Couponing 101





Coupon Basics for Beginners
Have you ever used a coupon before?  I remember what it was like the first time I used a coupon – I was very nervous!  Would the cashier refuse it?  When do I give them the coupon?  Am I doing this right?

I began couponing in May of 2011, I was intrigued by a show I was watching on TV about people who were saving tons of money and paying next to nothing just by using coupons. I started small and bought 1 newspaper on Sunday, just for the coupon inserts. I clipped everything and put them in an envelope. I saved a little, but was still clueless about how they did it!

I was so amazed and interested that I began doing some coupon research. I realized that couponing has become extremely popular and that there is a science to couponing the right way:
1.       Collect coupons from any source available. Newspapers, Facebook, Manufacturer web pages, etc…
2.       Organize your coupons so that you know what you have and so that they are easily accessible.
3.       Watch the weekly store ads for sales. The most effective way to use your coupons is by matching them to the weekly sales for the most savings.
4.       Don’t use a coupon just for the sake of using it. If the item is not something you will use, then why spend the money? There are situations that I would use a coupon for an item that I don’t normally buy…if the item is FREE or if I plan to donate the item.
5.       Know your store coupon policy. The more popular coupon use becomes, the more the policies are changing. Know how many coupons can be used in one transaction, if the store doubles/triples coupons, if the store offers “in-store” coupons and if they can be stacked.
6.       Plan your shopping trip. Know which items you are looking for and how many you want to buy. Hint: If the store is running a sale on a particular item that you want and it is out of stock, ask for a rain check!
7.       When checking out, make sure you are being charged the correct price (this is a good idea even when not using a coupon!), and also make sure your coupons are being deducted for the proper amount. Machines do make mistakes and your coupons equal money!
8.       If a coupon does not scan, don’t worry, this happens a lot! If you have used the coupon for the correct item, the cashier CAN manually enter the coupon.
9.       Double check your receipt.

Couponing can be very rewarding and save money for you and your family. Think of coupons as money!



Coupon Anxiety???

So you're finished with your shopping and you're headed to the check out line...if you begin to feel nervous, your palms are getting sweaty, or your heart is racing, then you are suffering from check out line anxiety! There are a few things you can do to ease this anxious feeling. 
The first thing I do when approaching the check out line is to scout out the cashiers briefly. Yes, this is a type of cashier "profiling", but honestly, in my experiences, the cashier can make or break your couponing experience, so finding the right one is important. I tend to avoid older cashiers, for the simple fact that most, not all, are not as confident with the system and tend to question and need approval for even the most simple coupon transaction. I also avoid the "newbie" cashier. This cashier is obviously brand new to the job and not at all secure or confident just yet...this person will page the CSM or another cashier for everything from a coupon that won't scan properly to "is this the correct product"? Another cashier to avoid is the grouchy or annoyed cashier. This person is not happy to be at work today, and will definitely not be happy to scan all of your coupons. All of these profile types above will delay your check out line time and could cost you some savings in the process, therefore adding to your anxiety!
After the "right" cashier is chosen, be friendly, let him or her know that you have a stack of coupons and gage their response. If the response is good, you're in luck! Keep the conversation going and you should be out of the store in no time at all. If the cashier's mood is sour, then try some positive conversation. Say things like "Ya'll sure are busy today" or "How are you doing today". This may let them know that you feel their pain and sympathize with them a little, therefore changing the vibe!
Next, let those behind you in line, know that you are using lots of coupons, and that gives them the opportunity to switch check out lines. You definitely don't want to hear the sighs, moans and groans from those waiting in line behind you.
 Be organized! Have all of your coupons ready to go and in the order that works best for you. You may want to keep the free items for last, as the cashier will need to manually write in the price on the coupon. This will lessen his or her time looking up prices and lessen any frustration.
Last but not least...remember you are the customer. Know your store's coupon policy and keep a copy with you just in case the cashier or manager are not as familiar with it as you may be and are not following the policy. If you do encounter a problem that cannot be resolved, and you know you were using the coupon correctly, don't make a scene in the store. Remain in control, get to your phone and call the corporate office. 
I wish everyone a great experience and Happy Couponing!

29 comments:

  1. Thank you for the tips, I'm new to couponing and this is great help to me!

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  2. wow thanks i have been wanting to shop a safeway because the food quality is so much better there i will definitely have to try this =}

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  3. Thanks for the couponing tips. I've been couponing about 2 years now. I need to be more consistent and organized. I find that I have coupons all over the place!

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  4. Thank you for the comments ladies! Happy Couponing!!

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  5. thank you for the advice! im trying to coupon more!

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  6. I really wish I had someone who coupons near me.. I have all these coupons and no one to coupon with!!!

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  7. michelle gilliland mcafeeDecember 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Good tips, I am beginning to be more frugal. Thank you.

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  8. #4 is really a big piece of advice that everyone truly does need to follow.. When I first started, I would buy everything just because it was cheaper.. Ended up donating most of it which was a good thing, but when I realized how much I spent on it, I was out of my mind!!! Im talking about things that gave me $0.35 off a $4.00 Item lol. All of these are great tips! Thanks for sharing..
    Crystal Gibson
    mrs.gibson24@yahoo.com

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  9. Great tips! If you plan to coupon, have a copy of the policy << I like that one! It saves time and hassle! I once brought a competitor coupon $10 off $10+ to a store where they had a huge sale going on. The manager said "We don't take those, we only accept register coupons from competitors".. What? lol. Their policy clearly stated "We accept competitor coupons (excluding register coupons)"

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  10. This is a great article. I will be sure to pass it along to my noob friends :)

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  11. Great advice. ..thank you and I love your blog!

    Nanette Tibot

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  12. You really do need to check the fine print on all coupons, so you don't disappoint yourself.

    Great tips, great article!

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  13. It took me a long time to learn how to "coupon" correctly. The excitement of getting something free, or almost free, resulted in many products in my home of no use to anyone! I needed this advice several years ago, before I learned most of this the hard way!

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  14. I used to love to coupon! I lived in an area that doesn't have very many incentives for coupons (doubling etc.) and fell out of it. I need to get back in. Great post!

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  15. Great tips I am new at this and I can only learn, but I must say today I got three free items at the grocery store using my coupons woo hooo!!
    heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

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  16. These are excellent tips! Thank you for posting them!

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  17. Great advice. I have watched those couponing shows and they are amazing!

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  18. Great tips! I was also guilty of using coupons for items I didn't use when I first started out. There are no stores near me that double coupon anymore, so I only use high value coupons for items I actually need.

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  19. Great tips and the only thing I have had issues with is like at Walmart, if a coupon won't scan there, they will not manually do it for you. Not sure what it is or why but they refuse to take your coupon

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  20. Thank you for the tips. I need to stop forgetting to take my coupons to the store with me!

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  21. I need to use coupons more. Tend to forget about them.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  22. Love couponing..wish more stores had deals like some of my friends in other states

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  23. Thanks for the tips. Especially number 7.

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  24. Awesome tips! I want to start couponing, so jealous when I see expert couponers at the store with their binders getting all their groceries for 59 cents.

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  25. These are really good tips, thumbs up....

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