Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Coupon Questions

I wanted to take a day and answer a few questions I have gotten about coupons and couponing issues.

Doubles: Doubling coupons is super great if you can find it. Other states have more opportunities for doubling than California. Where I live, there are no opportunities to double (that I know of). And in California the major stores that *might* double are Vons and Ralphs. You would need to check with your local store and find out if they have double coupon day or if they do this automatically. From what I can find, if your Ralphs or Vons double they will only double up to a $1 total. Meaning if you have a coupon for $.35 off it can be doubled to $.70. However if you have a coupon for $.75 the store would adjust the coupon value to $1 total. So instead of a $.75 discount, you get a $1 discount. Any coupon over $1 the policy doesn't help at all. This is the policy for both stores. In other states (Idaho for example) there are more stores that double coupons or provide opportunities for doubling. I wish more stores in CA could offer doubles!

Expired Coupons: Around the end of each month, you will have lots of coupons that are expired. If they are manufacturer coupons, don't throw them out! You can send those coupons to military bases overseas and military families are able to use those coupons at the commissaries for up to 6 months after the expiration date! You can adopt a military base by checking out this website: www.ocpnet .org

Stock-Up Shopping: I have to say that this is the best part about couponing... the goal is to stock up on items when they are on sale so you never pay full price for them. This cannot happen with everything... because some things (milk) are hardly ever on sale, or are hard (too large) to store. However most of your groceries and toiletries and cleaning products can be saved for long periods of time. For example, I bought 8 tubes of toothpaste this week. It will take us a VERY long time to go through all that toothpaste, but for $2 total, it was a good price for stocking up. This way, I won't need to purchase toothpaste until it is on sale again!

Read Coupons Carefully: I have been able to get some good deals because I read the coupons carefully. When you know what is included or not included in a coupon then you are able to maximize your savings. For example, many coupons say "except travel size" but some don't and a dollar off a travel size of a product = free or pennies! This week I was able to use a Nabisco coupon for $1/1 on the 100 calorie packs because it said "any Nabisco crackers" and listed the sizes included... therefore, it didn't have to only be the crackers pictured on the coupon! I was able to pair the coupon with a sale to get 100 calorie packs for $.66 each! That is a great deal!

Unused Coupons: I also wanted to point out that there are a LOT of coupons that I don't use. I am quite picky about what cleaning and body products I use and there are always many coupons I automatically put into my "send-overseas" envelope. There are some products that I would use if I could get them for free or nearly free, so those I keep in my binder... but most of those I don't use either. And it took me a few weeks to be ok with this! I had to realize that the savings I am getting from the coupons I do use more than make up for the cost of the newspaper and it is ok to not use coupons. I wait for the sale to match up and get great deals that way. I use way more grocery coupons than anything else.

These are my best deals from this week:
Crest Toothpaste on sale for $.99 use $.75/1 coupon to get toothpaste for $.24
Nabisco 100 Calorie Pack on sale for $1.66 use $1/1 coupon to get it for $.66


KateD said...

Great tips, Michelle! I'm going to check out that military site (because aside from myself, I know of a lot of other people who have unused and expired coupons!).

I live in Wisconsin and in our town (SMALL by Cali standards, I'm sure!), one grocery store doubles on Wednesday on any coupon up to $1 (so, you could get $2 off with doubling - SUPER SWEET!...sorry you don't have any good doubling stores by you...). The other main grocery store in town doesn't double - but has more organic produce/dairy, so I can't get everything in one place, but it helps a lot when I shop double coupon day (yesterday I spent $15 and saved $43!).

Great score on the toothpaste and 100 cal packs - how fantastic!!

Kelli said...

Re doubling coupons-- some local stores might do this more than the big chain stores. A local grocery store near where I live (in CA) doubles coupons that are up to $1 (meaning you can get $2 off total). But their prices also tend to start out a little higher than at some of the chain stores, so whether or not it's the best deal all depends on the item & coupon.

Also, thanks for all the great tips & tricks on here! My Vista Print stuff arrived, and it is so cute and the quality seems good! I'm already thinking about who I can order more stuff for as a gift...

And I also made the baby blanket! It turned out great! Of course, I have some crooked seams, but that's because I'm still learning. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you used Skin Deep to look up the toothpaste that you're using? I was appalled, really! To me it's not worth the extra coupon savings for how often i actually have to buy a good, chemical free toothpaste!