I usually clip my big stack of coupons at work and I was flooded with great couponing tips that I’ve learned through my experiences. It wouldn’t be right not to share…
So, why should someone coupon?? In exchange for a little time to clip and basic organization, you save money on products that you buy anyway. Who wouldn’t want that? You might just save $1 or $20, but every dollar, every cent counts toward purchasing something else or saving for a rainy day.
I get my coupons from the Sunday paper, plus the Red Plum inserts that come on Wednesdays. I usually check the break room newspaper on Sundays for extra coupons and my grandmother has a coupon basket for me too. If you are okay with doing a little more legwork, there are tons of coupons online on various websites. I had to go online when I was in college because we didn’t get a Sunday paper delivered and it just made the most sense for me at the time.
So without further delay, here are my tips:
• Never, ever buy hair dye without a coupon!! Unless you go to a salon or beauty store, the drugstore brands without fail have multiple coupons! I just clipped five different coupons for hair dye: $1 off two Revlon (good deal at Walgreens/CVS sometimes have it 2/$4 and then stack $1 off two coupon on top of that!), $2 off Clairol, $3 off Nice’n Easy Color Blend Foam, $2 off any L’Oreal Preference, Feria, or Healthy Look Creme Gloss, $10 off John Frieda Precision Foam Colour with purchase of John Frieda Shampoo and Conditioner… it’s as simple as that. Get. A. Coupon. Target sometimes runs deals for $5 gift card when you buy two hair dyes of a certain brand, so that it an extra incentive. That deal is going on until August 11 if anyone is interested.
• I have some favorite deals that I like to check if certain items are on sale to stack a coupon on top of the great deal. CVS is really good for this, especially with health and beauty products, feminine products, and household items. I probably have 20 little bottles of Dawn stored away because I got them for 25 cents! CVS would have them on sale for 75 or 79 cents and I had a bunch of 50 cent and 25 cent coupons, so it was hard not to stock up. Also, it’s a better deal to go with the smaller bottle… it is always cheaper! CVS also has deals on Tide laundry detergent… $5.94 for a 45-50 load bottle of Tide plus $1 off coupon! I also watch for deals on feminine products there and there are always coupons for that in the Sunday paper inserts. CVS has some good deals on make-up and beauty products too, but I use Mary Kay (and you should too!) so I don’t check those deals anymore.
• Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it. If you wouldn’t buy the item without a coupon, you shouldn’t be buying it with a coupon… It only leads to wasted money if you don’t use the product and that it the opposite of your goal, isn’t it? This also goes for buying a certain amount of an item because you have a coupon in certain cases. If you know you aren’t going to use three boxes of cereal, you shouldn’t be buying three.
• It sounds really basic, but you should really know what you buy and what you don’t buy before you start clipping. This goes along with the previous tip. If you know which products you buy most, you clip multiples of those coupons. If you know that you never buy a certain product anymore, but are clipping the coupons for it every week, you are wasting your time clipping and wasting time throwing it out when it is expired.
• There are also tons of coupons for various restaurants… I like to stash these in my wallet so I always have them with me. These are found it the newspaper inserts as well as the Valpak coupon envelope. Some restaurants that have coupons include Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Bucca Di Beppo, Red Lobster, Boston Market, along with several pizza joints and Mexican restaurants. The newspaper inserts usually feature chain restaurants while the Valpak has local eateries. If you are going to eat there anyway, why not save money?
• I pick up quite a few things from working at a grocery store and I cannot tell you how many people don’t clip their coupons until they check out. Not only is this a pain for you and the cashier, you might be missing out on deals that you didn’t see because you were too concerned with ripping out a coupon out of the ad… I can also tell you that if you are pleasant with the cashier and are not a pain in the ass to check out, the cashier will usually tell you if you had an item that requires a coupon from the in-store ad. So be nice to your cashier, they have to deal with a lot of crap!
• You should also be looking at the price sticker on the shelf or near the product. This seems pretty obvious, but read the fine print! Some stores make you buy two of a product when it is 2 for $5, but others don’t require that you buy a certain amount. Also watch for what the limit on an item is if it’s on sale. One thing that happens incredibly frequently is that customers don’t real the sign that tells them that they need the bonus coupon from the store ad. It says so on the sign, yet people don’t read the whole sign and make excuses that they didn’t see it. It is right there. Store are not trying to hide the fact that you need a coupon. Just get one.
• Oops, the last couple tips kind of turned into a rant, but for good reason… two of my favorite beauty products that I like to stock up on don’t have coupons, but are very good deals when they are on sale. The first is Organix Shampoo and Conditioner. These normally retail for $6.99 a bottle and it’s not that big of a bottle… I would never pay that. But about every month or so, Pick’ n ‘Save has them on sale for $2.49!! That’s a savings of $4.50 a bottle! I usually get about 14-20 bottles when they are on sale and the cashier looks at me like I’m crazy, but it’s so worth the savings. And they come in great smelling scents (another huge factor for me) like Acai Berry Avocado, Pomegranate something and Tea Tree Mint, but there are some that are less scented like Moroccan Argan Oil, Brazillian Keratin, and Cocoa Butter. The other thing that I buy on sale is Bath and Body Works foaming hand soap. The almost always have a good deal on them, usually 5 for $15 or 7 for $20 and they usually have some sort of coupon out there for 20% off your order or the like.
Tell me how you have saved money! Have you tried any of these tips? What is your experience with couponing?