Now that you know some of the basics of couponing, you’re one step closer to saving money! But there are a few more steps to take before we can start shopping.
First, decide where you’ll shop. If you have several different grocery stores in the area, it may be tempting to keep up with the deals at all the stores so you don’t miss anything. But this is very time consuming, so to begin with you should start with just one store. We will use Harris Teeter for this example.
Once you decide on your store, do some research on its coupon policy. This can usually be found on the store’s website, but most coupon matchup sites will list the coupon policy too. It’s a good idea to print a copy of the policy so you have it when you checkout, because it’s not uncommon for cashiers to be unclear about the policy. Harris Teeter’s policy can be found here, and here are some items to note:
• One manufacturer’s coupon per item (this is true for most stores, but some allow you to use a store coupon as well as a manufacturer’s coupon for extra savings)
• You won’t receive cash back if the value of the coupon exceeds the value of the item (if the item is priced at $1.89 and your coupon is for $2.00 off, the value of the coupon essentially becomes $1.89, giving you the item for free without giving cash back)
• Item purchased must match size/flavor/variety written on the coupon (you won’t necessarily have to buy the exact variety pictured on the coupon unless the coupons states so)
• Manufacturer’s coupons up to 99 cents will be doubled (if you have a coupon for 75 cents off, HT would double it to $1.50 off) – UNLESS the coupon says “Do not double” (doubling policies vary from grocery store to grocery store, and some don’t double coupons at all)
• Only 20 coupons will be doubled per household per day
Study your store’s policy so you understand what it means. If you’re unclear, you can usually post comments on the coupon matchup sites and another shopper will help clarify.
Wait, what’s a coupon matchup site? Basically, it’s where you find all the deals. It would take hours to go through all your coupons trying to match them with items that are on sale at the grocery store to find the best prices – luckily, there are bloggers out there who will do this for you. My favorite is Southern Savers, but if you’re not in the South you’ll need to find a different one. Coupon Divas lists many stores around the country. If you don’t find your store, do a Google search for “Your Store + coupon matchups” and you’ll come up with at least a few helpful blogs.
So your assignment after reading this is to become familiar with your store’s coupon policy and find a coupon matchup site for your store, then we’ll get to work couponing in the next blog!
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