Couponing = Saving Money!

If you are like us, you are always looking for a way to save money.  Have you heard about couponing?  It really works!  We found some great advice from www.discountqueens.com

We also want to share some advice from Tressa Daley – a local MV coupon queen!  Thanks Tressa for sharing your insight with us.
Let us know the tricks that you use.  Email them to us, wnzr@mvnu.edu

Tressa’s Coupon Tips:

1. Where to obtain coupons’
      a. Buy Sunday big city newspapers.
      (Example:  Columbus, Mansfield)
      b. Print from online free sources.
      (Example:  smartsource.com, coupons.com, redplum.com)
      c. Purchase from online sources.
       (Example:  couponsandforms.com, thecouponclippers.com, ebay.com)
      d. Look for displays in stores.
      e. Watch for coupons that print out at the store cash register.
      f. Ask friends/family to save any coupons they obtain and won’t use.  Then trade your leftover coupons with them.

 2. What coupons to save
Only cut out coupons you will use.  If nobody in your family colors their hair or eats canned chili, then don’t cut out coupons for those products.  That’s a waste of your time.  I shop for my household, my inlaws, snacks to keep in my office for students, and items I can donate to Interchurch.  If I can’t use the coupon for any of those purposes, I pass it on to my friends.

 3. How to organize the coupons
      a. Container
           i. Pouch – a good started system is to use a coupon pouch that looks like wallet.  Those hold enough coupons for a beginner.
           ii. Binder – some people prefer a newer binder method.  Purchase a nice 3-ring school binder and plastic baseball card holder sheets.
          iii. Plastic container – I use an old Huggies baby wipe container.  It holds more than the pouch but isn’t as bulky as a binder.  You could also purchase a large recipe box or 4 x 6 card box.  Look for one that snaps or latches.  I still use a large rubberband around mine as a back up closure.  I don’t want to drop mine and have to run around the parking lot picking up coupons.
     b. Dividers
          i. Categories – I organize my coupons by category (and then alphabetically).  I have about 25 categories such as: baking needs, beauty needs, dairy, meats, medicines, snacks, etc.
          ii. Alphabetical – Some people choose to file alphabetically by brand name.
         iii.  Aisles – People who only shop at one store may choose to file coupons according to the store aisles.
         iv.  Extra – I also keep an envelope for each store where I shop.  Any coupons that are only good at that store go in that envelope.
    c. Review
         i.  Near the end of each month, review your coupons to determine if there are any that are about to expire that you really want to make sure you use.
        ii.  At the beginning of each month, review your file and dispose of expired coupons.

 4. How to get the best use of the coupons
      a. Purchase only what you will use or donate.  Don’t waste money on an item that you won’t use just because you have a coupon for it.
       b. Watch sale ads.  You get the best deal when you use a coupon on an item already on sale.
       c. Know store policies.
            i. Double coupons – Some stores will double the value of the coupon.  Kroger, Neff’s, Meijer, and Giant Eagle all double coupons up to and including 99¢.  Walmart, Kmart, CVS, and Rite Aid do not double coupons.
           ii.  Limits – Some stores limit the number of coupons you can use and/or double.  Most of the stores that double will only allow 2 – 4 of the same coupon to be doubled at the same time.  Any more than that amount will be taken at the face value.  A few stores limit the overall number of coupons you can use at one time, but that’s not as common.
         iii. Price matching – Meijer and Walmart will price match other store ads.  For example, if you see something on sale in a Meijer, Giant Eagle, or Target ad and can’t get there, you can take the ad to Walmart and get the same price and still use your coupons.  I prefer to price match at Meijer if I happen to be there because my coupon will double there and it won’t at Walmart  As a matter of fact, if something is on sale at Walmart, but I’m going to Meijer anyway, I’ll price match and purchase the item at Meijer because it will end up being even cheaper with the double coupon.
          iv.  Internet coupons – Some stores will take coupons printed off the internet and some won’t.  Some will only take them up to a certain dollar amount.
      d. Know store prices.
           i. Check around as you shop different stores so you know the regular price on items you buy frequently.  Then you’ll know when a sale price is advertised somewhere whether it really is a good deal. 
          ii. Sometimes it can also be cheaper to buy an item at one store without a coupon or without doubling the coupon if their price is low enough.

 5. Coupon Etiquette
      a. Only use a coupon on the item it is intended to be used on.  Any other use constitutes fraud.
      b. Leave products for other shoppers.  Just because you have enough coupons to buy every can of chicken noodle soup the store has, please don’t.  You wouldn’t like it if someone else did that right before you got to the store, so give others the same consideration.  Just visit the store several times during the sale days and spread your purchases out over those several visits.  Then everyone has a chance to find the same good deals.

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