Couponing

Posted: April 13, 2017
54

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing series

Understanding Crabby Cashiers

TLC Extreme Couponing Effect

People are getting upset when they start out couponing and aren’t spending $.03 for $2,000 in groceries.  People’s expectations have become unrealistic; leading them to unethical and sad behavior.

People start out couponing breaking all the rules, some of which are:

  • Taking newspaper inserts out of papers: whether it is taking inserts out of Newspaper stands, or out of your neighbors papers, it is not “taking” it is “stealing”!
  • Trying to use two manufacturer’s coupons on one product.  Even if they are for different amounts, you can never do this!
  • Trying to use a manufacturer’s coupon on the wrong product.  This is highly unethical, maybe even illegal…
  • Trying to use store coupons at stores that don’t accept competitor coupons.
  • People get mad at cashier’s for not accepting coupons.  People are starting to throw fits even.

Weeding Good From Bad

And that brings me to my main point.  If you’re a cashier, you are suddenly thrown a whirlwind of people trying to use coupons unethically and you have to try to weed the good from the bad coupons.  So let’s all start being a little nicer to cashier’s!  It’s not their fault if their store has a bad coupon policy.  It’s not their fault if a coupon doesn’t scan.  It’s not even their fault if they don’t know their own store’s coupon policy. Usually, it is their manager’s fault for lack of training.

Be Nice

With the TLC effect, cashier’s are getting trained to scrutinize every coupon better and hopefully they can help cut out coupon fraud.   But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and not get emotional over things not going our way at the register.  Even the best couponers find that for some reason or other coupons they were planning to use don’t get accepted.  There will be more deals.  You are still saving more then before you started couponing.

Be a happy couponer!  Bring a copy of your store’s coupon policy with you to the store and kindly explain to them if they are in the wrong.

Posted: March 30, 2017
7

This is part of the “ABC’s of Couponing” series

How to Know

Best Time to Buy

Did you know that the best time to stock up on many items is after they are necessary?   It seems odd, but it’s not hoarding to buy items when you don’t need them, if you plan on saving them and using them when you do need them.

Right after major and minor holidays, you can find items on markdowns or clearance that are holiday themed.  You can score amazing deals and get stocked up for next year!  Here’s my list of when to buy items on markdowns:

Christmas

The mark down schedule for Christmas decorations, lights and candy by store for the day after Christmas:

  • Walmart: 50% off, $1-7 select clothing
  • Target: 50% off
  • Kmart: 50% off
  • Lowes: 60% off – including select electrical cords!   These come in handy all year long.
  • Home Depot: 50% off
  • Big Lots: 50% off
  • Rite Aid: 50% off
  • Walgreen’s: 50% off candy only – all other merchandise shipped back to their headquarters.
  • CVS: 50% off – will go down further in 2 days

As time wears on, the price drops continue:

  • 3 days after Christmas, Target and most other stores drop clearance to 75% off.
  • One week after Christmas, it is 90% off, although most of the good items will be long gone at that point.

Other Holidays

The same discounts schedule applies to most Holiday merchandise after each Holiday during the year.

Here are some of the particular items I get on clearance after holidays and when seasons are ending; a lot of them are good all year round it’s just best to buy them at these times:

  • After New Years: diet aids, computers
  • After Valentine’s Day: candy, chocolates, lubricant, perfume
  • March: winter sports equipment, winter clothing (buy for next year)
  • April: wallpaper (I don’t know why.  But my mom own’s Ard’s Glass & Paint and sells wallpaper, she says April is the time to buy it!), Jewish foods, Easter eggs
  • After Memorial Day: BBQ utensils, Raid/Off bug repellents and sunscreens
  • June: umbrellas, pianos, dairy products, summer clothes
  • After July 4th: American flags, fireworks, air conditioners, hamburger meat
  • August/September: bathing suits, camping gear, breakfast foods, school supplies
  • After Halloween: candy, Halloween decorations, costumes, crazy makeup, hairdye
  • After Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving decorations, lot’s of great deals on tableclothes
  • October: rakes, school supplies, outdoor furniture, bikes
  • After Christmas: Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, lights, toys, organizers (big plastic ones go on great deals), storage shelves

Present Closet:

You may hear me saying “I’m throwing this in the present closet!” on many posts.  I buy items, especially toys that I don’t need at that moment, but they are a cuckoo deal.  I put them in my present closet, and then when my daughter gets invited to Birthday parties or Christmas rolls around, I already have a stockpile of great gifts that I got at insanely low prices.   This particularly applies to after Christmas markdowns as I have scored amazing toy deals on them.

Posted: March 16, 2017
120

ABC’s of Couponing: “L” is for “Lingo”

How to Speak

This is part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide 

Coupon Jargan & Lingo on Cuckoo for Coupon Deals may be confusing:

Let’s learn what all that really means:

$1/1: One dollar off one product

$1/2: One dollar off when you buy two products. You must buy 2 items. If you buy two items, you can use that one coupon.

Plenti Points: These refer to Rite Aid’s new Plenti Program.

BOGO (read more!): BOGO or B1G1: Both mean “Buy one, Get one” and will usually be followed by “free” or ” “50%”.  BOGO Free means “Buy one, get one free” and BOGO 50% off means “Buy one, get one 50% off.”  If you read my “B” is for BOGO post, you are a BOGO pro!

