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Extreme Couponing

Posted by on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM
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 Ok here we'll post all out tips and tricks for saving loads of $$ when having to purchase those essentials not grown in our own gardens!

Ask me how you can make money sitting on your couch enjoy books with your children! It's the most amazing opportunity I've ever seen!!    Home Educators Toolbox  / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education / The Usborne Learning Fairy


Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM
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KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:37 AM

 

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Nov. 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Quoting Dana267:

How do you start? I try to sign up for store coupons. I don't want to purchase what I don't use---I don't have the space.

My get started advice is always to first stock up so you aren't pressured into buying anything necessary. That's not how to extreme shop. Here's my Getting Started 101:

1) Stock up on the essentials by buying just a little extra each week for a few weeks/months (whatever you can afford - you can do 'average couponing' w/ this) then STOP SHOPPING.

2) Start stocking up on coupons - they don't seem like you'd get lots of coupons you want/need in 1 weeks inserts, it's when you start a collection that it makes a difference. Also familiarize yourself with the coupon policies in your area.

3) Wait for great sales - especially 10/$10 - that way each item is only $1 and if you have $.55 coupons that might be doubled to $1.10 BAM the store owes you .10 to take the things home! Or if you have $1 or if your store only doubles up to the price of the item, then it's still free.

4) The point is to pay less than $.25 per item. Don't buy what isn't both on sale AND w/ a coupon....although it's even better if you can throw in a store coupon as well!

5) When you find a great sale, and you have all the coupons, do a walk through of the store to make a list of all the items that didn't make it into the flyer or on the website (they don't list Every sale, especially clearance stuff)

6) Make a specific list matching the sale w/ coupons, so you're not walking the isles tossing random things in your cart.

Otherwise, read through some of the other posts in this forum.

PS - I don't purchase what I don't use most of the time. Sometimes I'll get free things that I know we won't use (like chips) so I donate them to the food pantry. If I'm paying nothing for it, then I see no problem w/ getting it and giving it to those who aer in my shoes but can't/wont coupon.

I don't have a huge stock room either. I have a pantry and about 4 Rubbermaid Containers, and 2 shelving units spread around (1 is outside of the bathroom and has bathroom items on it). I don't buy more than 10 of an item (even soup) because my family of 4 is presently living in a 1 bedroom apartment....BUT - depending on the coupon policies in your area sometimes it requires you to purchase things you don't want to start a surplus of money (like the store owing you $.10 per item) and some stores will let you apply that surplus to the rest of your groceries. So if you have coupons for something you don't want that will allow you to buy something you do...get it?

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Couponing 101: Complete beginners start here!


This thread is intended to give you the basic and not-so-basic tips to save a lot of money on groceries, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty products using coupons. So let’s get started!


What stores do you have in your area?


Make a list. It may be bigger than you think! Once you learn how to work the system, you may find yourself shopping at stores that you thought were “too expensive”, because they actually have better deals in the long run!


Familiarize yourself with their coupon policies. Ask at the customer service desk. Policies vary by store, chain and area of the country. Some stores that you thought do not take coupons actually do! Did you know that Dollar General takes coupons?

  • Double Coupons: The stores will double the face value of the coupon, meaning that your coupon is worth twice the face value. The best kind of grocery stores double coupons up to $1.00 (commonly known as Super Doubles). Many other stores double coupons up to $.50 or $.60. Some stores also have a limit as to how many of the same coupon they will double.
  • No Doubles: Your coupons will be accepted at face value only.
  • Triple Coupons: This rare bird comes as a promotion in certain areas. The store will triple the value of your coupon up to a certain value. In this instance, a $.50 coupon would be worth $1.50!
  • Some stores will allow you to ‘stack’ their store coupons with your manufacturer coupons for even greater savings! Some of them are: CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid, Toys-R-Us, Target and some grocery stores. These store coupons can come from home mailers (get on the mailing lists!), store ads, flyers and the stores’ monthly magazines.
  • If the store has a loyalty card, get one. Or two. This is often the only way that you will get the sale prices.
  • A very few stores-- mostly in the Midwest-- will take coupons that have already expired. The dates vary from 3 months to 6 months past the expiration date.
  • Certain stores will accept competitor's coupons for everything from FREE gift cards with a prescription to the Catalinas that print after the order.
Questions to ask:
  1. Does your store double coupons?
  2. What is the maximum value that you will double?
  3. How many ‘like’ coupons will double?
  4. Do you ever have triple coupon promotions?
  5. Do you take Internet printed coupons? (This is a big one. Many stores no longer take them.)
  6. Can I combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons?
  7. Does this store take expired coupon
  8. Do you accept competitor coupons?
Get the weekly ads for all of your stores!


