Friday, June 5, 2009

Where do the coupons come from?

So, first things first, you are going to have to start gathering coupons. The first, most obvious, place to find them is the newspaper. Each Sunday (excluding holiday weekends) the newspaper provides us with 1-4 coupon inserts. The three major distributors of coupons are SmartSource (SS), RedPlum (RP), and Proctor & Gamble (PG). Note: Coupons do vary by region and some areas will get different coupons or the coupon value will be different. You may sometimes see me post a particular coupon in a match-up and that coupon wasn't available in your area or your paper so you won't have it. Other times I may post a coupon as $1 off, but yours may have been only $.50 off.

Also, for those of us living in the Canyon County area (and even some of Boise now) there are special discount rates for getting multiple copies of the Sunday paper delivered to your door. F
or more information on getting multiple Sunday papers at a discount, click HERE. I get 6 Idaho Statesmans every Sunday for only $12/mo!!! You will make up for this cost in ONE shopping trip! I went ahead and paid in advance for a full year...and I made up that cost in one don't let the cost of a newspaper deter you! If you are not from Idaho or not in the Treasure Valley area, contact me and I can see about finding you a special rate on multiple papers also.

You may be wondering why you need more than one Sunday paper...well, the second part of this system that is so vitally important to making it work and saving a bunch of money, is what is known as "stockpiling." In order to take full advantage of great deals, it is important to buy in bulk when possible. If you only have one coupon for, say, Quaker instant oatmeal, then when it goes on sale, yeah, that's great that it's only going to cost you $.50 for the box (that would normally cost you $3) with your coupon, but wouldn't it be even better if you had 3, 4, or 5 of that coupon and could buy FIVE boxes for $2.50 total? By having more than one of each coupon you are able to buy more than one of that item when it's at a great price.

Then, you stock up on them and that amount will last you a while and you won't have to worry about buying them again until there's another really great sale and it's at a price you're willing to pay. For one example, I got four men's Degree deodorants for FREE. (They were on sale at Target for $2.50, then in the Sunday paper there was a Target coupon for $1.50 off, plus I had manufacturer coupon from a previous Sunday paper coupon insert for $1.00 off, so by "stacking" the store coupon with the manufacturer coupon I was able to get them completely free. I just had to pay tax.) Now I won't have to buy deodorant for my husband again until it's at a price I'm willing to pay (FREE)! If I hadn't had multiple copies of the paper, I wouldn't have been able to buy more than one at that great price (FREE), so then when he ran out I would have to go out and pay full-price for another deodorant until another great sale and coupon match-up occured. The same stockpiling principle applies to a lot of things. Buy as many as you have coupons for when they're at their lowest price. Then, you don't have to buy them again until they are at a price you are willing to pay. If you only buy will wind up having to buy it again at full-price before it goes on sale again in a couple of months.

Any way, so newspapers are the best resource for coupons, but definitely not the only one! There are tons of coupons to be found online, also, called "printables" or "IP's." One GREAT source for online coupons, that you will see me mention a LOT, is For more on IPs, go HERE to check out my Internet Printables 101 page.

Online isn't the only other place to find coupons. Once you start being conscious of coupons, you'll start finding them everywhere. As you're walking around the store, you'll find them hanging on the shelf next to the product they're for, or in those little "blinky" machines where you pull one out and another one automatically dispenses. They're in magazines. They're in the newspaper. They're delivered to your mailbox in those little mailer packets you get. They're left in the cart you grab at the store. They're in the weekly ads the store has at the front door as you walk in. Some products even have "peelie" coupons attached right to the package. One thing I must ask of you when it comes to these "peelie" coupons is please, please, PLEASE don't become one of those awful coupon ladies who goes and takes the peelie coupons off of a product you're not even buying in that trip! I can't believe you actually have to TELL people not to do that, but apparently some people just don't get that it's wrong. Totally not fair to the person who's wanting to buy that product AND get the peelie. This just happened to me the other day when I went to buy a 5pk of mac-n-cheese and there was supposed to be a peelie on it for a free Capri Sun...there were like 7 of the 5pks left, but none of them had the peelie coupon left on them. Someone had come and swiped them. So, again, please don't do that. It's not fair to the rest of us.

