Couponing Training & How To Make or Save $$$

Posted: September 17, 2011
4

Your “price point” or “stock up price” is the point at which if it is at or below a $$$ then it’s time to stock up on an item.  It means that item is very very very cheap compared to what you normally see it priced.  So cheap it’s better to get more now so later when you need something you aren’t forced to pay higher prices.

A Price Points List is a simple way to help you decide when to stock up on an item.  This does not mean filling your whole house with one item!  This means having sufficient stock until the next sale comes along.  For me I try to have a 3 month supply each time I stock up. If I want to build it up from there I can (or I like to donate items, too!)

By using a price points list you will save yourself time and money!  I have an established price points list for my area.  Each area will may have a different list. Here are some pointers for newbies:

Start by printing this Price Points List.  This will give you a basis to start off your list.  I keep a copy of this list with my coupons (for me it’s “Binder Style.”)  I keep them with my coupons because I might be at the store, see an unadvertised deal and I won’t have to wonder if it is worth stocking up.

As you get to know your area ‘deals’ and regular ‘prices’ you can change or add your own to the list.  You can also add more specific items you like to buy.  For instance, we like Pizza Rolls!  I know that they usually cost $1.25 a 15 ct box in my area.  Before I used coupons I would buy them when they were on sale for $1 a box because it seemed like a good deal.  Since I’ve learned to coupon I’ve been watching and I can find them at about $0.40 a box at their lowest.  So I’ve decided my Price Point for a box of 15 Pizza Rolls is $0.40 a box.  If they are more expensive I don’t buy them.  However, when do see them at $0.40 a box or less I buy a lot!  I have a big freezer so I can store a bunch in my freezer. Then my family has them in the home when we like to eat them (Sundays after church, quick, easy and yummy!)  If I keep watching the sales eventually I will find them at my price point again and stock up.

You can do this with laundry detergent, fabric softener, paper towels, toilet paper or anything in your house!  I used to shop twice a month.  One of those shopping trips was always MORE expensive because I needed to pick up the more expensive items (laundry det.,etc).  It was something I was running out of and had to have!  Now when I use a price points list and stock up I NEVER have that problem.  I always have what I need on hand and just watch to add more as the sales come.  This has saved me a lot of money and helped me keep a more even budget for the month.  It really helps stretch your money!

Posted: September 15, 2011
5

I like to organize my coupons in what I call “Binder Style!”  I use a 2 3/4 inch binder (although a 3 inch would be nicer… I actually am doing a product review & giveaway in a few weeks for a 4″ zipper one so watch out for that!!!).  Everything in my binder has categories.  Each person can use their own specific categories, but I find that the ones I use cover most coupons.  In the categories I sort my coupons with baseball card holders.  At first I picked up standard size ones at the dollar store.  As time has gone on I’ve ordered some online from Coupon Clutch that have different sizes because coupons aren’t all the same size.

This is how my binder is organized:

  • I have a pencil holder in the front with a small pair of scissors, pencil, little scraps of paper (for notes) and paperclips.
  • ALWAYS in the front, I put my BOGO and FREE coupons.  That way they are right there if I need them for quick reference.
  • I then have some clear plastic covers that keep my coupon policies and my stock up price list.
  • I have a few peachy type folders in front with envelopes.  Each envelope has a store name on it (ie Walmart, Rite Aid, Albertson’s, Kmart, etc).  These are in the folders with their own store coupons in them.  If I get a coupon specific to a store that prints out I put them in here.  I also keep my current shopping list and any related coupons I’m going to use during that trip in them.  I do this so when I get to the store I pull out that envelope and it’s got my list and coupons in there ready to use.  I still keep my binder with me for un-advertised sales and that is where the next step is important.
  • Next I begin my categories.  I use subject dividers and write the names of categories on the tabs.  The categories I use are:  Dairy/Products Refrigerated, Drinks/Snacks/Desserts, Deli/Meat/Frozen, Canned Good/Condiments/Spices, Cereal/Pasta/Boxed Foods, Personal Care/Beauty/Pharmacy (this is my biggest category), Household/Paper Goods/Cleaning Supplies, Misc/Pet Supplies.  I also have a few more categories after this that are more specific to my needs.  They are:  Sauces, Salads, Outdoors/Sunscreen and Toothcare.