Blinkie: This is a manufacturer coupon found in-store. It is usually in a dispenser that is close to the product the coupon is for.

Catalina: This is a coupon that prints after you have purchased your items.  It prints on a separate machine from the receipt.  So it won’t look like a normal coupon.  Sometimes it will say “$xx off your next purchase” and you can use the coupon on any item in the store on your next transaction or shopping trip.  Other times, for example at Kmart, the coupon will be triggered based off items you have bought and will be a coupon for similar items.   Often when I buy Huggies, coupons for Pampers will print out of the catalina machine. Here’s a picture of a catalina.

Circular: Weekly or monthly ad released by stores to let customers know of their current sales.

Clipless Coupons: See “e-Coupons” below

Coupon Insert: These come in the Sunday newspaper. Deidre recommends buying multiple Sunday newspapers to get your coupon inserts. These are the bread-and-butter of couponing. Coupon inserts are one of the biggest weapons in a good couponers arsenal.

Coupon: Entitles the holder to a discount, as specified on the coupon. Is a form of payment.

Couponing:
The art of redeeming discount coupons in order to save money.

Couponer: A person who collects and saves coupons to redeem them on products, such as groceries, pet food, and toiletries.

CRT:  Cash Register Tape. Usually used when talking about CVS pharmacy or Kmart, CRTs print at the bottom of your receipt and are generated based on your purchasing history (seemingly random).  CRTs are specific to the store where they were printed.  They are usually product specific coupons, example: $1.00 off any deodorant purchase. Here’s a picture of a CRT.

Cuckoo: A great deal is often referred to as a “cuckoo” deal and you should know it is a “stock up” price.

Do Not Double (full explanation HERE) : This is on some coupons, sometimes it says “DND” or “No Doubling” it is meant to communicate to the retailer that the manufacturer will not  reimburse for any greater value than that of the coupon. A store may or may not double your coupon that reads “do not double” as part of a store doubling promotion. The wording is there to protect the manufacturer.  Kmart will doubled DND coupons.

Double Coupons (full explanation HERE): Only certain stores will double a coupon. 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.

EB:  Extra Bucks. This coupons print at the bottom of your CVS receipt when you purchase items that are specially marked in their weekly circulars.

E-Coupons (full explanation HERE): Also known as Clipless or Loadable coupons. Instead of printing the coupon, you load it onto your store loyalty card.  When you scan your loyalty card at the cash register, or give your phone number, you will automatically receive the savings if you’ve made a qualifying purchase!

ETS: What does ETS stand for on a coupon? Excludes Trial Size!

Extra Bucks: Extra Bucks. This coupons print at the bottom of your CVS receipt when you purchase items that are specially marked in their weekly circulars.

EXP: Expires or Expiration Date

FAR
: Free After Rebate.  You will pay cash for the item, but receive a full rebate back, essentially making the item free minus sales tax.

FF:  Firefox.  When a printable coupon specifies IE or FF, you must click the link that coordinates with the browser you’re using.

Handling Fee: Refers to an amount, usually $0.08, paid by the manufacturer to a store in addition to the price on the coupon.  This is to compensate them for handling the coupon.

IE:  Internet Explorer.  When a printable coupon specifies IE or FF, you must click the link that coordinates with the browser you’re using.

Inserts in the Sunday paper: SS= Smart Source, RP= Red Plum, P&G= Proctor & Gamble (once per month).  Insert coupons can be used at any store that accepts manufacturer’s coupons.  Almost all grocery and drug stores do. Order your Sunday Coupon Inserts here.

IP: Internet Printable coupons may be printed right from your home computer.  Usually limited to 2 prints per computer, download quick and safe printing software to be able to print securely from home.

IVC: Instant Value Coupon.  IVCs are store coupons found in the weekly Walgreens ad.  IVCs may be stacked with a manufacturer coupon.

Loadable Coupons: See “e-Coupons” above.

MIR (full explanation HERE): Mail in Rebate, refers to rebates which must be submitted by mail.  These are the traditional rebates that require you to mail in both your receipt and proof of purchase in the form of UPC barcodes.

Manufacturer:
The company who produces the brand items:  Dove soap manufacturer, Pace Salsa manufacturer, etc.

MFR: Some people save time by typing this instead of  “manufacturer”

Manufacturer Coupon: A coupon created by the manufacturer, or by a marketing company on the manufacturer’s behalf.  Manufacturer offers a discount to shoppers in order to entice them to buy their product.  When a coupon is redeemed the manufacturer reimburses the store for the entire value of the coupon, plus a handling fee, aprox $0.08.

Mobile Coupon App: An application you download on your phone which has coupon offers on it, or where you scan in your receipts to get instant rebates for purchases. I have a list of the top 8 mobile apps I recommend.

OOP: Out of pocket. This refers to the amount you pay for an item, not factoring in rebates, ECB’s, +Ups, RR’s or any other catalina.

OYNO: On Your Next Order.  OYNSO: On Your Next Shopping Order.  This refers to offers where you will not see the savings on that order, but on your next shopping trip or transaction.  For example, spend $25 and save $10 on your next order.  You would spend $25 (usually before coupons) and a catalina would print giving you $10 off your next order.