The next kind of coupon I'll mention here is what is known as a "catalina." This is a skinny receipt-looking paper that prints out of a machine AFTER you've made your purchases. I am unsure of which stores do this, but I do know that Albertson's, Walgreens, Fred Meyer, and Kmart do it. I know that Target sometimes has coupons that print with your receipt but these seem to be more random and not really the same thing. Sometimes you will just get a random coupon from the catalina machine, but sometimes you can trigger a certain coupon by buying a certain item or a certain number of a particular item. For example, one particular week at Albies, say, if you buy two canisters of Country Time lemonade, it will trigger a $1 "OYNSO" (on your next shopping order) catalina. This coupon can now be used on your next shopping trip (or next transaction) to Albies, same as cash, on whatever you want. There is a running list of current catalina deals HERE on the PinchingYourPennies (PYP) website. You will need to go to the last page and double-check that you are looking at the most current list of catalina deals. There will always be dates for when the catalina deals run through, such as 5/29-6/12, that just means you have to buy those items during those dates to get the catalina reward.

Walgreens catalinas are known as Register Rewards (RR). In their weekly ad in the Sunday newspaper there will show certain products you can buy that will have a register reward attached to them and for how much. Sometimes they will be up to the full amount of the purchase price for that product, essentially making them FREE! Remember, though, you are still paying for the item, and the RR will print AFTER you are done ringing up and, again, this is good "OYNSO" (on your next shopping order).  (Remember, the ad tells you what the register reward deals are that week. I also post the weekly/monthly deals and the coupons they match up with on my blog) If you want to learn more about shopping at Walgreen's, check out my Walgreens 101 post HERE. There is a LOT of money to be saved at Walgreens! I once got $60 worth of stuff for $.60!!! No noke!

The last kind of coupon I will mention here there are store coupons and the infamous "DOUBLER." Many stores put out their own store coupons either in the newspaper, their weekly circular. These store coupons can actually be COMBINED with manufacturer coupons (all the other kinds of coupons you get) for the SAME ITEM! This is called "stacking" coupons. So, in that example I gave above for the Degree deodorant, that is what I did. I combined, or "stacked," the Target store coupon for $1.50 off and the manufacturer coupon that I received in a previous week's coupon insert for $1 off, and, therefore, got $2.50 off that item (which just happened to be $2.50) making it FREE.

Now, the "doublers" are Albertson's "Twice the Value" coupons that the store puts out sometimes in which they will double the amount of your manufacturer coupon up to $1. (A lot of other stores double coupons, also, so be sure to find out if yours does and up to what amount!) So you could hand over your coupon for $1.00 off a Marie Callenders frozen meal and one of the "doubler" coupons and Albies will match that coupon and take another $1.00 off. So now that $2 meal is FREE! There are some restrictions as to how these work and each store is different. Read more about doublers and how to use them HERE

Some stores, though I'm not quite sure which ones, will do double or triple coupon promotions. Apparently Kmart does double coupon days occasionally where they will double any manufacturer coupon (up to $2.00 in value) but our area tends to not participate in this promo often.

I just wanted to give you a rundown of some of the different types of coupons out there and where to find them. Also, there are some terms I used that you should get familiar with (these are the terms in quotes, such as "blinkies," "catalinas," "OYNSO," etc.) These are terms you will come across a ton in my blog, as well as all over the online coupon community. For a quick reference guide to all of the coupon-lingo and definitions (including pictures) click HERE.

You will also need a way to ORGANIZE all of these coupons that you'll be accumulating! Click HERE for my Organization 101 page.

If you have any questions, leave a comment so that everyone who may have the same question can see and I'll post my answer there as well (assuming I have one!) :)

Now you need to know what to DO with all of those coupons, right? Well, click HERE to find out and go to the next step in learning to save money on groceries!


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