The Best List Ever

K has compiled a list of Retail e-mail, reward and loyality programs that you should know about. Click here!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Free Uno -- With Possible Overage!!

Check out your stores selection of Uno card games the next time you have an extra minute or two to kill - there is a $5 coupon inside specially marked packs that doesn't expire until the end of June and is good on the following Mattel Card games: Skip-Bo, Pictionary, Whac-a-mole, Blink and Mad Gab AS WELL AS the Thomas the Tank version of Uno, Toy Story Uno and regular 'ol uno.

Now, the coupon IS INSIDE THE PLASTIC WRAP around the top deck -- it's yellow and the barcode will be facing you -- but that doesn't mean that some people won't take a q and then ditch the deck. (The top of the box should have one of those heavy duty tape circles on top - I'd move on if that looked even remotely broken.) ((I'd also open the pack to make sure the coupon is in there even if the tape were intact, but I'm just that person.))

I'm not sure about places other than Tar-get BUT my stores (I have about 7 that I frequent) sell the game for $4.92 right up to $5 even. I've already purchased a game, priced at $4.94, with a coupon and the "wonderful" pos system paused the transaction and gave the cashier a screen that said something to the effect of "if the item listed on the coupon is in the transaction proceed with check out" (so, in layman's terms "just push the 'OK' key and move on silly") so you should NOT have ANY problems with this one, folks! (I say should because there is always a chance that you'll get that one cashier who hates coupons and couponers OR the one who doesn't realize that the second screen has popped up and will go to scan six more of your coupons before they realize that everything has gone to hell.)


You could roll this offer - buying pack 1, then freeing the q to buy marked deck two using the coupon from 1, then buying deck 3 with the coupon from 2 and so on and so on; but then again how many decks of uno do you need? (I would think like, 4, max - one to play with, one as a spare, one for Grandma's house and then one to maybe decorate with - but then again we all saw that "Extreme Couponers" special. :-p)

Ok. That's all from me for now -- I PROMISE I'll get more *coupon fired up!* once more of this stupid wedding gets planned and my current stock starts to dry up.

Until next time, have a great day!!!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

K's Bday: Twenty-10

I'm 10 days out from turning _X_ and the offers have ALREADY started to roll in. Want to see what you too can get for F-R-E-E on your birthday? Follow me!

My day isn't until the 10th, and most of these have about 7 - 14 days on either side of your special day to be used, so every now and then I'd say that my DOB was really the 8th or the 13th, simply to spread the good times a little bit more.

Also, I'm going to keep updating this post, so check back every so often as I add more offers. Ready? GO!


Received 11/26

~ Buca di Beppo - Free Appetizer (a small app for <5,>5)

~ The Melting Pot - *free Chocolate Fondue (when you buy either the "big night out" or two individual entrees and a cheese fondue.

Received 11/27

~ Sephora - sign up here to be a Beauty Insider and you'll get emails BUT also an email prompting you to claim a free b-day gift. (This year it's a "beautiful eyes kit" and in the years past its been a trio of mini lip gloss as well as a bottle of bubble bath.)

~ Genghis Grill - get a free bowl (aka - a trip though the line)

~ Sonny Bryan's - FREE Sandwich plate (valid within 7 days of birthday) ((sign up on the home page in the lower left hand corner.))

Received 11/28

~ Smashbox - a promo code for free goodies at check out! (goodies = a mini lip gloss, a blush set and a tin case to store them in.) ((*if you're going to partake, wait until a Tuesday or Thursday to place your order - they usually have some super awesome freebies on those days that are included with any order.))

Received 11/30

~ Which Wich - Free Which! Woohoo!

Received 12/10

~ A FREE Large Soda at AMC movie theatres, thanks to my MovieWatcher Rewards card. (*at press time I learned that AMC is overhauling their reward system and will introduce a new and improved program sometime in the near future and until then they aren't enrolling new members.)

Received 12/16

~ an email for a FREE $10 gift card to my favorite GGP (General Growth Properties) Mall (Click here to find a location near you; once you get to that mall's page, look for something like "the club" or "shop club", etc. Sign up to get emails and alerts about sales and promos and you, too, will get a $10 gift card on your bday, redeemable at the main service desk.)

