Sunday, November 27, 2011

To Wait Or Not To Wait....

That is the question.  You get a great coupon and find a decent sale.  Do you use the coupon right away or do you wait for something better to come along?  Well, I guess it depends on how much you need the item.  This is where your stockpile can really give you a cushion in terms of time to wait for the great deals.  Of course you run the risk of losing the opportunity to use the coupon - I hate when that happens.

Today I got some great deals and I am totally psyched over them!  At the end of October, P&G released some great $2 off Tide coupons.  Much better than the typical .50 cent ones.  They were only valid for one month, but I held onto them even when Tide went on sale, hoping to find a magic coupon/sale/store reward combo.  Tide goes on sale enough that I figured, if necessary, I could find it on sale somewhere in their final week just to use them before they expired.

Well to my joy, CVS has Tide on sale this weekend in conjunction with their "Spend $30, Get a $10 gift card" promotion.  NOTE:  These promotion totals are PRE-coupon amounts - hooray!  So today I went in and got 4 containers of Tide, and 2 cool battery-operated toothbrushes.  The total came to $33.74 pre-coupons so I qualified for the gift card.  I had a $5 off $25 CVS coupon (they email these a lot), and $14 of manufacturer coupons which brought my total to $14.74.  (I also had some ExtraCare Bucks which brought my out-of-pocket expense down even lower).  I left with a $10 gift card, so the net cost for it all was $4.74 plus tax which is about .80 cents each. 

I was SO glad I didn't use the coupons back during the other sales when Tide was on sale for $5.99 with no store rewards.  Sure, $3.99 for Tide is still a decent price, but .80 cents is so much better!  Next time  I'll tell you about the other great deals I got by holding coupons until just the right time!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Couponing While Traveling

Are you going away for Thanksgiving?  If you are driving, don't forget to pack your coupons!  Different parts of the country have different stores with different coupon policies and different sales.  Spend some time googling the area you are driving to (or through) and research the stores there.  Last time I traveled I got a great deal on laundry detergent by finding a store that would double $1 coupons.  Awesome! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Think Outside of the Box

When couponing for great deals sometimes you have to think outside the box.  For example, where would you normally purchase bottled water and toilet paper?  Probably the grocery store, Target, Walmart or even Costco.  Where did I get mine?  Office Depot and Staples.  Unusual, I know, but I got an awesome deal!

Of course these products typically cost more at office supply stores, right?  Well here's how I got the deals - a combination of a sale at Office Depot, and a great coupon for 75% off any item at Staples.  Office Depot is one of the stores that accepts competitors coupons so I walked in with my Staples coupons and combined them with the Office Depot sale prices and got a 24 pack of bottled water for 75 cents (3 cents each), and a 16 pack of toilet paper for $1.25 (8 cents each). 

The coupons are one per customer so the hubby tagged along and did the deals with me.  I won't drive out of the way for deals, but during our Saturday errands we usually pass by any stores I may need.  We hit 3 local office supply stores and we were set!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Coupon Source

We've talked quite a bit about the coupons that come in the Sunday paper, as well as printable coupons.  Another coupon source is Facebook!  Up until recently I have rejected the Facebook revolution.  The reason I give most people is that my school district frowns upon teachers having Facebook accounts.  The other reason is that I tend to become addicted to things like that and would waste enormous amounts of time on it.

Regardless, a few months ago I finally broke down and set up a Facebook page... just for the coupons!  If you "like" certain product pages, you get the opportunity to print coupons from them.  My husband was graciously letting me use his, but does he really need the fact that I "like" Playtex tampons to be plastered on his wall?  So, I set up my own account with no information except my first name.  I use it exclusively for the coupon access.

Do you have a Facebook account?  If not, set one up!  I've gotten some great, high-value coupons from it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planning Ahead

A key component to couponing is learning to plan ahead.   This is something I am learning to do because I don't do this naturally.  I am one of those people who wakes up to the first snowstorm of the year and realizes the kids don't have snow boots that fit.  Thankfully my husband is a planner, so rarely do our kids wind up with frostbite on their toes.

