Couponing 101

Thanks to the girls at the Krazy Coupon Lady, I have learned how to use coupons. I would like to share with you what I learned from them from their website.

Ready to go from Coupon-Shy to Coupon-Savvy? We’re here to show you how! You’ve come to the right place to find cartloads of advice that will prepare you to become a certified Krazy Coupon Lady! Click around to learn the lingo, read answers to the most commonly asked questions & learn what Not to do before you make one of many common mistakes!

Here’s what you need to know…
  • You will be going to the store a lot, and you will most likely have a very intimate relationship with certain stores and the checkers who are employed there.
  • You will have a Year Supply of Toothpaste, Soap, Razors, and Lysol Wipes (among other things) before you can blink!!
  • Before you know it you will be saving between 50-90% at the grocery store!
  • It’s all about shopping with coupons while a product is on sale- and STOCKING UP so you don’t have to buy something when it’s not cheap or free.
Getting Coupons 
  • You will want to get multiple Sunday Papers. Inside each Sunday paper are “Coupon Inserts.” This way, when you head to the store for FREE Toilet paper, you get a lot of packs, instead of 1. With those copies of the same coupon you are able to STOCK up when something is at a rock bottom price.
  • Another Source of Coupons you need to familiarize yourself with is INTERNET PRINTABLES
  • Here are my favorite sources of IP’s: Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, RedPlum.com
How and When to Use Coupons

The Big “Secret” is MATCHING COUPONS WITH AWESOME SALES and PROMOS!
  • For example- If I go to Walmart to use my $1 off 5 Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Coupons, it will end up being cheaper to just buy generic.
  • BUT, if you use the coupon when they are at a rock bottom price- or if you match it with a promotion Albertson’s is having- Viola! Cheap Soup!
Another “Secret” is DOUBLE DAYS!
  • K-Mart Doubles about once a month, and Albertson’s puts out double coupons. Many other stores such as Harris Teeter, Copps/Pick N Save, Kroger Affiliates, Publix and other stores have “doubling events” or double coupons on a daily basis.
  • When a store doubles a coupons, they will match the price of your coupon- for example if you have a coupon for $1 off- they will take another $1 off!
  • Restrictions usually apply, as to how many coupons you can double, ect.

Oh- and Don’t forget my favorite Couponing “Secret”- Stacking!!
  • Stacking simply means using 1 Manufacturer Coupon and 1 Store Coupon on 1 Item!!
  • Target, Albertson’s and Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, & Kroger Stores (to name a few) all have store coupons and allow them to be stacked with a manufacturer coupon! (You can never use 2 manufacturer coupon on 1 item… but most stores allow you to use 1 store and 1 manufacturer coupon on the same item)
Also, it will take a little while for you newbies to figure out when something is a good deal. When I first started couponing, I found toothpaste for $1/tube and I thought I scored- so of course, I bought like 20 of them. Then as time went on, I realized that you can get free toothpaste all the time! So, be willing to overpay ($1 for toothpaste is really cheap for all our non-couponing friends- so don’t feel too bad!)- and if it helps, start making a list of things you will never pay for again!

Get Organized Before you Leave the House

  • First, I make a list of the things I want to buy.
  • If it is a promo at Albertson’s where I will be doing a few transactions, I make my list according to transaction.
  • I also clip all my coupons before I leave the house, and put them in a separate envelope.
Choose wisely what time of the day you go
  • I have found that early in the morning or afternoon, or late at night is best for me.
  • You and your checker will be less stressed out if there is not a line behind you.  
Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey
  • If you have a cart full of groceries and lots of coupons, and you know you are going to be slow… Warn the other shoppers who get in line behind you. I always just nicely apologize and tell them they may want to choose another line, because I am going to be slow. Sometimes, they smile and say “That’s okay, I’m not in a hurry”, then they wait a few minutes, notice that I wasn’t joking and move to another line. I hate having grumpy people in line behind me! It makes me feel like I need to hurry, and that’s when mistakes are made! So I at least like to tell them what they are getting themselves into.
  • If you are separating your items into multiple transactions, just put one transaction on the conveyor belt at a time. If someone jumps in line behind you, just finish your transaction and get in line behind them.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for a member of management to come clarify something for you. Often, you know more about the store coupon policy then the checkers, so don’t be afraid to nicely ask for a manager to explain something to you.
  • Many times, I have had them call over a manager, and it ends with the checker saying “Huh, I never knew that!”
I have said this before but it’s worth repeating...

  • PRINT THE STORE COUPON POLICY AND KEEP IT WITH YOU.
  • This has saved me so many times. I have it on the outside of my binder and if I need to, I will reference it at the check out. I always think I should make copies to give to the checkers because clearly some of them have never read it!!

Find Balance
  • When I first started couponing I was so excited about all the money I was saving- that I thought I needed to cash in on EVERY deal at EVERY store! I was shopping at Albertson’s, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Target and occasionally K-Mart. And this was on a weekly basis. Obviously, it didn’t take long before I was completely burnt out. 
  • I quickly had to choose just one store that I would focus my efforts on.
  • Also, it’s best for you coupon virgins to learn 1 store at a time. You will get WAY too overwhelmed if you are trying to learn every policy all at once. I think the easiest way to choose a store is to just pick what is closest to your house. You will be wanting to go often, so it makes sense to not have to travel very far.
  • Another key to finding balance in couponing- is to remind yourself that this most likely isn’t the last time you will see products at this price! When I was a newby- I didn’t realize that the prices I was seeing were more than Once In a Lifetime Sales!! The industry standard for coupon and sale cycles is 3-4 months- but on a lot of products, like Kraft and General Mills, it’s more often than that!

Making Couponing a Way of Life
  • You are probably sick of our mantra, Buy Before You Need while it’s CHEAP or FREE, and avoid having to buy it at FULL PRICE when you absolutely need it!!
  • At the Grocery Store this line of thinking works very well. We are all on our way to creating a stock pile that will support our families (and friends, and neighbors, and subdivisions and towns!!) should we ever need to cut back on our spending. If you have been doing this long, you are spending LESS at the grocery store and accumulating MORE! It’s a wonderful thing.
  • Check Out Books and Movies from the Library. This is the best way to find the movies and books you want, FOR FREE. Plus- I am always very motivated to get them read, since they have a due date! The free Redbox codes are also our favorite way to get the most current movies. Since they started doing this, we have canceled our Netflix subscription!
  • Stock Up on Office and School Supplies while they are on Clearance, or are on Sale with coupons.
Thanks The Krazy Coupon Lady!

Again these are not my own words, but taken from the Krazy Coupon Lady.