Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Extreme Couponing 101-Coupon Etiquette and Coupon Techniques

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Extreme Couponing 101
Brought to you by the My City Mommy Network

A Valpak national study says close to half of us… 40% now search for deals or coupons before making a purchase.  And 41% of coupon users come from households earning greater than $70,000! (Nielsen Online Research)  That means we are all becoming savvy shoppers, wanting to hang on to our money rather than spending aimlessly on daily needs.

Many believe clipping coupons takes too much time or somehow looks cheap.  The truth is, spending 20 minutes clipping coupons before you shop can save you up to 30% at the grocery store. What's not cool about that?  Do you get paid that amount in 20 minutes working every day?  There are so many online resources and deals found for you that saving money at the store doesn't take a lot of time.  It just takes a person willing to follow directions on how to make it happen.  If you buy only generics, that is a good savings tactic.  But I know many who prefer national brands on certain items... if that is the case, using a coupon or two can save you even more than generics and give you the ability to stock up and save when those brands go on sale.

Coupons are everywhere and more than likely available on ALMOST ANYTHING you use, and yes, you can even save going organic.  The key is not buying things you won't use just because it's on sale and you have a coupon (or consider donating those items to the needy).  I consider coupon money and treat it as such.  Also, take heart in knowing that retailers don't lose money when you use a coupon.  Retailers receive back the face value of a coupon in addition to a handling fee of 8 cents.  

We will be sharing very valuable tips on how to coupon with you.  First things first… let’s learn how to become a savvy couponer.

Coupon Etiquette
*Don't photocopy coupons- it's illegal and hurts the retailers and all using coupons
*Use only one manufacturer coupon and store coupon per item
*Don't try to use a coupon for which it is not intended for- it's unethical
*All coupons must have expiration dates or stores will not accept them
*Don't clean the shelf off on a good deal- share the wealth

Coupon Techniques
*Stack store coupons with manufacturer’s coupons
*Price Match at Walmart and Target
*Take advantage of stores that double and triple coupons (i.e. Tom Thumb, Kroger, Albertson's)
*Take advantage of rain check offers
*Buy only when an item is on sale
*Use a Coupon Database so you aren't always clipping coupons- find your coupons when you’re ready to shop and then clip
*Stack Coupons- i.e. manufacturers coupon, store coupon and $X off $XX
*Take advantage of store loyalty programs, register promotions, gas rewards

Coupons to the Extreme- Now that have a general knowledge of coupon techniques, here are some additional techniques to save you even more money when you buy.

* Stacking Coupons-Did you know you can stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon?  That’s two coupons per one item.  You use this technique when items are on sale and are maximizing your savings efforts.

*Double Coupons- Many stores still double and triple coupons.  This is a store sponsored event and a great way to maximize the savings of a coupon.  Become familiar with your store coupon policies and what they will double and triple.  When a coupon is doubled, the store pays for half of the value of a discount.

*Overage- Overage happens when the value of a coupon exceeds the price of the item.  Many stores will allow you to apply the exceeding value to the rest of your shopping order.  

*Price Match- Walmart and Target will offer a price match guarantee.  The items will have to be identical and you will have to bring the print ad to show to the cashier.  

*BOGO Coupons- Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons (also known as BOGO coupons or B1G1 coupons) allow you to purchase one item and get a second item of equal or lesser value for free! You’ll want to pay special attention to the fine print on the coupon as there is usually a maximum value stated on the coupon (this maximum value is the most that the manufacturer is willing to reimburse the store for the “free” item). With a B1G1 store sale, you are purchasing 2 like items and then automatically getting one item for free when you checkout. Since you are still essentially purchasing 2 items, you can use a B1G1 coupon in conjunction with the B1G1 store sale to get the both items for free (one is free after the store sale and one is free after the coupon). *Important Note: Read your store’s coupon policy very carefully as some stores (most recently Rite Aid ) may prohibit the use of a B1G1 coupon in conjunction with a B1G1 store sale.  You will also note that many are considering this usage of B1G1 unethical.  You have to use your own judgement on this one.

*Rebates- Mail-in-rebates are an added way to save and often honored based on the price of an item or an amount you will spend

*Rain Checks-  When there are good sales, often stores will run out of items. Don’t forget the power of a rain check where a store will honor the sale price of an item at a future time.

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