Because I don’t like carrying a binder that will chew up the insides of my arms (from rubbing) I put my entire binder in a Coupon Clutch.

Its super cute (comes in all kinds of designs) and has easy handles to throw and carry on my shoulders.  When I get to the store I can just set it in my cart and open it when needed!

NOTE:  When I have duplicate coupons, I group them together in the same card holder pocket so it doesn’t take up unnecessary space.  I can quickly look and see how many I have instead of looking all over for my multiples.  This saves a LOT of time!

Posted: September 7, 2011
5

2 Free Mp3 Downloads of the BEST songs about couponing songs in the world.  Share these with your friends! Right-click on the link and click on Save As to download the MP3.

Coupon Deals”  Fergie Cover of “Glamorous”

Help, I Need Some Coupons Beatles Cover of “Help”

When you click on the links above, click on “Save as”

 These two are both great songs that you will be jamming to all day!  At least I am 🙂

Here’s the lyrics for Coupon Deals:

If you ain’t got no money take your coupons now
if you ain’t got your money cut your coupons now
if you ain’t got your money cut your coupons now

C O U P O N coupon deals

C O U P O N coupon deals

We’re going first class to the cashier
We get our q’s out
We’re livin the life on the fast lane
I’m gotta save

using my coupons deals my coupon deals

my coupon deals my coupon deals coupon deals
my coupon deals my coupon deals coupon deals
my coupon deals my coupon deals coupon deals
my coupon deals my coupon deals coupon deals
my coupon deals my coupon deals coupon deals

You might be a Cuckoo Couponer if:

You can’t sleep
the night before
a mega sale

if you display your best savings receipt on your fridge instead of kids drawings
if your idea of the perfect gift is printer ink
if you know what a coupon high is

your heart starts to race and you begin to panic at the thought of having missed the deal

only to get to the store and the only comfort you feel comes when you see the item on the shelf still.
Cashiers and other customers stand around just to watch how much you saved!

C O U P O N coupon deals

C O U P O N coupon deals

We’re going first class to the cashier
We get our q’s out
We’re livin the life on the fast lane
I’m gonna save

using my coupons deals my coupon deals coupon deals

Got a great song? Send it to me!

Posted: August 26, 2011
10

So you’ve seen a post like this on my site:

  • Hurry over to the ShopAtHome JCPenny’s WILD Deal Page
  • Click on “Buy Now”.  You’ll be directed to make your purchase.  You will pay $5.99 – Save 10% with code SHOPHOME10, OR receive FREE SHIPPING with ShopRunner. +(get 30 day free trial!
  • The $2.40 will be credited to your ShopAtHome.com account  -making the total cost $2.99 for the shirt!!  PLUS you will get 3% cash back for the rest of the items you purchase, if any from JCP.com! It takes 30 days to appear sometimes.  If this is your first purchase with ShopAtHome.com, you will also get ANOTHER $5.00!    Once you hit $20 in your Shop At Home Account, they will mail you a check for your full amount of rebates!
Or let’s say you just want to buy a new HP printer!   You’d go to ShopAtHome and type in “HP” then find a great coupon code.  Plus, you’ll get 3% cash back into your ShopAtHome account!

 How do you do those deals? How do you know you get your cash back? All those questions and more are answered in my ShopAtHome training video!

How long does it take to get cash back?

 

Checks are mailed out in 2 months

Can I get a check?

 

Yes, it is mailed out if your account has $20 owed to you.

 

Posted: August 17, 2011
15


Download the Stock Up Price Points List PDF.  There is a list of all items from grocery/food to baby and hygeine, and what prices I try to buy these at, AKA my Stock Up prices. I took my 5 pages on my ABC’s of Couponing guide and merged them into an easier-to-browse format.

What is a stock up price?

These are the “cuckoo” prices that when couponers see them, we stock up.  I remember being a newbie and having a hard time telling what was a good deal.  So browse through this and leave a comment if I left anything off and every few weeks I’ll update it.

I would print it out and carry it in your coupon binder in case you come across any unadvertised deals so you know if they’re *Cuckoo* or not!

Keep in mind some prices vary by region, so this is a general guide to get you going.

Posted: July 26, 2011
9

First, never checkout at Customer Service at stores like Kmart because they don’t have catalina machines.

