Coupons 101

If your new to couponing, I have written down some information for you here.

1. The most important rule I could ever teach you would be to know your stores coupon policy inside and out. Here are a list of a few stores' coupon policies:
Walmart                                                                  Target
Giant Eagle                                                              Bottom Dollar
Family Dollar                                                           Kroger 
CVS                                                                        Rite Aid
Walgreens                                                                Whole Foods                                     

2. Organization is key! Unless you like spending hours at the store, being organized will help you move sufficiently about the store.
     a. Most people like to use a coupon binder. A binder can be organized neatly by aisles, expiration dates, or however you choose. But I find I waste more time flipping through pages and its a bit cumbersome.
       b. To make it simple I took a plastic protector sheet and cut the bottom to measure the length of my shopping list and that is what I use along with a coupon file organizer. And don't forget your calculator. I folded the protector in half, slid my list on one side and my price match list on the other side. My coupons fit neatly inside. I organize my coupons by aisle of what I am buying that day. Additional coupons of item I use go in the file. That way if I do find a bargain, I can easily access that coupon. But that's just me.

3. Price matching. If your store price matches, (like Walmart) take the adds with you just in case. Also make a list of the items you plan to price match so you have easier access. If you are price matching an item, it must be the exact same item, exact size, etc. If you haven't already noticed I am a big Walmart shopper and I do a ton of price matching. Mostly I just go off my list, but I have had a few cashiers actually ask me for the add. A good key to remember is: if the price match is dollars amounts more, you probably have the wrong item. Usually price matching is a few cents up to the $1 amt.

Now let's get to the actual coupons.
1. There are several types of coupons and several places to find them. You can find them in your 
   a. Newspaper -this is where you will find manufacturer's coupons like 
        Proctor & Gamble (P&G)
        Red Plum (RP)
        Smart Source (SS)
  b.  Magazines is another good place to find manufacturer's coupons.
        All You
        Woman's Day
  c. Internet coupons (see complete list to your right, under the coupon section)
        cool savings
  d. E-coupons are coupons you can put directly to your stores Reward Cards. You can do this for some     CVS coupons, Giant Eagle, and Shop-n-Save rewards cards.
  e. You may also find coupons in your local stores or on packages themselves.
         peelie- coupon you actually peel off a product in the store.
         catalina(CAT) is a coupon found on your receipt.
         blinkie or some kind of display pad- where you get it from a small machine or tear it from a display.
   f.  If you have an app phone there are lots of coupons you can get on your phone.

2. Reading the coupon. Sometimes a coupon shows a picture that isn't necessarily what the coupon is for. Always follow what the coupon says. You cannot use a coupon for a product if the coupon doesn't match the product. Let's say you had a coupon for $.50 off Colgate toothpaste. 6.4 oz or larger. It doesn't matter what picture they are showing. You can only use that on a Colgate toothpaste that is 6.4 oz. or larger. Now if it says Colgate Total 6.4 oz. or larger, then you can only buy Colgate Total. Always look for coupons that do not have a size restriction. These coupons can sometimes be used on trial sizes or small sizes giving you a better deal.
3. Some stores allow you to stack coupons, meaning you may be able to use more than 1 coupon for 1 product. Some examples would be: Stores like Target and CVS allow you to use a store coupon along with a Manufacturers' coupon on 1 product. Another example of stacking would be: Let's say you have a buy 1 get 1 free coupon (b1g1, or bogo) so your buying 1 toothpaste and getting the 2nd one for free, but you have another coupon for the same product that my only be $.30. Some stores will allow you to use both coupons. You may use the $.30 cent one on the one your buying, along with getting one free from the other coupon. You must check your stores policy, you could be missing out. 
5. Some stores offer Double coupons meaning they will double your coupon up to a certain amount. Giant Eagle and Shop-n-Save are examples of these. That usually turns out to be a great deal!
6. If your store offers a Rewards Card, definitely get one. You will get better deals on advertised specials, possibly be on their mailing list to receive discounts and coupons, or even just to load coupons onto your card so you won't have as many to carry around.
7. Let's talk about overage.Overage is when a coupon may cover the price of the item your purchasing and give you money left over. For example: I have a coupon for $1 off a product, but the product I am buying is only 97 cents. So the 3 cents that was left over is taken off my bill giving me overage. Walmart is a store that allows overage, but most stores do not.

I hope this helps you understand coupons a little better, so you can score some deals of your own.


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