Jun 072011How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 7)

HowtoTuesay How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 7)

Topic: How to Stack Coupons

If you’re just joining us, I started a How To Tuesday series to help you learn how to achieve Extreme Couponing status. You’ll learn how to coupon shop step-by-step and take your regular couponing to Extreme Couponing. If you’re new, be sure you check out our previous week’s features.

One way to achieve the over-the-top savings you see on the Extreme Couponing TV Show is to stack your coupons. This means using two coupons on a single item: a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon. Use two coupons on an item already on sale you can triple your savings.

:: Know Your Stores

In order to achieve Extreme Couponing Success stacking coupons, you first need to learn which stores allow you to stack coupons. National retailers like Walgreens, Target, Safeway and CVS allow this practice. But check your local stores to determine if you can add more stores to you list of coupon stacking retailers.

:: Find Store Coupons

In order to stack the two types of coupons, you’ll need to know where to find them. We already reviewed where to find manufacturer coupons. Now, I’ll help you find store coupons.

Walgreens

  • In-ad Coupons: You’ll find store coupons in Walgreens weekly ad which is released on Sundays. You can either get the ad in your Sunday newspaper or find it at the front of the store.
  • Monthly Coupon Book: Walgreens also releases a monthly coupon book with dozens of store coupons inside. Throughout the month, you can pair many of these with sale items for deeper discounts. You’ll find this monthly coupon book at the front of your store, usually in the same spot as the weekly ads.
  • In-Store Coupon Books: Occassionally Walgreens will release seasonal coupon books like the Infant Care Coupon Book or the Diabetes and You Coupon Book. These are usually much more difficult to find but the coupons inside tend to have longer expiration dates.

Target

  • Online Coupons: Target offers printable store coupons online. You can print them out like other printable coupons sites. They usually have a limit of two but if you have access to multiple computers, you may be able to print additional coupons.
  • Insert Coupons: On Sundays you may spot some Target coupons in your Smartsource or Red Plum insert. Occassionally Target offers store coupons for national brand items like Tide, Bounty or other items in the Sunday coupon inserts. They always have the Target logo on them so they are easy to differentiate from the other manufacturer coupons.
  • Home Mailers: Target sends coupon booklets by mail to people on their mailing list. There are two types of mailers. One is a regular book with a variety of coupons. The other is a baby mailer that has coupons for baby and toddler items. I’m not sure how to get on the mailing list. I believe doing a baby registry gets you on the baby mailer list.

Safeway

  • In-ad Coupons: You’ll find store coupons in the Safeway weekly ad which is released on Wednesdays and often on Sundays too. You can always find them in the front of the store. The Sunday ads typically come in the newspaper. The Wednesday ads vary. Some people receive them by mail. Others receive them in their Wednesday newspaper.
  • In-Store Coupon Books: Occassionally Safeway will release seasonal coupon books. Occasionally you will find them in-store but most of the time you will need to ask at Customer Service. These coupon books typically coincide with National promotions like Frozen Food month or a Diabetes Awareness campaign.

CVS

  • Red Coupon Scanner: Most CVS locations have a big red coupon scanner. When you scan your CVS card, coupons will spit out. These coupons are always CVS coupons. Sometimes you’ll find a $4/$20 CVS purchase coupon or a $3/$10 Cosmetics purchase. But other times they will be for specific items like $5 off two Banana Boat suncare.
  • Online Coupons: CVS has an online coupon site. The majority of the coupons listed are manufacturer coupons but occasionally you will find a CVS coupon in the midst.

:: Stack Them!

Now that you know how to find store coupons and manufacturer coupons, you’re ready to stack them. Remember, if you find a store coupon and want to know if there is a corresponding manufacturer coupon, you can check the Saving with Shellie Coupon Database.

Here are some deal ideas that show the savings with using a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon. Keep in mind these are old deals that are no longer available.

