Couponing 101: Complete Beginners Guide – Part 2

Look for unadvertised sales!

One store may have too much of a certain item in stock, and will put it on sale. Others will have items on clearance.
This is why you need to have all of your coupons with you as you shop!

Look for in-store coupons!

There are lots of coupons to be found in stores, if you know what to look for! They may be better coupons than the ones in you binder, or may be combined with the coupons that you have for even more savings!

Note: If you find a great coupon in the store and decide to take some for yourself, couponing etiquette says that it’s polite to leave some for others!

*Peelies: these are the coupons that are stuck to the product. If you don’t need the product now, you might later.

*Blinkies: those coupons in the SmartSource machines that may or may not have the little blinking light.

*Catalinas: these print from the machine next to the register, and are usually red, green or blue. People frequently leave them in their shopping carts– grab them!

*Tearpads: usually these pads are on the shelf or display.

*Try Me Free or Rebate forms: these are a great way to try a new product and/or make money on a deal! Buy an item on sale, use the coupon, and send away for the rebate!

*Wine Tags: these are coupons that hang around the neck of wine bottles. They can require a wine purchase or not, depending on the state.

*Many of the store flyers will have coupons or they will print catalinas for an amount off your next order!

Keep your eyes on the cashier!

Occasionally, you will run into a cashier who is a master of the sleight-of-hand. This results in some of your coupons not being scanned.
Stand up for yourself and don’t let it happen.
If you had 10 coupons and she only scanned 9, speak up.
It’s your money we’re talking about here.

Also, many stores have a “scan right guarantee”: it scans correctly or it is free, or you get double the difference back.
Make sure that you get the price that you were expecting!

Buy the smallest size possible!

Stores like Sam’s Club and Costco may have you convinced that the bigger sizes are the better value.
You’re a couponer now, and you know better!

A large product may be much less expensive with coupons, but the smallest size may be free!
This is part of the logic behind multiple coupons.

Don’t let the cashier pull the “one coupon per purchase” line on you!

One coupon per purchase does NOT mean one coupon per transaction.

Each item is considered a purchase– many coupons actually say “one coupon per item purchased, which is a much better way to phrase it.

Item 1= this is a purchase; Item 2= this is a purchase; Item 3= this is a purchase; etc… Have them ring them up in individual transactions if they don’t get it.


Be on the lookout for those FREE coupons!

You’ve seen others using them.
The newspaper: companies will put coupons for free items into the regular inserts to get you to try the product. EX: the recent FREE potato packet (mashed potatoes)

The mail: get on as many mailing lists as you can.
Go to the company web sites and sign up for the newsletter.

You can contact the companies with a compliment or complaint, and will sometimes receive coupons for a free product.

Also, there is no reason to start stockpiling flat out, no-holds-barred.
Start out slowly if you’re on a budget.
You can allot $20 each month for the first few months to building your stockpile and slowly increase the amount as you become more coupon-proficient.

If you miss a sale, don’t worry!
The deals almost always come around again– sometimes better the next time! See our thread on sales cycles to see the best time to buy many items.

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