Friday, December 2, 2011

Couponing Beginner – Where, When and How to use Coupons

*This is the second in a series of posts. Look for the label “Couponing”

The following steps should help make your first couponing trip the best possible experience. You want to go into the store feeling confident and ready to save.


Start by choosing one store (I chose Albertson’s but I also like Fred Meyer and have heard that Walmart is very efficient at doing coupons). Talk to the manager and get a copy of their coupon policies and sign up for their weekly ads.


This is the most critical part of getting a good deal. You want to use your coupons when you will get the greatest combination of discounts (store discount and manufacturer discount).

Make your weekly shopping list by cross-referencing the store’s weekly ads with the coupons in your binder. There are many sites that do this for you although some of the sales and ads will vary from one region to the next.

Here are some sites that list grocery stores for the Idaho and Utah area and tell you what to buy:
Another important tip is to choose a good time of day to shop (like early morning or late evening). This way you won’t have a crowd behind you and an impatient cashier.


Prepare to shop: Gather all the coupons you plan to use in one store along with your grocery list for that store. I find it easiest to clip them and put them into baseball holders just before shopping. This creates an organized visual for me as I shop. Plus I can easily read the fine print without shuffling through various coupons.

Shop: As I pace the items in my cart I transfer the coupon for that item to the front pocket of my binder. It is like checking off a list. Once my coupons have all been transferred I know that I am done shopping and ready for checkout.

Checkout: I try to find a cashier that looks chipper in hopes of creating the best checkout experience for both of us. It also helps to be considerate and ask if they would rather the coupons at the beginning or end of checkout.

The cashier (and manager if necessary) will take care of the rest.

*Make sure you have a copy of the store policies if you plan on doing various transactions as most stores have a limit of three or so transactions at a time.

Don’t forget to check your receipt for savings and store any coupons or catalinas that print off with your receipt.
For examples and more information on specific transactions like how to do BOGO and doublers check back here to read the third installment of this series.