Posts tagged with "march into couponing"

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Understanding the Couponing Basics: Couponing 101

Couponing and searching for those die-hard bargains is a lot of fun, but BEWARE it can become very addicting! Open-mouth smile

My husband is very grateful to me for all of the money that I save, but sometimes even he just laughs at me!  To be a successful couponer and bargain-hunter, you must first familiarize yourself with the basics.

 If you are new to couponing I know that sometimes it can be overwhelming and you just don’t know where to start. Here are a few important things to note. I will discuss coupon stacking in detail at a later date so stay tuned!

First off, let’s talk about where to find coupons:

  • Inserts – these are the coupons that you find in your Sunday newspaper.
  • Magazines – Don’t throw out those magazines that you get every month!  I have found some great gems hidden in them! One of my favorite magazines for coupons is All You Magazine. You can currently get a 6 month subscription for only $6 or $1 per issue. Go HERE to check out the details.
  • Home Mailers – Companies will add you to their mailing list if you prefer and send out great coupons!  Complimenting or Complaining to a company about your favorite or maybe not so favorite items will also get you some great home mailer coupons!
  • Internet Printables – Aside from Insert coupons that you receive in your Sunday newspaper, internet printable coupons is one of my top ways to get coupons. Be sure to check out sites like Coupons.com, Redplum.com, Smartsource.com & Coupon Network.com as they offer awesome coupons for items that most of us use on a regular basis.
  • Tear Pads – These are a pad of coupons usually found hanging from a store display in front of products.
  • Peelies – Sticker-like coupons that are stuck right on a product -you just peel it away!
  • Blinkies – These are found in coupon machines right in the aisle of the grocery store and usually next to the item that the coupon is for.  The coupon is dispensed from a machine with a blinking red light.  These coupons are Drew’s favorite to get for Mommy! He loves to see the red light blink when the coupons come out!
  • Hang Tags and Wine Tags – These are coupons found right around the neck of a product or bottle.
  • Store Coupons – Many stores like Publix and Target offer their own store coupons that can be “stacked” with a manufacturer’s coupon to score really sweet deals. You can head over to Target.com to print some awesome Target Store coupons. At Publix, be on the lookout throughout the store for Coupon booklets filled with Publix store coupons. The general rule for “stacking” coupons is one manuf. coupon and one store coupon to be used per item. Although this is the norm, I highly suggest that you familiarize yourself with each store’s coupon policy that you shop at and print their coupon policies to keep with you while you shop. Most coupon policies can be found right on that stores’ site. (I will discuss “stacking” coupons during this series in depth so stay tuned)

Here are the coupon policies for a few of the more popular stores that I post about here on My Sweet Savings:

Target.com

Walmart.com

CVS.com

Walgreens.com

Publix.com


Secondly, let’s discuss Coupon Lingo. Did you know that we couponers have our very own lingo? If you visit couponing blogs, you may see some term paraphrased or abbreviated. It is helpful to know some of that lingo. 

Here are some of the more common couponing lingo terms out there:

BOGO– Buy One Get One Free 
B2G1– Buy Two Get One Free
BOLO– Be on the Lookout 
OOP– Out of Pocket expense
WYB– When you buy 
WT – Wine Tag 
NWP – No wine purchase necessary *some of the wine tag coupons that you will find, do not require you to purchase wine
GC– Gift Card
MIR– Mail in Rebate
OOS– Out of Stock
YMMV– Your Mileage May Vary *this is saying that the deal posted may vary by location.
POP– Proof of Purchase *many rebates require this!
TMF– Try Me Free *this is like a rebate incentive. You usually have to mail in a proof of purchase with your receipt to receive your refund.
CO– Cents-off coupon
FAR– Free After Rebate 
HT– Hang tag *many bottled items will have these types of coupon around the neck of the bottle. 
PSA– Prices Starting At *many times in advertisements you will see this in the fine print. It is just letting you know that the prices for that deal start at a certain amount.
AR– After Rebate
AC– After Coupons 
UPC– Universal Product Code
RC– Rain Check 
WSL– While Supplies Last-*no rain checks can usually be issued for these items. They are first come first serve items! 
IP– Internet Printables 
DND– Do not double 
EXP– Expiration
NED– No expiration date *it is rare to find a coupon with no expiration date, but I find that many times when you contact a company they will send you coupons with no expiration date. I love these coupons!
GDA– Good Deal Alert I love to this term! It means heads up on an awesome deal!

