Coupon details

I read this article on couponing at one of my favorite financial sites and wanted to share. The article I wrote on couponing was not near as detailed as this, so if you’re serious about saving some major money with coupons, this post covers most of the details.

How to save money with coupons

I started a poll in the forums asking if any of the readers actually save money by cutting coupons. It turns out that some of them actually save a whole lot. After an interesting discussion started about saving money with coupons, I decided to ask MamaBaker (Leitha2006) to write a guest post showing us how she saves so much money with them. The following post is her guide to cutting coupons…

Tip #1 Get Coupons!

The best way to start is by getting the Sunday paper. If you have multiple papers in your area then look at all of them on a Sunday at the store and see what one has the most coupons. Not all papers have all of the coupon inserts. So maximize your savings and do a little research. If the coupons are really good I buy a few, last week I bought twelve.

Get coupons online! There are a ton of sites to get coupons. I like MyPoints.com because you will get points for the coupons that you print and you can use them to get gift cards after you save up enough. If you are looking for a certain product go to the website of that product many times they have coupons you can print off.

You can also get coupons from websites that sell coupons if you do not want to spend the time to cut them out.

Magazines: One that many people get for really good coupons is All You. You will sometimes find coupons on products, keep a look out for these.

Tip #2 Organize!

If you REALLY want the best deals then you need to take the time to organize your coupons. Your mother’s method of accordion envelope system just will not work. If you cannot see what you have you will not use it.

I have a binder that zips up for all of my coupons. I have it filled with plastic collectors cards sleeves. They are the perfect size to store my coupons. I also have my entire coupon collection sorted by categories that work for me: Bathroom, Cleaning, Meat/Dairy, Condiment, Canned, Pasta/Rice, Beverage, Baking, Breakfast, Paper, Frozen/Bread, Dessert/Snacks, Store Coupons, Rebates, Baby. This way I can take my binder to the store with me and if I find an unexpected mark down I can quickly locate my coupon.

Here is what my coupon binder looks like:

binder1binder1

Tip #3 Plan your shopping

Go shopping with a plan of attack. Going with out one will cost you and you are more likely impulse shop. I have my plan written or typed out when I go to the store and stick to it; I may have to adjust a bit if they are out of what I want.

I actually use spreadsheets to organize my shopping trips so I can fully see what I will spend and if it is worth it.

If a store is out of what you want at the sale price ask for a rain check and use your coupons later.

Tip #4 Know Your Stores

Many stores these days have savings cards that you need to get the sale price. It costs you nothing to sign up for them and is really worth it. Also learn the stores policy on doubling coupons and using printed coupons.

If you shop at CVS make sure you remember to scan your savings card at one of the kiosks before you shop, they will print out coupons for you. They make be valuable to you at that time or save them for a future purchase.

Tip #5 What to look for?

Use your coupons on sale items to get huge discounts, FREE or even make money off of items!

  • If there is a sale for “buy one get one free” you can use a coupon for each item if the coupon is for only one item each.
  • If there is a sale for “buy one get one free” you can use a buy one get one free coupon and you will get both items free.
  • If there is a special sale like buy a product and the store will give you a check or a coupon for the cost of that item toward a future purchase you can use a coupon for that item and end up making money!

Some products have coupons on them! Keep an eye out for this. Look for items that are on clearance you can use coupons on these a save big.

Tip #6 Feed the Cashier

Feed your coupons in order to the cashier to save you the most! If you have a coupon that it say $3 off a $15 purchase; to maximize your savings make sure your total before tax is $15. Hand the cashier your savings card 1st, the cashier will then ring in your items, then hand the casher ONLY the $3 off $15 coupon and they the other coupons. The reason is if the cashier rings in the other coupons before the $3 off a $15 purchase you will no longer be able to use it because your total will be under the required $15.

Tip #7 Multiple Transactions

binder1

Believe it or not but you can save with multiple transactions. Say you are buying so many of a product and at the end you will get a $10 coupon for your next transaction, then just break down all of your products. I will explain how to do this with my last CVS shopping trip.

Transaction #1

  • Kid Throat Coolers $4.99
  • Kid Throat Coolers $4.99

Coupon: Buy 1 get 1 free, found on the product website

This was a special and if you buy a Kid Throat Coolers got $4.99 back, there was a limit of 2 per person.

CVS Extra Care Bucks from last week $3.50

I paid OOP (out of pocket) $1.49

Received $9.98 in Extra Care Bucks

Transaction #2

  • FreeStyle Glucose Monitor $9.99
  • Monogram Napkins Christmas Clearance $0.75
  • Fructis Hairspray $2.99 Special Buy 1 get $2 in Extra Care Bucks
  • NasoGel $7.99 Special buy 1 get $7.99 in Extra Care Bucks
  • Gift Boxes Christmas Clearance $1.25

Coupons:

Fructis $1 off

NasoGel $2 off found on product website

FreeStyle Glucose Monitor $9.99 off

Extra Care Bucks from 1st transaction $9.98

I paid OOP (out of pocket) NOTHING!