If a catalina was supposed to print but it didn’t, ask a manager first.  Sometimes they will manually print one for you! If not, you can call the Catalina Corporation at: 1-888-826-8766. They will help you. It will take a few weeks, but they will send you the catalina!

Posted: July 14, 2011
19

Special Ordering Grocery Items to get Cuckoo Coupon Deals

Photo Credit

So this is a little too time consuming and extreme for me, but I wanted to post about this in case there are some real go-getters out there!

Why Special Order:

You Know a Sale Will be Cuckoo: when a sale is “cuckoo” people rush to the stores and buy up all they can get.  There’s not much you can do about other people clearing the shelves, post-EC days we need to be aware that there are people out there with no common courtesy who are clearing the shelves. Don’t be part of that problem!

It’s okay to buy 3 items if they are the last three on the shelf.  That’s not clearing the shelf.  It’s not okay to fill your cart and take hundreds of items and clear the shelf when the management was prepared for many people to be able to get in on the deal.   If you want that much, you should be special ordering so regular customers and couponers can stock up as well. This is what many people’s secret on Extreme Couponing was – their stores were prepared for their transactions because they had items ready for them.

So you know a deal is great and you want to get a lot, you can special order the items to make sure you get yours.

How to Special Order:

  • Look at the sale the day it comes out.  Do you need store coupons or doublers to get the deal? If so, you may not be able to double that many coupons or your store may limit in-store coupons anyways.  Let’s say you can only purchase 3 in one transaction. You shouldn’t special order for that item and do 30 transactions or you’ll have one crabby cashier!
  • After determining the deal would work well with one or very few transactions, make sure you can get the right amount of coupons you’ll need for the deal.  Some people even dumpster dive for coupons!  However you get coupons (I get them by ordering 5 copies of the Sunday paper) make sure to be ethical and never steal inserts out of people’s papers.
  • Go to the store and talk to the freight manager.  Find out who is in charge of orders and get a great relationship with them.  It’s easiest for you to use the same person each time.  Make sure the manager knows that you are ordering the items for the current sale and ask if they will get there in time.
  • Ask what day and time they will arrive.
  • Phone the store before you go in to make sure your order has arrived.    Sometimes they won’t know and you’ll just have to go in.

CCD Readers: Which stores near you allow special ordering?

This is part of the ABC’s of Couponing guide

Posted: June 30, 2011
5

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing ebook

Here’s some coupon savings calculators and spreadsheets to help you calculate your spendings and savings.  Some things to keep in mind:

  • How much did your coupons cost? I go on a per-month basis.  I spend about $17 a month getting 4 copies of the Sunday newspaper each week.   So when I calculate my savings at the end of the month I subtract $17 from my amount saved.
  • How much extra gas did you use? Often driving to multiple stores to get deals uses more gas then a regular shopper.  This should also be calculated.
  • How much ink and paper did you use? I normally get paper free after rebates at Office Max and Staples, so my only cost is ink.
  • Do you insure your stockpile? Some people have insurance on their stockpiles, well you need to subtract that from your savings.  (I do not personally but some people on Extreme couponing said they do…)
  • Lost time: you can’t put a dollar amount on this.  Sometimes deals take too long to do for the amount you are saving.  Never let couponing take over your personal, family, and spiritual life.

With all that in mind, are 100% savings possible?? YES!  Some deals you end up making money on, which cover your gas money to get to the store. Also, with online deals 100% savings are easy to calculate and I post as many of those as I can find!  But there’s tons of amazing deals in-store too.

Posted: June 27, 2011
9

Part of the award-winningABC’s of Coupons” series

I try to make couponing un-extreme and un-complicated, not extreme and time consuming.   In order to achieve extreme coupon transactions without the headache, I have  a few tips:

Be Prepared For Entire Lifestyle Changes:
You aren’t going to start saving without trial and error, and without taking the time to “learn the ropes”.  This is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. Being a Couponer is a way of life. An entire new way of life isn’t going to start out immediately and you can’t dive in half way.  If you really want to save time couponing, you need to know all the rules before you start.

  • I have store coupon policies for several stores – print them and take them with you shopping.
  • I have a FREE 36-page ABC’s of Couponing guide which teaches how to do the deals.
  • I also list the deals at 72 stores nationwide – scroll over “Find My Store” at the top of my site to see all the store coupons and deals on my site; I add new ones weekly.

