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Using Coupons Strategically

>> Thursday, February 18, 2010

Utilize these shopping strategies and watch the savings roll in!!

Don’t be brand loyal
We all have some specific preferences as to the brands and products we use, however, being willing to use different brands and try new products can help you save big money. Determine beforehand the types of products you are willing to “be flexible” on. Then keep an eye out for deals on these items.

Save All (or most of) Your Coupons
This tip goes hand in hand with “not being brand loyal”. If you want to see the huge savings roll in, save all your coupons. Many times you may be able to use coupons on a sale/promotional item(s) that generate(s) customer rewards (extra care bucks or register rewards) which result in overage or a profit. Even if you don’t personally use some of these products, you can donate them and then “roll” the rewards into future deals on products you do use.

Know the Coupon Rules
One coupon per item(s) or per quantities listed
Example:
**Coupon reads “save $1.00 when you buy one” - you must buy ONE item to use this coupon.
**Coupon reads “save $1.00 when you buy two” - you must buy TWO items to use this coupon.
“One coupon per purchase” DOES NOT mean you can only use one per transaction at the store. It only means you can use ONLY ONE coupon per item purchased.
Know the individual store policies where you shop.

Let Your BOGO Coupons Work Overtime
Using a BOGO coupon on an item that the store has on sale for “BOGO” results in 2 FREE products!
Example:
**Gillette Shampoo is $4.99 and on sale BOGO Free. You buy two and the cashier scans them in. The first bottle rings up for $4.99, the second bottle rings up FREE. You hand the cashier the BOGO coupon and she scans it. The register will prompt her to enter an amount. She enters $4.99 and it is deducted from the remaining amount which is $4.99. This results in $0.00 owed.
Note: this does not work if the store register rings up BOGO items at 50% instead of full price and then 1 free.
Anytime you are using a BOGO coupon (except in a BOGO sale free sale), you may also use other $ off coupon(s) according to quantities listed on the BOGO coupon and according to individual store policy.
Example:
**Gillette Shampoo is $4.99. You have a BOGO coupon and a $1.00 off one coupon. Buy 2:
*First Bottle $4.99 - Use $1.00 off one coupon
* Second Bottle $4.99 - Free w/ BOGO coupon
NOTE: If the coupon is “buy 2 get 1 free” then you can use a BOGO coupon plus TWO $ off coupons.

Double Coupons
To my knowledge, Homeland and GFF Foods are the only stoes that double coupons in the OKC metro area. This means that you will receive a discount equal to double the amount shown on the coupon according to store specific policy (see “store specific coupon policy” handout for details).

Pick Cherries
Picking cherries refers to shopping at a particular store according to what’s on sale that week. Use the weekly circulars to find deals you have coupons for that will make the item(s) cheap or better yet…FREE! This requires knowledge in 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.

Pair manufacturer coupons with store coupons
Many stores issue their own “store” coupons as an alternative way of running a sale. Walgreens, CVS, Target and Homeland all do this and allow the use of manufacturer’s coupons in conjunction with their own coupons on the same item (see “store specific coupon policy” handout for details).

Pair manufacturer/store coupon(s) with a rebate
Manufacturers often offer a rebate on their products and will reimburse the full cost of the product BEFORE coupons are deducted. This is a great way to make a profit!

Use Coupons on Clearance Items
Using coupons on clearance items to further reduce the already reduced price is a great way to save big.
I never go shopping without perusing the clearance section/aisles. Know where the clearance areas are in the stores you shop the most and visit them frequently.

Look for FREE, SUPER Cheap and Profitable Deals
Be ALERT! Know the coupons you have and keep your eyes open for deals that result in getting items ridiculously cheap, FREE or imagine…being PAID to take products out of the store.

Coupons and Sales Run in Cycles
Many of the same manufacturers put out coupons religiously for the same products. Some of these are Proctor & Gamble products, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, etc. There’s always another coupon to replace the one that just expired.
Stores often run sales and their loss leaders in conjunction with the life cycle of coupons. So if you get a coupon in a Sunday insert, you can almost bet on finding a great sale on that product within the next few weeks.

Let the Pros Do the Work for You
Find a couple of money saving blogs or websites that are dependable about posting good deal alerts and various printable coupons. This can save you lots of time and energy and help you get the hang of the coupon game.

Participate in Customer Rewards Programs

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