Monday, June 15, 2009

My Top 10 Coupon Tips

The other day our youngest came in the room and instead of saying, "Mom...", he said, "Coupon Queen, may I have a Popsicle?" I in no way pretend to be a "Coupon Queen" but I do love saving money for my family. The following are tips that have helped me as I coupon and I hope they will help you too!

10) Invest in a Printer with Cheap Ink
I like to print coupons from the Internet as well as getting them from the paper and other sources. I purchased a printer that is very cheap on ink (yep, got it on sale). My old printer cost $60 to fill the ink, my new printer cost $25 (for black and color ink!) and I get more prints! Now I don't feel bad hitting the print button over and over and over!
9) Print in Draft
When printing coupons set your printer to draft. It not only prints faster but it uses much less ink.
8) Purchase Lower Grade Paper
Since I like to print coupons I was buying the paper I always purchased. The other day I noticed I was still buying the paper with the higher brightness count. Because I was doing this my cost was about $3 higher. I noticed if I purchased paper with a lower brightness count I could save a substantial amount of money. After all, I don't think the cashier is going to look at me and say, "Man, you have dull looking coupons!"
7) Clip & File
I like to clip my coupons and put them in a little basket so they don't fly all over the place (in our house there is always a fan running). As soon as I am finished cutting I file. It only takes a few minutes and I want them ready when I leave the house.
6) Watch For BOGO Free Sales
Don't you just love BOGO Free Sales? I sure do! Did you know, in most stores you can use two coupons because you are purchasing two items? How exciting is that! So, start matching them up and get even bigger savings!
5) Know The Policy
I have found if there is a problem with a coupon its due to the cashier not knowing the store policy and assuming you are going to take his/her word as law. If you know the policy before going into the store it will help when issues arise and if an issue arises, remain claim and just explain the policy. In most cases it will work out in your favor if you know the policy.
4) Read the Fine Print
Don't take for granted that the item in the picture is the only thing you can purchase with the coupon. The other day I had a coupon for $1.50 off a brand of makeup and there was a picture of eyeshadow on the coupon. I was in the aisle and noticed the same brand lipstick was 75% off, after I read the fine print on the coupon I noticed it said, "ANY Item" on the coupon so I was able to use the coupon on any product this company made. I was happy to get a tube of lipstick marked from $10 to $1.00! Make sure to read that fine print, a better bargain could be hiding in there!
3) Look on the Sale Aisle
Just about every store has a sale aisle. I have noticed the drugstores have end-caps in the back of the store as their sale area. Look there for clearance items. The other day I noticed they had tape on clearance for .75cents, that was great for me because I had coupons for .75 cents off! So, I stocked the boys art basket with FREE tape!

2) Buy Two, Three, okay, maybe Four!
Sometimes I purchase two even three Sunday papers if they have good coupons. With most papers you can go online to see what kind of coupons they will have available that week. A few weeks ago I purchased four! The next week our local grocery store had a BOGO Free sale on Sausage. I had 4 coupons for $1.50 off, so I got 4 sausages for $1.18! The sausage was $3.59 BOGO so it was $7.18 for 4 sausages. Since I had 4 items I used 4 coupons at $1.50 each. I paid $1.18 for all four sausages a savings of $13.18 and for some reason, when you do that, Red Beans and Rice taste so much better!
1) My Number One Tip
Have fun with it! Set aside a little time each week to see how much you can save. I started out trying to save 1/4 of our bill, then 1/2, now 3/4! Challenge yourself, get the family involved! Set aside the savings for something fun, like a mini vacation or a Wii! Make it a family affair and soon everyone will spot a coupon!

Sunday we were on our way home from church and we were at a stop light. There was a white piece of paper blowing in the wind and for some reason we all noticed it. I said, "Stop the car, its a coupon!" They looked at me and yelled simultaneously,
"You've got to be kidding!!!!" Then everyone started laughing!
Just have fun, after all, you are saving cold hard cash!
Treat Yourself!

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