Walgreens

Bayer Chewable Asprin – $2.99
-Use $1/1 Bayer Aspirin coupon (SS 3/20) AND
-Use $2/1 Walgreens Bayer Aspirin coupon (In-Ad coupon)
Final Price = FREE

Target

Cutter Skinsations Insect Spray – $3.99
-Use $1/1 Cutter printable coupon AND
-Use $2/1 Cutter Target printable coupon
Final Price = $.99

Safeway

Oscar Mayer Meat Franks – $.99 (with in-ad coupon)
-Use $1/2 Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs (SS 5/15)
Final Price = $.98 for 2 ($.49 each)

CVS

Diet Coke (20oz) – $1.49
-Use $1/2 Diet Coke coupon AND
-Use BOGO CVS Diet Coke coupon
Final Price = $.49 for 2 ($.25 each)

Stacking coupons is a fabulous way to increase your savings. Make sure you know your store’s coupon policy on stacking. It often helps to take the coupon policy with you when you shop in case you experience problems. Also, it’s usually a good idea to give all your manufacturer coupons first and give all your store coupons second.

Experienced Couponers: Chime In! What tips do you have for Stacking Coupons?

Check out the entire How To Tuesday feature to learn how to achieve savings success using coupons.

May 312011How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 6)

HowtoTuesay How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 6)

Topic: How to Use the Coupon Database

If you’re just joining us, I started a How To Tuesday series to help you learn how to achieve Extreme Couponing status. You’ll learn how to coupon shop step-by-step and take your regular couponing to Extreme Couponing. If you’re new, be sure you check out our previous week’s features.

A coupon database is a very valuable tool for saving money. Sometimes you need to purchase items that might not be on sale. Or maybe you come across a killer clearance sale and want to gather your coupons. This is when a Coupon Database will come in handy.

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You can find the Coupon Database in the Coupon Section at the top of my site. Click it and you’ll have access to the entire database. To find coupons in the database, you can search several ways. (Click any of the pictures to enlarge)

:: Search By Product Type

One way to search the database is the search for a certain type of product. Let’s say you need toilet paper and aren’t particular about the brand. Just type in “toilet paper” in the search box and all the coupon related to toilet paper will come up.

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In the picture above you’ll see the first of many coupons listed for toilet paper. Here’s a quick run down of what information each column provides.

  • Description – This gives the brand and variety.
  • Value – Indicates how much the coupon will save you. It might be a $1 off or a buy one get one free.
  • Expiration – Tells when the coupon expires
  • Source – Tells you where to find the coupon. It might be a printable coupon, one from a Sunday insert or a home mailer. You’ll find all types of coupons in the coupon database. If the coupon is a printable, you can just click the link and be taken to the source.
  • Limitation – Tell what sizes or varieties are included or excluded on the coupon
  • Store – Lists the store where you can use the coupon. If it’s blank, the coupon is a manufacturer coupon and can be used at any store.
  • Blogging Format – This is basically just a recap of all the columns.

If you aren’t brand specific, this is a great way to find a variety of coupons for a particular type of product. This would be a great way to search for toothpaste, shampoo and other type coupons.

:: Search by Brand

Let’s say you are brand specific. In the P&G Giveaway it looks like quite a few of you are partial to Tide. Let’s say you’re running low on detergent and want to find a current Tide coupon.

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So just type “Tide” in the search box and you’ll find all the coupons available for Tide products. You could further restrict it so list Tide Detergent if you were only looking for detergent.

:: Search by Type

You can also search by coupon type. Let’s say your store doesn’t accept internet coupon. So, you don’t want to see any printable coupons in your search results. Just click “Advanced Search” below the search bar. This will bring up more detailed search terms.

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In this example, for my toilet paper search, I only requested “Regular” coupons as my type. I didn’t want to see any of the printables. The search results only returned regular insert and mailer coupons. However, you could change it to only show printable coupons.

There are lots of other ways to search: by expiration, by specific insert or magazine. The possibilities are pretty endless. I just think these three ways are the most common. So, make your shopping list and search the coupon database to find coupons to help you save.

Experienced Couponers: Chime In! What do you like best about the Coupon Database?

Check out the entire How To Tuesday feature to learn how to achieve savings success using coupons.

May 242011How to Tuesday: Remove Pages from your Facebook Profile

HowtoTuesay How to Tuesday: Remove Pages from your Facebook Profile

We were going to tackle How to Use a Coupon Database today but I’ve gotten numerous emails this week from readers asking how to remove pages from your Facebook Profile. So I thought I’d postpone the Coupon Database until next week and help you clean up your Facebook page today.

I know we’ve all done it. We “like” pages on Facebook and allow them to access our profile so we can get a free sample or coupon. But how to get rid of them once you’ve “liked” them? It’s much easier than it appears.