These are usually delivered in your home newspaper. If they are not, you can view them online at the store’s website.


Your goal is to match the weekly sales with the coupons in your possession. You will spend less if you have a plan. Don't buy everything you need at one store just because it is convenient for you. The store across the street might have other things from your list on sale.


NOTE:brand loyalty goes out the window for serious couponers! Buy what is on sale!


The previews are also frequently posted in the individual Store Deals forums on Hotcouponworld, and the members will help you! Make sure that you read the ads yourself, though, because a hot deal for one person might not be hot for you!


NOTE: If a store has something on sale for lets say 10 for $10.00 or 2 for $5.00, you are not obligated to buy the full number (10 or 2, etc.) to get the sale price… unless the ad says so! Something that is 10/$10.00 is actually “each item is $1”.
Also, these types of sales are not always the best deal. Sometimes they even increase the price for this type of sale. Example: a can of tomatoes is on sale for 5 for $5.00. But since you are now so price-savvy, you know that the regular, everyday price of the item is only 89¢! You know to pass on this 'sale'!


Example:
Finesse shampoo or conditioner is on sale for 2 for $5.00 which is really $2.50 each. You have a $1.00 off 1 coupon, and your store doubles coupons up to a dollar! The math looks like: $2.50 - $2.00 = 50¢ each. That is a good deal for something that usually costs $3.49!

Where do I get all of these coupons?

Your first source should be the Sunday newspaper. The coupons are usually with the magazine section inside the funnies! There are three kinds of coupon inserts to look for: the SmartSource (SS), the Redplum (RP), and once a month, the Procter & Gamble Brand Saver (P&G). There are no inserts on major holidays, so you might want to save your money on those days.

The first key to saving money is to obtain multiple copies of the inserts-- lots of them. You want to do this as inexpensively as possible.

  • You probably already get a paper, either home delivered or at the news stand, so you have one set of inserts there. If you buy it at the store, make sure the coupons are actually in there before you pay for the paper!
  • Some stores discount the price of the Sunday paper, or offer a special deal on two.
  • Then you can ask everyone you know. Most people don’t use coupons, or if they do, they cut one or two and toss the rest. Get those. Ask your mother, your neighbors, your church friends, coworkers-- anyone that you can think of!
  • If you live in or close to an apartment or condo complex, check out the recycling bins. You’d be surprised how many people just toss the whole center section! These are usually pretty clean, since recycling companies require you to separate newspaper from other recyclables.
  • Join the “Dumpster Divers”! This is what people call it when they go to the local recycling ctr to poke around for extra inserts. Make friends with the people who run them if you are confronted—they can become your best friends! They might be able to tell you when the carriers come to dump their extras.
  • Ask at the local store on Sunday night or Monday morning. Many papers require that only the front page of unsold papers be returned for credit, or if they need the whole paper, they don’t want the inserts. It never hurts to ask!
  • Look at hotels, nursing homes, McDonald's on a Sunday morning... anywhere that people sit to read the paper and leave the inserts.
  • There are reputable coupon clipping services that will send coupons for a handling fee. Free from the sources above is always best, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money!
  • Another source of coupons is online printable coupons. Most sites allow you to print two copies of each coupon. One caveat, however, is that many stores no longer accept them due to fraud. You will need to ask if your store accepts these.
Organize your coupons
  • Some people keep the inserts intact and file them by date (SS 12/4, V 12/11, P&G 1/6, etc.) This system saves a great deal of time initially, but getting ready for shopping is more of a chore. You have to cut the coupons that you need at that time.
  • Others clip all of the coupons from the beginning, and file them in various ways. The most popular is the "binder method": some form of 3 ring, zippable binder with baseball card and other inserts.
  • Find the system that works best for you. Make sure that you go through your coupons and weed out your expired coupons at least once a month! This prevents the task from becoming overwhelming, and prevents embarrassment at the store if you try to use an expired coupon.
Stockpile!!!

The second key to saving money is the stockpile! Once you have found that great deal, you need to buy a lot of it. Not just 1 for now and 1 to have on hand for later, but 10 or 20 or more. This is the logic behind all of those coupons that you obtained from everyone you know!