Received 12/21

~ my damn Benihana certificate. Yes, you'll get a free meal up to $30 - so even if you got the $17 chicken and a few a la carte pieces of shush, anything under $30 - excluding alcohol - is on the house. The TWO problems I had with this offer this year - first, I didn't get the email until 11 days after my birthday (the sign up form says they'll go out on the first of the month); and second, I only received this offer to my back up email address. I pretty much ignored all of their other noise from the rest of the year that went to my main email address, but some where along the way I was sent something that said I needed to "update my information" and because I didn't do that when I logged into my "account" from said main email address it said that they only send the emails if your account is current. You'd think that they'd still try to send the certificate to you, because of all of the variables in your life that do change - last name, address, phone number, employer - your date of birth isn't one to move around. (Well, maybe the year, but not the day.) Whatever.

And then thing's I've received in the mail in the past few days:

~ Victoria's Secret - $10 off ANY purchase

~ Origin's - $10 off ANY purchase

~ Henri Bendel - 20% my total purchase

~ Free some-kind-of-dinner-plate post card from Red Hot & Blue.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Target to Start Catalina Promos!!!


Have you ever seen one of those segments on the news where some "coupon mom" (or dad) is at a grocery store and walks out the door with, like, 3 carts FULL of groceries for a nickel? Catalina's (the coupons that pop out of a receipt-like machine at check out) are a big part behind the magic to becoming a coupon queen and I'm SOOOOOO EXCITED to share with you what I got tonight when I went shopping at Target - THIS CAT (the "coupon" lexicon or nickname of "Catalina") explaining a SUPER PROMOTION where when you buy the items necessary/listed, you'll get a Catalina "thank you" from the manufacturer of the products in the form of MONEY OFF YOUR NEXT SHOPPING TRIP.

It's exactly like "Register Rewards" from Walgreens or CVS' "Extra Bucks", only these will be at TARGET!!!!

So, basically, buy the items needed (with coupons, of course), get the Cat for $$ off your next trip, SPEND it before it expires and the amount listed on your "thank you" cat will come off of your next shopping trip, regardless of what you buy!!!

Since the Target Cat program is still in its infancy, I'm going to assume that standard Kroger/Tom Thumb/CVS/Walgreens rules apply here in that you can only get one per transaction (so if you need to buy 5 items to get a cat for "$X off your next trip", don't buy 10 or 15 of those items because you will only get 1 Catalina; instead break your cart up into multiple transactions to get multiple cats. We'll also all have to learn as we go when it comes to "rolling" the cats, but for now I'm just too excited for words!!)

So for now, the only promotion I know about is the one listed on this tape in front of me BUT it reads "Buy Nature Valley Granola Bars between 10/4 and 10/31 and Save Up To $3.50 on a FUTURE TRIP with coupon." And then the totals are if you buy three (3) boxes, you'll get $1.50 coupon, buy four (4) and get a $2.50 q and lastly buy five (5) and get a $3.50 coupon off of your next shopping trip.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Point Cards = Rewards (And A Fat Wallet)

Not only will your wallet get fat because you're going to join all of these "card clubs", BUT, your wallet will be fat and happy because of all the money you're NOT spending!

Again, I'm going to work on an ever-updating list of places that have reward card programs where in you collect points to get free things. Fun!

(Note, some of these overlap with these sign up freebies and birthday freebies, so remember to fill in your bday, anniversary and a valid "freebie" email address - so your normal one isn't advertised to death - that can be made here.)



AMC Movie Watchers Rewards - that's right, you can earn free stuff by going to the movies. You can either register a card HERE online and wait for your card to arrive via snail mail (about two weeks in a super non-busy time) OR I'm told you can sign up at your theatre's guest services box office, but you may want to call and check about that one. So here's the nitty gritty. For every movie ticket you buy, you'll get 2 (two) points, with a max of 4 (four) points earned per transaction, per visit. (So, if you and a special someone are the only ones who see movies together, then maybe one card for the two of you will do. But if you go to movies with kids or friends or whatnot, then I'd register for enough cards to cover everyone in multiples of twos - so two cards for a family of four, three cards for a family of six, etc - and buy tickets by the two's in separate transactions on said separate cards until everyone has a ticket.) BUT, in the FAQ page, they have defined "visit" as to mean every three hours, because some people see more than one movie a day, so you could in theory you buy two tickets at 9am for a 7pm showing, then go back after 1 to buy two more tickets and still get the points, then buy more tickets if need be 3 hours after your last purchase and so on. So, what do you get? For every 10 points you have, you'll get a reward. (I haven't made it to 10 yet, as I always forget my card but I'm trying to get better,) BUT the way I understand it is once you get to every 10th point, a coupon will pop out with your printed tickets (no matter if you print them online, at the ticket booth or at the handy dandy ticket kiosk) and your total will keep rolling. I'm not sure if this is over a lifetime or by a sign up/calendar year, or once you hit 100 points (which, btw is 50 movies by yourself or 25 if you always go with a friend) and then everything resets or what, but if you get there before I do, please do let me know! Also, if you forget to enter your card number or show your card when you buy the tickets, just bring the stubs and your card to the theatres guest services counter and they'll take care of you; same thing if you think you were due for a reward and it didn't print. Also, watch the inbox that is associated with this account; you'll get freebies like free drinks and popcorn!