One Coupon per Purchase:  You can only use one coupon per item purchased.  Usually you can buy multiple items and use multiple coupons in one transaction with this type of coupon.  As long as you buy multiple items, you can use multiple coupons of the same type per transaction.

One Coupon per Transaction: This one means you can only use one coupon per transaction, even if you have multiple items and multiple coupons.  Your store may let you do multiple transactions.

Peelie:  Manufacturer coupons that look like stickers and are stuck on products in-store.  I personally don’t remove these and only use these if I am buying that product at that store.

P&G: Proctor and Gamble manufacture a wide range of consumer goods and are one of the largest corporations in the world.  Proctor and Gamble puts out monthly coupon inserts filled with coupons for a variety of Proctor and Gamble produced brands, just a few of which include: Always, Bounty, Crest, Dawn, Gillette, Olay, Pampers and Tide.

PSA: Prices starting at; when a group of items are on sale, such as Fiber One products 25% off.  We might write “PSA $2.09? and list a group of Fiber One coupons.  This means that the cheapest Fiber One product is $2.09 and prices go up from there.

Purchase: a purchase refers to buying any item.  If I buy 30 items on a single shopping trip, I just made 30 purchases.

Purchase-Based Coupon: Purchase-Based coupons specify a dollar amount off a minimum dollar future purchase.  Some common values:  $2 off $10, $3 off $15, $4 off $20.  Manufacturer purchase based coupons may be used in addition to store coupons.

Q: Coupon abbreviation – also used, Q-pon.

Raincheck (full explanation HERE): A Rain Check is a written slip that you can request from a store when a sale item is out of stock.  When the store restocks the item, after the sale period is over, a rain check entitles you to purchase for the previous sale price.  Store may include an expiration date as well as a quantity limit on your rain check.  Rain checks are usually issued at the customer service desk.

Rebate (full explanation HERE):  Virtually all rebates are limit one per household, and P.O. boxes are never accepted.  Make sure to read the fine print- don’t waste time or money sending in multiple rebates for the same deal, since you’ll only get one back. Keep this in mind if you find tear-pad rebates at stores- there is no reason to take the whole stack, since you can only use one rebate.  Most of the best grocery rebates are found in the beer aisle.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Virtually all rebates are limit one per household, and P.O. boxes are never accepted.  Make sure to read the fine print- don’t waste time or money sending in multiple rebates for the same deal, since you’ll only get one back. Keep this in mind if you find tear-pad rebates at stores- there is no reason to take the whole stack, since you can only use one rebate.

RR: Register Reward.  These are triggered at Walgreens for buying certain products.

Rolling Catalinas: refers to the practice of separating your purchase into multiple transactions in order to use register catalina coupons from your first transaction to pay for your second transaction.  Another catalina prints from the 2nd transaction that pays for the 3rd transaction and so on.  This doesn’t work so well at Walgreen’s and you’ll need to read their store training guide full full details.

RP: Red Plum.  Formerly known as Vallasis, Red Plum coupon inserts and website feature coupons from a variety of manufacturers.  Red Plum is part of Valassis Interactiv.

Stacking Coupons:  Stacking coupons refers to using both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on one product.  Nearly all stores will allow you to “stack”.  Only one manufacturer coupon may be used per item.

Store Coupon: A coupon created by the store to entice you to buy a certain product at their store.  Stores receive no reimbursement from store coupons.  Store coupons may be found in the weekly ad, printed online or downloaded as e-coupons.

Store Loyalty Card:  A free card which you present at checkout to receive additional savings.  Fill out a short application to receive a loyalty card at your local grocer.  If you don’t want to carry the card, the cashier can look up your preferred card by entering your ten digit phone number.

Sunday Coupon Inserts: In many of my posts, you’ll see references to use Sunday coupon inserts; order your Sunday Coupon Inserts here.Here is  an example of how I tell you which insert a coupon is in when I post a deal:

Buy Olay Lotion $2.99
Use the $1/2 Select Olay Products, exp. 11-30-10 (SS 10/31/10)
Final Price= $1.99

What does the pink coupon information in the deal above mean?

  • $1/2 = $1 off when you buy 2.
  • exp. 11-30-10 means the coupon will expire on 11-30-10 and will no longer be useable.
  • (SS 10/31/10) means a coupon came from the Smart Source insert in the Sunday paper on 10/31/10.

SYWR (full explanation here): Shop Your Way Rewards Kmart / Sears Loyalty program. 10,000 points = $10.

Transaction: a transaction refers to your entire purchase, especially the payment you make for that purchase.  If I buy 30 items and then pay the cashier, I just made one transaction.

Tear-Pad:At many locations in supermarkets there are tear pads with rebates or coupons on them.  These are often found in the beer aisle or at the customer service desk. Remember, almost all mail-in rebates say “one per household, no P.O. boxes allowed” so don’t bother taking all the tear-pads. Leave some for other shoppers.

Stockpile:   Buy items when they are at their lowest prices and buy enough to get you through to the next big sale, so you never have to pay full price.

SS: Smart Source. A marketing company, like RP, Smart Source coupon inserts and website feature coupons from a variety of manufacturers.  Smart Source is part of News America Marketing Co.

Tear Pad: At many locations in supermarkets there are tear pads with rebates or coupons on them.  These are often found in the beer aisle or at the customer service desk. Remember, almost all mail-in rebates say “one per household, no P.O. boxes allowed” so don’t bother taking all the tear-pads. Leave some for other shoppers.

