Friday, April 9, 2010

Couponing

I thought a lot about how to write this post on Couponing… Well, I decided to write about my personal experience and to direct you to the websites that have taught me most of what I know. I check these websites daily. They list the deals, so it is much easier! Here are the links:
http://hip2save.com/category/couponing-101
http://athriftymom.com/coupon-101/

Couponing is awesome…but, mark my words, it can consume your life! I have always used coupons here and there, but I started really using them hardcore in last January. I do not necessarily love couponing, but I LOVE, LOVE saving money! It I such a rush for me! My attitude towards coupon changed once I realized that they are just like money. Would you throw away money if someone gave it to you? I am sure you would not, so, same thing with the coupons! I have been able to literally save my family thousands of dollars just by being organized, determined, disciplined, nice, firm, fast, and balanced. Here are some of the highlights of the great deals I was able to score:
- Huggies Diapers for 1.99 a package
- Free Dove and Olay body wash
- Free Toothpaste and Mouthwash
- Free tissues, and much, much more.

Yes, free or close to. That is the goal! Now here are my golden rules of couponing:

1. Be Organized: The first thing you will need is a coupon binder to organize your coupons according to categories. They explain it all in detail. I have my binder in categories with the coupons I think I will use. Before I go to the store, I get the coupons from the binder and sort them into the stores I am going. Little note clipped to them helps me to find the products I am looking for faster. I always keep my coupon binder in my car.

Also, ALWAYS keep your receipt! If something you bought today goes on 50% off next week, with your receipt you are able to take it back (as long as it is unused) and re-buy the item for the current price. Also, it is handy to have the receipt to take the item back if you change your mind.

2. Be Determined: If you want to get a deal, get the deal! It might take you running from store to store several times, but if it is something worth it for your family, don’t quit! I bought 45 packages of Huggies Diapers @ $1.99 a package at Walgreens, saving my family over $450. Since I do not clear shelves (buying everything and not leaving others the opportunity to enjoy the deal), it took me 3 trips a day to 3 different stores to purchase 2 to 3 packages per store. I also did not care of sizes; I just bought whichever sizes they had and then made more trips to exchange for the sizes I needed.

3. Be Disciplined: Couponing takes a lot of discipline. You can get coupons from many different sources: weekly newspapers, online, magazines, etc. I have found it very helpful to clip them and put them away as soon as I get them. It does not happen like that all the time, but I have procrastinated before and it was not good!

4. Be Nice: Being nice is so, so very important in every aspect of life, but if you want to coupon, and be successful at it, being kind is fundamental. You will need the cooperation of cashiers and managers, and they are much more willing to help you if they know you are nice about things. Also, being cordial to my fellow couponers is very important to me. I do that by allowing others to go ahead of me in line if I have several transactions and they only have one, by not cleaning the shelves, and just being thoughtful of others.

5. Be Firm: Now, there will be times that the cashiers, managers and fellow couponers will make your life a little difficult. If you are on the right, if your coupon is valid and it does not against the stores’ coupon policy, be firm about it.

Today I bought this gorgeous art on canvas at Bed Bath and Beyond using a 50% competitors coupon from Michaels, the cashier was not sure about it, but I was firm, since I had previously checked with the store about using it. She called the manager who finally authorized it. I was nice, and I was firm, and they listened. I have called Wal-Mart, Target, Olive Garden and other corporations’ Customer Service when I feel wronged by their local staff.

6. Be Fast: If you want those diapers @ 1.99 a package you will have to act fast. I found out that my local Walgreens gets trucks on Thursdays, so I was there as soon as I could to get the deal. Most places run great deals, but they last only for a week, sometimes less.

7. Be Balanced: As I mentioned, coupon can rule your life if you let it. For me it is only worth it was long as I am enjoying it. January, February and part of March were a little crazy for me because I was trying to stock up on items that were at incredible prices. Now I can just relax and enjoy not having to buy some necessities for a while. My family always comes first, so balancing my time is very important. I go out to shop after I put my baby girl to sleep and I always try to be back in time to kiss my little boy goodnight. These cherished moments with my family are priceless, and definitely what matter most.

I hope this is helpful. Again, this post is about my personal experience. I would recommend going to the websites I mentioned above to read about how to get started. These ladies, Collin and Sarah, are professionals, and they have some really helpful tips as well. They also have tips on each store. I recommend starting with one store only, then moving to others. Each store has different couponing policies. Please let me know if I can help you fellow mommies with anything.

(Post written by Kelly Hammer).

3 comments:

Aline Carson said...

Kelly, I loved this post! I think I would really enjoy doing this because 1. I lOVE shopping and 2. I LOVE saving and good deals.
Thanks for all the great tips!

Liesl said...

hmmmmm, very interesting....I have always hated using coupons because 1- sometimes i buy things just because of the good price and not out of necessity and 2- its just too hard to pull them out at the checkout while trying to keep the kids well behaved. However, I never have tried to be organized about couponing and this post gives some great ideas! I may just have to give it another try!

Price Family said...

loved the post. I wish I knew about the diapers for 1.99..hahahahaa!!!
thansk for the tips. I am not a very coupoing person, but maybe I can get on it now!!