Carino's - has "pasta points" where you earn a point for every pre-tax dollar you spend; after you collect 100 points (and register your card) you can start redeeming for everything from free apps and entrees to a vacation in Vegas or Italy.

Don Pablo's - This is one I don't know too much about, but it looks like you'll get a free dip just for registering, and then awesome rewards like $10 off around your bday, anniversary and after every 9th visit. Click Here!

Freebirds - if you like Chipolte then go try Freebirds and be prepared to never switch back. (Um, anyway.) Get a "fanatic" card and for every burrito, salad, plate of nachos, combo of 3 tacos or quesadilla you buy you'll get 1 stamp; you'll get 2 stamps for every "Super Monster" sized burrito. You can start collecting stamps before you register the card but you can't redeem them until you do; you can redeem 10 points to get either a FREE burrito (size halfbird, freebird or monster) salad, nachos, 3 tacos, quesadilla OR you can pick a shirt or a hat. (they have a few designs to choose between.) 15 stamps will get you a FREE SUPER MONSTER or better looking shirt. (locations.)

Genghis Grill - a Mongolian barbecue joint - has Khan's Rewards - you can sign up to just get a FREE bowl on your birthday but you can also get a reward card by stopping by and asking for one; this one is pretty simple - get 1 point per bowl, redeem 10 points for a free bowl. Everything (except the bday offer) is kept on your card so there are no emails or snail mail cards to wait on. (I love easy programs like this one.)

Godiva - Yes. Free. Chocolate. (YUM!) Either register here for the Chocolate Rewards Club or you can go in store and they'll help you there. The deets - you'll get: 1 FREE piece of chocolate (in store) every month - just go in and say that you'd like to collect on your free piece; 1 FREE gift each month when you spend over $10 (also only redeemable in store, and it's kind of tricky because you don't collect the gift the same day/month you spend the $10 - so if I went in today, the 2nd of Sept I wouldn't be eligible to collect said free gift until October); 1 FREE online shipping promo code over the life of the account; AND *exclusive* online specials every month. (*If you join in store, you'll get a handy card; but if you join online then you have to either provide your email or your phone number when you go to collect on that sweet piece of chocolate every month, which can be skeevy sometimes.*)

Pei Wei - has a rewards card program, but it is currently only available to those who live/eat in CA, NV and UT. So, bummer for the rest of us - but here is the link to find out more for those who do qualify.

Raising Canes - go to an RC and request a card. (I don't think the points will count until you register the card.) Later when you're at an Internet connection that isn't a phone (I tried and failed) register your card here. Upon doing so you'll get an offer for a FREE BOX COMBO, which is 4 chicken fingers, fries, slaw, bread and a drink, for ab-so-lute-ly F-R-E-E. THEN, for every combo you purchase, you'll get a point. I can't find the rules on the site but I'm pretty sure all you need is 10 points to redeem for another Free Box Combo! Yay!

Red Mango - a pinkberry-esk frozen yogurt place, has "club mango", where you'll collect points towards a $5 off coupon for future use. (This place charges by the ounce and or topping, so the set up isn't super simple like some places.) So stop in, get a card, register it, then you'll get 10 points for every dollar spent in store, 50 points just for registering the card and 500 points on your birthday (as well as emails about specials, promos, events, new flavors and the like.)