WAGS: Abbreviation for Walgreens Drugstore

UPC: Universal Product Code. Bar code printed on product packages that can be scanned electronically.

WYB:  When you buy.  “Save $10 wyb 3 items” would mean: Save $10 when you buy 3 items.

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary.  Usually means a deal is for clearance items and since it’s not advertised in the circular, there is no guarantee that your store will have the same deal.

Posted: March 15, 2017
29

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

How to KeepTrack of Your

 

ABC’s of Couponing “K” is for “Keeping Track of Savings”

Have you ever had problems keeping track of how much you save and spend with coupons?  I just got this spreadsheet from a reader and I thought I’d pass it on to you; here’s what she had to say:

Hi Deidre, I am new to couponing and was a little confused on how everyone kept deals, Wag coupons, RR’s, Manf coupons, rebates, savings, etc straight so I came up with a spreadsheet that breaks everything down in a simple and easy to understand excel spreadsheet, it even has a total of amount saved at the bottom. The 1st tab shows a list of deals I found, the 2nd shows how I entered in everything, and the last is a blank form to use. On mine I just keep adding more tabs at the bottom for each week I shop, that way I can go back and look thru if I have a ? or problem. I would love to send it to you so you might be able to post for other newbie’s. I might not be good at couponing (still learning) but I am good with spreadsheets. All I know is it really helped me understand how everyone came up with them.

Thanks Beth for this spreadsheet! Download the Sample Coupon Calculator here for free. It works in excel.

Also, Jessica emailed me yet another grocery-savings-tracker Saving Tracker for free, also works in excel.
Here’s the info Jessica passed onto me on how she uses her grocery savings tracker:

  1. Add the amount spent for all receipts
  2. Add the total amount saved (usually at the bottom of all receipts)
  3. Add Total Spent and Total Saved together to get the total Value
  4. Divide Total Saved by the Total Value, X (multiply) that by 100 = percentage saved each week!

Please leave a comment letting me know how you keep track of your savings.  If you are new to couponing, please read my coupon training guide!

Posted: March 9, 2017
31

Couponing For

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide.  Let’s break couponing down to be fun and easy, not extreme and time-consuming!

Question from reader Jackie:

I’m new to couponing and am having a hard time seeing the savings. Most of the things I see coupons for are for things I don’t use. I cook from scratch a lot and there seem to be a lot of ready made items with coupons. Tell me what I am missing please.

Jackie, that is a great question! The thing I personally save the most on is diapers & all baby items, cereal, big-ticket purchases, and personal care/hygeine items. Sometimes, watching for sales and knowing when the items you normally buy are at their lowest point is another way to save if there aren’t coupons for the items you buy.

There are almost always coupons for diapers

Normally, people go to the store and pay $11 or so for a jumbo pack of diapers once or twice a week.  I wait for them to be on sale for $8.99, then I use a $2 or $3 off coupon, plus combine that with Rite Aid’s catalina +UP rewards, which prints another $1 off coupon.  So my “stock up” price is $5.50.

If you buy diapers for two years at one pack a week without looking for sales, you will pay:  $1144

If you buy diapers for two years at one pack a week (or averaging one pack a week, I normally buy 3 or 4 when they go on sale then don’t buy for a few weeks) you will pay:  $572.  And that’s if you’re paying $5.50 – a few weeks ago there was a deal at Target for diapers for $2.50 a pack with coupons!

The story is similar with baby formula and baby foods and clothes.

Another area I save  a lot of money on is big-ticket items

I don’t save up money and as soon as I have money for an item go buy it.  I had money saved up last fall for a wooden playground for my kids, but couldn’t find a deal.  Four weeks ago Toys R’ Us had a sale where they were 30-40% off based on the set, and I had a $100 coupon! I got my set cheaper then you can buy them used – trust me, I searched KSL and Craigslist daily!!!

All personal care items and non-prescription pharmacy items I get 70% off or free

You can also save the most on with coupons and watching for sales at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. And these aren’t junk food – these are soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, and toothpaste. Things we all use. Almost always you get free toothpaste and toothbrushes so I never pay for those.

Yet another great place to save money on is at dining out! I use coupons every time I go out to eat, BOGO free entrees save you a lot of dough!

In the End How Do You Save?

So in the end, will your grocery bill go down because of couponing if you eat all healthy, organic food? Not drastically.  Will your costs for other necessities decrease? Trick question! At first, hold on to your seats, they will increase.  Because you don’t have a stockpile!  So every good deal you see you will want to grab.  But once you get a huge stockpile, your price points shift lower and lower and you spend less and less.  You will see dramatic savings.

Ask CCD Readers: What do you save the most money on using coupons?

Posted: March 1, 2017
16

Time Saving

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

I enjoy just hanging out with my husband and my girls; I don’t want to spend my whole life clipping coupons and driving to 10 stores a week.  My husband took the picture above of me and my daughters just hanging out.  These are the best times we have and I want more.

