Friday, July 2

Coupons 101

Here's a Coupons 101 course (in a nutshell) for you new coupon users out there! Even if you're not new to coupons, check it out- you may learn something new that will help you save money!

First of all, when you want to begin using coupons, you need to start collecting coupons.

The first and most basic way to collect coupons is with the Sunday newspaper inserts. These coupons are the most reliable source of coupons. You know they will always come on Sunday and they are not going to run out of prints before they get to you! I recommend getting a multiple Sunday paper subscription to help you get started. The more papers you have, the more FREE & cheap items you can acquire with your coupons.

Having a subscription means the papers are delivered right to your front door. You don't need to pay the extra cost of driving to use a vendor paper machine. You also won't need to beg your neighbors for their coupons.

Next, you need to know some coupon lingo and abbreviations that go along with your Sunday newspaper coupons. Here are just a few:

SS- SmartSource Coupons
RP- RedPlum Coupons
P&G- Proctor & Gamble Coupons
GM- General Mills

More coupon abbreviations that are helpful to know:

OOP- Out of pocket
AFS- Associated Food Stores
wyb- When you buy
BOGO or B1G1- Buy One, Get One (Usually associated with Buy One, Get One FREE deals.)
DND- Do Not Double

If you see something like this: Use $1/1 SS 6/13, that means to look for the coupon for $1 off the product listed. This coupon will be found in the SmartSource Sunday Paper insert on June 13th.

So, $1/2 RP 6/27 means..... $1 off 2 products from the RedPlum coupon insert from June 27th.

A lot of coupon users will write the date with a Sharpie or a marker on their coupon inserts as soon as they receive them. You can do this, too, if you are only going to cut your coupons as you need/want them. Find a place to file them, either in an accordian folder, desk drawer, or binder. Using sheet protectors is a great way to go when you have multiple sets of coupons.

If you ever forget to write the date of your coupon inserts onto the insert, just look for the date in the teeny-tiny printing on the "spine" of the insert.

To see how I organize my coupons in a binder, stay tuned for Monday's post on my coupon binder or you can view my
coupon binder video.

Other coupons to collect:

Internet/Printable Coupons: I love printable coupons! You can usually print 2 of each coupon from printable coupon sites. My favorite sites for printing coupons:

These sites have a wide variety of products available all the time and are updated almost daily. If I find a great sale to pair a printable coupon with, I'll be sure to let you know about those as well!

Some manufacturers regularly post coupons on their websites that may be printed as well. More and more manufacturers are putting coupons on their Facebook pages, too!

Blinkie Coupons: These are in machines in various stores (I usually find mine at Smith's/Kroger stores). They are called "Blinkie" coupons because of the blinking red light on the coupon machine. When you see a blinkie machine, grab a few coupons to organize with your collection. Even if you don't use them in the store where you found them, you never know when they will come in handy!

Tearpad Coupons: Another coupon to watch for in stores. Tear off 2-3 for your family and store them!

Peelie Coupons: These are coupons placed on products in the store to entice you to buy them. Peelie coupons can make amazing deals! Watch for extra savings in the store with peelie coupons. Sometimes you will have another paper of printed coupon that exceeds the value of the peelie coupon. In that case, you will need to make a decision about which coupon you use.

Catalina Coupons: These are coupons that print from special catalina machines if they are available. The cashier will hand yours to you with your receipt. I get catalina coupons from Target, Walgreen's (called Register Rewards) and Smith's. These are very valuable when paired with sales. Or, catalina coupons are good for dollars off your next shopping trip. If I know about a great catalina that will print when triggered by specific purchases, I'll be sure to let you know about these!

Now that your collection of coupons is growing, here's some more Coupons 101 information that you need to know:

1. 'One coupon per purchase' does NOT mean separate transactions. You may use one manufacturers coupon for each item you buy. 'Per purchase' means each item you purchase.

2. Using coupons helps the store! They are paid by the manufacturer for each coupon you use, so don't ever feel guilty about using coupons. Not only are the stores paid by the manufacturer, but they are given a handling fee as well. This is anywhere from 7-15 cents for EACH coupon!

Sometimes stores will double your coupons or have a coupon promotion. If they do this, they are also helping to pay for your groceries. They do this to get you used to shopping at the store and want you to become a regular customer. I always welcome these ideas! If the manufacturers and stores are willing to pay for my groceries, I will gladly allow them to do this!

3. Manufacturers coupons may be used along with store coupons. That means for every manufacturers coupon you have that matches a store coupon, you may use both coupons together and double your savings! This is also what is meant by 'stacking' coupons.

The Associated Food Stores regularly have store coupons in their ads, and Target has printable store coupons and store coupons in Target mailed booklets. These may be used with manufacturers coupons as long as the product matches both coupons.

4. Don't cut your coupons on Sunday and then use them on Monday! Wait and watch for sales to pair them up with. This increases your savings 4-5 times! If you have multiple sets of coupons, you are able to stock up when prices are rock bottom. You will feed your family and add to your storage at the same time.

Watch for more Coupons 101 posts to come!

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