If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to coupon, and you want to show up at the store and save a bundle, you may be in for a big surprise.  It is possible to save time and money couponing, but it won’t happen without full preparation.

Start with ONE Store:
Learn how to coupon at one store.  Each store works differently and if you try to run around doing deals at 5 stores your first week of couponing, you will most likely fail.  Pick one store and learn their rules and do some shopping trips there.  Also, keep in mind you can miss some deals.  It isn’t saving money if you jump in the car and go in for just one deal.  You’ll miss some, but you’ll save in the long run. And trust me, the deals come around again so don’t feel bad if you miss them at first.

After mastering one store, start adding more to your resume.

“But Deidre, what store should I choose?!?!? – First, don’t choose Sam’s, or any other wholesale club.   I recommend choosing one of the 3 following depending on your needs and which is closer to you:

  • Drugstores – Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid are my favorites.   You can score nearly free health and beauty items each week; but a word of caution, these are also the hardest stores to learn how to do.  I have training posts and videos for each and definitely learn one at a time.
  • High-low Grocery Stores – the grocery stores you commonly associate with high prices are also the ones that have some of the best grocery deals!  They have high every-day prices to “compensate” for their drastic sales.  They expect you to make impulse buys when you go in for the great sales.  This is why they have “loss leaders” or ads on their circular which are amazing, to get you in-store and then hope you buy regularly priced (expensive!) items while you are there.  But not anymore, now that you’re  a couponer you know better!  Examples of these stores are Publix, Kroger, Safeway, & Albertson’s to name a few.
  • Super centers – Target, Walmart etc… often have some great deals and their rules are pretty straight-forward compared to the other options, but actually the savings often won’t be as great as at high-low grocery stores.

Plan Your Trips:

  • Will you need “filler” items to bring your totals into correct amounts? No one wants to end up at the cashiers browsing candy for filler items because they haven’t planned their shopping trip!  Examples of why you’ll need a filler item:

At Walgeen’s, you need to have as many items as you have manufacturer’s coupons and register rewards that you are going to be using to pay for the transaction (not ones that you expect to print).  This means if you are buying 6 items and have 6 coupons and 2 register rewards that you want to use to pay for the transaction, you’ll need two filler items.   Don’t waste your filler item on something you don’t need.  Gellitin is found at many Walgreens for around $.20 and is more useful to you then candy.

I have even bought Sunday papers as filler items at a grocery store where I needed my total to be over $50 to use a $5 off coupon.

  • Avoid End Caps!
    End caps are displays at the end of aisles.  Before you were a couponer, you thought these were great deals.  These usually aren’t and are a great way to end up over-paying for items you could have gotten cheaper later when you found a sale stacked with a  coupon.
  • Avoid Impulse Buys!
    This goes along with my last tip of avoiding end caps, because those are usually where you will do an impulse buy.   Check your stock up price list and  then see if the “deal” paired with any coupons you have is a stock up price.  If not, pass on the sale.  More deals will come along later.
  • Have Your Coupons Ready:
    Don’t be the lady at the checkout sorting through coupons and holding up the line.  Every time I am at a store and find an item on my shopping list,  I pull the coupon(s) I am using and put them in a tab at the front of my binder.  Then when I get to the register, all my coupons are in one place and ready to go.

Let’s make couponing fun, one coupon at a time!  If you have more tips to share, please post a comment.

Posted: June 15, 2011
3

ABC’s of Couponing Question Answered:

If you have a coupon that expires today, let’s say for example on 6/15, can you use it on 6/15? Yes you can! You can’t use it on 6/16. Overseas military can use coupons up to 6 months expired, so I pull out my expired coupons at the end of each week, and once a month send them on over for military families!

Posted: May 16, 2011
41

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

What is a Double Coupon?

First, let’s start with what double coupons aren’t.  I have heard people think you are using two manufacturer coupons on one item.  That is illegal and it not what double coupons mean.  Second, I have heard people think it simply means coupon stacking (when you use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon on one item).  Stacking is valid and legal at many stores, but this is not what double coupons mean.  There is no such thing as a “double coupon”. What there are, however, are stores that allow you to double a coupon.

You use the same coupons you find in your local Sunday paper or print online.  Certain stores will let you double the value of the coupon.  When you redeem the the coupon at your local store during a double coupon promotion you will get twice the value of the coupon taken off the one item. If a coupon on a package of Huggies is $.50 off, you’ll get $1.00 off your package of Huggies.