Thus I have compiled a list of inventive ways to save time couponing, since it can be so time-consuming:

  1. Instead of clipping all the Smart Source, Red Plum, and P&G inserts yourself, find some friends each Sunday to do a coupon insert swap with.  For example, each week I clip the Smart Source coupons and one of my friends clips the P&G and Red Plum inserts.  Give them back their coupons once you’ve finished clipping them.
  2. If a store is far away, trade weeks with a friend to shop there. For example, Target is 25 miles away from me.  I print out all the deals I want to get, compile my coupons in an envelope, and give them to my friend who picks up my deals for me at Target.  I do the same for her at Rite Aid and Walgreens; they are also quite a drive away from our homes.  We make sure to have everything organized for the person who is going to make it easy for them.  We also get separate receipts at  checkout to make paying each other back easier & so we can have receipts to submit for rebates that need mailed in.
  3. If you have 3 copies of the same insert to clip, make sure to stack all the individual coupon insert pages that are similar on top of each other and cut them at once.
  4. I always save my shopping receipts because you never know when a rebate form will appear that has an item that you already purchased on it.  For example, I recently did the Coors Rebate and used a receipt for Plastic Cups that I had purchased before I even heard about the rebate. The rebate dates were so long (Dec. 15-Feb.8) it was easy to find receipts to make the rebate work.
  5. Gather all the ads for deals you want to do and price match them at Target.  Remember, they won’t price match Rite Aid Plenti Points, Walgreen’s Register Rewards, B1G1 Free and other deals where an exact price isn’t listed.  I like to shop at local stores that are running the ad to support them, plus the local stores pay for their ads, but if I don’t have time to visit them all or if the stores are too far away.
  6. Use a coupon-clipping service and order coupons in bulk.  Here is one of the cheapest (usually 5 cents per coupon) My Coupon Hunter here. Remember it will take a few days to get your coupons though.
  7. Heather from Sweet Deals 4 Mom sent me this great idea: “I do a coupon train with about 7 other people. When I get the envelopes of coupons in the mail, I take what I need, replace what I took and remove the expired ones. Pretty easy.”
  8. Kristin from Making Cents Out of Life sent me her tips: “I saves a lot of time and impulse buys just to not clip every coupon.  I have a mixed method of coupon organization…when I get organized that is :), where I leave them whole but I plan 4 weeks of sales as far in advance as I can.  I use Cuckoo for Coupons and other forums and blogs to look ahead, clip what I need and use 4 different accordion holders to store that week’s coupons until I need them.  I keep the rest of the insert filed away and when I hear of a clearance deal I go clip. Always take a notebook and pen with you when you shop so you can write down clearance deals, and run back the next day if you really want the item.  I spend less money not having my coupons with me at all times.  I miss the occasional hot deal but the pay off is worth it.  It’s hard to explain in a short (for me!) paragraph but not keeping my coupons with me all the time is usually a good thing.  If you really are afraid of missing a hot deal, take the inserts but leave them in the car.  You still don’t clip them but you have your box in the car so you can go out and clip the ones that you need if you come upon a clearance deal.  But…I despise clipping coupons and trying to stuff them into the baseball card inserts or any other insert.  Hahah.  I love using them but hate clipping!”

What ideas do you have about saving time couponing? I’d love to hear them!

Posted: February 22, 2017
13

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

How to Get The Most Out of

Costco vs. Couponing: Which is cheaper?

“Is it cheaper to buy at a wholesale place like Sam’s Club or BJ’s or Costco, or to coupon?”  I have received this email several times, and so I decided to investigate to determine where you can get the most bang for your buck.

First you have to know what price you should be holding out for with a coupon deal.  I have created several Stock Up prices guides and I am constantly updating them and adding new products.  Email me if you find a stock up price that isn’t on my list and you’d like it added.

Stock Up Prices: Prices a couponer should pay for the following items by purchasing them on sale and/or with coupons:

Next, I went to Costco in Utah and checked out several prices.  Keep in mind that they do not accept manufacturer coupons. To compare apples to apples, I wrote down the price per unit.

In general, I was mortified by Costco’s prices and found them much higher for all hygiene, baby care items, and most foods (cereal, pasta, etc…) then what I am willing to pay.  Here’s some examples:

 

Costco

Couponing

Diapers Huggies size 3 228ct.  $39.99 (or $.18 per diaper) Huggies  size 3 40ct. (Jumbo size) $5.50 is my price point on these, $.13 per diaper, but as couponers we get these for even less regularly!
Baby Formula Similac 34 oz. $27.89 or $.82 per ounce Similac 25 oz. $9.99 or $.40 per ounce – we get great coupons for these and Enfamil.If you haven’t signed up for both of their mailing lists, I would! They mail out some killer coupons!
Bounty Paper Towels $1.85 per roll
$0.55 per roll
Sugar $.56/lb if you bought the largest bag at the cheapest price
$.30/lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts $2.79/lb 1.49/lb (we don’t get many coupon deals on this, but by watching sales I can buy when the price is low and stock up in my freezer!)
Razors $19.99 for set of 10 nice Gillette disposable razors Free – $0.50 per razor
Fruit/Veggies Not sure about Costco, but Sam’s Club has great prices on fruits/veggies during the non-season of the items.  This is one thing you may want to buy, where produce is expensive, you can save $$ Best deal if you buy veggies during the on-season.

