photo credit: katerha
Up until now, we’ve been laying the groundwork for successful couponing. We’ve planned ahead with a budget and menu planning, we looked at how to organize our coupons and I’ve given you a list of resources for building your coupon inventory.
Now it’s time to put our coupons to work. Half the battle is knowing how to use your coupons strategically and when. Here are 5 tips to help you get more bang for your buck!
Let the Pros Do the Work for You
Let’s face it! We’re all a little short on time these days. And if you have toddlers running around, you’re a homeschooling mom or you work outside the home, well then, let’s just say you have to find more ways to redeem your time than the rest of us.
Frugal bloggers make it possible for those of us with very little time to find deals, find coupons and save money. At this point, you’ll want to choose which money saving blogs you will follow. I recommend no more than four. I would pick two that are local to where you live and two that have nationwide coverage.
Here are the four blogs I follow:
I decide which blogs I follow based on these things:
- Is the blog updated consistently?
- Does it bring you deals that are pertinent to your area and the products you buy?
- Does it inspire you?
But be careful. It’s so easy to get caught up in following multiple blogs and always hunting for the next great deal. Before you know it, you may be saving lots of money but you’ll be super short on time, and probably burned out.
Get More Coupons
The more coupons you have to work with, the more deals you can do. First of all, familiarize yourself with all the different sources for finding coupons, as we discussed in the previous post.
Second, figure out a way to get your hands on multiple coupon inserts every week. Buy multiple copies of the paper. Ask your friends for theirs. Ask your neighbors for theirs. Whatever you have to do. Personally, I buy three papers every week (sometimes more if it’s a really great week for coupons). Yes, that’s money out of my pocket, but my savings MORE than make up for it.
If you find a FREE or cheap deal for toothpaste, deodorant or spam (just kidding), you’re going to wish you had more than one coupon so you could buy three instead of one. This also fit with the pantry principle and saves you from paying full price in the future.
Homeland doubles coupons $1 and under every single day. This means that you will receive a discount equal to double the amount shown on the coupon according to store specific policy. For instance, if your coupon is for $1 off ONE item, then you will receive $2 for that item. The discount is automatically calculated at the register.
There is one policy you need to be aware of. Many Homeland stores only double ONE of “like” coupons in one transaction. So if you have two $1 coupons for Cheerios and buy two boxes in the same transaction, only one coupon will double to $2. The other coupon will only discount $1.
Several Homeland locations double up to THREE like coupons in the same transactions, so if you have one of these locations near you, be sure to shop there:
- Chickasha Store #127 – 759 W. Grand Ave
- Haysville, KS Store #646 – 201 N. Main Street
- Cleveland Store #752 – 501 N. Broadway
- Ardmore Store #169 – 205 N. Commerce
- OKC Store #273 – 10700 S. Penn
- Norman Store #101 – 1100 W. Main
- Norman Store #200 – 1724 W. Lindsey Rd
- Norman Store #219 – 2600 W. Robinson
- Norman Store #255 – 1251 Alameda St.
- Edmond Store #208 – 2205 W. Edmond Rd
- Edmond Store #238 – 1151 N. Bryant Ave
- Edmond Store #886 – 24 E. 33rd
Be careful only to purchase those items that give you rock bottom pricing after doubled coupons.
Picking cherries refers to shopping at a particular store according to what’s on sale that week.
Use the weekly circulars (or better yet, follow a few blogs like I suggested before) to find the lowest priced deals when matched with coupons. This requires knowledge of the average price of an item at other stores and discipline in only buying what’s “on your list” and not succumbing to all the “other great deals” the store has to offer.
My rule of thumb is to only make a special trip to a specific store if there are three or more hot deals that week OR it’s something that I buy on a regular basis and can save substantially on.
My advice to someone just getting started is to pick cherries at Homeland with double coupons. Then do the remainder of your shopping at Crest Foods as they have all around good deals. You’ll be amazed at how much you will save just shopping at two stores.
Once you’re comfortable with this, then start picking cherries at CVS utilizing their ExtraCare program along with coupons.
Many stores issue their own “store” coupons as an alternative way of running a sale. Some allow the use of one manufacturer coupon along with a store coupon on the same item. This is a great way to save a little more.
CVS, Walgreens, Target and Homeland are the stores that allow this in our area.
When stacking coupons, always be sure to give the cashier any manufacturer coupons you want to use first. Then hand over the store coupons.