Sephora - (which sells make up, make up supplies, perfume, cologne and beauty counter name brands like Clinique and Philosophy) Join the "Beauty Insiders" program in store (where you'll get a card, which is great because it ensures that you always get your points 'cause if you have a weird email address then sometimes they could botch it up upon entering it) OR join here online and you'll get a point per every dollar spent both in store and online. After you collect 100 points, you can redeem them for a fun sized free sample, which changes every week, OR you can save them and when you hit 500 points you can turn those in for a limited edition full sized product, which changes monthly AND You'll get a special birthday gift! (If you hit 350 points in a calendar year, so jan - dec, then you'll qualify to become a VIB - Very Important Beauty - and get even MORE special perks, like exclusive shopping times, coupon offers, sneak previews and more.)

Starbucks - (this program is near and dear to my heart as I recently went Gold.) Basically, get a gift card (either as a gift or buy it for yourself), register it here, and then use that card to pay whenever you go to get your fix. For every drink you buy with a registered card you'll get a star (either keep reloading that same card or get new cards and add them to the account you create with that first card); when starting out you'll be considered a "welcome level" member, which just means that you'll get either a card or an email for a free drink on your birthday! Once you've purchased 5 drinks in a calendar year you'll bump up to a "green" level member and you'll get things like free drink customizations (so if you want soy milk or extra mocha you won't pay the additional $.50), free refills on brewed coffee and tea, special trial offers sent to you in the mail, yadda yadda yadda. After you've hit 30 stars in a calendar year you'll be a Gold member and in addition to the welcome and green benefits, you'll also get personalized coupons (like I buy a lot of oatmeal, and my account tracks that so as a "thank you" I'll get cards for free oatmeal, more so than other "golds" I know who don't purchase oatmeal), a personalized gold card (it has my name on it!!!!) AND you'll get a card in the mail for a free drink with every 15 you purchase. (tip - Starbucks has a GREAT app to track your rewards on your iPhone and blackberry; look for something called "my Starbucks card".)

Friday, August 27, 2010

FREE Cherry Lime-Aid on Saturday, 8-28 DALLAS/FORT WORTH ONLY

Yay! There was a nice break from the heat for about, 16 hours, but now the index is going to go back up just in time for the weekend. Boo!

What should we do in the mean time? How about go to Fire House Subs, at any point in the day, and get a FREE 32 ounce CHERRY Lime-Aid - NO COUPON REQUIRED!!! (Note - yes, that is a legitimate email. I just screen-shot it so I could edit out my real name and email.)

I don't know what I love more - the fact that this is a freebie, the fact that it's a DFW Area freebie only, the fact that it's couponless so we can use other discounts if we've got them, or that Fire House considers a 32 ounce drink a medium.

Oh, wait. I like them all!!!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!! (wow, I just had a billy mays moment.) If it's your BIRTHDAY on Saturday, just flash your id or drivers license and you'll get a FREE SUB, just for having been born! (Well, that's truly an everyday birthday freebie, but if your bday is on Saturday then you can really make out like a bandit and get a free meal!) ((But I guess that you August 27th and 29ers could also give it a shot at getting your birthday sub too.))

Last thing about Fire House then I'll go - sign up here to get on the email list as to be alerted if the owners in your city decide to do something similar - and in doing so you'll get a coupon for a free drink with the next purchase of a sub!


Are you new to couponing or Internet freebies? Sign up for a free email address here (so your real address won't be flooded with offers and junk everyday!) and then go here and here to have even MORE fun!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Starting Out Series - Lesson 3 - Organizing Your Coupons

Lesson 3

Organizing Your Coupons


You're probably mad at me for spending so much time talking about the background prep and not showing you how to save yet, and I'm sorry about that. I just want to make sure you can hit the ground running and not get so frustrated to where you give up. (But honestly, start collecting coupons now. Save the inserts from your paper, look for blinkies at the store and find them online. Just make sure that you're ready before you go out and give it the old college try.)

So, Organizing.

There are many methods and schools of thought to this, but it's whatever works best for you. I actually employ two or three of these myself and you may find that you like bits and pieces of other ways as well.

Here we go!


1) The Binder

This is exactly what is sounds like - people get a binder, then put their coupons in it and lug it to the store. Don't be ashamed by how full it is - I've seen people with 6 inch binders that were over flowing. It may get heavy, and it's hard to balance in a cart, especially if you go with your kids who need to sit in that seat. BUT, you're never with out your coupons, as its hard to forget the binder. Plus, there are some pretty fancy binders out there with all kinds of pockets and zippers, especially after the Back-To-School clearances. But how does one organize a binder? You Can -

A) Cut out the coupons you want or know you'll use (both exact brands and competitors) and put them into pockets (like baseball card sleeves) where the pages are then organized alphabetically or by types of products (like "cleaning products" or "kids snacks") or by aisle or however you want. (I have a binder that I don't really use all that often but it's an old CD binder - I LOVE it because it has bigger pockets which makes it easier for my fat hands to get in and out of.)