I am getting better at planning ahead when it comes to couponing.  I used to only buy what I needed exactly when I needed it.  The stockpile concept requires you to plan ahead and get things you know you will need BEFORE you need them.

Here's an example of some of my recent plan-ahead couponing:  We bake a LOT of cookies at Christmas and go through a ton of ingredients.  Last week I was able to get a great deal on white, brown and confectioner's sugar.  Just today I got 8 packages of butter at a great price (expires April 2012).  I am now on the lookout for flour, vanilla extract and a few other ingredients.  My hope is to have most of what I need in place so I don't have to buy it at full price right before Christmas.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Almost Too Lazy To Get 89% Off Tonight

When I got home from work I checked a few couponing sites and saw a one-day-only coupon for 14 free color copies at Office Depot.  As a teacher I have to pay to get color copies of my materials, so this was exciting!

But honestly, I did NOT want to go out at 7:00pm.  I quickly checked through my binder for some other coupon/sales matchups for this week to see if I could make it a bit more enticing for me to drag myself out of the house. 

I found several good ones and decided to head out.  In the end I spent $9.34 for $81.44 of stuff - 89% off!  Well worth the trip, I think!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Know Your Coupons

This morning I received my 4 subscriptions that are delivered to my house, but they only had one coupon insert in them.  Since the number of coupon inserts varies week to week, I might have just assumed that was all that was coming today.  But I regularly check Sunday Coupon Preview and knew 2 inserts should be in there.

So I emailed the newspaper company to let them know I was missing one of the inserts and they dropped off 4 replacement sets later that morning.  On a side note, this is not the first time this has happened.  In fact, it's the 3rd time in 2 months which makes me unhappy.  But I digress...

Regardless, my point is to know what inserts are coming so you can make sure you get them.  If you are buying your papers at a store make sure you check the papers before you buy them.  If you are having them delivered, make sure you check them early enough in the morning so you can report any problems if necessary.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Coupon Clipping Services

A few pretty decent coupon deals have come up lately that require 10 coupons.  Since I only buy 4 copies of the newspaper, I generally don't have 10 of each coupon unless they are printable ones.  So what can  I do? 

There have been times when I have bought coupons from a coupon clipping service.  Clipped coupons are available from 5 to 15 cents each.  You can also get complete, uncut inserts for approximately 80 cents each.  You can get them for less when you get multiple copies.

I haven't gotten complete inserts from a service, because it's cheaper for me to just buy the newspaper instead of paying 80 cents for each of the 2-3 inserts that come each week.  While I don't believe it's a reasonable option for every week, it is a good option if you somehow completely miss a week of coupons. 

A better option all around is hooking up with other couponers and exchanging coupons with each other for free.  It's a win-win situation - you help others and help yourself!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

MORE Free Toothpaste?

I came home from the food store today with 4 more free tubes of toothpaste and was met with the question, "You got MORE free toothpaste?" 

Yes, I will admit I have too many tubes of toothpaste.  It's one of the few items where I have broken my rule of only stockpiling  the amount that my family will use prior to them expiring.

So why do I have so many?  Yes, they were all free, but I also found out that our local food pantry accepts personal care items - and toothpaste and toothbrushes are on the list!

Keep in mind that donating is a great way to share all the great deals you get with coupons!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally, A Decent P&G Coupon!

Despite living deep in P&G country, and being friends with several of the Proctoids that work there, I have been known to disparage P&G and their coupons on this blog.  Rarely do you see ".25 cents off 3" coupons these days, but if you do you can be sure they are P&G ones.  You can also be sure they say "limit 4" on them and that they expire within 1 month.  Ugh.  They are the reason I have a basement full of Brawny, Cottonelle and Kleenex instead of Bounty, Charmin and Puffs.

The only thing that saves me from completely trashing them is the fact that they rotate and thrown in one good/great coupon each month.  Last month it was the "$8 off 2 Covergirl products" I used a few days ago.  This month it's "$2 off 1" Tide.  Their Tide coupons are usually ".50 cents off 1."  Now hopefully I can find a store coupon or store reward to pair it with for a great deal before it expires.