I have to admit, I am not always detail oriented. I tend to miss obvious things, not read the small print, and generally be absent-minded. I think couponing is helping me to get better at actually noticing details.
Lets get down to Coupons 101. You can find this information, and much much more on numerous blogs and websites devoted to this subject. But if you are already here, I will be glad to share waht I've learned. Again, please remember - I am pretty new to this myself, so you might find incorrect information, mistakes, or lack of knowledge on my part about some things. Feel free to correct me (in a nice way please). I am here to learn, just like you.
1) Where do coupons come from?
When a daddy coupon and a mommy coupon really love each other.....But actually, it seems from everywhere. Maybe I am just more sensitive to coupons, but it seems that no matter where I look - there is a coupon on something.
My main source of coupons is the Sunday paper. If you never bought one - it's sold on Sunday in most stores, like grocery store, convenience stores, gas stations, and even on the side of the street. It is a bit cheaper to get it from the side of the street, but please make sure to tip the people selling it.
Yes, you can also subscription to the paper (very frequently you find actually coupons on the paper inside the paper itself). You can subscription to the Sunday edition (or a few) for a small discount, and have it delivered to your home. I don't know if home delivery costs more, to be honest. You may need to research it on your own.
- Another good place to get coupons from is from the store you shop at. Most stores will have what we call in the biz "Blinkies". Those are the coupons dispensed near the products themselves, usually from a small dispenser that has a blinking light. Hence - blinkies.
- There are also the "peelies" - which are the peel-able coupons that live on top of the product itself.
- There are store coupons that come from the Magic Coupon Machine, like in CVS. You will need to swipe your CVS card to get them.
- Catalinas - those are coupons that are printed out at the regiuster, after making the purchase. I have never used them myself, but there are volumes devoted to the use and gathering of the catalinas themselves.
- And of course there are manufacturer coupons from various coupons sites, like Coupons.com.
2) Using coupons.
Basically, it's all in the details. Coupons must be used on things they are indicated on. At first, it might be a bit confusing, but after a while you will find that reading the coupon is pretty easy.
- Coupon for "ANY (#) item - even if it has a picture of a specific type for that brand, the 'any' tells you that you can use on any type. Usually the coupon will try to suggest you buy the most expensive item, but look instead for the smaller allowed size, for smallest amount.
- Coupon for a specific type must be used on that particular type. If it states "Tyson Breaded Chicken cutlet" - then that's what it must be used on. If it states "any 1 Tyson Frozen food, then any frozen food is eligible. Again, if you are not sure, you can always try it out and see if cashier/manager agrees.
- You can use only 1 manufacturer's coupon per item. But, you can also use a store coupon on that item as well - that's the whole idea of getting the most savings.
- A lot of coupons will state "1 coupon per purchase". That is singular the most confusing things for shoppers and cashier alike. We think that we can only use only 1 coupon of that type for our shopping trip. That is actually incorrect. "Purchase" means one item. You purchase multiple items - you can use an individual coupon for each one of those items.
- If a coupon states "1 per transaction" then it means just that - you can use just one coupon per shopping trip/transaction. You can, however, in most cases simply make several transactions. A transaction is an act of getting item, paying for it, and receiving a receipt. That constitutes a transaction.
- Manufacturer coupons.
As coupons most of the time state - duplicating them is illegal. Photocopying a coupon can land you in some hot water. With coupons printed online, you can generally print 2 coupons per computer on a given item. You can look at the coupon and see if it has a different number on it.
While most couponing sites, like coupons.com will have that coded into their software and will not allow you to print more coupons than you should, some sites don't seem to work properly with that.
It is up to you to make sure that you are not using identical# coupon on two different items. Again - that is illegal. Just print your coupons from more than one PC, and you are good to go.
- You can use the coupon on the date of it's expiration. I have not had any issues with that, but you can alwyas double check with the cashier before starting your purchase.
- As suggested by another couponing site, I ask the cashier if they would like the coupons before they start scanning my items. This is helpful, because the cashier can kind of see what you are buying, instead of trying to figure out whether you got the correct item and their quantity, after they are already in their bags. It saves time for you, cashier, other shoppers, and also eliminates the stress for everyone.