  • Pros - you know exactly what page to go to when you need to find that shampoo coupon; you're not lugging around too much extra stuff (like scissors and all of your inserts.); a binder can fit into a tote bag so if the day is just sucking you don't have to pull it out; if you get a real binder and not use my cd binder idea you can add and subtract pages at will.
  • Cons - you're cutting out soooo many coupons, statically more that you'll end up not using than using; if you only bring the coupons you cut at home/the office to the store, you may come across some fabulous yet unblogged/heard about deal, only to not have coupons for that item with you; if you save the rest of your inserts they'll start looking really ratty after you've been cutting them up so; if someone on a blog or message board references a certain coupon by saying which insert it was in but you've cut it out, you may forget that you have it or where you put it or if you've already used it; you have to constantly go through it and toss what has expired.

B) Keep the pages intact and put them in whole page protectors, like what you'd use in school or at work. (Inserts aren't stapled and are printed on both sides, so cut the pages on the center creases and insert them into whole page protectors, then you can see both sides and keep them in booklet order, if that's important to you. You can also get rid of advertisement pages.) You can put a tabbed divider in between the weeks (to separate the inserts that you got on Sunday, August 8th from the ones you got on Sunday, August 15th) and can even write directly on the pages with a grease pencil if you know of an upcoming sale or paper clip stackable store coupons to the specific MRF page.

  • Pros - This method works well if you buy/subscribe/get multiple inserts every week; just match up all the page 1/2's and put them in a sleeve; same thing with 3/4's, 5/6's, 7/8's, and so on; if you are in a store and come across a stellar deal, price or sale, you can pull out your smart phone, go to hot coupon worlds online database and you will find out with a few short clicks in which insert to look.
  • Cons - Your binder will get very full, very fast; To store "found" coupons (peelies, in-box, mailings, etc) you'll need to add some baseball card sleeves or a 3 ring zipper bag or something; if you don't have a smart phone or the Internet while you're out you may have to rummage through tons of pages to find the coupon you need or are looking for.

2) There is also the Envelope Method

This is also exactly how it sounds. You cut the coupons you want and put them into an envelope (either a small white one or a reusable pouch or a small coupon "file" or even an index card sized box) and then go to the store. You can organize them by how you go through the store, through the stores aisle set up, by family member and then when you get to a great sale you think "oh, there is a coupon for that in Josh's tab", whatever makes sense to you.

  • Pros - you can keep it with you at all times in your purse or car; you can set it up to have just the coupons you want to spend on just that trip OR you can keep q's for items that you know you're always buying, so if a surprise sale or instant substitute pops up you're ready.
  • Cons - you can keep it with you at all times. I can't tell you how many times I've looked into my very fancy, very expensive purse and thought, if only the snooty people at the store could see that I have 3 envelopes of coupons in my $850 purse they'd cry.

3) The File Method

This is a little out of the ordinary, in that you do most of the work at home and leave the rest of it there. (Unless you get a portable file, like a cart or one of those cute file bags, but if get/buy/find 6+ copies of each and every Sunday paper, which at most contain up to 6 inserts each, that's somewhat overboard.) This method is one where you plan out what you're buying (by stalking the message boards and blogs) and finding what q's you need from the paper or online, etc, then putting it all together before you go to the store (by putting them in an envelope or paper clipping them, whatever). You can either file the inserts in a little cart or in a filing cabinet in file folders or by binder clipping the same weeks worth of inserts together keeping and then keeping them together in a tote bag or in a stack; Whatever you decide to do, I find it easier to write the date on each cover in sharpie, in case one individual insert or week gets out of order.

  • Pros - your inserts are a lot more sane - if you only go after the deals that others tell you about, then you're sure to have the q's; if you read that you need to thumb through the 8/1 RP to find a q, then you have an 8/1 to thumb through instead of looking through your crazy binder or envelope/box;
  • Cons - if you come across a hot sale or deal, you can't act on it 'cause the rest of your coupons are at home; you may need to invest in a lot of file folders, binder clips and even a file cabinet; its hard to keep up with the "found" coupons you collect.