To remove pages from your profile, log in to your Facebook account.

1. Go to “Edit My Profile”
2. In the left sidebar select “Activities and Interests”
3. Click “Show Other Pages”

Then just remove the ones you don’t want. It’s easy and purging regularly will help keep your information safe. And as long as you’re on Facebook, make sure you are following Saving with Shellie. I post more time sensitive deals there and when we get to 7500 fans, we’ll have a $75 giveaway!

Chime in! How do you keep your info safe when requesting coupons and freebies on the Internet.

May 172011How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 5)

HowtoTuesay How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 5)

Topic: When to Use Your Coupon

If you’re just joining us, I started a How To Tuesday series to help you learn how to achieve Extreme Couponing status. You’ll learn how to coupon shop step-by-step and take your regular couponing to Extreme Couponing. If you’re new, be sure you check out our previous week’s features.

In previous weeks we’ve talked about how to find coupons and how to organize them. Today we’re going to talk about when to use them.

:: Need vs. Want

The first step in cowing when to use your coupons is to determine if the item is a need or a want. But I think there’s another middle category called could use.

Need - These are products you use on a regular basis: toothpaste, toilet paper, cereal and other staples.

Could Use – These are things that aren’t necessarily needs but rank slightly higher than wants. For example you found a coupon for Capri Sun drinks. You may not normally let your children drink Capri Sun on a regular basis but you know you have to bring drinks to your kid’s school one day. This is a coupon you could use.

Want – These are things that you don’t need but simply want. Items like Crest White Strips, Ice Cream or other not-so-healthy food options.

Once you determine which category your coupons fall into, it’s easier to know when to use them and when to let them expire.

::  Wait for a Sale

Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you need to use it right away. The best way to use your coupons is to wait for a sale at the grocery store and use your coupon on top of the sale price. Using this practice you can likely get brand name items cheaper than generic.

Eventually you will set your own price points for different items, but until you do, 50% off is a good starting point. Try not to use your coupons unless the using the coupon give you a 50% or more savings off the regular price. Try this practice with items you need. Use 75% as a starting point for items you could use or items you want.

:: Patience & Free Product Coupons

We all get free product coupons from time to time. You may want to run out and use your coupons as soon as it comes but try to hold off. Wait and see if there will be a buy one, get one free sale. Then your free product coupon could turn into two free products.

I do this regularly but one of my greatest scores was some Jennie-O Ground Turkey meat. I received a $5 off Jennie-O Ground Turkey coupon ages ago. The expiration date was for many months later. I knew that $5 coupon would get me one package free at just about any grocery store but I waited and waited. Sure enough, Randalls had them buy one, get one free in their circular one week. I was able to get two packages of ground turkey free.

If the item never goes on a buy one, get one free sale, you’ve lost nothing. Simply get your free item right before your coupon expires.

:: Double & Triple Low Value Coupons

It’s gotten to the point now where I cringe when I get a $.55 coupon because I know it won’t double. I’d rather the manufacturer just released a $.50 coupon so I could take it and double it. Many grocery stores double and triple manufacturer coupons. Know which stores in your area do and which don’t. If you aren’t  sure, call the store and ask.

There are $.35/1 Softsoap Handsoap coupons from the 5/15 Smartsource. For all you people with stores that triple coupons, this is a hot coupon. Stores often mark Softsoap pumps down to $1. With a triple coupon, that makes the handsoap free. Your neighbor probably bought it for $1.69 when it wasn’t on sale. But coupon users know. Wait for a sale and take it where it will triple.

If you don’t have a store that doubles or triples, you may want to just use low value coupons on items you need. They usually don’t offer much of a savings unless you needed to purchase the item anyway.

:: Stack Them

Another way to save big is to stack your coupons. Many stores like Safeway, Target, CVS and Walgreens allow you to use a manufacturer coupon AND a store coupon on a single item. That means double the savings if you can find store and manufacturer coupons that line up.  Very often you can get items free or very, very inexpensively. This practice is a great way to get some of your could use and want items for next to nothing.

:: Clearance Deals

Using your coupons on clearance items can mean extra savings. Clearance prices are already marked down below the normal sale price. Adding the coupon on top of the clearance price could mean a steal of a deal. Many couponers prefer to shop with all their coupons so they can take advantage of these deals.