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!
  • Winetags: 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 Catalina coupons 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. One of our members bought the 34oz coffee for a few dollars until she realized that the 11-13oz size was totally free!

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.

To further drive your point home, you can show them a receipt that has total items purchased= xx, followed by a transaction number.

Be on the lookout for those FREE coupons!

You've seen others using them, and heard Hotcouponworld members talking about them. Where do coupons for FREE stuff come from?

  • The newspaper: companies will put coupons for free items into the regular inserts to get you to try the product. EX: the recent FREE Oust fan
  • 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
KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

 

 

I use this site to know what coupons will be coming in the next weeks inserts -

 

http://www.sundaycouponpreview.com/2011-sunday-coupon-insert-schedule/

 

 

October
4th - Red Plum and Smart Source
11th - Red Plum and Smart Source
18th - Red Plum and Smart Source
25th - Red Plum and Smart Source

 

November
1st - Proctor & Gamble, Red Plum, and Smart Source
8th - Red Plum and Smart Source
15th - Red Plum and Smart Source
22nd - Smart Source
29th - No Inserts (Thanksgiving)

 

December
6th - Proctor & Gamble, Red Plum, and Smart Source
13th - Red Plum and Smart Source
20th - No Inserts (Christmas)
27th - No Inserts (New Years)

 

2012 Red Plum Schedule - http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=3294400

 

CVS Coupon Schedule - http://www.iheartcvs.com/2010/11/2011-coupon-insert-schedule.html

 

Here are some of the sites I've used to print coupons. Most allow you to print 2 of each coupon.

 

http://www.coolsavings.com/printable_coupons

 

http://www.coupons.com/couponweb/Offers.aspx?pid=13306&zid=iq37&nid=10&bid=alk1002051035bfce762328315

 

http://www.mysavings.com/printable-coupons-free/

 

http://www.couponnetwork.com/

 

http://coupons.redplum.com/CouponMom/

 

I've used the following, and it usually only takes a couple of days to get the coupons - and I've paid for faster shipping in the past -

 

 

 

http://www.thecouponclippers.com/coupons/home.php
http://couponcarryout.com/

 

retailmenot.com it is a great site, basically a couponing community where people share coupon codes for thousands of stores and brands!
http://blog.couponmom.com/ Great Blog with great variety of coupons...

Quote  Like Reply to Post

 

Ok I'm sure we've all seen the ads from Walmart that talk about ad matching - how 'easy' it is, and you don't even need the ad! Well it's somewhat easy, and somewhat NOT easy.....

 

 

Here is Walmart's policy on Ad Matching\

 

 

 

We gladly match the price in the following types of ads:*

 

 

 

  • Buy one, get one free ads with a specified price
    • Example: Buy one for $2.49, get one free (BOGO)
  • Competitors' ads that feature a specific item for a specified price at a specific retailer
    • Example: $2.99
  • Preferred shopping card advertised prices for specific item
    • that are in a printed ad and require a competitor's shopping card for the discount to apply
  • For fresh produce and meat items
    • when the price is offered in the same unit type (lb. for lb.; each for each)

*The following are guidelines and limitations:

 

 

 

  • We will match any local competitor's advertised price.
  • We do not require customers to have the ad with them to honor a competitor's ad.
  • Items purchased must be identical to the ad (size, quantity, brand, flavor, color, etc.)

We DO NOT match the price in the following types of competitor ads:

 

 

 

  • Items that require a separate purchase to get the ad price
    • example: "Buy [item A] to get [item B] for $C"
  • Items with no actual price that require a purchase to get free product
    • example: "Buy both [items A & B] to get [item C] for free"
  • Items that require a purchase to get a competitors' gift card
    • example: "Buy [item A] to get a $B gift card
  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) ads with no actual price given
  • Going out of business or closeout prices
  • Percentage off
    • example: "All mascara, 40% off"
  • Competitors' private label price promotions

We do not honor:

 

Ads when the actual price for items cannot be determined. - this is the same as BOGO's where there is no price listed!!!

 

  • Internet pricing
  • Misprinted ad prices of other retailers
  • Competitor ads from outside of the store's local trade territory

Download Our Ad Match Guarantee

 

Basically, if you take your local grocery store ad and see a great deal on Blue Bell ice cream priced at $3 a 1/2 gallon, Walmart has it for $6 you can take your local ad and when you check out show them the price and they will override their register to give you the cheaper price. It has to be a normal sale price, no weird sales, or B1G1 free or anything like that.