I guess that's it for organizing - the next lesson will be about Coupon Rules and the Lexicon.

(I swear, we're really getting closer and closer to actually talking about finding and using coupons. I'm not counting you as stupid or incapable of learning, but I feel like if I were to give you that info first you'd take off and would never come back, like giving a kid a bicycle before telling them the rules - of course they aren't listening because they are too excited about the bike! If I were you, I'd be bike-excited about couponing. BUT you can start looking for and collecting coupons, and now you can experiment with organizing them!)

Until Next time


Monday, August 23, 2010

Starting Out Series - Lesson 2 - Mind think

Mind Think

This post will help you understand how you can save oodles by tweaking your current shopping habits.


I like to know why something exists. Usually new inventions are due to solve some sort of problem, and coupons are no exception. First used as an advertising ploy to get people to try new or existing products, coupons are now used as a form of currency by some people (ie - us) and we should be ever so thankful for that. However, to fully maximize the effectiveness of coupons, we need to change how we do some things. (And seriously, if you can start this way now then you'll catch on quicker, because what happens to everyone, including me, is that your first shopping trip you'll save $10 from coupons - and get so excited about it! - BUT then end up spending an extra $20 because you didn't know what you were doing.)

Think of how you currently shop. Are you the weekly list maker ("I've got my weekly list and we're sticking to it!"), the run in-er (my fiance would run to the store every day in college to get what he needed for that meal and or snack and it drove me nuts!) or the aisle grazer ("humm... that looks good. In the cart!")? What about the stores in which you shop, or the brands that you buy? Are you stuck in your ways or are you willing to make a change to save some green?

We're going to throw those aside and think of grocery shopping like purchasing air fare, playing poker, making new friends and stocking up for some catastrophic emergency crisis, all at once. Here's How:

Price Watching -

When booking a flight, you usually pay the least amount if you book wayyyy in advance, like, more than six months. You have a lot of choice as to when you want to leave, where you want to sit, etc. Starting at about 5 months with that same flight you'll see the prices starting to increase slightly. Like, a dollar every few days. Then about 3 - two months out it'll increase by a few dollars every day until you're about 3 weeks away and you'll suddenly have no choice but to pay the highest possible fare. (Unless there are still seats on the plane and it's less than 10 days until departure - you *might* be able to find a good deal but you probably won't have your choice of seats or options of flight times.)

Now, a jar of Peanut Butter won't increase 900% in six months, BUT if you start watching the price of that PB over the same six month period, you'll notice price fluctuation, sales and coupons to match, some of which over lap from time to time, and you'll also be keen on when the best time is to buy peanut butter. It might vary by brand and store, but you can guarantee that back to school time and around the holidays are good times to buy this item. But more on this in a bit.

Knowing When To Play Your Cards -

Peanut Butter is normally like, $2 a jar, and that's an alright price, I mean, I'd rather pay that than $3 or $4, but we go through a lot of peanut butter, like, a jar a week sometimes - I like to cook with it, eat it, feed it to the dog - and it's just me, the fiance and the dog. $104 on PB a year for 2 people is like, a little crazy if you think about it. However, (the brand I like) on sale right now for $1.60 a jar - - AND I have a coupon for $.60 off, so now my total is $1 a jar.

This is how couponing is like poker - you have to know when to play your cards, err, coupons. The sale (it's $1.60 at Target through Sat, the 28th) and coupon both coincide to match back to school time BUT there are plenty of times when the retailers know what coupons are coming out (because the manufacturer tells Corp. waaayyy ahead of time) so they'll adjust their prices accordingly. Yeah, Target or Walgreens will make money if you buy their brand couponlessly, BUT if you do buy the national brand (which is more expensive than the store brand) then the store makes more of a profit (because the margin is higher than the generic) AND the store get reimbursed the total amount of the coupon PLUS $.08 cents for every coupon used by you and me, so that's 3 ways the store earns money when you buy a Brand name item with a coupon vs when you buy a generic.

But back to poker. New coupons come out every day, week, and month. Sometimes it's worth it to wait a week or two for an item to go on sale, but sometimes you just can't wait - you may need diapers or hair spray right now. However, if you do have the time to wait, and the product doesn't go on sale, and it's something you want and will use, then what is the waste of waiting to use the coupon, it's not like the price will go up.

