Thursday, October 16, 2008

Couponing 101: Savings in Action (what to do once you're at the store)

Today we'll talk about what you do once you're at the store....true couponing is much more involved than shopping from a quick list.

(Note: the following 'steps' generally apply to smaller stores like Walgreens or CVS, as these are surprisingly the stores that have the best deals! There's no way I'm going to spend time running from corner to corner at Walmart! But then again, they never have moneymaker deals.)

Ignore the stares you may receive when you waltz into a store with your giant stash of coupons! (I've never seen anyone eye my binder with curiosity (or disdain) but then again, I am pretty oblivious!)

Get out your master list and have your calculator handy. (or if you're good with numbers, forgo the calc. I have learned that my math skills go south when I have my kids with me. It's amazing what screaming and running will do to a girl trying to add!) As hard as it is to imagine, stores run out of stock during great sales, so you may need to adjust your transactions to fit your plans.

Get your important items first! Every so often, my trip will have an item (usually multiples of an item) that will make or break my success. (an example: Let's say I'm at Walgreens. I must buy 3 Dimetapp in order to get a $10RR. I plan to use that $10RR to buy subsequent items) These are the things I go after first....forget the systematic up-and-down-the-aisle shopping!

Group items into their transactions within your cart. This will make checkout much easier. I don't always have multiple transactions, but I've done enough to know this simple step makes the check-out process a lot smoother!

Choose a cashier. Yes, I encourage profiling. It's amazing how a little generalization can make your check-out great or horrible. I've found that older people are sticklers about reading the fine print. Some people look like brown-nosers or ...I can't really explain the look, but I'm guessing you know what I'm talking about....don't go to them either. They're the type who wants to do good and 'catch' a thief and often interpret using coupons and getting a good deal as stealing. I've found that the best cashiers are the younger college age kids or young women who look like moms. Both groups know it's important to save money and welcome coupon users! Now, this isn't to say all people of a particular group will act in the same manner....some people will surprise you.

I always make mental notes of which cashiers are friendly and which are a pain in the you-know-what. Then I avoid the bad ones - I'll get in a line that's longer but has a great cashier, as opposed to the short or non-existent line with the bad one.

Know your coupon rights! Occasionally, cashiers don't know what in the world they're talking about and tell customers the completely wrong thing when it comes to coupons and corporate policy. When you know you're right, stand your ground. Be courtious, but don't take any flack. If you run into problems, ask for the store manager. If he/she doesn't know anything either, take your problem up with customer service. After all, it costs less for them to keep your business then to acquire a new customer!

- Walmart cashiers are notorious for not accepting IPs, and it is corp policy to accept them, per their corp website! Here's the link for the policy, which I recommend every couponer carries with them! Here's a link to Walmart FAQs.

- Walgreen's coupon policy varies from store to store. Mine is extremely coupon friendly, but I've heard about others being rather mean. One thing that should be accepted across the board is stacking. You can use a Walgreens store coupon from the weekly ad (referred to as a 7-day coupon) and/or a coupon from the EasySaver Catalog (referred to as an IVC...instant value coupon) with a manufacturer's coupon. Here's a link to a Walgreens FAQs thread at HCW.

- Target FAQs


And that about wraps it up! Next Tuesday will be a Q&A post...although no one has emailed or commented with questions, so it may be a blank post! :) And next Thursday is Show & Tell! If you blog, link to your post about your new-found deals! If you don't blog, just leave a comment letting us know how you did!


  1. Ok, since no one has asked you a question, I will:

    I have an issue: I don't get ANY mailers. I ave tried requesting them, but nothing happens. So do you know how to start getting mailers? Is there something I can pick up myself to save money?

  2. I have a question too.
    I have RR to use up and nothing I really see I need to buy. Can I wait until the 24th and buy the 2 NOvember FAR rebate items at Walgreens (almay and loreal)?

  3. mamamay - I recommend going to each company's website of products you use and sign up for their mailing list....not just their email list. If you can't find a form or link, then I suggest contacting the company and specifically request being added to their mailing list.

    and to "anonymous" - Yep, assuming your RRs don't expire before the 24th, you can certainly use them on the 24th to buy Nov's FAR items!


Thanks for taking time to leave a comment!


Related Posts with Thumbnails