Getting Started Series: Accumulating Coupons

by Katie on August 18, 2008

When utilizing coupons, it is important to know the “lingo” that manufacturers and stores use. Here is a basic run down of terminology and what it means:

– BOGO – buy one get one free
– 2/$4 – this means that 2 items cost $4
– $1/2 – this means that you will get $1 off of 2 items
– OOP – means out of pocket, or the money you actually spent on a purchase
– exp – stands for expiration, such as when a coupon expires
– MIR – mail-in rebate
– IR – instant rebate
– ECB – extra care bucks (given out at CVS)
– RR – register rewards (given out at Walgreens)
– wyb – when you buy

While there are other shortcuts that are used when discussing coupons, these are most frequently encountered.

The next important step in beginning your couponing adventure, is accumulating a store of coupons, and subsequently organizing them. Purchasing a Sunday paper is an easy way to begin storing coupons. Currently, both UDF and Walgreens are selling the Sunday Enquirer for $0.99. This is a considerable savings over having the paper delivered to your home.

There are some weeks when the coupons are especially good, such as the first weekend of the month when the P & G BrandSaver coupons are distributed. On weekends such as these, I will often buy multiple papers (6-8) in order to capitalize on the high value coupons that are offered. I add the cost of these extra papers into my weekly grocery budget, in order to make sure that I don’t negate the savings that I am trying to procure.

You can also ask friends and relatives who receive the Sunday paper to save the coupons that they do not want/need aside for you. Likewise, if there are coupons that you might not use, you can save them aside for other family members. Then once every few weeks, you can coordinate a coupon swap with each other. A few other methods might be worth trying as well. Local recycle bins often have leftover papers if you feel adventurous enough to pick through them and look for coupons. Another thought is to call your local library and ask what they do with the coupons from their Sunday papers. They might be happy enough to save them aside for you to pick up on Monday morning.

Online coupons can be a very lucrative way to save money as well. The sites that I mentioned in the first day of my “Getting Started” series are all very easy sites to access, and usually have many coupons that match up well with the weekly sales at the local stores. You can access the sites by clicking here to see the first day of this post.

Food, personal care, and cleaning product companies are all very interested in customer feedback. Oftentimes they have feedback forms on their corporate websites. Once you leave your comment, you can also ask that they send you coupons in the mail. Most companies are more than happy to send a few to their patrons who enjoy their products.

Sometimes you are also able to find coupons at your local grocery stores. Many products, especially new products, have tear pads with coupons on them. There are also peelies on products which are coupons that can be used at check-out. It’s important to keep your eyes open for these, as they can assist in your savings efforts.

Do you have any other ideas for accumulating coupons? If so, please share your ideas with us. I’ll share methods for organizing coupons in tomorrow’s post.
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