Leaving Your Comfort Zone -

My parents love Tide, the laundry detergent. The only problem I have with Tide is that they are the leader in the laundry market and they know it, so there is rarely a sale and the coupons they put out are sort of crappy. I have found soooo many better deals on countless other brands - great, amazing brands, that are all natural or are 5x concentrated so the bottle is half a pound to pick up rather than 10 - but still, they stay with Tide. My point is this, if you are willing to try other brands, you may save more. They like Bounty, but Brawny is on sale and I have a coupon. So in situations like that, where I can get the same product (so the paper towels) for way less, I'll buy what I can with the coupons I have and then let that hold me over until I can switch back to what I like. But there is also an upside; shopping by buying the brands for whom we have coupons introduces us to new products, different flavors, and sometimes better features or qualities. And that I like.

It's not hoarding, I swear -

I'm sure what I've been saying has struck a cord with you, but how do you go from saving $1 a week to thousands a year? The answer - Stockpiling. It makes since, but to start out and get a good "pile", ugh. You have to have focus and organization, and also space, but once you get going and you see that you can pay $.12 for pasta and can get 100 cans of soup or free you'll be hooked. One of the bloggers I L-O-V-E is a mom to 4 out of Boston and here is the link to her stockpile posts. Is it sad that I just love to look at her pictures for inspiration? She knows when to play her cards, she isn't brand specific and she knows the most important rule with her stock pile: FIFO - First In, First Out, meaning that she first uses what she purchased first, that way nothing goes to waste by spoiling. The second most important rule with 'piling - only buy what you will consume (eat) in 6 months. (Unless the item in question has a super long shelf life, like canned veggies or sauces, or you plan on donating the extras. Why buy extras? Sometimes you get paid to buy extras, but that's a later post.)

So take my Peanut Butter example again. It's great that I got a jar for $1 right now. But what happens when I need to go out and buy more peanut butter? Simple. I am going to buy as much as I can right now when it's uber cheap and I'm going to save the difference. Like, I have 20 coupons. If I were to buy 20 jars over the next however long at $1.92 a jar, that's $38.40. But since I have 20 coupons, I might as well get 20 jars for $20 bucks. That's a savings of $18.40, and all I did was take a few extra minutes of my day to get 20 coupons to "play" them at the right time.


We'll get deeper and deeper into everything, I promise, but I also want to go back to the shopping styles - you can still be a grazer, a runner and a list maker - as long as you add the element of having a coupon for EVERY item that you're buying, you'll be saving money in no time. And I understand that sometimes you can't wait to get something, I do. But shopping is exactly like buying last minute air fare - if you lack the foresight to plan ahead, you're going to pay the highest price. If you research and give yourself time (to wait on a sale or to order coupons online), then you'll come out a winner every time.

Back to the point I left off in the "air fare" analogy up at the top

  • don't just watch the shelf tags; read the weekly ad circulars and make your list or gather your coupons based on those on-sale items.
  • Visit store specific message boards and blogs, as other like-minded people will point out deals and "match ups" (match up = when there is a coupon to go along with a sale price) for you so you can focus on just the gathering portion and not spend so much time calculating and what not.
  • Also shop with the "seasons"; I've said probably twice that now is an amazing time to stock up on peanut butter, because it's back to school time, but other "times" and "seasons" prompt great sales and match ups as well, like, the holidays are the best time to stock up on baking supplies (like flour, evaporated milk, chocolate chips), New Years is the best time to find nutrition and healthy items (like individual frozen meals and "healthy cereals") and so on.
  • And lastly, sales are cyclical. What is on sale now should be on sale again in six to eight weeks - the price may not always be as great (so the $1.92 pb that's on sale for $1.60 now may only go down to $1.75 in six to eight weeks) but it will go on sale again, so I don't need to buy 400 jars and make 2000 PB&J's to freeze to hold me over until next year when its back to school time.

So, those are the points I wanted to bring up about how we can succeed in winning at the store. It may take some time to build a great stock pile (in fact, it will, so don't give up if you don't succeed in the first two or three shopping trips; even if you don't want to stock as aggressively as some people do, it still will take you time to build up a good coupon pile/file/binder/folder and then it will take you time to figure out when to use those coupons to score big) but once you do have however big a pile you want it to be, you'll be so proud of yourself.


Alright, I think that's it for this post. Next up - How to Organize Your Coupons