Received $9.99 in Extra Care Bucks

Transaction #3

  • Colgate Toothpaste $2.50 Special buy 2 get $2 in Extra Care Bucks
  • Colgate Toothpaste $2.50
  • One Touch Glucose Monitor $29.99
  • SlimFast $6.49 Special buy 1 get $2 in Extra Care Bucks
  • NasoGel $7.99 Special buy 1 get $7.99 in Extra Care Bucks

Coupons:

Colgate $1.50 off found in All You magazine

Colgate $1.50 off found in All You magazine

One Touch Glucose Monitor $29.99 off

SlimFast $1.25 off

NasoGel $2 off found on product website

Extra Care Bucks from transaction #2 $9.99

I paid OOP: $3.24

Received $11.99 in Extra Care Bucks

The first 3 transactions where at all one store I just nicely asked the cashier if he minded if I do 3 transactions, I’ve never had them refuse me.

Transaction #4

the 1st store was out of Palmolive so I had to finish at another CVS

  • One Touch Glucose Monitor $29.99
  • 5 Packages of Tissue paper Christmas Clearance $4.95
  • 6 Palmolive $5.82
  • Freedom Lite Glucose Monitor $9.99
  • Kid Throat Coolers $9.98 Special buy 1 get $4.99 in Extra Care Bucks

Coupons:

One Touch Glucose Monitor $29.99 off

Palmolive buy 2 get $1 off

Palmolive buy 2 get $1 off

Palmolive buy 2 get $1 off

Freedom Lite Glucose Monitor $9.99 off

Kid Throat Coolers buy 1 get 1 free found on product website

Extra Care Bucks from 3rd transaction $11.99

I paid OOP: $0.77

Received $9.98 in Extra Care Bucks

Transaction Summary

So for everything I only paid OOP $5.50!

Are you wondering about those Glucose Monitors? I donate those to charity and in return I get a letter acknowledging my tax-deductible donation that goes towards my taxes at the end of the year.

It really has paid my family for me to do all of this work.

*BONUS*

By shopping like this I am able to stock-pile. Think of it like a squirrel collecting nuts. Right now I don’t have to buy toothpaste, shampoo, soap, laundry detergent and many more items for a while. When you but items as you run out of them you end up paying full price or more than you should. If you look at the transactions from above I got my toothpaste for FREE, honestly I’m not sure when I actually paid for toothpaste.

You can take these tips and put them to work for yourself. You will be able to spend less, save more money and give more to charity.

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2 thoughts on “Coupon details

  1. Hey Sheila–

    First off, I love your blog. I really love it. I love it so much that even though I have drastically decreased my blog-reading anyway, you are one of my “must reads.” I appreciate your honesty and transparency as well as your whole-hearted devotion to our Lord.

    Anyway, I just have to say–
    This particular post made me tired just reading it. WHO THE HECK HAS TIME FOR THIS?
    I used to coupon pretty regularly before my boys arrived, but since then– heck, I am doing well to even get to the grocery store.
    It took me hours to cut and organize my coupons– plus dealing with expired ones?! How do you possibly find time for this?

    And also, when I used to coupon a lot I found I was A– ending up with a bunch of stuff that I didn’t use or need (like cat food and more toothpaste than I could use in a lifetime) and while I had good intentions of giving it to people who needed it, it mostly just ended up cluttering up my house. Or B– a lot of unhealthy packaged food that I didn’t really want to be feeding my kids anyway.

    Any thoughts?

    Like

  2. Gwenn – totally agree….that was really why my post on coupons was so much shorter. But I know some people are just getting started and details help to clarify. I have a standard list that includes the basics for every week and have learned what there are “usually” coupons for and what there is not. The best time saver I ever found is http://www.thecouponclippers.com – they clip and send you the coupons you want. So when I find a coupon in the Sunday paper for something on my “usual suspect” list, I order about 10 of them knowing that I’ll save much more than the $0.10 it cost me for the coupon (especially if I go where they double). It also keeps me from having a bunch of junk in the house that 1. i don’t need to be eating and 2. i won’t eat, but the coupon was just “too good” to pass up.

    I’ve also gotten to the point of “is it really worth the $0.10 it will save me to clip that coupon…and do I REALLY need it???” I clip coupons on Sundays usually, so it makes it pretty easy to skip over coupons I don’t need/won’t use too when there’s a comfy couch calling my name and the quicker I get done clipping coupons, the faster I get there : )

    Like

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