Posts Tagged ‘10 Commandments of Couponing
Just like a new, little bundle of joy, I wanted to show off my stockpile. I am not sure what to name her yet…. but isn’t she just beautiful???
When I first started couponing, I was clipping & printing like a manic. I had coupons everywhere – loose in my pocketbook, on the kitchen table, under the kitchen table, in the car. I had no rhyme or reason to it and I was so frustrated.
I then decided on the clever but simple envelope approach. But, I still couldn’t find anything, and now my coupons were starting to expire. I was entering crisis mode.
Finally, after weeks, I have discovered a method that works for me.
1) I found an old binder from college that was in halfway decent shape
2) I ‘borrowed’ my son’s baseball card insert pages
3) I bought a set of tabs that go from 1-26
4) I alphabetized my coupons
5) I folded them in a pseudo-origami way with the expiration date on top and the product showing. Then I slipped them into each opening while watching the 10 PM Judge Judy replay
6) I smiled in satisfaction at a job well done
Now, I only clip the coupons I know I would use. I still fold and tuck while watching tv when the kids are asleep, but now I also pull out the expired ones (So easy when the expiration date shows!)
I keep the inserts that come with my newspaper or from my extended family and label them with the date. I put them in a folder and wait to see if I need any of those coupons.
The moral of the story is – do what works for YOU. You are the one who needs to find the coupons, so it should be organized in a way you can manage.
I still find the random coupon lying on the floor by the front door, but it is so much more controllable now.
You heard how French is the language of love? Abbreviations are the language of savings. The only way to find a coupon mentioned in the blogverse is to know the conventions below:
Source of Coupon
SS = Smart Source (Sunday Newspaper & Online)
RP = Red Plum (Sunday Newspaper, Weekly Mail Inserts, Online)
P&G = Procter & Gamble (Sunday Newspaper, Mailed Coupons)
ALL YOU = All the cool coupon kids subscribe to this magazine. They offer a ton of coupons each month.
Blinkie = These are the coupons on store shelves that your kid is usually reaching for. I leave the 14 extra coupons my boys pull out on the shelf near the machine.
CAT = Catalina coupons are the ones which print out after you make your purchase at stores like Target & Stop & Shop.
Peelie = Coupons that are attached to a product’s package
MFR= Manufacturer’s Coupons
MIR = Mail In Rebate
Store Specific Coupon
ECB = Extra Care Bucks from CVS
SCR = Single Check Rebate from Rite Aid
UPR = Up Reward from Rite Aid
BOGO = Buy One, Get One
OOP = Out of Pocket
WYB = When You Buy
$1/1, $2/1, $4/2 = The value of the coupon off the number of items you can purchase. (One dollar off one item, Two dollars off 1 item, Four dollars off two items, etc)
Stockpiling is the bazooka in your saving money arsenal.
Even if you live in a cardboard box, I am sure there are many items that you use regularly. When you find items at a very low price, you should stock up for a rainy day. Then you should find a place in your home where you can place all the items in relative order and simply enjoy staring at them until you have to use them. I have mine in the basement and I will literally clutch my chest when I see it. Trust me, you will too. Don’t mention this to your friends unless they are stockpilers as well. These non-stockpilers will either spend full price on their shampoo when they run out or just settle on the cheapest one. (I speak from experience as a non-stockpiler).
There are many items which are great to stockpile. They include:
- Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash
- Deodorant, Razors, & Shaving Cream
- Laundry Detergent, Dishwasher Soap & Stain Releasers
- Make-Up, Lotions & Stylers
- Juices, Soda & Water
- Pastas, Jared Sauce (only Ragu Marinara) & Rice,
- Frozen Veggies, Ice Cream & Meats
- Snacks, Condiments & Baking Mixes
I also try to buy an assortment of stuff on sale. I get bored easy, so I have a vast array of pleasing items. My husband, on the other hand, has only used 1 type of deodorant (Speedstick) & 1 type of soap (Irish Spring) in the 11 years we have been together. I buy these whenever they go on sale.
Remember, it is not saving money if you have to throw out unused, expired items. A 3-6 month supply is usually sufficient & but everyone is different so adjust accordingly.
Sales tend to by cyclical; your favorite items will eventually be on sale again. Remember, Patience is a Virtue & Stock Piling is Not Hoarding.
Coupons are ripe for the picking. You just need to know where to look…
I am 99.99% sure everyone knows the Sunday paper has coupons… It is around $1.50 to get it delivered to my door, which means I can review my savings in my pajamas while Blues Clues is on.
Many people will not use their coupons or will only clip the ones they want. You should befriend these people. They would be happy to give you the leftovers. Personally, I keep my inserts (Commandment #2), but to each their own.
