Welcome to the wonderful world of couponing! We are all wading through, trying to figure it all out, with the same common goals; To save money and provide for our families. So how is it that some shoppers make it look SO EASY? What is it that THEY know, that the rest of us don’t? Read on to learn the TOP TEN TRICKS the PROS don’t want you to know!
#1 We shop ALL stores
That’s right, in the world of couponing, there is no store loyalty. We may SAY we prefer one store over another, but the truth of the matter is, our favorite stores are the ones that offer the best deals….at least for this week! Learning to shop ALL stores opens shoppers options, and ensures you don’t miss any deals. Most stores do run similar sales each week, however the most detail oriented shoppers know that there is ALWAYS at least one store that has a better deal than the rest. While everyone else is running out to clear the shelves at the here-and-now, one stop shops, we are counting up our store rewards, stacking coupons, and searching ads to find out where we can pinch another penny (or TWO) from the final price.
#2 We NEVER Throw Away Coupons
Well, almost never anyhow! When we get our coupons, we skim through them with a fine tooth comb, and don’t toss any to the side. The most experienced couponers know, that while WE may not need an item, it could end up being a FREEBIE, or a MONEY MAKER somewhere down the line. We never pass up a free deal because you never know who may need it! There are LOTS of couponers that take pride in donating stockpile items, sharing/selling to family and friends, or even trading with fellow couponers. While YOU may not want those diet suppplements, diapers and denture pastes, you may be shocked at how you can benefit by purchasing them anyways!
#3 No seriously…DON’T Thow Away Those Coupons!
Many couponers take pride in cleaning out those binders at the end of every month, only the pros know that expired coupons take on a life of their own after that expiration date. Many, MANY stores are now accepting expired coupons for days, a week, even several weeks after they have expired! What does this mean for the pro’s? After everyone else has pitched last months coupons, the deals are all there for the taking, with no fear of cleared shelves!
#4 We Practice Balanced Couponing
We understand that NO couponer can get every deal, and some we will miss out on! We act with dignity and grace in the stores and never throw fits. We work hard to build relationships with the teams at stores we frequent the most, and work even harder to maintain those relationships. We leave the stores as neat and tidy as we found them, and remind store employees (through our actions alone) that couponers can be assets to the store’s economy. Finally, we remember that a compliment can go MUCH further than a complaint and give positive feedback at every opportunity.
#5 We Know No Limits
If we don’t know, we ask…other shoppers, other couponers, sales personnel, store managers and more. We learn through trial and error and never stop inquiring about the BEST way to stretch our dollars and our coupons. If we think there is a better way to save, we go for it, we try new things and push saving to the limits at ALL costs (Not out of pocket, however!!)
While the rest of the coupon community is out debating the best use of a coupon we are hitting the stores, scanning our coupons, running ‘field tests’ and more! We use BOGO coupons with BOGO sales and go home with EVERYTHING for free! We mix loyalty programs, with store coupons on top of manufacture coupons, and then search for FULL money back on our rebates. We EVEN go as far as using BOGO coupons with $$/1 coupons whenever we can, store permitting, of course!
#6 We Clean Out The Clearance
Sometimes as a couponer, we need to get down and dirty, and that means more often then not, endless scanning of clearance items, in addition to digging throughbins, buckets and boxes of unshelved mark down item. Clearance finds can sometimes mean BIG money, if you have the right coupons to pair with them. We may have more boxes of hair dye than your typical beauty school could go through in a year, but it’s possible that the overage earned from those filled the fridge with groceries for the month!
#7 We Shop for the Holidays AFTER The Holiday
Yes, you read that right! While the rest of the world is cleaning up from the holiday rush, saying good bye to guests and recovering from all of the crazy, we are out shopping the clearance….with our coupons! Most saavy shoppers shop always ahead instead of at the moment. Items such as decor, wrapping paper, ribbons, stocking stuffers, basket fillers and other end items are purchased the year before at a fraction of the price, and housed with the rest of the holiday items, until the next years’ festivities.
#8 We NEVER shop ‘Hungry’ or in Need
When we go to the store, we go with a plan, and stick to it! The only exception to this is #6…unexpected clearance finds! By not shopping ‘hungry’ or in need, you are WAY less likely to splurge on spontaneous purchases, and YES that does include a $2.00 Pepsi in the check out lane after that 45 minute transaction! When we have a plan, it ensures that we never pay full price for anything….EVER!
#9 We Stock Pile With PRIDE…AND out of necessity!
Oh yes…the dreaded stockpile. We all know what it is, and most of us DREADED the idea upon coming into the world of couponing. Some of us SWORE it would never be us, we would NEVER have 112 rolls of toilet paper, 56 bottles of shampoo, 32 tubes of toothpaste and 29 bottles of aspirin, until it was, and we did! Stock piling is in integral part of couponing, you just can’t have one without the other! Your stockpile should be a source of sustenance for your family, but also a source of pride for YOU and all of your hard work. Having a functioning stock pile will help you avoid #8, shopping ‘hungry’ or our of need. If your stockpile is stocked properly, you should never have to purchase anything out of necessity, or at full price.
#10 We NEVER Buy Just Because
You will never hear a Pro say, I HAVE to use this coupon, or I NEED to buy this before the deal expires. Why is that? We NEVER buy, just to buy. Successful couponers always have a plan, and never EVER purchase just because there is a deal. If it’s not cheap or free, it’s just not for me!
I hope this list helps you to become a better, more thrifty shopper and overall couponer! The fastest way to improvement is through helping one and other, and staying on track with a budget and a plan. Happy shopping!