There are SO MANY ways to start shopping “smart,” and in today’s economic climate, there are extensive web resources to help you learn how to shop more effectively. We are going to refer to some of this smart shopping as “Deal Making” on this blog. Deal making is anytime you can find a needed item at discounted prices, and buy it for less than market value, or get it completely free. We are going to look at several ways to do this:
Coupon inserts come in the Sunday paper around the country and in various papers. Some newspaper companies will actually let you sign up for Sundays only! I did this and paid under $30 for the entire year for $1,000’s in coupon savings!
There are four main coupon insert companies, and these are Smart Source, Red Plum, Proctor & Gamble, and Velassis. These names are located at the top of the inserts. We will refer to them as SS, RP, V, and P&G on this blog!
Now that there are shows such as “Extreme Couponing” on TLC, more viewers are aware of the potential cost saving efforts of couponing. Now you can print coupons right off the internet! Here are some of my favorite printable websites:
You can print TONS of coupon from the following sites!!!!
A huge way to save money is through contacting companies through their websites. Another way is to like them on their Facebook pages when they are running a coupon special. I have been able to score many free products/coupons by liking Facebook pages, and by signing up for company programs. However, when you sign up for many of these promotions, you may have to include your email address. To keep the email craziness to a minimum, I have a separate email account for companies through yahoo. You can also get an extra, free email through gmail. This is a great way to sort through your deal emails, and keep your normal email less cluttered.
In case you were unaware, Rite Aid has a Video Values program where you can watch videos and score FREE coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons for that store!!How it works: You watch short videos, and at the end of the video (they are about 30 seconds long), you can print your coupons! 🙂 Also, the abbreviated name for these coupons is VV (not w)CLICK HERE to sign up!
There are coupons for everything from clothes, to restaurants, to dairy products, etc. There is pretty much a coupon for anything you want to buy in today’s market. You just have to wait for the right sale price and combine it with the right coupon! Many of these websites already do this for you, and they are referred to as “match ups.” These sites will automatically match money saving deals with coupons for you!
Couponing Vocab Terms
Blinkies – You will usually see a coupon with a blinking light at times on store shelves.
BOGO – Buy one get one
CAT/Catalina – Name of the coupon that prints after you have paid for your order. (I see these mostly at Giant and Walgreens in my area).
CRT – Coupons that print with the receipt
ECB – Extra Care Bucks from CVS’s rewards program
OOP – How much money you spent out of pocket
MIR – Mail in rebate
Peelie – Coupon that is actually on the product
POP – Proof of Purchase
RC -Rain Check
RR – Register Rewards: Walgreen’s cash back coupons
SCR -Single Check Rebate – The name of Rite Aid’s cash back program. (Rite Aid also has instant rewards called UP rewards.
UPC -The code that is on the product packaging (barcode with numbers below)
WYB – When you buy
Sunday Newspaper Insert Codes:
P&G: Proctor and Gamble
RP: Red Plum
SS: Smart Source
****SCROLL DOWN to see the “Organize Your Coupons” video!
Register Rewards and Extra Bucks refer to money-back promotions by Walgreens and CVS. Rite Aid also has a Wellness card that you can use to get UP Reward Dollars. Don’t be intimidated by the names. Each store has a different name for these cash back coupons. The principle is simple. You will need to check the weekly flyer for each store to see what is on sale, and where you can get money coupons back from purchases. These money coupons can be spent in the store like cash. Some stores have stipulations (i.e. You can’t spend the cash back coupons on Prescriptions or Gift Cards), yet CVS will allow you to spend Extra Bucks on milk, so you will have to check each store for their cash coupon policy.
Also, CVS has a coupon Kiosk inside the front of their store where you can swipe your CVS card and get coupons for store items. For example, last week the coupon kiosk printed out a $3 off of $10 coupon for cosmetics, and if you purchased $15 in Revlon cosmetics, you received $7 in Extra Bucks. So, I had purchased two Revlon items with my (2) $2 off coupons, AND I could use my kiosk coupon for an extra $3 off, PLUS I received $7 cash back in Extra Bucks. Because I had saved my Extra Bucks from last Sunday, I basically got these two items for free. This is a prime example of how to use cash back coupons.
