Couponing 101 Category
If you missed the last posts in the Couponing 101 series, I covered Coupon Organization, Where to Get Coupons, and Shopping with Coupons. I know I said I was going to write about using the Coupon Database next, but I have had some questions about coupon lingo.
When you are reading my posts about coupons, you will most likely find abbreviations that can seem confusing if you are unfamiliar with them. Here is a list of common coupon lingo that you might find here at Nifty Mom or on other coupon blogs:
$1/2 - $1 off two items
B1G1- Buy One, Get One
Catalina – Coupon that prints at the register
ECB - Extra Care Bucks (CVS)
EXP – Expires
GM - General Mills Insert
IVC – Instant Value Coupon (Walgreens store coupons)
IP – Internet Printable Coupon
MFR - Manufacturer Coupon
MIR - Mail in Rebate
OOP - Out of Pocket
PG – Procter & Gamble Insert
Peelie – Coupon that is attached to a product
Q – Coupon
RP – Red Plum Insert
RR – Register Reward (Walgreens, coupon prints at register)
SC – Store Coupon
SS – Smart Source Insert
Stacking - Using a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon
WYB – When You Buy
YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary (the deal might not be as good for you)
When reading one of my Store Weekly Ad Top Deals (coupon match up) you will see something like this:
Garnier Fructis Hair Care 4/$14
-$1/1 Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner 6/5 RP or
-$1/1 Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner IP
-Receive $4 RR wyb 4
=$1.50 each wyb 4 with 4 coupons
Without coupon lingo this means:
Garnier Fructis Hair Care 4 for $14
-$1 off 1 Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner Coupon from 6/5 Red Plum Insert
-$1 off 1 Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner Internet Printable Coupon
-Receive $4 Register Rewards coupon printed at the register at checkout when you buy 4
=$1.50 each when you buy 4 with 4 coupons
I hope you understand the coupon lingo better!
If you missed the last posts in the Couponing 101 series, I covered Coupon Organization and Where to Get Coupons. This week I want to go over shopping with coupons. The most important thing about shopping with coupons is planning and researching.
Here are some tips when planning before you head to the store:
- Research all the stores you have locally. You want to learn their coupon policies and if they have a loyalty program to maximize your savings. Numerous stores double and even triple some coupons. You want to learn about each store because one might typically have higher prices, but has a loyalty program and triples coupons. Also see if the store offer ‘store’ coupons. These coupons normally can be stacked with manufacturers’ coupons, I.E. Targetand Walgreens.
- Read all your store circulars to see what sales are going on and compare prices. Sometimes one store might have a product on sale, but that sale price is more than the regular price at another store. Some people like to create a spreadsheet or list of the lowest prices on products to keep track of how low a price might get on an item and where to get it.
- Review store matchups online. I cover my local grocery stores, Schnucks, Shop N Save, and Dierbergs, as well as Target and Walgreens. (If you are in a different area and would like to see your stores on Nifty Mom, contact me and I will try to get those store matchups on here for you). These matchups highlight the weekly advertisement and let you know what coupons are available for the sale items.
- Make a list. I normally have 4 lists going for each week. One for each store I shop at. I put a star next to an item if I have a coupon for it and paperclip the corresponding coupons to each list.
- Check a coupon database to see if coupons are available for products that are not featured on my store matchups. I hope to have a coupon database on my site for you to easily access in the near future.
A few other things to note when shopping:
- Getting the biggest size of an item isn’t always to best value. Check the price per ounce/unit to see which is a better value.
- 10/$10 sale doesn’t mean you have to buy 10.
- Check coupons for size limits. Some coupons have to be used on larger products or cannot be used with travel size or single servings.
- Always check the clearance sections. Coupons are good on clearance and you could get a really great deal sometimes.
I hope this helps you understand shopping the stores with coupons. Please let me know if you have any questions.
If you missed it, last week I discussed Coupon Organization. But where do you get all those coupons? This week I am going to review the different places you can find coupons.
Note: There are many different sites and newsletters which require you to sign up for coupons. Before you start signing up for all of them, I recommend creating a ‘coupon/sample’ email account you only use when you sign up for newsletters, samples, coupons, etc. I do this so my personal email doesn’t become overran by these emails.
Sunday Paper – This is the main way people get coupons and a good start for those new to couponing. There are 100’s of dollars worth of coupons every week in the inserts. Also make sure you look at all the store circulars in the paper. These tend to have coupons in them that don’t always have to be used at that specific store. Different ways you can obtain the paper besides purchasing a ton of copies every week:
- Ask friends / family: My family gives me their inserts after they clips the coupons they wants
- Dumpster Dive: Some extreme couponers go to their local recycling dumpsters and search for coupon inserts
Printable Coupons – There are coupon sites that you can print coupons from. Nearly all the sites only allow 2 prints per computer per coupon. Most coupons have a print limit (or coupons available for print), so if you see a good coupon, it is best to print it right away. The high value coupons tend to ‘disappear’ fast. Never photocopy a coupon. This is considered fraud. Here are some sites the print your coupons from:
Company Websites – Many companies offer coupons on their website or when you sign up for their newsletter. Some also have a mailing list you sign up for to get coupons mailed to you. If there is a brand that you really like, it doesn’t hurt to visit their website to see if they offer any coupons. A few companies that offer coupons:
Facebook – Along with checking out a company’s website, be sure to ‘like’ them on Facebook as well. A lot of companies have coupons and sample available exclusively to their Facebook fans. Some recent ones include Tide, Downy, Swiffer, Suave, Gillette, and Gerber.