I have heard the “rumors” that coupons vary by region. I have discovered, apparently, Nassau & Queens are different regions. A few weeks ago, I got the coveted ” $5 off John Frieda coupon” in my Nassau Newsday but it was not part of my mom’s Queen’s Daily News…. This made for one very disappointed Dizee….
This brings me to another point, if your coupons are fantastic, I suggest buying an extra paper or two. Maybe from different stores if you don’t want to get that ‘Extreme Couponer’ look.
There are some fantastic places online to get coupons without shelling out a dollar! Simply click and start printing. (The first time you may have to download a file to print your coupons. I have been using these sites with no problems, so I wouldn’t worry.)
Most websites let you print a coupon twice per computer before they put the brakes on. So, make sure your printer is ready. Trust me, if you miss out on your $1.00 off Wheat Thins coupon because your toner was low, you will be pissed off the rest of the day. (You can see I am talking from experience)
If the coupon is something I use regularly, I will print them at home and then again at work. I get almost get giddy with excitement. (Really, it is the little things that make me happy.)
Here are the sites I frequent regularly
- Red Plum
- Smart Source
- Betty Crocker (Yep, she is in the coupon business now too)
Finally, the grand poo-ba of coupons (in my opinion)
They have awesome coupons on a ton of stuff. The best part is, since they are mostly Retailer Coupons, you can match them with Manufacturer Coupons (Commandment 5). This is how you become a coupon superstar!
Oh, last word of advice – don’t photocopy your coupons. Beyond being tacky, it is Coupon Fraud.
Many times when you “ Like”a page on facebook, you will be rewarded with a coupon. Jackpot! . Some of my favorite ones :
- Wheat Thins
- Purex Complete Crystals (LIVE for this stuff… Bottles are $2.99 at Target when you combine with this coupon.)
- Nabisco Cookies offer monthly coupons on their delish goodies.
Often they have awesome give-a-ways like Full Size Samples of Pantene or Tide.
I found that winning a free full size product is the equivalent to hitting the jackpot on a penny machine. It’s not going to make you rich, but it totally brightens your day.
Sign up for Freebies
Freebies are awesome. Not only do you get to try a product (sometimes before it hits the shelves), you will usually get a decent value coupon with it. If you aren’t signing up for these by the boatload, you should just stop reading money saving blogs. Seriously.
Visit the Company Site
Many companies have coupons available on their website. It is like taking candy from a baby. Simply go to their sites & scout it out. Beauty sites seem to be especially generous.
(Matching these coupons to a Target Coupon will make you smile from ear-to-ear when you hand over your money.)
Before you recycle your trash bag box, look inside. Coupons are all over products that you normally buy.
Write In Campaign
Finally, if you have a product that you love and can’t seem to find coupons for, write them. You can compliment a product or let them know what they could do better. Sometimes, you can just flat out ask for a coupon.
It’s like the lotto, you never know.
Click here to see who I have been writing. I will update the list if/when I receive anything. To be honest, this is something new I am trying.
Got any other places to find coupons? Let me know!
- Locate Coupons. Buy, beg or borrow Sunday Newspaper inserts. Print coupons on the computer. Like companies on Facebook. Send letters to companies. Pick up in-store coupons. The coupons are just begging to be used. (Just don’t steal them… it is just silly)
- Save your inserts. You never know when there will be some big sale and items will be FREE. Just find a nice spot to tuck them away for your rainy day.
- Organize your coupons. There is no scientific formula. It is not brain surgery. Do what works for you. Use an envelope, put them in your wallet, stash them in a binder. This is my method.
- Learn the Lingo. SS, RP, P&G, RR, UP – the abbreviations are endless. The most important terms are MC (Manufacturer Coupons which can be used anywhere) & SC (Store Coupons which can only used at specific stores)
- Match manufacturer coupons with store coupons. This is the major score referred to as stacking. You get double savings & will be the envy of the other customers online.
- Know your Coupon Policies – Who doubles coupons? Who accepts coupon stacking? Who will price adjust? Who doesn’t accept coupons at all? You may know the policy better than the cashier, so be nice when pointing out their error.
- Sign Up for Store Rewards. Really, it is silly not to. Some places, like CVS & Rite Aid, will give you cash back for future visits. It is like they are flinging money at you.
- Be savvy & patient. Review your circulars. Match sales to coupons to get the most bang for your buck. Compare two or three stores. I use this sheet when making my list.
- Plan your menu based on sales and make a shopping list. Stick to your list. You do not need the extra bag of Lays or Oreos. Your butt will thank you.
- Use coupons for items that you use or want to try. Even if you don’t match them to a sale, stack them or double them, you will still end up ahead in the end. (Just by using $5 in coupons a week will save you $260 in a year.)
- (Ok, so I added an 11, it’s my blog.) Stockpile. I refer to my stockpile as my savings fund. While Non-Stockpilers are paying full price, I just go down to my basement pile. Don’t over due it, though. People will start looking at you funny.