The A, B, C’s of Couponing

Z Shopping at IkeaThe school year is off and running, which means there are children everywhere learning their alphabet. So in honor of all those who teach children their letters here are the A, B, C’s of couponing. A – Always look online for coupon codes or printable coupons before making a purchase of any kind. B – Buy in the smallest quantity the coupon will allow you to purchase, as this will make your savings larger. C – Customer reward cards and points. From loadable coupon cards from major chains like Kroger, Food Lion or Harris Teeter to savings at the bottom of a CVS receipt, stores offer a plethora of easy ways to save money. D – Don’t hesitate if you see a good deal; it may not be there tomorrow. E -  Educate! Teach your children, and spouse if necessary, the value of coupons by showing them how a coupon can save them money on activities/items that they enjoy - for example a BOGO on the movies. F ­Freebies! Take advantage of BOGOs and free samples/product sites. You can these on Facebook, on Coupon Claim or by doing a web search. G – Get a coupon filing system that helps you stay organized. For some it is a box file, for others a notebook-just be sure it works for the way you shop. H – Helping hands! Get family members involved with finding, clipping and sorting coupons. The more of you who help in the money saving process the greater the savings can be. I – Internet deals. Watch shipping and handling charges on Internet deals as sometimes these can negate the savings. J – Join a local coupon club so you can trade coupons with others. If you community doesn’t have one, start your own. K – Keep your coupon file up to date. At least once a month go through your file and put soon to expire coupons in the front of their section(s).Clean out any of the expired ones. L – “Like”/follow your favorite products on Facebook/Twitter to be kept in the loop for freebies and coupons. M – Military bases will usually honor expired coupons for up to 6 months after the date. Don’t throw out old coupons (or those coupons you won’t use) pass them on to our country’s heroes! N – Newspapers, especially the Sunday edition, are still prime sources of coupons. It is recommended that you get at least one Sunday paper per member of your family—whether you buy the papers or ask someone who does not coupon but gets the paper to give you their coupon section. O – Online resources like Coupon Claim, Coupon Suzy and others provide an abundance of money saving coupons and codes for nearly every item imaginable. P – Phone apps. There are numerous phone apps you can download to help you keep up with the best ways to save money, get text alerts and keep up with coupon codes. A few  to get you started are Sherpa, Yowza , SnapTell and Cheap Gas. Q – Quantity cooking. Whenever possible make foods in double batches then freeze the extra. Buying and cooking in quantity can save you both time and money. Items that do especially great for quantity cooking are those with rice or pasta. R – Rebates will also put money in your pocket. With a bit of diligence, you can easily recoup 25% of your spending, whether it is on groceries, computer items or other household items. S – Stacking coupons with store sales can lower your grocery/shopping costs significantly. T – Trade coupons with others to help build up both of your savings potential. U – Use your coupons before they expire- but if you don’t see letter “M”. V – Verify the store’s coupon policy as some stores set limits on the number or type of coupons that can be used. Print off the policies and store in your coupon file so that you can show the cashier, should there be any questions as many of them are not aware of their store’s policy. W - Watch the numbers! Weight, size, servings and unit price are all a part of the savings process. Be sure to compare these elements to ensure you get the best savings possible. X – eXamine the product-especially the meat, to be sure that its expiration date is not past or coming up before you can use the item. If  you won’t be able to use it, and don’t have the space to freeze it, before it goes bad then it is not really a savings. Y – Yes! You can save money with coupons and rebating. How much you save is determined by how diligent you are in studying ads, stacking coupons and comparing prices. Z – Zero paid for groceries. Sometime when you stack coupons, you can actually leave the store with a cart full of groceries and not spend a penny. In fact, the store may even have to pay you to take the groceries home.

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