Monday, February 7, 2011

Coupon How To: Getting Started and Looking Ahead

At long last, and by request, here's a run down of how to get started to use coupons effectively.
This is long and detailed, so sit down with a clear head, a notepad, and an open mind.

One thing I am notorious for in my family is my use of coupons and spending as little as possible on many things, but especially groceries. My family knows that I am "on it" when it comes to knowing if there's a coupon out there and then waiting for a sale to come up, and then pouncing on it.

One thing's for sure, I pay attention to coupons and I monitor releases of sales ads to know what and how to prepare for good deals. If you are wondering how and whent o get started in using coupons effectively, here's a list of deals coming up that may appeal to you. If they do, I recommend ordering coupons. You can buy them on ebay, once they are released, or you can pre-order from several different sites. I recommend My Coupon Hunter.

I also have a super supply of coupons, but I don't take pre-orders, because I need to make sure my inserts have what the advertisers are promoting. If there is somehting I can help you iwth though, I am happy to do so. I have very cheap prices (usually 15 cents a coupon, plus postage). Drop me an email if there is something you want to order. The added bonus is that if you are near me, the coupons will get to you faster than if you are oredering from another supplier, such as MCH.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Why pay for coupons? Remember you are still coming out ahead of the game, even if you are paying 15 cents for a coupon, that will save you $1 on an item thanks to coupon polices that Fry's and Safeway employ.
  • Start a system. Whether you use envelopes, paperclips, or a fancy binder like myself, you need to create a system to organize your coupons. You will not use them effectively if they are on your kitchen counter or in the wrong purse (been there!). I started with envelopes and just put in the coupons according to products type (Dairy, Meats, cleaning products, etc). I now use a 3-ring binder and plastic trading card sheets to house coupons in alphabetical order accoring to the manufacturer. I don't know how I ever managed to use the envelopes now that I have my binder, but I also use coupons very differently now, compared to my pre-kid days, when I had more time to write my lists, prepare my trips, and shopped alone.
  • Always check your list twice. Compare ads to what coupons you have on hand and then also check out HotCouponWorld or AFullCup, both of which offer coupon databases, so you can see if a coupon exists for the items on your grocery list, as well as here to find it. They both include insert and printable coupons, peelies (these are often spotty in terms of stores that have them as well as regions), coupons found in packages, rebates, etc).
  • Inserts are regional, so what the East Coast receives, may not be what's in our coupon inserts here in Tucson. Frustrating for sure. My experience is that S. AZ does not get as good coupons as other regions do (the mid-west seems to get the highest value coupons). So, this is why ordering may be your best bet.
  • Grocery ads run Wednesday to Tuesday, so you will want to plan accordingly. If you order coupons on Sunday, you may not get them in time to use by Tuesday.
  • If you are just getting started on using coupons in this super hero way, you may want to just try saving the coupons from the next few weeks and getting ready for these sales, without the pressure of ordering and tracking bigger sets of coupons. Nothing bugs me more than knowing there's a sale, knowing I have the coupons, but a) not remembering where I put the coupons, or b) not being able to find the product or get to the store in time. Now you are out the product and the price of the coupons.

Anyway, here's the list of what to keep an eye on for the next few weeks.

My Coupon Hunter has pretty much all of these in stock.
Here are the codes for My Coupon Hunter:
BBC - 10% off purchases of $3 or more
FREESHIP - Free shipping on purchases of $5 or more (total has to be $5 after any other discounts)

$1/1 Colgate Sensitive or Total Advanced, 1-30 SS, 2-6 SS (Sensitive)
($3.79, get a $3.79 ECB - $1 moneymaker after ECBs @ CVS the week of 2/13 - limit 2)

$4 Gillette Fusion Proglide - 1-30 PG
($9.99, get a $4 RR @ Walgreens the week of 2/13 - $1.99 after coupons/RR)

$2 Huggies Little Snugglers/Little Movers - 1-23 SS
(2/$17.98, get a $4 ECB @ CVS the week of 2/13 - $4.99/each after coupons/ECBs - limit 1)

$2 Reach Total Care floss - 10-10 RP
BOGO Free Reach Total Care toothbrush - 10-10 RP
($3.99, get a $2 ECB - free after ECBs @ CVS the week of 2/13 - limit 2)
($2.99, get a $2 RR - money maker after RRs @ Walgreens the week of 2/13)

$1 Skintimate shave gel -1-16 SS (some areas got $1/2)
($2.49, get a $1 RR - $.49 after coupon/RRs @ Walgreens the week of 2/13)
Upcoming Kroger Mega sale deals (rumored to start the week of 2/13) - if tradition holds, I believe this is the "Daytona" sale which is usually buy 10 participating items, get an instant $3 off - no prices yet

-Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
$.50/2 Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, or Fruit Roll-Ups - 1-2 SS

-Bounty paper towels 
$.25/1 Bounty paper towels - 1-30 PG

$1/2 Cheerios - 1-9 SS2 (*expires 2-19)
$1/2 Honey Nut Cheerios (don't know if these will be included) - 1-30 SS
$1/2 Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios - 2-6 SS

-Chef Boyardee pasta
$.35/1 Chef Boyardee pasta - 1-2 SS2

-Finish Dish Detergent
$2.25/1 Finish - 1-2 SS

-Friskies cat food
$1/1 Friskies dry cat food - 1-16 SS

-Hefty waste bags
$1/2 Hefty waste bags - 1-2 RP2

-Kellogg's Pop Tarts
$1/2 Kellogg's Pop Tarts - 2-6 RP

-Lloyds BBQ product
$1/1 Lloyds BBQ product - 1-30 SS

-Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn
$1/2 Orville Redenbacher - 1-23 SS

-Pam Cooking Spray 
$.35/1 Pam cooking spray - 1-23 SS

-Pedigree dog fod
$2/1 Pedigree dog food - 1-23 RP

-Pillsbury cookie dough
$1/2 Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough - 12-12 SS
$.75/3 Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods - 1-23 SS

-Pillsbury Grands! biscuits
$.35/3 Pillsbury Grands! biscuits - 12-12 SS
$.30/2 Pillsbury Grands! biscuits - 1-2 GM
$.50/1 Pillsbury Grands! sweet rolls - 12-12 SS
$.40/2 Pillsbury Grands! sweet rolls - 1-2 GM

-Ragu pasta sauce
$1/2 Ragu pasta sauce - 1-30 RP
**There will reportedly be a catalina that matches up with this - buy 3, get $1.50 OYNO

-Reynolds wrap
$1/1 Reynolds wrap foil - 1-30 SS

-Ritz crackers
$1/2 Nabisco crackers - 1-30 SS

-Scott bathroom tissue
$1/1 Scott bath tissue - 1-16 SS

-Scrubbing Bubbles (doesn't specify)
*Assorted Scrubbing Bubbles cleaners - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)
**There will reportedly be a catalina deal that matches up with this:  Buy 3, get $2 OYNO

$.55/1 Shout laundry product - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)

-Totino's pizza/pizza rolls
$1.25/4 Totino's party pizza - 1-30 SS
$.40/2 Totino's pizza rolls - 1-30 SS
$.50/1 Totino's party pizza - 1-23 RP

-Tropicana Orange Juice
$1/2 Tropicana Trop50 - 1-2 RP

$.55/1 Windex - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)

< Thanks to Melissa's Bargain Blog for the awesome match-ups. >

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