Now there are some great deals at warehouse stores:

  • Cheese and organic produce seemed really cheap!  Although Smith’s has some yummy cheese that goes on sale sometimes.
  • Prescription medications – I couldn’t test this one out, but I’ve heard they are 40% cheaper then at regular pharmacies.
  • Electronics & ink cartridges – These seemed priced fairly low!
  • Gas savings: Gas was $.18 per gallon cheaper at Costco then the gas station I normally fill up at, thus getting a membership and filling up just for the gas savings would be worth it if you commute to work or drive a lot in general.   It would take 266 gallons to “cancel out” the $40 yearly membership fee.   I calculated that I use around 750 gallons of gas per year.   This, of course, is based on my gas mileage in my car (it’s horrible!) and the miles I drive on average per year, so your totals may be very different!  Also, if the gas station is clear out of your way and you won’t be using it often, that wouldn’t make sense to get a membership just for that!
  • Gift Cards: My friends who shop at Costco (I personally only go with my friends and I don’t have a membership) tell me they often score 20% off gift cards to various places!

So where can you get the most bang for your buck?  It depends on what you are buying!

Posted: February 15, 2017
28

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

How to Score FREEBIES

When completely free stuff comes around and I get all shaky and happy. I run and tell my husband about the freebie I’m getting and say “do you think it will come with some sick coupons??!?!” and he does this thing where he pretends he doesn’t know me. It’s our game really.  But if you don’t know how to tell legit freebies from fake ones, then you can lose out on the freebie game.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • How to determine legit freebies from spam.
  • Creating another email account.
  • Why companies giveaway freebies & why you want them!

In order to try to save you time from signing up for non-legit freebies, I have compiled a list of ways to tell the cuckoo freebies we love, from the spam we hate.

 How to determine legit freebies from spam

  • First, I screen all offers posted on my site. I make sure they are from legit companies.  Be careful with other deal sites you use, not all of them screen the freebies they post.
  • Make sure the web URL in the address bar includes the name of the company or the brand of product.   The exception is StartSampling which I have used and gotten samples from before.  But most of the time, the URL will be the main company or brand name.
  • Any freebie where you have to sign up for other offers in order to get the freebie is spam and don’t waste your time.  There are too many real freebies out there; no need to do these ones.
  • Beware of trial offers for freebies. If they ask for a credit card number, even if they don’t charge now they will usually charge after 14 or 30 days.   As a rule of thumb I never enter my credit card number or social security number for a freebie! You usually have to enter mailing address and email info – but never more!  *An exception to this is when you are using a promotion code that drops the price of an item you are buying to free, you typically still have to enter CC info.  But that is when you are buying an item, not filling out a form to get a freebie. 
  • Have you seen this before? “This promotion is conducted exclusively by (whateversite.com) and is subject to participation terms and conditions.” Or “Must complete participating gold, silver or platinum offers to get this sample”.  That means it is spam.  Run away!  They are just fishing for your information and are wanting to sell your email address. Yes, people want to buy your email address and spam you.
  • Beware of who is running the site!    Once I saw a freebie that seemed legit, but after browsing the site I couldn’t find any contact information.  Companies want contacted by their customers, no contact info= fake company.  Also, the page you are on may look legit, but I usually browse around new sites I haven’t seen before and make sure it is current, and for example if the company sells a product you can go through the motions of ordering it.  I have seen “fake” freebies before for Gloves.  They said fill out the form to get free gloves.   The site was nice-looking and seemed alright, but if you clicked on any page but the freebie page and tried to order the gloves you couldn’t.  Huge sign of a non-legit spammer site!  Go to whois.com to see how long the website has been up – only for a few days, probably a quick setup trick to get your info then they’ll close down the site.
  • Speaking of spams, read my post on the horrible paypal scams I avoided!

Why would I create yet another email account or Free phone number?

  • Because for most freebies, even legit ones, they are going to ask you to sign up for their email newsletter list.   If you are scoring 5 freebies a day, as we often do, that adds up quickly to a lot of emails you don’t necessary want.  I have a separate email that I sign up for all freebies with and rarely bother checking that email account.  You can get a free email account at gmail.com or hotmail.com
  • Also, set up a free voice mail box online at Google Voice and leave that number as your contact number.
  • Many people have freebies sent to P.O. boxes, but beware as many freebies and deals state they will not ship to P.O. boxes.

Why do companies giveaway free samples?

Most companies spend millions on tv ads and other forms of getting the knowledge about their product into your heads.   Why not use some of that budget and just let you see for yourself? Put the product directly in your hands.   Most companies know if you like  a freebies, you are more likely to buy it later.

Why sign up for tiny free samples?

Many free samples also include high-value coupons.  This is particularly true of new products on the market.   And as cuckoo coupon shoppers we can turn that free sample with it’s attached coupon into a killer deal on a full size product!

Ready to start requesting your freebies?

Scroll through my category of freebie offers

This is part of the“ABC’s of Couponing” series 

Posted: February 9, 2017
12

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

How To Get Cash Back Shopping

What is Ebates?

Ebates is a FREE website which rewards you with CASH for clicking on their links to go to other shopping sites – you only get cash back if you make a purchase though!

How do you use Ebates?

Ebates is super easy to use! First sign up for Ebates. They often offer incentives for new sign ups.  For example, sometimes they offer a FREE $10 Gift Card.

