Friday, August 15, 2008

If You Are A Newbie - Here Are Some Tips!

General Couponage

- First and foremost, be organized, make a list, and plan your trip.

- You can "stack" coupons. Meaning, you can use a store coupon and a Manufacturer's Coupon (MFC) per item. You can only use 1 MFC and 1 Store Coupon per item. If you buy 3 of the same item, you can use 3 of the same coupon.

- MFCs up to 99 cents double at most grocery stores. Always check your local store though.  You can ask the service desk and they can tell you.  They do not double at CVS or other drug stores.

- Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO). 2 Different ways to use coupons on these sales. You can use 1 coupon that states "$/2" or you can use 2 coupons that state "$/1".  Same holds true for a "Buy 2, Get 2 Free" sale.  If you have a MFC that is $1 off 4 - you can use this on a "Buy 2, Get 2 Free" sale.

- If there is a sale on a product that is "Buy One, Get One Free" and you happen to have a MFC for the same item that is "Buy One, Get One Free" then you simply pick up 2 of the item and you get BOTH for free! Many people are confused about using coupons on BOGO sales.

- If you have a store coupon that reads "$ off your next purchase of $$ or more", always put this coupon on the top of your coupon stack. The MFCs and Store Coupons will bring your total down and it may fall below the minimum purchase requirement. Then the register will not accept this $/$$ coupon.

-  I do all my grocery shopping at Shaw's (Star Market).  It's just my personal preference.  Every week, they have store coupons that you can print from their website.  Click HERE for info. I recently used a Shaw's coupon for $1 off any head of cabbage.  The cabbage head was $1.75, so by using that coupon I printed from my printer, I got that head of cabbage for .75.  A savings of 57%.

- If a cashier is giving you problems with your coupons, ask to speak to the store manager or shift supervisor. The store is getting reimbursed by the companies that put out the coupon so they are getting their money (just not from you!). You shouldn't have to deal with rude cashiers or cashiers who don't understand what is so hard about scanning a coupon.

- I can't guarantee it, but in most cases (especially my favorite drug store), if there is a sale that is "Buy 1, Get on 50%", and you have an MFC that is "Buy 1, Get 1 Free" - usually the register takes off the REGULAR price. Which means you get 2 items for 50% off one!

- If you don't have coupons or can't be bothered, then you can still save money just by shopping the deals in the circular.  Almost every week, some meat is featured on the front of every store flyer.  If chicken breast is on sale this week, stock up.  If it's ground beef, stock up.  

-  Take a few minutes to scan the price difference between generic and name brand.  I recently needed egg noodles and didn't have any coupons.  The Shaw's brand was on sale - $1.59 (reg. $1.79).  But I did a quick scan of the egg noodles and noticed Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Noodles were on sale for $1 (reg. $1.89).  Generic isn't always a better deal than name brand.

-  If you print coupons off the internet, change your printer settings to "Black Only, Medium Quality."  You do not need to print these in color (it just wastes ink).  Low quality doesn't produce a good bar code, and since medium grade works, you're only wasting ink if you keep your settings on high quality.

CVS Couponage

-For those of you who do not CVS, but want to, here's a quick run down on their ExtraCare Bucks (ECB) program. They offer weekly and monthly specials offering ECBs. Pretty much, if you up front the cash, the register will print off a coupon for a certain amount off you're next order. It's kind of like Monopoly money to be used at CVS.

-The trick to score big at CVS is to use ECBs on items that generate more ECBs. Yes, in the beginning, you'll have to front some money. But once you get rolling, you'll find you are hardly paying anything.

- A lot of items with ECBs can be matched up with MFCs - and you can actually MAKE money on these items. For instance, say Colgate Total is $2.99, but if you purchase it, CVS will give you $2 ECB. Say you have $1/1 MFC. Use that and pay $1.99 for the toothpaste, but walk away with a coupon for $2 off your next order - essentially, you MADE a penny on that purchase. Now you REALLY make money if you already have ECBs and use those ECBs to purchase the toothpaste! See where I'm going?

- CVS has killer coupons! Sign up and they'll email you a plethora of coupons. $3 off a $15 purchase, $4 off a $20, $5 off a $30, and if you're lucky, $10 off a $50. Now you might be saying "How can I POSSIBLY spend $50 at CVS?" Well let me tell you - YOU can and get your total down to next to nothing!

- At CVS, always give your ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs) after all coupons. They are essentially treated the same as cash at CVS. If you have more ECBs than your total, you will lose the remainder. For instance, if you have a ECB for $10, and your total comes to $7.50, you will lose the $2.50. You might be better off using cash and use the ECB when you go over the total of it.

- Don't underestimate the power of everyday shopping at CVS! CVS has great deals on groceries and cleaning products from time to time (although their regular prices on these items are RIDICULOUS!). You can get dish soap for next to nothing when it's on sale and you have MFCs. They also run great sales on laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.

- Like at the grocery store, you can stack CVS coupons with MFCs! Not only do you get ECBs printed on your receipts, but the register will also spit out coupons to you. So say CVS gave you a coupon for $1 off two bags of Hershey Chocolates. If you have a MFC for $1/2 bags, you can use both and get $2 off 2 bags! If you wait for them to go on sale for 2/$4, then it's only a $1 a bag!

Order of Coupons at CVS:
-MFCs and Store Coupons
-ExtraCare Bucks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your info!! I just starting couponing and am just starting to get the hang of it. Learning what order to present coupons is so key.I was following the $1500 family and an disappointed that she's gone. She is how I heard of you and now follow your blogs faithfully