 

 

 

Price matching alone can save you a ton of money at Walmart. Why price match? Because I don't want to run all over the city to different stores to get the good deals, I would rather just pick it up all in one place!

 

 

 

Now I have found that when you load your groceries onto the belt at Walmart you HAVE to have your ad ready, when they get to that item you must give them the competitors ad RIGHT THEN so they can change the price. If you wait until they are done ringing you up to show them the price match they will not go back and change the prices. Just a tip!

 

 

 

You may find it helpful to print out and carry a copy of the Walmart price match policy with you.

 

 

 

ALSO NOTE = Walmart does NOT price match other Walmarts!! Last spring I was shopping for laptops and the one I wanted was sold out at the walmart closest to me. So I drove the extra 10 min to the next walmart only to discover a price that was about $100 more for the same exact computer (same UPC and everything) - when I asked if I could get it for the same price as the walmart in the next town over, I was told no, they don't price match within their own system. I went to Best Buy to get my computer instead!

 

5 Steps to Successful Price-Matching at Walmart:

 

  1. Check the other grocery stores sales ad's for great deals. Make a list of the items and prices. Check to see what coupons you have or can print to match up with these sales. Check electronics, I have saved HUGE this way at Walmart!
  2. Take a look at the price matching policy. They will not do B1G1 free sales, but they will do 2 for $4 or 2/$4. They will also NOT do % off, like 25% off all soda.
  3. Go shopping! Bring your other store ad's with you. Most will require that you have them. Don't cut them up, they will need to verify the dates on them. You can only use a current ad.
  4. I always place items that I am NOT price matching on the belt first. Then I place my items that I am price matching and lay the ad on top of them so I don't forget... or get distracted by children! I inform the cashier that I am price matching and show them the ad. I saw a woman once that had placed sticky notes on her items, the cashier LOVED her! I don't have that kind of time, but it was a good idea!
  5. Do the "Happy Dance" that you saved a bunch of money!

MisPrinted Ads -

 

99% of the time if you have a misprint amount in an ad then the store will give you the printed price. You have to be somewhat of a B** but it can be worth it - especially to those of us on tight budgets who carefully plan shopping trips based upon flyers. This is a carefully guarded secret - in most cases if you bring the item to the register/manager and say the listed price is different from the ad then they'll tell you "Oh, sorry it was a misprint" and most people will leave it at that. But if you return with something along the lines of, "oh, I had no idea, I don't think I'll buy it if it's not on sale." then they will over-ride the price and give you the misprint.

 

Seriously, I was shocked when I learned this. When I was in high school I belonged to DECA which is a group of future buisness people and we did competitions. One of the questions asked in competition was on customer service and how you would handle a leather jacket that had been advertised as $10 instead of the $100 it was supposed to be. And the right answer was, if the customer made a fuss GIVE IT TO THEM AT THE $10!!

 

Usually the register clerk will have zero control over this, instead you need to have the manager called over.

 

Believe it or not there is an actual law in most states that covers this eventuality - it's called false advertising and the store's hands are tied. The store can actually be prosecuted for advertising an item with no intention of selling the item at that price, even if it was a mistake. In reality the statute is about a store intentionally posting a fase ad, but most stores will give in to the advertised price in order to avoid a hassle and to give good customer service.

 

Scan Right Policies

 

Most stores have scan right policies as well. If you know hte prices of the items you are purchasing and realize these items didn't scan correctly, then some stores will give you a full refund.

 

In fact there is another law that covers such mistakes, but i'm not sure if it is a universal law or state-by-state. This law states:

 

(NOT AT THE REGISTER>>>SERVICE DESK ONLY!!!)

if an item scans for more than it is marked or for more than it is on sale for, you pay the cashier without saying a word...then go to the Service Desk and get the Senate Bill Refund.

Senate Bill Refund;

you get the overage that you paid, plus the tax (if any) plus the total difference times 10 up to $5.00 for EACH PRODUCT that scanned wrong.

 

Some stores have their own policies as well....forinstance, Meijer Policy on Meat Returns: save the receipt, take it to the Service Desk, they will give you DOUBLE what you paid!!!

 

For most of these missed scan policies - they do not apply to when you make the cashier change the price. They ONLY apply at the service desk.....because if you get the cashier to change the price then you were charged correctly.