This is a picture of a Walgreen’s Register Reward!
This is a picture of CVS’s Extra Care Bucks!
The best way to explain deal making is to give you an example. The supermarket is having a sale on yogurt. They are currently offering Buy One Get One Free on single yogurt cups, and they are also on sale for 50cents a piece. You have a 50cent coupon for that same yogurt, and you’ve just scored two free yogurts. While this is a very basic example, it will help you get the idea of how you can save money using the tips from this website. I’m not kidding, I calculated that my savings from deal making/couponing saved me over $7,000 last year. We also utilized this strategy to help our non-profit ministry score MANY free items that we give to needy people!
Because most stores conduct sales on the same items every six weeks or so, you should learn to stock up on items ONLY when they are on sale. This does require a little bit of an up front investment, but would not have to if you also used coupons to start your stockpile. For example, my local CVS had BOGO (Buy One Get One) on razors several times this year, and I also had $2.00 coupons for razors. I was able to score a year’s supply of razors for under $10. This has allowed us to get extensive supplies for our ministry. I also now have a stockpile of items in my basement of the various items I have gotten for almost nothing or free. This was the main way that was able to still be fairly addicted to shopping without spending much money! If you like to shop, then this is the answer for you!
My recent shopping trip
My recent shopping trips to CVS and Rite Aid resulted in $11 in out of pocket expenses. I don’t think that’s bad for all this! Check out our smart shopping for tips on how to save! I had two Fantastick coupons for $1.00 and .55 each. They were on sale for 2/$4, and with my up reward, I paid about 70-80cents for each. CVS had a Nivea special. Spend $15 and get $5 ECB. I had a $3 off and a $2 off coupon, so I spent the most for this with $5 out of pocket. I received an email from CVS for free cinnamon supplements (which is not pictured, because I already gave them to my dad), and I had a $3 off of $10 coupon from the coupon kiosk. So, I used that to buy the fish oil, which was BOGO. I also had a coupon from the kiosk for $5 off Almay products, plus another $3/$10 for cosmetics. Finally, I had a BOGO on the deodorant, so I paid about .99 a piece. The toothpaste I paid about $1 for (which I usually NEVER pay for toothpaste, but this was Sensodyne). Thus, about $11 OOP (out of pocket)
If you haven’t noticed, the prices of food, toiletries, and just about everything have gone up! The other day, I noticed the same price for toilet paper, but the size of the package had changed! So, I’m going to share a strategy with you that should save you money. Keeping a price book is basically tracking the prices of the things you buy the most at different stores. Personally, I kept on in a spiral notebook, and drew lines with a ruler. However, there is an example of one HERE. There is also an example of one at Frugalville HERE .
Personally, I keep the prices of each item for my 2-3 favorite stores, and I keep it with my coupon binder for when I’m out shopping. For example, tonight I KNEW that kitty litter pans were $3.97 at Walmart, so I was NOT going to buy one at Petsmart for $5. I also know that I can score Bounty at CVS this week for $6 less than the price at Walmart. A price book can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it.
This also brings us to the larger question, how much time do I have to go to how many different stores. This is why you should always keep 1-2 items at home, and replenish back-ups. This way you’re not forced into going to the store and buying at a high price. For example, this past weekend we went to the beach with my in-laws. We all know my mother-in-law LOVES Diet Pepsi. We all like to drink it too, especially at the beach. Because I didn’t plan ahead, I didn’t purchase any before we left, and I didn’t want to mooch all their soda (or pop depending on where you are from 🙂 . So, we had to go to Rite Aid, and it cost me $5.49 per 12-pack. If I had bought it at Rite Aid the week before, I would have gotten (5) 12-packs for $13, which would have been $2.60 a piece, and we could have all split the price. That’s the idea of the price game, and the idea behind a price book! It helps you know what a good price is for the items you buy the most.