Finance and Economics > The Money Board

Coupon savings

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Oxymoron02:

--- Quote from: Dainty on November 28, 2013, 01:57:47 AM ---This past week I was introduced to the show Extreme Couponing and was pretty amazed by the idea of getting stuff entirely for free or even moneymakers. I couldn't help seeing all those stockpiles acquired for free or pennies and thinking this has got to be a legitimate prepping strategy.

My goals would likely be different than most people's as I'm not interested in getting stuff I don't genuinely use. But for the occasional instant stockpile of a free item it makes a lot more sense to me than the "pick up a few extra at a time while you're in the store" strategy, as I otherwise find in-store purchases a waste of time and energy.

The article MS linked to mentions clearing shelves, but I saw one episode where instead of doing so the couponer called beforehand to order a certain total of that item, which was then brought out on pallets when requested. She mentioned it was a courtesy to the store, and also to other customers hoping to score a deal on the item.

I'll be sifting through the tips in this thread, but actual couponing will probably go on the back burner for now for now, unfortunately. If this house had color ink cartridges I'd be saving several dollars on a staple food item for me via printable coupons, but alas...

--- End quote ---

Like most TV, the show is sensationalized, so take it with a grain of salt.  For example, there's one episode where the woman (who's name escapes me, but she went shopping with her teenager daughter who rolled her eyes the whole show) went to Lowes Foods.  Lowes Foods coupon policy states that you can use up to 4 identical coupons per household per day, and they limit you to doubling 20 coupons per day.  Forget doubling, they will not accept a fifth identical coupon, not even for face value.  Lowes Foods broke their own rules by letting her do what she did, and those of us couponers in Lowes Foods country complained so loudly that they apologized and promised never to let that show in one of their stores again.  Most of the stores where I live have very strict coupon policies.  Kroger, which stopped doubling coupons back in May, will only accept 5 of the same coupon per day.

If you're thinking about getting into couponing, start by playing the drugstore game.  Nothing inspires like a little success, and the drugstores make it pretty simple.  Many drugstore deals don't even require you to have coupons.  CVS is, IMNSHO, the easiest to learn if there's one near you.

Find your store's coupon policy, print it out, commit it to memory (OK, not really), know what you're doing.  If the store policies near you are similar to the store policies near me, picking up a few extra when you shop may be how you have to coupon.  Oh, and get your hands on their rain check policy.  If it's a deal, and they're out, you can get a rain check and pick it up next week, or next month, hopefully before your coupon expires.  Some of the stores near me have rain checks that never expire.  I get rain checks for stuff that's an "eh" deal that they're out of because it may be "eh" today, but ask me again in 2 years and it may be a spectacular price.

Placing an order is touch and go.  I've tried it.  When the product comes in before the sale week is over, it's good.  When it doesn't, not so much.  And if you're smacking up against the store's coupon policy restrictions, is there really a point to special ordering 5 of something?  Not really, no.  I do special order from time to time, usually when something I don't have a coupon for is on an epic sale and they're out.  Rain check + special order = good.

You can print coupons in black and white.

Fyrsprite:
I've been using SwagBucks to make my coupons go even further.  They have a link on their site where you can print out all the coupons that coupons.com has, but you get an extra 10 SB (ten cents) per coupon used, on top of the coupon's value.  As many coupons as I can go through in a shopping trip, it adds up.  I've been using my swagbucks for Amazon gift certificates to buy permaculture books. 

I don't waste time with the surveys, which give out too much info IMO and aren't worth my time in the first place.  But this has been extra money back for something I already do. 

Ibotta has been great as well.  Every little bit helps, and as long as it's not a ton of hoops that I have to jump through I'm all for it.

BillyL:
I got a book from the library years ago about decreasing your cost of living ... while still living a good life. One of the chapters was on couponing. The author claimed that you could save 50% to 70% on your grocery bill each month if you were consistent with it. I decided to put her to the test and was pretty serious for the next 6 months or so about finding, organizing, and using coupons. I can tell you that you can get amazing results! I often got 70% off after doubling coupons and using coupons on sale items. I had several shopping trips where I literally paid nothing for a cart full of groceries and even had them give me a few dollars when I checked out, because the total their register was a negative amount! It was incredible how quickly our food reserve grew (and how inexpensively). I will tell you, that it took a TON of time to figure out the best place and time to use each coupon, to cut and organize the coupons, and to do the actual shopping at multiple stores.

The thing that really made my couponing impactful, was the volume of coupons that I shopped with. I would find PDF coupons and print them as many times as I could (usually twice per device) from as many devices as possible. I also found that I could gather extra coupon inserts from recycling bins near my home. I found that a local paper boy would throw his unopened extra Sunday papers in one particular bin every Monday, so I made a habit of pulling them out, removing the coupon inserts, and then taking the remainder of the paper back to the bin. I would sometime end up with more than 100 copies of the same coupon circular that way. What that meant, is that when I found a really amazing deal on some product, I could often buy 100 of them ... not just one or two!

There are some really fantastic couponing sites that will match up store sales with coupons, saving you huge amounts of time. I'd strongly recommend finding and subscribing to a service like that. It shouldn't cost more than $5 or so per month, and you can usually cancel anytime.

LvsChant:
Welcome, Billy L! I love hearing about your positive experience with couponing... you have done really well!!! I don't really have access to the type of coupons in the newspapers that you do (relatively small town without many of the coupons offered in bigger cities), but your tips for those who live in a more heavily populated area are great! Glad you are here! I really love the coupon site southernsavers.com for matching up coupons with store sales...

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