To qualify for a referral bonus, a Member must refer a new Member who establishes his or her own Active Account and makes his or her own minimum qualifying purchases totaling at least twenty-five dollars ($25.00) within the first ninety (90) days of becoming a Member.  If you shop online, it’s easy to get the referral bonus.

account

You can always click on your name in the upper right to see a drop down menu with options and your pending cash back

How do you get paid with Ebates?

Simple, you can click on your name in the upper right and choose Account setting on the drop down menu.   You can choose a check or PayPal. I always choose PayPal.

payment type

How do you use Ebates to get cash back on purchases?

When you are shopping online and see something you want to buy, say from Walmart.com, you will head on over to Ebates and login. Then search for “walmart” and when it pulls up, click on “shop now.”  It will re-direct you to the Walmart page, where you can find the item you want to purchase and buy it on Walmart’s website.

Because you went to Walmart through Ebates, you will earn a certain % of your purchase back. The % that is earned varies depending on the online store you are purchasing items from, and can range from 1%-25%. Most cash back rewards are credited to your Ebates account within 48 hours of the purchase.

You can track your purchases by clicking on your name (upper right) and using the drop down menu to choose Cash Back Balance:

cashback

When you make a purchase via the Ebates link, Ebates gets a commission from the store(s). Instead of keeping that money, Ebates shares it with you in the form of a quarterly cash back payment.

Every 3 months, Ebates sends you a cash back payment (ore deposits money into your Paypal account) for purchases posted during the previous quarter based on the schedule below.  If you’ve earned less than $5.01 cash back, they’ll carry over your money to the next check.

Here’s some of my favorite stores to shop at Ebates at:

  • Old Navy/Gap: 2%
  • Disney: 3%
  • Kmart: 1%
  • Walgreens: 7%
  • Walmart: 1%
  • Sears: 1%
  • Toys R Us: 1%
  • Kohl’s: 3%
Posted: February 1, 2017
108

Part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

All About

What is an eCoupon, Loadable or Clipless coupon?

An eCoupon is an electronic coupon you get online in a similar manner to a printable coupon.  Instead of printing the coupon, you load it onto your store loyalty card.  When you scan your loyalty card at the cash register, or give your phone number, you will automatically receive the savings if you’ve made a qualifying purchase!

There are a lot of ecoupon sites; some take savings right off your receipt and you pay less out of pocket.  Others have you take the savings and put them in savings accounts.  Read about each of my favorite ecoupon sites below and how they work.

Walgreen’s Paperless Coupons: Log in and load these to your Walgreen’s card.   These are manufacturer coupons most of the time, but they do slip in a store coupon at times.  They will show you all particpating products and details if you cick on View Details. These come right off at the register and you will pay less out of pocket.

Rite Aid Load2Card Coupons: Log in and clip the offers you want loaded to your Wellness+ (Plenti) Card. These are one time use manufacturer coupons and no printing is required.  These come in handy when you buy multiple products. If you have only one insert coupon and you find a Load2card coupon you can buy two of the products.   These come right off at the register and you will pay less out of pocket.

Sam’s Club has eCoupons – If you are a Sam’s Club Plus Member you will definately want to login and load your Sam’s Club eCoupons to your card!  There are over $300 in savings on  Sam’s Club eCoupons site per year!  These come right off at the register!

There are a lot of ecoupon sites; some take savings right off your receipt and you pay less out of pocket. Some sites will give savings like Home Depot coupons and from other top retailers based on a point system.

SavingStar: These are manufacturer’s coupons. Available at CVS, Kmart, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite-Aid, Albertsons, Dillon’s, Kroger, Ralph’s, and many more.  I have a full tutorial on how to use Savingstar

  1. Click the eCoupons you want to load them to your store loyalty card
  2. Shop – use your loyalty card at checkout.  However, no coupons will come off your total.
  3. Your SavingStar account will grow with the coupons you used, and you will get to redeem them once you have saved over $5 in the form of Amazon.com gift cards, Paypal, or other payment forms!  Read my How to Use Saving Star Guide!

These offers are added to the Cuckoo Deals Coupon Database as well to make matching them with store deals even easier!

Posted: January 26, 2017
56

This is part of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide

How to Stack

This topic dives deep and stores policies may vary; I can’t guarantee your experience will be exactly as outlined when working with Buy One, Get One Free coupons and sales, but at least I can help inform you on how they should work.

Common question:

I’m confused by the BOGO sales when they are matched up with BOGO coupons, how do the items come out free?

Let’s start with the background info on how stores work.  As I explained in my first ABC’s of couponing post, stores get paid the full price of a scanned manufacturer coupon. But if a store has a sale or coupon that it releases, this is called a store coupon.  This coupon doesn’t get reimbursed – it is a form of advertising for the store.

If a store has a BOGO free sale (or store coupon), they are “taking the loss” so to speak on the free item.  If you hand them a manufacturer coupon for a BOGO free item during their BOGO free sale, it doesn’t affect the amount of money the store makes.  Because the manufacturer reimburses them for the coupon.

True BOGO Free Sales:

At most stores, if a sale is buy one get one free, you purchase one and the other is free.  So if you use a BOGO free coupon on top of the sale, both products end up free. The store gets reimbursed for the manufacturer coupon and the transaction is still profitable for the store! Even though you didn’t pay money out of your pocket.

However, not all stores ring up BOGO free store sales (or store coupons) this way.  Some insist that you must pay for one item in order to use your BOGO free coupon. Rather than giving you both items for free, you buy one and then receive two free (one free for the coupon and one free for their sale).