Some coupons say “do not double” – read my post on Do Not Double coupons, why they say this, and why you can still double these in most cases!

When a store “doubles a coupon”, the store still only gets refunded the value of the coupon from the manufacturer.   They take the extra amount they doubled out of their own pockets, as an advertising expense.

You can use double coupons to get high value items free!  If a razor is normally $8, but is on sale for $4 (or on sale for $8 and is BOGO free), and you have two $2 off coupons, and your store doubles up $2, they would take off $4 for each razor, and then you would get both razors free!

Do you have a list of which stores double coupons?
Some stores don’t advertise that they double- so make sure to ask!   Other stores only double on certain days of the week, every week.  Kmart doubles randomly, and sometimes it is up to $.99 and other times it is up to $2.00, they just advertise it in their weekly circular.   Please leave a comment and let us know which stores in your area double, so we can create a master list.  Here is a list of over 20 stores and whether they double or not is listed on their policies page.

Know the rules of your store before you shop:

  • The store may limit your total coupons used to no more than 75 (or another number) per transaction or visit.
  • Stores may limit you to no more than 4 coupons for the purchase of 4 of the same items.
  • Each store doubles to different amounts; some stores double coupons $.50 and under, other stores double coupons up to $2.00.
  • Some stores won’t let you double coupons on clearance items.

Sharing is caring: Don’t go crazy and buy 100 of an item and clear the shelf.   If you know a great deal is coming, ask your store to order you extra of the item.

Tips for making your trip less stressful for you (and the cashier):

  • Bring the stores circular ad that advertises the double coupons. Some cashiers don’t know about their own stores promotions.
  • Have your coupons out and ready to scan before you get to the register. Put the same items together when checking out, and have your coupons in the same order as your products are being scanned.  Sometimes when items don’t match-up and the cashier has to scan the register tap to find them, this will make it easier for them to find the coupons and products because they are in order.
  • Hand the cashier each coupon one-at-a-time so that you can verify that non stick together and you are getting all your savings.

Do I have to pay taxes on items I get for free?
This varies by store but most registers will still ring up the total tax due.

This is part 4 of a 26 part “ABC’s of Couponing” series

Posted: April 7, 2011
16

What is a price points list? It is your “stock up” price, or the price you see and say “I’m going cuckoo on this deal!”  These prices vary by region, but over the next few days I’ll be posting pointers to set you in the right direction.

Here’s the rest of my lists for great prices to pay:

You may want to print these lists out and keep them with you in your coupon binder for reference.

The drugstore list contains some of these as well if they are items I buy at the drugstore.

Bags (Fold & Close Sandwich) 80 ct $0.50

Bags (Sandwich) 0.015 or less ea

Bags (Garbage) $0.05-$0.07 ea

Bags (Paper Lunch) 50 ct $0.88

Cleaners (Bleach) 96 oz $1.00 or less

Cleaners (General – Windex, Fantastic) $1.00-$1.15

Cleaners (Toilet Bowl) 22-24 oz $0.99 or less

Dish Soap: Free-.49

Dish Detergent (Cascade) $0.03 per oz

Dish Detergent (Electrasol/Finish) 75 oz $1.50

Dish Detergent (Tabs) FREE – $.08 per tab

Fabric Softener (Liquid) 128 oz $1.99

Fabric Softener (Sheets) 80 ct $0.015 or less

Hand Sanitizer 8 oz $1.00

Laundry Soap: $1.50/ 32 loads

Laundry Detergent (Tide) 32-40 ld $4.50 or less

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: $.25 per eraser (look for these at Home Depot!)

Napkins 10 ct $0.04

Paper Towels (Store Brand) $0.40 per roll

Paper Towels (Name Brand) $0.55 per roll

Plastic Wrap 100 sq ft $0.75 or Less

Toilet Paper:$.19 per 1-ply single roll, $.24 per 2-ply single rolls, or $.01 per square foot. To figure this out, just divide the price of the TP by the square footage (found on the package) and then you will know the cost per square foot.

September 17, 2011
September 15, 2011
September 7, 2011
August 26, 2011
August 17, 2011
July 26, 2011
July 14, 2011
June 30, 2011
June 27, 2011
June 15, 2011
May 16, 2011
April 7, 2011
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