Monday, July 19, 2010

Couponing 101

1. The best time to use a coupon is when it is combined with a really good sale. This will frequently result in amazing deals, and some FREE items!
2. More than one coupon can be used for a given item. Combining them is called “stacking” in the coupon world. Usually a combination of a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon is the most widely accepted by stores.
3. Just because something is listed as “on sale” does NOT mean that it is a good deal, or even any cheaper than the normal price. Sites like grocerysmarts rate the given sales at most stores and let you know if it really is a good deal. Even if you don’t have any of these stores near you, referencing these prices can help to “teach” you what a good deal is on any given item.
4. When you are checking out, hand the coupons to your cashier at the end of your transaction in one big stack. Usually they don’t even look at them, they just scan away and as long as the computer accepts them, they allow as much as you give them. You will quickly learn which cashiers are your “favorite” to work with.
5. Be knowledgeable about your sales and coupons, but DO NOT be rude or overbearing with your cashier. The less you fight, the more they work with you, from my experience. I have had genuine computer problems, and when I checked with the manager, he quickly fixed the problem, but was grateful that I was very calm, patient, and knew what I was talking about.
6. Through experience and research on the different sites, you will learn that not every sale and coupon combination is the best option that will be available to you. Sometimes waiting a few weeks can bring a better option. My coupon class said that every item in a grocery store goes on sale at least once a quarter. Keep your eyes open. and with practice, you will know when it is the best time to use your coupons.
7. Couponing is contagious and has become VERY popular lately. I recently had a store round up all coupons under $1.00 (a very rare thing for Utah). When I arrived on the first day, many of the items were already gone. I was told that people had arrived at midnight to be the first ones to stock up on the sale items. Be aware of this craziness and try to find your balance between a bargain, and absolute madness.

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