B&M – Brick and Mortar when you see this term, it usually means that you have to go to the actual (brick & mortar) store to get the deal. 
SS– Smart Source- Smart Source insert coupons found in your Sunday newspaper as well as www.smartsource.com 
RP– Red Plum You can also print coupons from www.redplum.com 
P&G– Proctor and Gamble 

CAT– Catalina coupons. These are coupons printed on a white paper after you make a purchase at stores like Target, Walgreens and other Grocery Stores.

OYNO– On Your Next Order- *many of the CAT coupons that you receive will say that particular coupon is good for your next shopping order.
RR– Register Rewards *these are the paper-like coupons that you receive at Walgreens when you purchase certain advertised items. RR’S print from the Catalina machine and you can use them on most everything at Walgreens! You may also hear these referred to as CAT’s or Catalina coupons.
ECB– Extra Care Bucks *these are the paper coupons that print on your receipt at CVS. You can earn these when you buy certain advertised products. ECB’s are like money that you can spend on pretty much anything at CVS!

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March Into Couponing–Coupon Organization

If you have been following my March Into Couponing series, you should now be familiar with the different types of coupons, where to find coupons, and the lingo that we couponers use! Now that you are familiar with most of the basics regarding couponing, you need to know how to organize them, right? 😉

Good coupon organization is probably one of the most important keys to being a successful couponer. “How do I organize my coupons?” That is the one question I get asked the most about couponing! If your coupons are not organized, then you will tend to get frustrated and lose focus on the one goal that is set before you, which is saving money!

There are many different coupon organizational methods available today. Let me share with you 2 of the most common methods in detail, then explain to you which method that I find work best for me and my lifestyle. Remember, just find the method that is easiest for you and go for it!

Coupon Binder Method– The coupon binder method is probably one of the most common methods of coupon organization today. You can start by getting a 3 ring binder at your favorite store along with several pages of baseball card inserts and clear sheet protectors. Label each section with dividers so that you will know where to place each type of coupon. For example, medicines, hair products, dairy, frozen, etc…

I like this method of coupon organization, but for me, it is very time-consuming. I don’t have the time to cut out every single coupon from the inserts each week and then sort the coupons according to their categories in the binder. For many of you, this is the method that you love and that is great! I started out couponing with this method and really do like it. It keeps everything nice and in order and you can find exactly what you are looking for. I may eventually go back to this method, but for now I love the Whole Insert Method and it saves me from clipping every single coupon!

Whole Insert Method– The whole insert method is the method of coupon organization that I prefer and have been using it now for quite some time now. It is much less time-consuming than the Binder Method and it makes planning my grocery list and searching for coupons a breeze!

Here is how to achieve this method of coupon organization:

Start by getting a hanging file folder box and hanging file folders from your favorite office supply store. Place each set of inserts that you have from your Sunday Newspaper in their own file folder.

Next, with a marker, label the front of the first insert with the date. I have my folders starting with the earliest inserts first and the newer ones are last. This just makes it easy to find them. I also keep several folders available for internet, store coupons/coupon booklets. (Publix, Target, Walgreens, CVS) This way I know right where to find the store coupons when I want to stack my manufacturer’s coupons with them! This makes finding the coupons easy and it keeps me organized as well!

The biggest reason why I love this method the best is the fact that all of my inserts are in one place and right where they need to be when I need them. When I get the sneak peek for an ad at my favorite store, or when I need to know where to find a certain coupon, I go to the My Sweet Savings Coupon Database (at the top of my home page) and can search for coupons that I need and it will bring them right up and tell me which insert that they can be found in. You can find any coupon this way, whether it be printable, insert or etc…

Let me share with you an example. I see the sneak peek for the upcoming Publix ad and realize that my family’s favorite pasta sauce, Bertolli is on sale. I wonder if there is a coupon for that product? All I have to do is go to the My Sweet Savings Coupon Database and type in Bertolli. It will bring up every Bertolli coupon that is available. If there is an insert coupon, it will tell me which insert that the coupon is in. So, all I need to do next is go to my file box, search for the date, and voila, pull out the coupon insert and clip my coupons!

it makes couponing so much more enjoyable! If you are a busy working mom and don’t have time to clip coupons all the time, I would suggest trying this method! This has been such a life-saver to me!                                       

As I said before, there are so many different methods of coupon organization that are available, just pick the one that is best for you and your lifestyle! I have seen some really crazy methods-everything from a rolling suitcase to a tool chest! You could even start with something as simple as a little photo album! The possibilities are endless! Just remember to have fun saving money!

Next week’s topic—Stacking Coupons & Coupon Usage