Store Coupons – Some stores offer store coupons. Many times, these coupons can be stacked with manufacturers’ coupons. Some stores provide coupon booklets (Walgreens has a monthly savings booklet) that can be found in-store. Target and Walgreens both offer printable store coupons.
Magazines – If you read magazines, always glance at the advertisements to see if there are any coupons. A good magazine to subscribe to is All You. It normally has over $75 worth of coupons in each issue. It is also available at Wal-Mart.
Samples – When you request a sample online, it is very common to receive at least one high value coupon in the mail with the sample.
Coupon Clipping Services – If you really want to get your hands on a great coupon, or 20 of them, there are clipping services where you pay a clipping fee per coupon you want. A few clipping services are MyCouponHunter.com and CouponDeDe.com.
As you can see, there are a lot of places to get coupons and it can be overwhelming. If you are just getting started, don’t overdo yourself. Just take it slow. I try to post new and hot coupons as soon as they are available as well as where you can use the coupon for a great deal. To make sure you don’t miss a post, be sure to follow me:
Next week’s installment of Couponing 101 is Shopping With Coupons (finding the best deals).
I must admit, I am kind of obsessive and crazy when it comes to organizing. My closets, including my husband’s (but not by choice), is color coordinated and separated by style. I save almost everything paper (receipts, bills, and anything else) and each have some sort of filing system. Couponing is no different. To be efficient and use coupons to the fullest, organizing your coupons is very important. There are two main ways to keep all your coupons organized. Remember, do what works for you, even if it is something totally different.
The first way is using a coupon binder. You can get a big three-ring binder (and zippered to help keep them safe in there) and a bunch of baseball card sleeves. You then organize all your coupons in the sleeves by category (laundry, frozen food, personal care, household, etc). Your categories can be as broad or narrow as you’d like. You would get tabs, such as Post-It tabs, to label the sheet that starts each category. I would also put a few pocketed inserts to keep store fliers, lists, coupon policies, and other full-sized documents you might want to keep and reference.
There are also binders/organizers you can buy completely setup for coupons, such as the Coupon Clutch and the Coupon Magic Organizer. I recommend searching around Amazon to get ideas or find something that might work for you if you are not sure.
PROS: You have all your coupons on every shopping trip and they are all visible.
CONS: It can be very time-consuming to cut all your coupons and putting them in the sleeves. You will also have to go through it every so often to clean out the expired coupons. A con for me is the size. With a toddler and infant with me most of the time, I don’t have anywhere to put the binder. I barely have room for the groceries!
The other method is the filing system. You can use a filing cabinet, a banker’s box, or an accordion expanding file. I use an accordion expanding file because it latches closed and has a handle. This makes it easy to get out, move room-to-room, or store out of the way (plus I got it on clearance at Target). With this method, you take all your Sunday Paper inserts, unclipped, and file them by date. I write in the top of each insert the date so if you leave the insert out or get it mixed up with another one, you know where it needs to be filed. This method is extremely helpful when you are doing coupon match ups, as the coupons are easy to find. In the back slot of the filing system, I keep mail-in rebate forms and receipts/UPCs for the rebates.
PROS: It is easy to find a coupon when it is referenced in an Ad Matchup or posted deal. It is also quick and easy if you don’t have time to clip every coupon every week.
CONS: You don’t have all available coupons when you are at the store. So if there an unadvertised deal or clearance item that you weren’t planning to buy, you might miss a good deal not having all your coupons with you.
I also have a smaller organizer I keep in my purse. I use this to store my coupons I know I will be using, printable coupons that I clipped, and coupons I received in the mail. I also keep a few coupons in here for products I know typically go on sale. My favorite feature is the notepad that it comes with. I use this to create my shopping lists, keep notes on upcoming deals, or record prices/deals when I am at the store. When I start planning a shopping trip, I paperclip the coupons I will be using to the list.
Let me know if you have any questions. Remember, do what works best for you, experiment, even if it is something totally different. Which method do you use or prefer?
Next week’s installment of Couponing 101: Where to Get Coupons.
Since I have started my blog, I have had numerous questions regarding couponing. I was going to write a post all about couponing, but then I realized there are so many aspects of couponing and it would take forever to write it all up in one post and I don’t think anyone would want to read all that at once (I sure wouldn’t).
So weekly, I will post a new tip or technique that pertains to couponing.
If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to contact me!
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