Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coupon Queening 101

My daughter-in-law is a fantastic couponer. The stores pay her to shop there. She many times comes away with paying nothing, to having money handed to her after she shops. I've never been very good at couponing so I asked her to write this guest post to teach me, and you, how she does this. And I don't know how she finds time to do all this while managing a large family AND maintaining a fantastic blog all about being frugal at All Things Frugal 4-U And Me

History of Coupons?

The stigma used to be that only Poor people used coupons.
Coupons have been used in America since the 1800's.
C.W. Post really kicked off the use of coupons when he began to offer costumers .01 off their Grape Nuts cereal in the early 1900's.
Coupons are used as a way of advertising and to market a product.**

Coupons are also a bit of a confession that a company's product is over priced if you need a coupon to begin with. With today's economy Coupon stigmas are long gone. It is so HIP to be frugal these days;)

Where to get coupons:
*Sunday papers obviously (although I don't have a subscription to it:)
*In Magazines (the Wal-mart Mag ALL YOU is a great one. It can also be ordered as a subscription from Amazon)
*In grocery store flyers-many are Manufacturer coupons & can be redeemed ANYWHERE
*Contact companies and get on their mailing lists
*Order them from a coupon service Thecouponclippers.com This site has the Sunday coupons ready to buy up on Sat. morning
*Recycling centers can have the coupons left in the papers (get permission first)
*Ask paper boys you might know if they have left over inserts.
*Tell your neighbors to save them for you.
*Hold a Coupon party and swap some-Yes! they do that.
*Start a coupon train, you put what you don't need into a envelope and pass it on to be added to or taken from.
*Start a basket at a school or library like the penny jars. Have a coupon drop it off. Need one take it.

Printable coupons from the Internet (a few of them)
Coupon Bug
Coupons Inc.
Smart Source
Mommy $aves Big
also just Google search "printable coupon for _______________"

Most of the printable coupons on the Internet that you'll find are called "Bricks" coupons. Bricks means the Manufacturers have put up a brick wall;) A block so you can't print the coupon endlessly. Most of the Bricks will print twice from every computer you have access to, as long as no one's already printed the coupon from that computer-they keep track with codes. Some bricks coupons will reset each month or later in a promotional run.

Coupons.com and the other sites listed above are also bricks coded so you can print each coupon twice from them as well.

Some stores are leery of accepting printed coupons, others just won't. Every store is entitled to their own Coupon Policy.

DO NOT EVER PHOTO COPY A PRINTED COUPON-THAT IS FRAUD! There are special markings on a printed coupon that disappear when photo copied. After you print a coupon you'll notice in the background in the center of the coupon is a blurry rectangle image or logo-that's a watermark. That's proof it's a legit coupon. Also under the doted bar code usually in the upper right, the numbers under it change with each print. (Just a couple of things to point out if a cashier doesn't want to take your coupon because she thinks it's a copied version)

If you come across a printable "too good to be true" coupon-it probably is. Recently there have been FREE multi-packs of Bounty coupons out. So BEWARE, there ARE fraudulent coupons to print out on the Internet. Most of these will come from Blogs or personal sites.

How to organize Coupons now that you've got some?

At first an envelope in your purse will work. Then you might go to the Accordion folder style or a recipe type box. If you become really serious you'll want the Granddaddy of them all-the Coupon Binder:)

Read how to organize him here. Or see more photos here.

How to use coupons:

*Best way is to wait for a sale, then combine it with a coupon of multiples! If you like Skippy Peanut Butter you could use your .50 off that $1.79 jar and pay $1.29. But why do that if you can wait till it's on sale for .99 and then snag it for .49?

*Most coupons usually come out about 3+ weeks before there will be a sale on the product. They want you to go blow that coupon-don't a sale most likely IS coming.

*You can combine Manufacturers coupons WITH Store coupons.

*If you get a lot of coupons tear the inserts apart so you have all of the same page. Then cut them with a paper cutter-NOT SCISSORS:) You'll be there forever.

*Don't get flustered at the check out! It's OK. Cashiers get grouchy cause they're tired not because you hand them a coupon. (And if they do- then hey sorry for them) I usually just lightly say "it all helps these days huh?" as I hand them 40+ coupons LOL! I'm a regular and they don't even bat an eye... Being nice goes a long way too. Remember they're going to be working their entire shift no matter if your in their line. 6 hours is still 6 whether coupons are involved or not. They have a job because you help pay their paycheck... Don't let them be rude to you.

*If there's a sale that's B1G1F (buy one get one free) you can mix that with a coupon for even more savings. Then the first one you buy is cheaper.

*If you have a coupon for something and it would be free get it! Even if it isn't your brand think Food Pantry, Homeless Shelter, etc. If you don't coupon, start for that reason alone.

*Check those clearance bins! Plenty of goodies have been found there to be used with a coupon. Sometimes you'll get paid to buy things if they cost less then the coupon deduction or you may just snag some free stuff because the store chooses to price down the coupon.

*Coupons are the same as cash. It's a form of tender for a bill. The stores have to wait a little bit to get reimbursed but they make .08 per coupon back for it. In the end they're making $ to take your coupon.

*Don't forget to get your rain checks if a product is out. Then hit up some coupons!

*You can buy something for a rebate with a coupon. However, some Companies are starting to deduct the coupon amount from the rebate check you'll get. Some, just so you know.

*I love this last tidbit.
Did you know that most Millionaires use coupons or are married to someone who does? From the book The Millionaire Next Door

There you go, a crash course in Coupon Queening 101

HaPpY SaViNgS Ya'll:)!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

That was a great post ladies! I am definatly going to check out those sites. With me going back to college, and the tight times we are in, anything helps. Have a great day!
Nature Lovin'

All Things Frugal For You And Me said...

Well, I've given up sleeping:)~
Really that and the cleaning were the 1st things to go once the blog came along. LOL

Thanks for posting it! It looks great:)

Together We Save said...

I am a huge couponer. Thanks for this post. I needed a quicker tip for cutting them.

grammy said...

Very good post. I need to study it. I am not good at coupons, but really want to get better. Thanks for putting that all together.

Joyce Paski said...

Great post, Sandy. Thanks!