The Basics of Coupons: Some Coupon Etiquette

Using coupons is a great way of saving money at the store, but sometimes things can go wrong at the store.  Here are a few simple tips to help make things go a little more smoothly:

  1. Check your coupons closely for expiration date and to make sure you bought the correct product, size and amount of product.
  2. The wording on the coupon is what the product is for, not necessarily the item pictured.  Sometimes packaging has changed and other times the picture does not include every product covered by the description.
  3. Follow the rules, never copy coupons.  Internet coupons usually allow 2 prints per computer.
  4. Know your stores coupon rules.  You can find most stores coupon policies on their website.  I mentioned a couple in my post about where to print coupons.
  5. Be nice to the cashier.  Many cashiers appreciate a friendly customer.  Getting upset only makes matters worse.  If you have a problem and know you are following the rules, ask for a manager.  Many times the cashier just wants to make sure she/he will not get in trouble by taking the coupon in question.  Being familiar with a stores coupon rules is a great benefit.  I have found that many of the managers are not even familiar with their rules that are posted right on their website.
  6. Keep your transactions to 1-2.  If you need to do more, visit another store or at least go out to your car with your purchases and then go back in.  Remember that some coupons and stores limit the number of coupons/deals you can do in a day.  Don’t clear the shelves of every item.  It’s just not nice.  If there is very limited stock when you get there then by all means, go ahead.
  7. Do not take every coupon on a display in a store.  The coupons are there for everyone, not just the first one to see them.  It’s okay to take a few, but not the whole pad!
  8. Enjoy using coupons to save on things you buy.  Remember that in many states you pay tax on pre-coupon amounts, so an item is not always completely free.
Have any questions about using coupons?  How about any suggestions?  Need a place to order coupons?  See this post about ordering coupons.  
Making a habit out of living frugal …..

The Basics of Coupons: Rebate Tips

Rebates are a great way to save on your grocery bill too.  The only difference from other methods, is that you have to wait for the money to be sent back to you.  For this reason, I use rebates to contribute to a special savings fund for field trips, zoo membership and other extras for the girls.  You can also use rebates to add extra money to your grocery budget.  Whichever you prefer, rebates are a great addition to couponing.

Many manufacturers offer rebates to try certain products.  You can find these offers in the store on the product, on in store displays, on the internet to be printed off, in the weekly coupon inserts or you may find these forms on sites like Ebay.  Do remember it is illegal to pay for the coupons or rebates, you are reimbursing the person for the time involved in gathering, cutting, listing the product.

Unlike coupons, rebates are a bit harder to find.  For this reason I am going to start a list of printable rebates on this blog.  Be aware that this list will never include every rebate out there, but I will do my best to include as many as I can find.  For rebates found on products, I will post these items to the blog and under Coupons  Rebates.  Keep checking back for new additions.

Another form of rebates that I love is No Beer Purchase Required rebates.  You can often find these in stores on beer displays, coupon trading forums or on ebay.  (see above about buying these)  They are put out by the beer companies.  You can search for beer rebates, NBPR rebates and the names of different types of beer.  The great thing about these forms is that there are many states that do not allow beer companies to require you to buy the beer.  Lucky me, I live in AR and we are never required to buy the beer, but I can never find the forms in the store.  I have received these rebates for buying produce, Christmas decorations, premium meat, cheese, frozen pizza, beach supplies, gift cards and many other things (these states are usually not required to purchase the beer AL, AR, CT, HI, KY, ME, MD, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OK, UT and WV)  Be sure to read the forms carefully for information about required purchases, upc’s, the start date and end date, the postmark date, whether you can use one receipt or receipt(s).   If you are buying on ebay, be sure to read the description of the auction and be sure to look at the dates very closely.  Some of these auctions are listed close to or at the offers expiration date and many auctions are listed for such inflated prices.  I will not give $5 for a $6 or $7 rebate.  Coupon trading sites are a great way to find these for a fair trade or reimbursement for time.

Now you may also participate in these rebates if you live in a state that requires the beer purchase, you will just have to purchase the beer.

