Monday, 13 February 2012

Tips and Tricks With Coupons

Hi Again!

So, now that you have an idea about where to get your coupons, I'd thought I'd show you the best ways to use them to your advantage. 

In the beginning, I didn't have very many coupons to shop with but I quickly learned that organization was key. Who wants to use them when your at the store and have to sift through a big pile of coupons at the check out line. So, I went to the local dollar store and bought a mini accordion file folder and named the tabs "food, free, house supplies, personal care, pets, medicine" and so on. Next for each section, I took at all coupons and organized them by category and due date, with my most used items in the front of the pile regardless of due date for easy access. This is a great way to have your coupons ready for a shopping trip when you're a novice. It's also amazing for organizing group buys like Groupon, Teambuy and such. But, that's a whole other story and I'm phasing out the use of them since their deals aren't really deals anymore. 

 Here's what my old folder looks like.

Now a days, I find that system just doesn't work for me anymore. I've got way too much coupons and not enough time to go through each section when I'm shopping, so I switched to the binder method. Same sections apply, however, I now use dividers for separating the sections, baseball card holders for small coupons and whole page sheet protectors for larger ones. I go strictly by due date and to save some space I put the same coupons in the same slots but spread it out so that I can read multiple expiry dates. I also added a new section for coupons I know I'll be using that week right in the front of my binder. This helps a lot! Since, I know I'll be checking flyers on Thursday when they come out. I make a list of things I know I'm getting right off the bat! And if I have a coupon for it, all the better and to the front of the binder it goes. 

Here's a shot of my binder with multiple coupons.

To get the best deals shopping, you have to know your prices. It's good to know what the normal prices are and if you can how often it usually goes on sale. When you see a good sale item and have a coupon to match, you double score! You are therefore saving with your coupon on top of the store sale. Most people don't realize your biggest savings technique is by buying smaller packages, where the coupon savings goes a lot farther. For example, it's better to save $1 off a $2 package of anything, than it is to save $1 off a $10 package of the same thing but in a bigger size.  Most things I get for free is because the item went on sale for a $1 and I had a $1 off coupon. The size may be half that of the regular size but who cares! I'd rather have 5 little bottles of the free stuff, than have to pay anything for the slightly larger packaging.  

Also, I noticed the most underused value of shopping at places like No Frills and Walmart is that they Price Match! Come on people! If you see something on sale somewhere else for cheaper, grab it and tell the cashier! You do have to show them proof of the price and product to match. They will automatically adjust the price to their competitors so you save money, time, and possibly not even getting the deal because they're all snatched up at the other place. I price match all the time and use a coupon on top to get the best savings possible. You can either use flyers you get from the mail or do what I do and take pictures on my iPad, but iPhone will do too if I don't have my iPad with me that day. I don't have the luxury of getting mailed all the flyers I like living downtown, since most of the good sale prices are almost non-exsistent at places like Rabba, Sobeys and Metro. So, I go to a store's website and take screen shots with my iPad. Just be sure to take a picture of the front of the flyer clearly showing the name of the store, date for which the flyer is valid and a clear shot of whatever item it is you want price matched. Sometimes, I've noticed a store will change its prices at the store if they know a competitor has a lower price. So, essentially they do the price matching for you. You also, have to be sure that whatever you're price matching is the same brand, size/quantity, etc and be sure the coupon matches as well. It's takes some pre-planning and organization though once you get the hang of it, it's really not much at all and well worth the effort.

Happy Hunting!

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