12 Grocery Shopping Coupon Tips

I taught myself how to use coupons to their maximum capability, and I am an “extreme couponer”. Since I live in a very small rural town where my main store to coupon at is Wal Mart I did very well indeed. People who live in larger areas with CVS’s and Rite Aids and many other stores to choose from can do much much better.

Here are a few tips:

(1) Know all of your stores policies. Do they take coupons, do they double and to how much and when, do they take IP’s (Internet coupons). Do they limit quantities and how many coupons you can use at a time, do they give rain checks, will they let you “comp” or price match. Can you order specific things from them, when do their sales start, when do they mark their meat down, etc.

(2) Always combine coupons with an in store sale. If Dawn dish soap is on sale for $1.00 and you have coupons for .50 and on top of that the store doubles- you know what that means-FREE DAWN DISH SOAP.

(3)Stockpile items when they are on sale and when you are combining coupons with that sale. Buy as much as you can possible use, store and afford at the time. As long as you live you will always have a need for shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant, etc. Learn to shop at your own house.

(4)Be organized. The best way I have found is by having a three ring binder with full size page protectors. I then use one protector per store (if you live in a larger metro area- you might do something different). I then put all my coupons I am going to use at each store in the page protector.

(5) Have a notebook and pen with you at all times. I also use paper clips. When I see and put items in my cart that I have coupons for, I then paperclip my coupons in a page in my notebook so that when I get to the register I have everything in order.

(6)Carry sales flyers with you if you are comping or price matching. Most stores now require you to show the store’s flyer which you are price matching. I keep these in the back of my three ring binder.

(7)Always know your prices. Some people like to keep a notebook for this, I prefer to just memorize it. If Rotel is on “sale” for .99 how do ou know that is a good deal when at some other store it is always .79? You won’t know unless you frequent all the stores in your area. There is usually a sales “cycle” of every 6 weeks or so. The same things will go on sale. It is up to you to know which price is really the best deal and when to stock up.

(8) Always, always get rain checks if a product is on sale and they are out of it. Most rain checks do not expire and that gives you time to collect coupons for that items, whether it be by Ebay, trading or “dumpster diving”.

(9)Know all the ways to obtain coupons. Yes, you can buy extra copies of the Sunday paper but there are other cheaper, free ways. Ask you paper carrier if you can have all the extras, go to the recycling center and ask if you can go through their papers and get the coupons, start a “swap box” at your library, church, etc.

(10)If a coupon says “ANY” and does not specify ” does not include trail size” then you can get the smallest size possible and it is perfectly legit to do so. Some of the best coupons say “ANY” and I have gotten tons of trail size products, some I try but most I donate to the women’s shelter.

(11) Know if your store(s) give “overage”. Overage is when your coupon is more than the product. For instance, there was a $2.00 “ANY” Dove coupon out a while back. The small Dove hair spray at Wal Mart was .97 so you were getting $1.03 in overage. So you then use the “overage” towards another product. This usually doesn’t amount to much but when you say have 20 of the Dove “ANY” coupons then you are looking at $20.60 worth of overage. That is when I purchase some new boots, new kitchen appliances, etc. Wal Mart is NOT supposed to hand you the difference back in cash, although once they did hand me $13.56 cash back. I had already gotten over $150.00 worth of stuff in my cart for FREE with coupons. That was a nice surprise but only happened because I had calculated to the penny what I was “Supposed’ to spend and when they wouldn’t let me comp an item since I didn’t have the ad, I had them take those items off and that left me with a negative balance. So always over compensate so that they do NOT have to hand you money back.

(12)When comping, utilize it to your advantage. For example, a local store runs Kotex pads, liners or tampons up to 64 count for $2.99. I know from experience that the tampons you are getting for $2.99 is only an 18 count, and that the 64 count only applies to the liners. BUT since the ad is worded like that, you can comp/price match that to your advantage and get the biggest box possible up to 64 count for $2.99! A box of 50 tampons usually runs about $9.00 or so, so a very good deal.