Friday, June 11, 2010

Couponing 101

Sorry for the long break in posts. The end of the school year was a tad busy, and this first week of summer has been busy as well. Fun busy, but still busy nonetheless. I'm super excited for what fun this summer is going to bring; it is, after all, my most favorite season of the year :)

Now on to the good stuff. Coupons. I've recently become a fan of coupons as I've learned just how much $$ I can save if I take a few minutes to plan and plot my shopping strategy. We had a "Couponing 101" class during lunch one day at school (yes, we actually had a lady come and teach us about coupons in the teachers lounge) and I learned a few neat things that I feel are worth sharing. I am, by no means a pro at coupons, but I am getting there; and thanks to the cute coupon lady from UK, I'm much better now than I was :)

Tip #1. You CAN use more than one coupon for the same item IF the bar code on the coupons are different. Now maybe you knew this, but I sure didn't. So, basically you can use 3 different coupons for those Viva paper towels (I say Viva because they are my fave, the best, and of course, they cost the most) as long as they have different bar codes. You could use 3 $1 coupons and get them for free! Hellloooooo Gloriousness!!! Just be sure to check the bar codes on the back of each coupon before attempting this ;)

Tip#2. Use EBay for certain coupons. Coupons out on the West Coast are at a higher value than those we receive here. Why? Because the cost of living is higher in Cali therefore, the coupons offered tend to be at a higher rate. People out West are well aware of this. They simply take a few minutes to cut out some great coupons, charge you, say $1 for 10 (which still saves you crazy $$) and you both are in business. They earn extra cash for cutting them, you save money by using them.
Another plus to this. Many of these coupons have a different bar code than the ones we receive here so you can add these "West Coast Coupons" to our "Southeast Coupons" and you save double the amount. Once again, glorious!!!

Tip#3. The worst newspaper for coupons in Kentucky, The Lexington Herald. The best, The Courier Journal. Instead of buying 2 Lex Heralds on Sunday, buy 2 Courier Journals.

Tip#4. Do NOT become a "brand snob." What's this, you may ask? A person who will only buy a certain brand-name product and refuse to ever try another brand. Cute coupon lady that came to school told us she never buys generic products BUT she is also not brand specific for the most part. Now, I am the first to admit that there are a few products for which I'm totally sold on a specific brand name, i.e., Viva Paper towels, but for the most part, that's it. There may be a buy one get on free deal at Kroger on Heinz Ketchup PLUS a $0.50 coupon in the paper. In that case you'd be silly to buy Hunts (to me, both brands taste the same) when you could be saving $$ by buying Heinz. However, for those products that you are band specific on, watch for deals and use EBay to find higher value coupons.

Tip #5. Take an hour or so on Sunday and plot out your strategy. I'm not one for driving to 5 different stores to save the most $$, but I will buy groceries at Kroger one week, vs Wal-Mart, if Kroger is offering a great sale on some items I'm wanting. I have also found that Rite Aid tends to offer the best deals on medicine. With my crazy allergies, I HAVE to have my Zyrtec. Rite Aid usually offers coupons for it in their Sunday and/or mid-week mailer that I use. Thankfully, there's a Rite Aid right next to Kroger, virtually in my backyard, so hitting up both is an easy stop for me!

I hope you found these tips as great as I did. I saved some major $$ last weekend by doing a little bit of savvy shopping and it felt great. My friend Melanie said I'm starting to sound like a soccer-mom with all of my couponing I've been doing. But hey, bachelorette's have to save some $$ as well ;)


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