Keep in mind that most rebates will require you to send in the receipt or receipt(s), UPC code and a completed form.  Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to ensure you get your rebate.  If you are purchasing items for multiple different rebates, you will need to get them on different receipts.  Most rebates do not allow photocopied receipts or forms.

Don’t forget to use your coupons on rebate items too!

Have any questions about rebates?  Suggestions?  

Remember to take each thing slow.  The key to not overwhelming yourself is get comfortable with one method of saving and making it routine before you move on to another.  

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

 

The Basics of Coupons: Combining Coupons and Rebates

Another way to add to your grocery savings is to combine coupons with rebates.  Recently I found a rebate on laundry paks.  If I would have had a coupon for the product I could have actually made a bit of money.  The company would reimburse me the purchase price for the item.  I would have gotten to keep the savings for the coupon I used.  Now this probably only would have been .50-1.00, but it would help offset the cost of postage and the time spent getting things together.

I do want to point out that not all companies will reimburse you the full amount before the coupon.  Some companies subtract the coupon and refund you that amount for the rebate. I don’t expect to get the pre-coupon amount back, but if I do it is definitely a bonus.

Rebates are a great way to try new products, save money on stuff you already buy and help lower your grocery budget or start a savings fund.

Keep in mind that most rebates will require you to send in the receipt, UPC code and a completed form.  Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to ensure you get your rebate.  If you are purchasing items for multiple different rebates, you will need to get them on different receipts.  Most rebates do not allow photocopied receipts or forms.

Do you use rebates to help lower your shopping bill?  Do you have any questions about rebates?  

Coming up next week:  Rebate Tips

 

The Basics of Coupons: Ideas for Getting More Coupons

Now that you are started collecting coupons, you should know that the Sunday paper and the internet printable coupon sites are not the only place you can get coupons.  Often times there are many different coupons out than what you find in the Sunday paper.

Here are a few ideas to help you add to your coupon stash:

  1. Store displays – many times you can find displays in a store offering coupons.  Remember to leave some for others.  Some Extreme Coupon Users have given couponing a bad name by taking all the coupons in stores and trying to use large quantities of the same coupon in a transaction.  More about this in a future post.
  2. Store fliers – many stores put out fliers with coupons in them.  Not always are these coupons good at just that store.  Check to see if the coupon say “store name” coupon or manufacturer coupon.  If it says manufacturer, it can be used at any store that takes coupons.
  3. Company email – look through your pantry at the products you use and visit the companies contact us option on their website and ask for coupons.  I always write about the products I buy from them and how much I like them.  If you have a problem to report, they love to get that feedback as well.  I would also recommend contacting companies that have products you would like to try.
  4. Friends and Family – let them know you will take any coupons they want to get rid of. You may be surprised what they bring you.  Many people get coupons in the mail that they never sent for or requested.
  5. Co-workers – same as with family.  You may be surprised at what they save for you.
  6. Samples – many of the free samples you can request come with a coupon too.  It’s like a double treat!
  7. Special Sunday paper inserts – Parade, USA sections in the paper have often had coupons in them.  I check my papers thoroughly.

How do you get extra coupons?  Have any questions or comments?

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

The Basics of Coupons: Where to Print Coupons

Printing coupons can be a way to get coupons on items you frequently use.  Many times these coupons have a higher cents off than the coupons from the Sunday inserts.  Last week we talked about some basic coupon printing information.

This week we are going to talk about some of the places you can print coupons:

  1. Coupons.com
  2. Smartsource
  3. Redplum
  4. Target
  5. Coupon Network 
  6. Manufacturer’s Websites – visit the websites of brands you frequently use.  Some manufacturers offer printable coupons for their products.
  7. Store Websites – some stores offer coupons on their websites.  They may be store coupons and/or manufacturer coupons.

Be sure to check out these previous posts to learn more about coupons:

  1. Coupon Lingo
  2. Ordering Coupons 
  3. Printing Coupons

One of the best resources for coupon use is your store’s coupon policy.  If your store doesn’t have their policy online, you can call and ask or ask when you visit.  Here are the coupon policies for some of the major chains:

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Walgreens

Do you have any questions?  Any suggestions on other places to print coupons.  Be sure to leave a comment letting us know.   