 

It takes a lot of research to familiarize yourself with these policies...for instance, Walmart again,

 

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:45 AM

 I've been posting every so often about extreme couponing - this means utilizing coupons to get at least 90% off. I've suggested before getting a good stock in your pantry/freezer by using coupons for a few months to stock up - basically what I mean by this is shop as you normally would, but add a bit more food than you would normally buy (using coupons so you get an average of 65% off). Once you have a stocked pantry you can stop shopping as you have always done, and start focusing on extreme couponing.

I did a major pantry stock-up last week and did extreme couponing for freezer this week. I got about $200 in groceries for about $35 out of pocket.

Last Sunday I got my 1 local paper for the sales flyers and 1 copy of the insert coupons. I cut out the coupons and filed them, so I could have an idea of what was being offered. Then I made a list of the in-store coupons offered in the store flyers - especially Kmart and Price Chopper. (you can double up these store coupons with manufacturer coupons - MFC's - for the same item!). Sunday afternoon the kids and I went for a walk through the isles of Price Chopper which seemed to have the most sales from the flyer (as apposed to the many other grocery stores in my area). But clearance items usually aren't in the flyer as the sale only lasts as long as the supply lasts, so we walked the store with my handy-dandy notebook and I wrote down every sale we found.

Once I had my comparative lists (store sales, store coupons, MFC's) I had an idea of what coupons I had to go searching for. On Monday morning I could go to my neighborhood convenience store where I have a deal with the owner - I get to pick up all their left over papers for the price of one. If I needed any further coupons then I would use on the online coupon clipping services to order more.

Kmart had a coupon for Bar-S Hotdogs that made the hot dogs $0.88 per package. I had MFC's for Bar-S hotdogs at $0.55 per package (this doubled to $1.10) So I was able to pick up 10 packages of the hot dogs FOR FREE. And our local kmart will apply the surplus savings (the additional $.10 from each package of hot dog) to shredded cheese which was on clearance sale of 3/$4 - so I got 6 packages for only $7.

Then I went over to CVS which had Albacore Tuna on sale for $.77 each and i had a coupon for $1/3 - so I got 9 cans for $3.93, I also got 2 bottles of Dawn which was on clearance for $1/bottle and I had 2 coupons for $1 each off so I got them for FREE.

Then I went to Price Chopper. I had 4 MFC's for Millstone coffee that were $2 off each, and Price Chopper had 4 boxes of k-cups that were on clearance for $4.20 = that means I got each box of k-cups, normally $8.99 for $2.20 each! They also had boxes of popcorn shrimp on sale for $4.50 and I had MFC's for $5 each, so they were FREE and had a surplus of $.50 each! (so I got 4). Domino Sugar, 5 lb bags were on sale for $3.29 and the store had instore coupons for $1 off, AND I had MFC's for $0.55 (which doubled to $1.10) this meant I got them for $1.19 each so I got 4. I had MFC's for Dr. Pepper 10 2 liter bottles (free) so I got 4 for my DH (poor kids, I don't let them have soda..lol). I had BOGO MFC's for Suave Professional Shampoo, which was on clearance for $1.20 so I got 4 bottles for $2.40, and the same was true for some of the Axe body wash. Tyson chicken strips were on sale for $4.99 and I had $.77 coupon which was doubled to $1.54 so I got a bag for $3.45. (I only had 1 coupon though that was about to expire, wish I had been able to find more!) I also got 4 bottles of TruMoo milk for $1 each. etc.

So you can see how I was able to do it. I found the sale, then found any store coupons, then found MFC's to match. You can see that not all my coupons were doubles - many of the ones I used this week were more than $.99 so they wouldn't be doubled. So it is possible to get extreme savings - it just takes a bit of work. Since my pantry was stocked I didn't HAVE to buy anything, so I could be as picky as I wanted - choosing only those that had the best savings!

:) Shannon

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM

 Organizing Coupons:

Probably one of the most difficult parts of Extreme Couponing is organizing all those coupons so you don't lose any or forget the deals.

Some people purchase special binders like this one -

http://www.couponmagicorganizer.com/#nogo

I took a plain 3 ring binder and several page dividers (the kind you can write on the tabs). I found at Big Lots these fantastic sticker organizers. They are basically clear plastic pages (kinda like card collectors pages) with several different sized pockets

I separate the pockets into 'isles' as most of the stores organize food into the same isles even if the isle order isn't the same. I then put the coupons in the pockets in alphabetical order so they are easier to find. Now keep in mind this is only for the coupons who are from the circular, so there are only a few of each. These are not the ones I get from clipping services (which can be 20-30 of the same coupon) I only order from the clipping service when I find the sale, so I use them right away.

