Thursday, April 28, 2011

Couponing 101 & Gas Prices

Raise your hand if you want to learn how to not only save hundreds of  dollars off your household budget for groceries and other necessities, but to sometimes get PAID to shop. Come on now, I bet you had your hand up. And there is no shame in that. My hand was up too.

I had the pleasure of attending a couponing class today at a local church. It was hosted by Missy Eby, who was recently featured on an episode of Extreme Couponing. Now I don't particularly like that show, because to me, many of these people go WAY overboard with their stockpiles. There is no need to have FIVE YEARS worth of pasta noodles, DONATE THAT STUFF!  BUT, I enjoyed the episode with Missy because she has actually made a ministry out of it. Not only does she usually end up leaving a store on a POSITIVE side, without paying a dime, but she doesn't just buy in bulk to stockpile, she stocks multiple food banks and an orphanage in our area. She pays it forward. You can visit her website and learn more at Feeding God's People.

Missy truly is a coupon queen. She leaves the store many times getting PAID due to coupon overages, and she has not paid ONE PENNY for groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, etc this year. And she has only been couponing since January 2010. Go Missy Go! :)

I will post just a few basics of what I learned tonight, and at another class I attended at my church back in March.

First of all, if you are going to start couponing, you will need to know some key terms, and symbols. Couponers have their own lingo:
$$/$$ = money off if you spend, so $3/$15 means you get $3 off a $15 purchase
$/# = dollar amount off number of products, so $5/5 means $5 off  5 specific products
B1/G1 & BOGO = Buy one get one free. You can also see things such as B3/G2 which is buy 3, get 2.
FAR = Free after rebate
FILLER = Item purchased to reach a minimum total in order to get a deal
GC = Gift Card
IP = Internet Printable
MC or MQ = Manufacturers coupon
MIR = Mail in Rebate
MM = Money Maker (there are good! you MAKE money off them!)
NED = No Expiration Date
OOP = Out of pocket
STACKING = Using both a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon on one item
TMF = Try me free offer
UPC = Universal Product code
YMMV = Your market may vary
GM = General Mills
PG = Procter & Gamble
RP = Red Plum
SS = Smart Source

Those are just a few of the many terms couponers use. You also need to know WHERE to find coupons:
Newspapers - The rule of thumb is that you need one newspaper for every person you are shopping for, but you want an even number, SO, if you have 3 in your house hold, buy 4 papers. This helps you get more BOGO deals.
Online - Make sure if you print online you use a reputable site. And never print in bulk. You can print two per computer, and your IP address is on each one you print, so don't try to trick the system. You can be persecuted.
Manufacturers - companies will mail out coupons. If you have a particular brand of something that you must buy, write to the company telling them how awesome you think their product is. You'd be surprised at the freebies and coupons you may get back (BUT, not always)
Stores - many stores have coupons JUST for their stores. You can print them, find them in newspapers, or pick up IN the store.
Blinkies - these are in stores, attached to the shelves, and you guessed it, have a blinking light.
Peelies - these are coupons that are stuck on items that you have to peel off, and be careful because sometimes they say NOT VALID UNLESS PEELED BY CASHIER.

You have to plan your shopping trips, and stick to what you came in the store for, no more impulse buying.

You also need to know when to shop, don't go at peak times if you are doing a bulk couponing trip.

Watch the sales papers and plan your trips around them.

Match up coupons with BOGO's.

You HAVE to know your stores. Publix and Target allow coupon stacking which as we read above, in the terminology, means to stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon. Also, many stores offer COMPETITOR coupons. Each store is different, and you need to check with your local store first, but our local Publix accepts Sweetbay, Target, Save-a-lot, Albertsons, and Winn-Dixie coupons. If you see a coupon for $5 off $30 at Winn-Dixie, you can use that at Publix. This also goes for other stores such as Walgreens/CVS since they are competitors and Joanns and Michaels since they are competitors.

A few examples of some of the sales this week:
BIC Disposable Razors, 3-4 ct normally $5.49
- $3 off BIC Disposable Razors (men's), SS 4/10
- $3 off BIC Soleil (ladies) *facebook printable*
That takes a total of $6 off $5.49 which PAYS you .51 in overage

 Propel Zero Water, 710ML, 2 for $1
- $1/2 off propel zero - SS 2/13
That takes $1 off of 2, and if it's 2 for $1, it's free

Ex-Lax, 8ct, $2.29
- $5/2 Ex-Lax, benefiber, maalox, gas-x, or prevacid products (Publix Coupon) Green Adv Flyer
- $1 off Gas-X product, SS 4/17
That makes it $2.29X2 = $4.58 for the product, then take away -$5, -$1, so it ends up being +1.42. So you have an OVERAGE and get paid FOR the product.

So yeah, you might not need some of the products, BUT you benefit by buying them in bulk because of the overage you get, and then donate what you don't need to those that DO need it.

If you are interested in starting couponing, some good sites are:

Feeding God's People - linked it above, and will link it again, because I love that she has turned this into a ministry and a way to fellowship.
Southern Savers
Couponing to Disney - this blogger takes all of her savings and throws it back into her vacation Disney fund.
Hot Coupon World - It's a coupon DATABASE. Wanna find a coupon for a certain product? Come here to see if it exists.
Totally Target - Mostly Target Deals. Hence the name.:)
I Heart Publix - Again, look at the name. It's about Publix!

So there you have it, a few tricks and tips to get you started in the world of couponing, as well as a few sites that will become good friends of yours.

In other news, my husband was NOT happy when we filled my car up today.
It should NOT take $45 to fill up a 4cyl car!
I'd like to see his face when he fills up his Titan.


1 comment:

  1. yeah takes 100.00 to fill our truck!!! but i love his face on this!! dang gas went up .15 in 2 days here...