How to Save Money Using Hardcore Couponing
This is a list helping you the shopper save money, build your stockpile and having stores PAY you to take merchandise out of their store!
Writing the Company
It is extremely important to build a repore with the company. Many times we forget that behind the big names are individuals just like us. They work hard for their money and want to find ways to splurge and save. Many times sending a quick note to a company saying something along the lines of "I just tried your product and found that it is a time saver and has been a great benefit to our family! Thank you for making something I can rely on! Do you think you could send some money saving coupons?" will result in FREE products! In the ever changing world companies want to keep their customers happy and will do whatever they have to, to do that!
Learn The Stores Coupon Policy
The best couponer knows EVERY stores coupon policy that they shop at. It tells you the shopper what coupons they accept and how to use them. It is important to have a copy of this policy at your finger tips for check out for the cashiers that may not be aware of the store policy. It saves time and avoids having to wait for a manager! If you don't understand it, take a few minutes to stop at the Customer Service desk and ask them to clarify it. It saves time and more importantly time is money!
Once you learn the stores coupon policy this will help you take an ad from one store and use its sales to save at your favorite (providing they allow for price matching). From my experience as long as the store offers the same product, in the same size, they will honor the ad-even at places like The Dollar Tree; allowing you to score items for FREE!
Stack those coupons to add the savings! Many stores produce their own coupons and they print at the end of your order. Meijer's stores will allow you to use their store coupon AND a manufacture coupon at the same time in the SAME order! A great example of how this works;
Item: Pilsbury Grands Rolls 1.50 each
Meijer coupon: 0.75 off 1
Manufacture coupon: 0.25 off 1
That item in the end will cost you 0.50! You can buy THREE containers of rolls for the price of one; as long as you have the coupons to boot.
If you notice when you shop they put the larger items, with a higher price at eye level. This is to make the quick shopper buy without thinking about the price, the size, or the quantity-as we know packaging takes up a lot of space! Many times you won't be able to find a high dollar value coupon for an item that you like or want, but if you can find the item in a smaller size, a 0.50 coupon can make the item more reasonably priced; for example:
You have a coupon for 0.50 off Crest Toothpaste. You find a 9oz tube for 1.12; you apply the coupon and you are spending 0.62 rather than full price.
Any couponer knows that every penny saved is a penny toward something else!
Join Forums/Coupon Club
Hardcore couponers have our own groups. We do not like to just hand out our information, our deals and scores. But there are coupon blogs and coupon sites that offer price matching for you. They take apart the Sunday papers and compare them to the local grocery ads, telling you where the best prices are. For those that do not have the time to get down and dirty themselves, these places are GOD SENDS! They do all of the hard work for you!
Order More Inserts
This goes along with number 6; once you get the heads up on great steals, order more inserts from Redplum and SmartSource from independent sellers. These become money. You may have to divide up your orders to allow for the stores coupon limit policy, but the more you can take away for free is a bonus.
Another good thing to do is to link the card you pay with (Visa, Mastercard) with a reward program like Saving Star. That way while you are spending you have the opportunity to earn moneys back. A new thing that Walmart has implemented is their Saving Catcher-you scan your reciept and if it is found at a lower price somewhere else, they will refund you the difference! You can chose the amount at which you want the refunds given to you! Again BEING PAID TO SHOP!
Bind and Store Your Money!!
Arranging your coupons in an order that works for you is key. It adds efficiency and sanity to an already overwhelming process. What works best for me is a binder with Pokemon card holders to hold my coupons. I use divider tabs for each sections; for example "dairy, meat, etc". That makes a quick on the spot coupon decision easy to find. Carry a calculator to help with those quick decisions. Being over prepared can save money in the long run.
Planning Your Trip
Before you head to the store. Write the quantity of the item, the coupon you plan to use, the coupon value, the store value, the amount you'll save, and your final price. To make sure that your numbers match that you expect to find at check out. Using excel can make this process a plug n go and allows for an organized print out. It is also good to head to the store of choice the night before to scope out additional sales and deals that might be unadvertised. Make sure you have both printed coupons, online clipped, and store savings. To ensure that you walk out of the store with the items you plan to, if it is a big order call ahead and ask the store to prepare them for your pick up.
Know that your first one or two or even three times you won't see savings in the $100's but that you have that potential. If $15.00 is all you save on your first trip, don't be discouraged, that is an extra $15.00 in your wallet. I look at the amount I saved each trip and remove that amount from my bank account and put it in an additional savings account and cash that in during December for Christmas shopping or to be used throughout the year. For example;
At Meijer on 10/15/2014 I saved $22.98; I transferred that amount into a savings account, knowing I had that mad money for something else or an emergency!
None of these can be done without the other. They are all equal secrets of how to save money and be the best hardcore couponer you can be! The key is to know what you need, DO NOT buy things JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A COUPON-that is the worse mistake. Then you aren't actually saving but spending money to save-unless it is free and you have the ability to donate. :) I shared a pic of a shopping trip I completed using coupons, price matching and knowing what our family needed!!