For the coupons I take to the store - which are MANY. And they can be a mix of store coupons, peelies, those that print out at the register, etc. I use an index card box and index cards to keep things organized. On an index card I write the item and I fold the card in half so I can place all the coupons in the crease. I used to use envelopes but felt bad about the waste, now I can just toss the index cards (which I don't usually toss but use for scrap booking).

When I put the food items on the belt to be swiped by the cashier, I put them up in the same order as my coupons - so if the computer crashes, or there is a discrepancy then it is easier to find.

How do you organize your coupons?

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

 Regional Clipping Services:

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Believe it or not manufacturers coupons are not the same country-wide. If you think about it prices for items are not the same everywhere either. I remember traveling from my home in CT and visiting a friend in OH and I was shocked by how cheap everything was - even though we were in a national chain store. Because some places have much higher prices - California, New York, Fla, etc, they also have coupons worth more to compensate.

So if you can locate online coupon clipping services based in different regions then you could save even more.

 

 

Sites are listed in alphabetical order:

4 U 2 Coupon: Located in Illinois (IL). Sells clipped coupons. To order please visit 4U2Coupon.com

American Consumer Services: Located in Oregon (OR). Sells variety packages of partial inserts, junk pages removed. To order Email americanconsumer@comcast.net or call toll-free 1-866-790-5088 for details.

Baylife Coupons: Located in Florida (FL). Sells clipped coupons, restaurant coupons and gift certificates. To order please visit BaylifeCoupons.com

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KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:55 AM
KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM

 When do things go on sale?

JANUARY - Historically, Quaker has hot deals on cereal/all items. We see Pepsi/Tostitos go on sale mid-January (again, rebates abound for these). Other items of note this time of year are chili, side dishes, anything for hearty/warm meals.
• Post-Holiday Sales
• White Sales
• Sports and Weight Loss Equipment
• Computers
• Winter Apparel and Accessories
· Organizers, Rubbermaid totes, shelf organizers, planners, filing cabinets

FEBRUARY – many of the same food items as January
• Electronics
• Floor Coverings
• Housewares
• Furniture
• Candy and Chocolates

MARCH - Frozen food month. You'll find many stores are offering free freezers or fill-a-bag deals. Between March and April, look for spring cleaning deals, so many cleaner items will be on sale. With Easter, looks for eggs, ham, Kraft products to cycle into good sales. Paper products like towels, napkins, plates are starting to come on strong. Beverage items.
• Spring Apparel and Accessories
• Winter Sports Equipment
• Gardening Supplies
• Luggage


APRIL –
• Spring Apparel and Accessories
• Coats and Hats
• Paint
• Wallpaper
• Jewish Foods and Eggs

MAY - get ready for summer! Here come loads of deals on BBQ sauce, frozen veggies, baked beans, and condiments of all kinds, summer-time meats (ribs, hotdogs, and ground beef). Also with all the holidays, look for tons of paper goods that match the holiday and pick them up after clearance. These deals generally continue through September!
• White Sale - Linens and Towels
• Spring Cleaning Supplies
• Auto Maintenance
• Home Maintenance
• Sodas & Bottled Water, Hotdogs, Hamburger Meat, Condiments, Paper & Plastic plates & cups
* Raid/Off bug repellents and sunscreens

JUNE –
• Summer Apparel and Accessories
• Pianos
• Television Sets
• Building Materials and Hardware
• Dairy Products

JULY –
• Air Conditioners
• Summer Sports Equipment
• Sportswear
• Craft Supplies
• Sodas, Hotdogs, Hamburger Meat, Condiments
* Loss leader school supplies start now through the end of August

AUGUST –
• White Sale - Linen and Towels
• BBQ and Patio Equipment
• Back to School Supplies
• Bathing Suits
• Fresh Fish and Vegetables
• Breakfast foods (Cold cereal-Juice-Waffles-etc)
• Cold lunch items for in lunch boxes

SEPTEMBER - back to school; time to fill up on snacks! Pudding cups, Capri suns, fruit snacks, cereal sales start up hard again, peanut butter/jelly. Also, like clockwork, there will be Prego coupons in August, and plan on getting lots and using them in a hurry before they expire in September when the spaghetti sauce goes on sale. Sauce wars between Ragu and Prego this month. Campbell’s soups will go on as well and there will be coupons in the end of August for these as well. Lunchables are on sale this time of year, too.
• Back to School Supplies and Apparel
• Gardening Supplies
• Housewares
• Bicycles
• Canned Goods