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

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The Basics of Coupons: Printing Coupons

Last week we discussed ordering coupons from coupon clipping services and ebay.  This week we are going to talk a little bit about printing coupons.

Coupons offered on Facebook and other places on the internet are sometimes some of the hottest coupons out.  These coupons do not always last very long, so it is best to print them as soon as you can.

Many manufacturers offer coupons on Facebook in exchange for your click on “like” on their page.  Take a look around your house and at your store receipts to give you ideas on what Facebook pages you should “like”.

While you are on Facebook go ahead and “like” the stores you shop at.  Many stores advertise specials or coupons on Facebook.

Many internet coupons can be printed twice by going to the site and printing again or if the coupon is a bricks coupon, you can hit your back button (may have to hit more than once) to get a second print.  To identify a bricks coupon look at the address bar.  The address bar will have the word bricks in it and there is usually a shopping cart pictured on the page right by the picture of the item you are printing.

You can use multiple computers to print more coupons too.  Most of the coupon sites let you print two coupons per IP address.

Never make a copy of internet printed coupons.  This would be fraudulent coupon use and could be traced back to the computer it was printed from.  The barcodes on these coupons contain special codes.

If you ever receive a coupon in a forwarded email for coupons that seem to good to be true, they just may be.  Counterfeit coupons frequently make their rounds.  The Coupon Information Center (CIC) maintains a list of counterfeit coupons.

Coming up next week:  Where to go Print Internet Coupons

Do you have any questions about printing internet coupons?  Any comments?  Leave a comment letting us know.  

 

The Basics of Coupons: Ordering Coupons

You have probably seen that show on tv that shows shoppers using large amounts of the same coupon.  Have you ever wondered where they get so many of the same coupon? Today I am going to give you some tips for ordering coupons.

Maybe you want several of one or two different coupons.  Buying several papers for a couple good coupons would completely negate your savings.  Some of these extreme coupon shoppers will buy extra papers, but only if they will get a large return on that investment.

Here are some ideas of where you can get more coupons:

  1. Coupon Clipping Services – these services charge a fee per coupon for their time acquiring the coupons as well as clipping, filing etc.  They charge a shipping and handling fee according to the size of the order.  Coupon clipping services I have used with great results are:
    1. Coupon Dede – this service is located in Texas.  If I need my coupons quick, I order from here because they are the closest to me.
    2. The Coupon Clippers – this service is located in Florida.  Sometimes the services in different areas get different coupons for different products or even the same coupons we got but with a different denomination.
    3. The Coupon Master –  this service is located in Rhode Island.  Same as the above service.  Many times they have different coupons than what you got in your paper.
  2. Ebay – Ebay and Paypal fees continue to get higher, so the prices for coupons and shipping tend to be higher on Ebay than on clipping sites.  As always, be careful when purchasing on Ebay.  Use sellers with high positive feedback scores.

When ordering coupons from clipping sites, get to know information about how they conduct business.  Check out their policy for when they ship and deadlines for orders to ship.  You wouldn’t want to be waiting on some coupons to arrive only to find out they do not ship on certain days or after certain hours.

Always familiarize yourself with their ordering period.  When a service puts a limit of how many can be ordered on certain “hot” coupons, you need to know when you can order again so you don’t break any rules.

Do not go crazy on coupon clipping sites.  Remember you are paying for the coupons.  If you don’t use them you are wasting money.  Browse the coupon inserts that came out in the sunday paper and decide what coupons you would like to purchase.  Browse the coupons clipping sites and make note of what coupons you would like and how many of that product you would normally buy before the expiration date before ordering.  Before checking out, make sure you look at your shopping cart and double check that you have ordered coupons you will use.

Be sure to check the EXPIRATION DATE before ordering coupons from anywhere.  It would also be a shame to get your coupons in and realize that you ordered coupons very close to their expiration date.

Coming up next Saturday:  Printing Coupons

 

Have you ever used a clipping service?  Do you have one not listed that you recommend?  Have any questions about ordering coupons?  Leave a comment letting me know.