15 January 2012

Coupon Basics

It’s finally here!  The couponing series you have all been so patiently waiting for. You can look for these posts every two weeks.  One the 1st and 15th.  I’m leaving you the first one just as I get ready to say Adios mi amigos, and head to Costa Rica. 


In this post I will cover the very basics of couponing.  Take what you learn out of this post and apply it to your shopping over the next two weeks to become comfortable with the concept.  Then we’ll move onto the next topic!

Are you new to couponing?  I know the first time I went shopping after diving into the world of coupons I was very nervous.  There was probably loads of swear pouring off my brow and people must have thought I was up to no good.  Would the coupon scan properly?  Would I hear that dreaded beep you see in the TV series?  Was I going to be out a bunch of money or have angry shoppers piling up in the line behind me?  So to put some of your nerves at ease just read over these simple rules on couponing and you will be just fine!




Let’s start off with the types of coupons you can find.

Manufacturer Coupons: These are coupons from the manufacturer with a specific product printed on it. You can use a manufacturer coupon at most any store that carries that product. Once you give your coupon to the cashier and it is scanned, the specified amount on the coupon will be deducted from your total purchase.

Store Coupons:  These are coupons just like the manufacturer coupon but you may only use these at the store specified on the coupon.  Some stores will allow you “stack” a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon to increase your savings.

Online Coupons: These coupons are typically also from the manufacturer but you can print them online.  Typically you can only print off two of the same item per computer.  There are ways these companies track this and I will tell you more about that later.  I recommend a laser printer for printing at home.  These print the bar codes on the coupons exceptionally well.  If the scanner can’t scan your coupon many times the store will not accept it.  So make sure you have a quality printer and take a few to the store to test them before printing off a bunch.

Now let’s move onto where you can find these coupons.  I could actually write a list a mile long as to where you can find coupons but I will stick to the most common places today.

Where to find coupons:

  • The Sunday paper:  This is the best place to find loads of coupons.  Try to stick to the most popular paper as those tend to have the most inserts each week.
  • Online Coupons: Many online sites offer coupons.  Try signing up for a few of these.  Coupons.com, Redplum.com, Smartsource.com or Coolsavings.
  • All You Magazine 
  • Facebook:  Many company offer coupons for “liking” their page.  So go like some of your favorite brands and wait for coupon offers.
  • Coupons stuck to products (Commonly referred to as “Peelies”) or on the store shelves.
  • Paper recycling bins:  I am proud to say I finally found of these centers near my house and plan to make my first dive very soon!
  • Register Coupons:  These are called Catalina's.  These are the coupon machines at the checkout that print coupons off like a receipt.  Some are manufacturer and some are store coupons.  Some are advertised and some print based on consumer behavior. 

So now I want you to familiarize yourself with the different types of coupons you can find the next couple weeks.  Sign up for the online coupon sites and try printing a few.  Start looking at your Catalina's when you check out.  Many times they are for $ off your next purchase!  I’ve gotten them as high as $10 off a future order. 

Lastly stand up for yourself.  As long as you are using your coupons properly you can shop with confidence.  A lot of times it’s the store clerk who is misinformed.  Keep calm and explain to them why you CAN use the coupon.  And if that fails, politely ask to speak with a manager. It is your money after all and you should not be guilted into paying full price!

Most importantly…. HAVE FUN!  I can’t wait to hear about your first shopping experience and please come back and post how much you saved.  As the weeks go on and you learn more you can look back and see how much you saved this week vs three weeks ago!  I’ll see you all when I get back!!




claudia b said...

great post - i am starting to use coupons and this is very informative - thanks for sharing!

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