Couponing Basics

When people see me in the store with my big coupon binder, I inevitably run into people with questions:  How long have you been doing this? How do you do it? Does it really work? I then get the joy of responding with: Not takes work....but it's do-able and it really does work!

Here's how:

Couponing is all about matching manufacturer's coupons to store deals, store coupons and/or rebates. Keep in mind the question "who's paying?" Manufacturer's pay the value on the manufacturer's coupon, just as stores eat the cost on their deals and coupons. Rebates are really fun, because no matter what the outcome at the register, they dish out rebates to those who qualify. So, even if you only paid $.24 for a tube of toothpaste, you still might stand to get a...let's say....$2 rebate on the product (or whatever the deal is). This is called a "money-maker." (And who doesn't like money-makers?!?)

If a store offers a deal and/or coupon, see if you can find a manufacturer's coupon to match it. These are called coupon "match-ups."

Each store has their own specific rules about how to coupon, but as long as they accept manufacturer's coupons, the store isn't losing money on the value of the manufacturer's coupon at all....because the manufacturer is footing the bill!

There are some rules:

1. Always follow the stated terms/conditions on the coupon, including the expiration date.

2. You can't pair multiple manufacturer's coupons with one product.
          For example: You cannot use a $1/(2) manuf. coupon with a Buy One Get One
          Free (B1G1) coupon if they are both manufacturer's coupons. If one is a manuf.
          coupon and the other a store coupon, it'll work just fine! (yay!)

Some suggestions:

1. Stay organized. Couponing can get very confusing very quickly - especially if you're not organized. Not being organized also leads to losing coupons, or at least losing track of what you have. The best couponers know what they have, and where it is....and have it with them at all times. This is why a good, portable system of organization is very helpful.

2. Stay nice. Nobody likes a mean, scary couponer. I've talked with many a cashier who has experienced nasty couponers, and not one of them liked the experience! (surprise, surprise...) When you're couponing correctly, things will usually go on without a hitch; but thanks to computer glitches, training issues, and a host of other scenarios...problems are bound to arise. When couponers stay nice, they get less frustrated, help the cashiers stay pleasant and helpful, and cause less irritation to customers waiting in line. Besides, no deal is worth losing one's testimony over :-)

3. Stay connected with the coupon blogging communities. There are so many! This blog finds it's "home" in Spokane, WA, so anyone in Spokane will find it particularly helpful. However, if you're not from Spokane, still stop by regularly. Store deals in Spokane may be similar to where you live (if not the same, depending on what stores you have), and you may find other helpful links to manufacturer's websites, or other golden nuggets of information on the vast world of the internet. The more we all stay connected, the more we can help each other in our couponing adventures!