OCTOBER - Stock up on holiday foods – Stove Top, turkey, instant mashed potatoes, broth, cranberries, marshmallow, ice cream, pie shells, whipped cream, pudding. Look for great Kraft deals again this time of year. Piggyback those Kraft coupons when you can. Crackers are a biggie - going on for $1 or less a box. Lots of extra deals like $ off cheese WYB crackers. The real kicker is the after Christmas food deals! Save your coupons because pie fixings, fried onion, broth and canned green beans will be on deep discount. I got those onions for .50 a can, normally almost $4. These generally continue through December.
• Cars
• Houses
• Fishing Equipment
• Crystal, Silver, and Glassware
• Candy
· Baking/candy-making items (choc chips, sprinkles, vanilla, corn syrup, nuts, etc)

NOVEMBER -
• Winter Apparel and Accessories
• Quilts and Blankets
• Heating Devices
• Turkey, Sweet Potatoes
• Canned goods (soup, chicken broth, condensed milk, veggies etc)
• Baking goods

DECEMBER –
• Toys
• Gift Items
• Party ware
• Post-Holiday Sales
• Party Foods, Baking Goods, and Various Meat
• Canned goods (broth, soups, etc)


Year-round after a holiday, you can always pick up cheap cookie dough and any food related to a holiday.

Continual sales are candy, popcorn, chips, anything snacky, cereal (heavier in the fall/winter, but still around in the spring).
Frozen food sales seem to centralize on a brand and the switch brands the next month. I think the manufacturers buy slot time for sales. So last month, Stouffers was on sale hard, now lean cuisine is. Save the entire frozen coupon and then keep checking back for the brand of the month.

Frozen pizzas go on sale in the fall and then again the spring; not often in the summer because people don't want to turn their ovens on in the summer.

By all means, this isn't everything that you can get on sale, but if you follow the cycle and stock up (I never buy BBQ sauce in the winter), then you can get where you have enough on hand and only need to refill when the items are in season. The result is that you spend less and less with each successful cycle

KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

 Stockpiling Strategy

The key to this strategy? Add one or two sale items a week that weren’t on your list that you’ll likely use anyway. Use coupons to sweeten the deal and buy as many as you can at that price. For instance, if today at Target, 150-sheet lined notebook paper was on clearance for .12 cents each. Needless to say, at a savings of 88% off full retail, I would buy enough paper for the kids that I won’t I won’t need to buy it again for several years. I’ll toss it in a Rubbermaid tub and pull it out when we need it.

As you begin to shop this way, keep a few things in mind:

  • How much can I budget on building my stockpile each week? Take a percentage of what you currently spend and reallocate it to shopping for long-term-use deals.
  • Will my family use up the product before it expires? My kids go through one jar of peanut butter a week, so when I can get it for less than .50 cents per jar, I buy at least 52 jars to get me through a whole year.
  • Do I have room to store these items in a way that makes sense? An investment in storage totes, shelving and a deep freezer can help you save in the long term
KickButtMama
by G.O. Shannon on Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

 More Sale Cycle Info -

January

National Oatmeal Month: Quaker
Diet Foods: Healthy Choice, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Special K, Kashi, Smart Start, 100 Calorie Packs, Yogurt
Super Bowl Sunday: Pepsi, Coke, Chips, Dips, Cheese, Sandwich Items, Crackers, Snacks, Wings
Seasonal Produce: Oranges, Pears, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Cabbage, Spinach
Clearance: Christmas Decorations, Toys, Wrapping Papers,
Winter Health: Cold Medicines and Vitamins

February

National Canned Food Month: Canned Fruit, Pie Fillings, Vegetables, Meats: Tuna, Chicken, Salmon
National Hot Breakfast Month: Malt O Meal, Oatmeal, Eggo Waffles, Syrup
Valentines: Chocolate, Hershey’s, KY Lubricant, etc
Chinese New Year: Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Noodles, Canned Water Chestnuts
Seasonal Produce: Artichoke, Asparagus, Raspberries, Potatoes, Strawberries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Spinach

March

Frozen Food Month: Ice Cream, Frozen Vegetables (Boxed, Bag, or Steam), Frozen Meals, Foster Farms Chicken, Waffles, Pizza
Seasonal Produce: Artichoke, Asparagus, Haas Avocado, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Fennel, Kale, Leek, Lemon, Lime, Mushrooms, Spring Onions, Orange, Peas, Radish, Rhubarb, Spinach, Strawberries, Tangerine