Rite Aid and Walgreen’s are store that do not take a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale, but CVS will!

Non-True BOGO Free Sales:

Certain stores have BOGO free sales, but you don’t have to buy 2 to get the sale price.  You purchase one, and it rings up half price.  Some examples of stores that work this way are Publix (except Florida locations, which are true BOGO sales), Bi-Lo, and Harris Teeter to name a few.  If you use a BOGO free coupon with a BOGO free sale at these places, you will pay half price for one item and get the other item free.  YMMV – do not count on working, but if it does then you can be happy!

purse

Can I use two BOGO Free Manufacturer’s coupons for two items?

No – if you have two BOGO free coupons, you’d have to purchase 4 items to use them both.

Can you use two manufacturer coupons on a buy one get one free store promotion?

Yes!  Even if the store is giving one away for free, you can still use a coupon on it! So if you have two $1 off one item coupons, you could use both of them on a BOGO free sale! You just couldn’t use two BOGO free coupons. Exception:  you can’t do this at Rite Aid and Walgreen’s.

piggy

 

How does using a BOGO free coupon on BOGO half off sale work?

If you purchase two items that are $4, the store would ring up one item as $2.  Then when the cashier scans your BOGO free coupon, it may only take off $2 for the cheaper item you bought.   Other stores will take off the full $4.  It depends on how your cashier rings you up.

Can I use a BOGO free coupon and a $1/1 off product coupon on two products?

Short Answer: No.  Not at most stores.
This is the most tricky question of them all!  If you have  a BOGO free coupon, but you have another coupon for $1/1 on the same product, can you use the both coupons?  If done on certain coupons, this is called “piggybacking” and is not how the coupons were intended to use.  Now I don’t promote coupon decoding (the practice of using coupons on items they weren’t intended to be used on) so I won’t go into too much detail, but you can tell be the coupons codes whether you can use a BOGO coupon with another coupon or not.  Most of the time you can not – if the number 14 is in the area circled in the barcode below, the coupon is attached to both products. You can’t use another coupon on your purchase for either product.   If the numbers are different, some stores will let you use a BOGO free coupon and a $1/1 product coupon when you buy two items.

Posted: January 10, 2017
17

catalina-couponsPart of the ABC’s of Couponing Guide Let’s break couponing down to be fun and easy, not extreme and time-consuming!

What is a Catalina??

dove-catalina

A Catalina is a piece of paper that prints at the end of your transaction.  There are 4 different types of Catalinas that may print for you:

  1. Dollar Off Coupons: An example would be a “$4.00 off your Next Your Purchase” Catalina.  These can be used on ANY future purchase.
  2. Manufacturer Coupons: Sometimes you may get a manufacturer’s coupon printed out instead.  I usually buy Beech Nut Baby Food for my daughter because it is cheaper.  But Gerber wants me to purchase their brand, so I will always get Gerber Manufacturer Coupons printed out of the Catalina Machine.  Many times we don’t know when or if we will get the manufacturer’s coupons printed out after our order.  Just think of it as a little surprise if you do!
  3. Store Coupons: Target is a great example of this.  Instead of printing out a manufacturer’s coupon for a brand, you will actually get a Target Coupon.  These are great to get because you can use one Target coupon and one Manufacturer’s coupon on each item.
  4. Previews of Upcoming Catalinas: Sometimes you may not get one of the 3 coupons I mentioned above.  Instead, you will get a preview of an upcoming Catalina.  It will tell you when the Catalina Promotion Starts and which products qualify to get the coupon.

 

Helpful Hints on Getting your Catalina to Print

call

  • Make sure the Catalina Machine is on: Before the cashier starts scanning your items, make sure the Catalina machine’s green light is on. If it isn’t, your Catalina will not print. And, if the Catalina machine is turned on in the middle of your transaction, chances are that you will not get it to print either.  So make sure you check that before you start checking out.
  • Double Check the Items you are Purchasing: In order for a Catalina to print, you have to purchase the EXACT sizes, quantities and brand.  If the 11.8 oz Box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is part of the Catalina Promotion and you purchase the bigger box instead, you WILL NOT get a catalina printed out.  So make sure you double check sizes, brands and that you purchased the right amount.
  • Call up Catalina: Sometimes you do everything right and the Catalina still doesn’t print out.  What do you do in that case?  Call up Catalina directly at 1-888-8COUPON or email them at ncsc@catalinamarketing.com.  You will need to have your receipt and item handy so they can get the information from you.  If you did purchase the correct brand, sizes and quantities, then they will mail you your Catalina coupon.

newsletter

Where you can find a Catalina Coupon List?

Well, these are hard to come by as they aren’t advertised.  I post them when I find them.

They are not all inclusive, but are great starting point.

Understanding Crabby Cashiers
April 13, 2017
How to Know
March 30, 2017
How to Speak
March 16, 2017
How to KeepTrack of Your
March 15, 2017
Couponing For
March 9, 2017
Time Saving
March 1, 2017
How to Get The Most Out of
February 22, 2017
How to Score FREEBIES
February 15, 2017
ebates featured image
February 9, 2017
All About
February 1, 2017
How to Stack
January 26, 2017
catalina-coupons
January 10, 2017
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