Questions/Answers about Coupons and Good Deals, Part One

I am reposting this post because it seems that they are alot of questions about how to make couponing work for you. I want everyone to understand how to use this system so please during this week, please feel free to e-mail me your questions. If you would like your question to be anonymous, please feel free to leave a comment with your question so that I can answer it. Every question is important, and if you have that question, chances are many more have the same question.

Oftentimes, coupons seem so trivial and when it is only for $.25, it really does not seem worth the time. Most people that receive coupons throw them or just put them in the recycling bin because they don't know how to use them and they really don't seem worth the time.

I thought this very thing and sometimes collected coupons only to have them collect dust in my purse and expire before I ever used them. Sound familiar? Only recently have I learned how to use these coupons correctly to not only reduce my grocery bill but to cut it in half!

This post is all about answering the questions that my readers may have about coupons and getting the best deal on your groceries.

1. Do you have to clip coupons to get a good deal?

No, you don't. If you never clipped a single coupon, you can still get good deals. The most important task you can do each week is make a menu. Take your local grocery store ad out at the beginning of the week and make your menu based on the sale items. Even though you don't clip coupons, be committed to never buying items at full-price unless absolutely necessary.

Plan ahead
! Does your family like lasagna twice a month? Plan for it. Don't go and buy all the ingredients for lasagna just because hamburger meat is on sale. Buy the hamburger meat and freeze it. Buy the rest of the ingredients when they are on sale. I like to stock up on the things I will use when I know they are at their lowest prices. Cheeses and many items will freeze.

2. My Sunday paper doesn't get the coupon inserts, am I missing something?

No. Some areas just do not get the coupon inserts. North Dakota being one of them. and Coupons By Dede are places you can purchase them from. You are not paying for the coupons, just the time someone took to gather them for you. If you would like to purchase the whole inserts, you can get them from Coupons By Dede. It will cost you about the price of a Sunday paper. If you do need to go this route, I would highly recommend finding a group of ladies to do this with so that you can all save on shipping.

3. If I print coupons, will stores accept them?

Most stores will accept them. Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, and Kmart will all accept them. A few of them even have their own coupons which you can print. Make sure you check out Target's printable coupons every two weeks. These are great because you can "stack" them with manufactor coupons to get an even better deal. (We will talk about "stacking" later.) Check your local stores to see if they will accept them. Most stores accept e-mails and I find this to be the best way as you then can print a copy of their store policy and carry it with you if someone questions you. In our local Grand Forks area, SuperOne and Hugos will accept online coupons. SuperOne does require that all of those printable coupons be in color. Every other store I know of, does not require color printables.

Some great places to get great online manufactore coupons are:
Smart Source
Red Plum

4. Should I print every coupon online or should I wait till I can use them?

There is an overwhelming amount of coupons online so do not feel like you need to print every one of them. Only print the ones that you know that your family will use. Print those immediately because you never know when those will no longer be available. For the other coupons, I would recommend that you print those when you see either see them for free or for such a good deal that you are willing to try that product. Sometimes that coupon will no longer be there but that is a risk you take. But if you don't normally buy it, do you really need it? Ask yourself this question before you use the ink and paper to print that coupon.

5. My coupon is about to expire, should I hurry up and buy that product?

Is that product a good deal with the coupon? Is it on sale? Do you normally use that product? Do you really need that product in the next few months? Do not let yourself get caught up in the fact that the coupon will expire therefore you have to use it. This will not save your family money! Ask yourself all of the above questions before you use an expiring coupon.

6. When should I use a coupon and when should I hold on to it?

Make a detailed list of the items that you normally buy and then mark next to them the normal price of that item. When you see that item on sale, put that sale price down. Do this for a couple of months and pretty soon, you will know when that product is at the "rock-bottom price". For example, Huggies diapers are normally $11.99 at Walgreens, their sale price is normally about $9.99. There was a sale on them for $10 and then you received $10 back for every $25 you purchased. I happened to have $5.00 off coupons so when I purchased 3 packages of diapers and used three coupons, it made three packs $5.00! That is an example of a rock-bottom price. When you see prices like this on your particular items, stock up for about 3-6 months till the next time your product goes to rock-bottom. This will save your family the most amount of money. This does take a little bit of work on your part but it will be worth the time and the effort you spent.