is no triple coupon sales going on at that time, for those who have stores near them that participate.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I live in Canada. Both hubby and I work. He works for a call center and I work for home care. Money is a very tight issue for us. How can I get my hands on coupons? I would love to use them but never can find or get my little hands on any. Things are just getting so pricey that it's start to kill us.
Thank you for your time,
Subscribe to a Sunday newspaper that will be mailed to you that includes coupons. Perhaps you could find a coupon marketing company or several and offer to act as their rep. in your area, selling the service to your local newspapers. First make sure your grocery stores accept or even double or triple coupons. The New York Times has excellent coupons and is a great Sunday paper, as well, and well worth the investment.
We, in Canada, can NOT use USA coupons, so any coupons in the New York Times are not able to be used up here.
Some Sunday papers have coupons, some do not. Actually, there are very few coupons in stores and flyers now compared to years ago. I find that for ourselves, I am now only buying what I need and nothing else, not buying "name brand" particularly (unless it is on a really good sale) and just watching what I spend $ on. I find that the few coupons that do come in the flyers are for items that I would rarely buy anyways. Coupons that I do see now in the store mostly seem to be on or in items that are "frivolous" items...why buy a sugared cereal when the same amount of money can buy you a loaf of bread and 2 dozen eggs.
Something that a friend of ours once said....if you look at the ingredient list on the box of what it is you want to buy and there are more than 5 things on the list or if you can not say all the ingredients then think twice about buying it. Potatoes, raw vegetables and plain meat (cooked in a multitude of different ways at home) are better for you than all those packages where you just have to add water and heat for 10 minutes and voila...a meal.
Could your husband or yourself, rather, change jobs to a higher paying job or go to school to upgrade your education so that life wouldn't be so challenging? When we got married, I worked and paid for our living expenses while my husband went to University. He was able to make enough in the 4 months he had off in the summer to pay for the University tuition for the fall and winter. We only bought what we had to and once he was done, then came better vehicles, a house, kids, etc. Could you run your own business from your home, (even taking on a few on the side) and do home care that way and actually get all the money that the client pays instead of the home care company getting most of it? (I do not know the province you live in or the rules in place for home care providers in your province.)
Shop at Superstore or a grocery store in your area that matches everyone else's sale price and then buy items when they come on sale. This I find easier than buying one item at this store and another one at the next store just to get the best price, or to use the one coupon I did get in the mail. I also weigh the time I am using up in my day to go to the extra store...I put a value on the gas and wear and tear on my car that it takes to drive to the store to buy the item that I have the coupon for...and question whether I do really NEED that item or is it an item that has more than "5" ingredients.
Just some things to think about.
http://www.save.ca has coupons they mail right to your home.
When you are out shopping, pick up coupons from the shelf displays and hold onto them until you need them.
Try to work a coupon exchange with someone at work, or if you are in an apt building, put a coupon exchange envelope on the bulletin board.
Buy generic and store brands, avoid "convenience" items and buy your produce fresh and in season. 5 pounds of carrots can be had for about $2.00 right now and 10 lbs of spuds for about the same $2.00. Buy whole frozen chickens instead of parts and avoid deli meats... use leftovers for lunch.
Call the manufacturers of the products you are interested in and ask them to send you coupons.
Tell them you really like their product but are on a tight budget, you will be surprised at what you will get.
Espeicially if you tell them that you will have to buy a cheaper brand.
Most of the companies have a toll free number on the package.
I do not recommend using this if you do not need to however.
If Canada is anything like Australia there are very few coupons, and what there are are for reduced price take away foods or prepackaged/pre prepared items. Basically things that do not even approach frugal. I would have to second a lot of what beanygirl and valleyrimgirl say - buy loss leaders, basic foodstuffs, cook from scratch, menu plan and stick to your shopping list. This will save much more than a few cents off a bought pizza or a dollar off a trip to the cinema. Also, if money is tight, do you know where its all going and have a written budget? I was very surprised when I started recording my spending and working on a budget to find how the small amounts I had previously frittered away on non essential things really added up. If grocery money is tight you may find other non essential spending areas that you can get rid of and add that cash to the grocery budget. Just a thought - you may be doing this already!
There is a new show that is called Extreme Couponing. Personally I think they should combine the show with the show Hoarders since all of the people have a problem.
My question is, how do you get coupons for meat? There are coupons to be found for staples, but a wall of free toilet paper isn't doing anyone any good unless you're reselling it. Does anyone know how to get deals on meats like steaks, chicken, and seafood?
By Patti from Ewing, NJ
How many grocery stores accept coupons printed from the Internet? I'm seeing more and more tempting coupons on-line.
Do coupons really save money? No really, I'm being serious. They always end up costing me me more. Help? I tried the coupon craze and ended up raising my grocery bill by almost $200 a month. We are very frugal generally and I am good at feeding our family of 4 on about $400-$500 a month, (with diapers), but I started couponing and my budget went way up. I didn't spend much on coupons, just a few Sunday papers and I did buy a few online, but just for a few dollars total. What did I do wrong? Is it just me or do you still get a better deal sticking with the house brand and clearance stuff than the coupons?
By Jae Rue