:: Expiration Dates

Don’t feel like you have to use your coupons just because they are about to expire. If you’ve been holding your $1/1 coupon waiting for a sale and just haven’t found one yet, look at your coupon and determine if it’s a need. Then check your shelves and see if you have enough stock to last a week or two. Typically when one coupons expires the manufacturer will issue a new one a week or two later. But if you’re running low and you need the item, by all means use the coupon to get it a little cheaper.

If the item is a could use, assess the situation. It might be prudent for you to use the coupon. It might be better to let it expire. It depends on your situation but most of the time I think you could probably just let them expire. If it’s just a want, let it expire. You can wait until the next coupon and the next sale to get it much cheaper.

Don’t fall into the mentality that just because you have a coupon, you have to use it. You don’t. Coupons don’t make you buy things. You control your own finances. You just need to have some self-control and know when to walk away.

Experienced Couponers Chime In! Did I miss any tips you think might be helpful?

Check out the entire How To Tuesday feature to learn how to achieve savings success using coupons.

May 102011How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 4)

HowtoTuesay How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 4)

Topic: Understanding The Coupon

If you’re just joining us, I started a How To Tuesday series to help you learn how to achieve Extreme Couponing status. You’ll learn how to coupon shop step-by-step and take your regular couponing to Extreme Couponing. If you’re new, be sure you check out our previous week’s features.

Today I’m going to review what exactly all that stuff on the coupon actually means. You’ll be ready with explanations when your cashier says, “You can’t use this.”

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:: Coupon Fine Print

There are tiny words printed on the bottom on your coupons. If they beep at the register, your cashier may attempt to read this and explain why you can’t use the coupon. Know before you go what it all means.

One Coupon Per Purchase – This means that you can use one coupon per item you are purchasing. If you are buying a second item, you’ll need a second coupon in order to get the same savings.

One Coupon Per Transaction – This means that you are only allowed one coupon for this item in a single transaction. So if you want to purchase a second item and use a coupon, you’ll need to do a separate transaction.

Once you know the difference, you’ll be more confident couponer. You’ll be ready to explain because cashiers often confuse purchase and transaction.

Coupon Barcode How To Tuesday: Extreme Couponing (Part 4)

:: Coupon Bar Codes

Despite what coupons say, the bar code may indicate something completely different. Here are a few things to keep your eye on when you are looking at that coupon barcode.

Do Not Double – Many times coupons will say “Do Not Double”. This can be misleading. If your store offers double coupons (Safeway, Kroger etc), and the coupon bar code starts with a 5, it will double regardless what the coupon states. If the bar code starts with a 9, it will not double.

BOGO Coupons – Most buy on get one free coupons “attach” to only one item at checkout which means you can use a second coupon. I usually indicate this in my matchups and suggest you use a $1/1 coupon on the first item and the BOGO coupon on the second item. However, sometimes BOGO coupons “attach” to both items at checkout. These coupons have a number 14 in the barcode. You’ll find it in last two digits in the second set of five numbers. In the example above, it would be where the ’70′ is.

Knowing what your coupon means before you go can eliminate some of the questions at the register.

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:: Printable Coupon Security Indicators

People photocopy coupons. It’s a sad fact. They shouldn’t but for some reason they do it anyway. So, when cashiers see multiple copies of “like” coupons, they are more likely to refuse them as fraudulent. Thankfully the printable coupon sites build in security features to try to prevent people from copying. This is great because you can prove your coupons are legit.

Coupons.comCoupons.com, Red Plum and Bricks coupons have a security code on the upper right of the coupon. Beneath it is a unique set of 16 numbers. When you print multiple coupons, this unique set of numbers will change. When you give your cashier two of the same printable coupons and they ask if you photocopied them, show them the different numbers there to prove the coupons are unique.

Smartsource.comSmartsource.com coupons have a pin number listed in the upper right of the coupon. Like the security code above, this is to prevent people from copying and each coupon prints with a unique pin. This feature makes it easy to prove to your cashier that your multiple copies are legit.

It’s always a good idea to be an honest, ethical couponer. This makes things easier for everyone in the long run. By knowing precisely what your coupon means, you can use coupons correctly and show your cashier that honest couponers do exist!

Experienced Couponers Chime In! Did I miss any lingo explanations you think might be helpful?

Check out the entire How To Tuesday feature to learn how to achieve savings success using coupons.