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Couponing 101: Part 3

Tips and Tricks

Wait for Sales!!!
Using coupons is like playing cards. You don't want to show everyone your hand right away. You bide your time and at the exact right moment - BAM! 98%  savings on your grocery bill. (Or a royal flush - whatever) Example: Ragu pasta sauce is normally $2.89/ea. You have a coupon for $1. You could use it now and pay $1.89 for a jar OR you could wait until it's on sale for $1.50/jar. THEN use the $1 coupon and BAM - $0.50 for a jar of pasta sauce.

That is the magic. Combining a sale WITH the coupon. Pure bliss.

Doubling and Tripling
Some areas (like mine) will double and triple the face value of a coupon up to a certain limit. In my area, they double coupons up to and including .50 and triple coupons up to and including .35. Here is how it looks on the computer screen:
Kelloggs cereal - 2.00
coupon -              (.50)
double coupon -  (.50)
total =                  1.00

The double and triple is a STORE promotion. The store only gets reimbursed the face value of the coupon.  Tripling would look like this:

Kelloggs cereal - 2.00
coupon -              (.35)
triple coupon -     (.70)
total =                   .95

Check with your local stores to see if they double or triple anything.

Sales Cycles
Everything goes on sale in 10-12 week cycles. So when an item is on sale, get enough to last you through until the next sale. If you eat 2 boxes of cereal a week, then get 24 boxes. Sound like a lot? It's better to pay $0.75/box at one time then to run out 2 weeks later and have to pay $3.50/box (ouch!) because you didn't want to look like a crazy person with 24 boxes of cereal.

The actual coupon
You may only use ONE coupon per item. You may not buy 10 boxes of cereal and have one coupon scanned 10 times. If the coupon says $1 off 2 boxes granola bars, you HAVE to buy 2 boxes to use that coupon. Pay attention to the WORDS on the coupon, not the picture. You may not use 4 coupons on 1 item. Coupons may NOT be photocopied - it is illegal. Don't do it. Make sure the cashier scanned your coupons! Pay attention to what is going on, you don't want to be shortchanged on your shopping trip.  Look at your receipt to double check. If there is a mistake, take it to customer service right away and let them know.

Last things

  • 10/10 sales - you do NOT have to buy 10 items to get that price, it's $1/item whether you buy 1 or 100.
  • One per purchase. It is true that most coupons have these words printed on them. Each ITEM is a "purchase" and all the "purchases" together make up a "transaction". It means one coupon per item purchased. Don't let a cashier tell you otherwise! 
  • Make a list!
  • Some stores let you use 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon on each item.
  • Sometimes there are limits on an item's sale price. Eggs .99 - limit 2! Each additional will cost full price. Keep your eyes open!
  • Start slow. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO EVERY DEAL. There is ALWAYS another deal, another sale. Do not panic if you skip one or five. Start slow so you are not overwhelmed.
Coming up - the secrets behind drugstores.


Mary said…
You ARE awesome! Thank for blogging about this. I have been couponing but not EXTREME couponing. I had NO IDEA. I will take any tips, anytime!
Christine-it is perfect. The series is perfect. I have learned so much already-especially the organizing. I am getting that straightened out ASAP!!
Thanks. Can't wait to share it on my blog.
Stacy said…
Did anyone else hear that Kroger will no longer double/triple coupons??? Could this be possible??
Ashby Family said…
Stacy - the Houston market is not doubling or tripling anymore but the other markets are. Ours still is.

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