April

Easter: Ham, Eggs, Spices, Baking Supplies: Sugar, Spices, Baking Mixes, Chocolate Chips, Butter, Coconut, Marshmallows, Brownie Mix, Cake Mix
Earth Day: Organic Foods, Energy Saver, Reusable Totes
Seasonal Produce: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbages, Carrots, Grapefruit, Haas Avocado, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Rhubarb
Clearance: After Easter sales

May

Memorial Day: BBQ Sauce, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Grilling Meats, Hot Dogs, Hamburger Meat, Marinade, Salad Greens
Paper Products: Plates, Utensils, Insect Repellant, Sunscreen
Cinco De Mayo: Salsa, tortillas
Seasonal Produce: Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Beans, Green, Beets, Blackberries, Carrots, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Peas, New Potatoes, Raspberries, Strawberries

June

National Dairy Month: Eggs, Milk, Ice Cream, Cheese, Cream Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Whipping Cream, Whipped Cream, Cool Whip
End of June is Fourth or July Sales: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips
Seasonal Produce: Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Honeydew, Nectarines, Peaches, Potatoes, Raspberries, Red Onions, Squash, Summer, Strawberries, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Tomatoes, Watermelon

July

National Ice Cream Month
More 4th of July BBQ Sales: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips
End of July: Back to School Sales Begin: Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders
Seasonal Produce: Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, Beans, Green, Blueberries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Garlic, Grapes, Nectarines, Onions, Red, Valencia Oranges, Peaches, Sweet/Bell Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelon

August

Back to School: Pudding cups, Lunch meat, Lunchables, Bread, Cold Cereal, Waffles, Lunchboxes
Disinfectant: Clorox, Purell
Clearance: Insect Repellant, Sunscreen, charcoal
Seasonal Produce: Gravenstein Apple, Haas Avocado, Green Beans, Beans, Berries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Grapes, Melons, Onion, Peaches, Bartlett Pears, Bell Pepper, Plums, Raspberries, Squash, Summer, Tomatillo, Tomato

September

Back to School Sales through Labor Day: Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders
Diabetes: Bayer Glucose Meters, Glucerna Cereal
Seasonal Produce: Apples, Artichokes, Beans, Bell Peppers, Chili Peppers, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Onion, Valencia Orange, Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, Pomegranate, Squash, Tomatillo, Tomatoes, Winter Squash
Baby Items: Major Baby Equipment, Baby Safety

October

Halloween: Candy, Fresh Pumpkin
Beginning of the Baking Sales: Canned pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Baking Chips
Daylight Savings Time Ends Promotions: Alarm Clocks, Batteries, Safety Equipment, Smoke Detectors
National Seafood Month
Adopt a Shelter-Dog Month: Pedigree, Purina
Seasonal Produce: Almonds, Apples, Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Chard, Chestnuts, Cranberries, Lemons, Parsnip, Pears, Pomegranate, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Spinach, Squash, Winter, Turnips, Yams

November

Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Tea
Baking Sales in Full Swing: Nuts, Chocolate Chips, Evaporated Milk, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Coconut, Cake Mixes
Canned foods: Soup, Broth, Vegetables, Fruits, Spaghetti Sauce
Thanksgiving Items: Turkey, Canned Pumpkin, Stovetop Stuffing, Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows
Seasonal Produce: Anjou Pears, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Comice Pears, Cranberries, Kiwi, Lemons, Orange, Potato, Squash, Yams
Clearance: After Halloween Sales

December

Holiday Dinner: Egg Nog, Deli Platters, Instant Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows. Sour Cream Dips, Crackers, Chips, Soda, Ham
Baking: Flour, Sugar, Butter, Cream, Cake Mix, Brownie Mix, Muffin Mix, Breads, Pie Crust, Marshmallow, Whipped cream
Canned Foods: Soup, Broth, Condensed Milk, Vegetables, Fruits, Spaghetti Sauce
Seasonal Produce: Anjou Pears, Bok Choy, Bosc Pears, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Dates, Grapefruit, Haas Avocados, Kale, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lemon, Napa Cabbage, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, Red Cabbage, Rutabaga, Savoy Cabbage, Spinach, Winter Squash, Yams, Turnips, White Potato
Clearance: After Thanksgiving and After Christmas Sales

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