Coupon Class Materials and Info


When I posted HERE that I had just done my first coupon class, I received quite a few emails/comments asking either for the materials I used or for ideas on what to cover in the class.

For those of you that commented/emailed, I would be more than happy to send what I used. They are far from perfect but at least they are a starting point for you. I will also be doing a posting next week sometime on how to do a class of your own. Like I said, I am no expert in this subject but at least it will help you start off and you should be able to at least teach the basics that will help them find the deals and save on their grocery/household budget.

This blog was created to help as many people as possible to save money in as many ways as possible; couponing, budgeting, changing life habits, etc. So I am more than thrilled to help anyone that would love to teach these same things to people within their communities.

So stay tuned. I’ll try to get the posting up late next week.

Pinecone Research: Taking New Panelists!


Engineer a Debt Free Life has details HERE on how you can sign-up to get into the Pinecone Research Survey Panel. It’s a tough one to get into, with limited sign-ups, from what I hear, so sign-up before they quit taking them again!

You get $3 for each survey you complete, which can add up over time!

They already quit taking sign-ups but EADFL does have other survey opportunities for those of you looking for them. Use the same link above.

Couponing Basics: Where to Find Coupons


So you’ve been bit by the couponing bug and now you want to find even more coupons, but you don’t know where to look. Here are the top places to find coupons:

1) Sunday Newspapers – These are the biggest sources of coupons. To find additional copies, check recycling bins or ask your family/friends if they are using theirs. There are anywhere from none to three inserts per paper. For a preview of upcoming coupons, you can check Sunday Coupon Preview.

2) Mail – You can sign-up for coupons from Red Plum here. You can also check out their printable coupons, too.

3) Free Samples – Signing up for free samples is a great way to get some higher dollar coupons. I’d advise creating a separate email address for “freebies.”

4) In-Store – You can often find coupons called “blinkies,” which are the little machines that spit out coupons by the products they are for. There are also “tear-pads,”as well. You can sometimes even find “peelies” right on the products themselves.

5) Printable Sites – Some of the big printable sites are Coupons.com, RedPlum, Coupon Network and Smart Source. These coupons rotate week after week and usually have maximum printings that when the limit is reached, they are pulled off the site. So if you see one you think you might need, you should print it. (You can usually print two per computer.) Other sites are for eCoupons are Saving Star and Cellfire.

6) Blogs – Blogs are a great place to find coupons. I stumble upon several at my fellow blogger’s sites throughout the week. I compile them throughout the week and post them on Mondays.

7) Search Engines – If you are looking for a specific coupon, just type the brand name followed by the word coupon and you might be able to find one that way.

8) Join Groups/Surveys – There are some groups you can sign-up for that will offer/mail you coupons from time-to-time. Some are:
Vocal Point
Shoppers Voice
Upromise
Ebates
Recycle Bank

9) Manufacturers Websites – More and more manufacturers are hosting coupons on their own sites now. If you use a lot of a particular item/brand, check their website to see if they offer coupons. If they don’t, email/mail them and request some.

10) Magazines – By far, the magazine with the most coupons lately has been All You magazine, which you can only get by subscription or at Wal-Mart. The price of the magazine is well worth the coupons inside. Make sure you check your magazines to see if there are some inside.

11) Free Periodicals – Some stores will have local newsbooks that have local area coupons inside. (For Chicago, try Chicago Parent and Family Time)

12) Forums – There are several great forums out there to check into. The top ones I’ve found are WeUseCoupons, HotCouponWorld and AFullCup. You have to register at each of them, but it’s free.

13) Store Websites – Make sure you sign-up for your local store’s loyalty programs and register at their websites so you can get emailed coupons. You can add eCoupons to your card through Saving Star and Cellfire.

14) Phone Book – Don’t forget to check your phone book for coupons for your local area businesses.

15) Entertainment Books – The Entertainment books have coupons for restaurants, entertainment, retail stores, etc.

Here are a list of common sites that regularly offer coupons:
Coupons.com
RedPlum
Coupon Network
Smart Source
Pillsbury
Very Best Baking – Nestle
Family Cents
Eat Better America
Box Tops for Education
Red Plum
Target Coupon Generator
Saving Star
Cellfire

Couponing Basics: Understanding BOGO Coupons and BOGO Sales


BOGO (Buy-One-Get-One) coupons and sales are the still the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around as a couponer. And that’s mostly because they are almost too good to be true sometimes! :) Now keep in mind, it’s always up to the stores on what their policies are on handling coupons. But here is how they generally work:

BOGO Coupon By Itself (or a BOGO sale item by itself) – If you use a BOGO coupon by itself, you’ll pay full price for one item and get the other one for FREE.

Coupons on BOGO Sale Items – If your store is running a BOGO sale on an item, you can use TWO coupons, one for each item, even though one item was technically free. The reason for this is because the sale is offered by the store and the coupons are re-imbursed by the Manufacturers.

BOGO Coupons w/ BOGO Sale Items – This is like winning the lotto. You get BOTH items for FREE. Why? The store will give you one for FREE with the sale and the manufacturer will re-imburse them for the value of the coupon. (Check your store for policy on this.)

The best way to use BOGOs? Shop with a friend and split the bill! (unless you personally need two of one item.) This is especially helpful if you only have one set of coupons to use.

Always keep in mind that you have to pay tax on the free item. Like they always say, nothing in life is free. :)

Hope this helps!

Couponing Basics: Using Register Rewards and Catalinas at Other Stores


Some of you may be hestitant to grab the great deals at Walgreens because you don’t shop there enough to use the Register Rewards that help you technically get your deals for free or money-makers. (Or you have enough toothbrushes, toothpaste, air fresheners and shampoo to give one to your entire town!)

Well, here’s great news for you: Register Rewards can be used at other stores that accept Competitor’s coupons! (Check your store’s policy to see if they will take them.) This also works with store Catalinas!

Why would they take them? Most Register Rewards/Catalinas will say “Manufacturer’s Coupon” on the top. This means that the stores can mail them into the specified manufacturers and get their money back.

I’ve found out that my CVS, Jewel and Dominick’s will take these. (I haven’t checked with Target/Wal-Mart yet.) So I figure out which store has the best overall deals and use them there. This week, it’s Jewel! I can run the Huggies deal at Walgreens, get the Register Rewards and then go and buy up some super discounted items at Jewel! In the end, I’ll still get a great price on diapers, I can still mail my receipts into Caregiver’s Marketplace AND I get groceries for next to nothing out-of-pocket. (I’ve got enough stockpile in most of my household items right now.)

This is how I keep my grocery AND household costs down. Just make sure two things: Do those Register Rewards/Catalinas say Manufacturer’s Coupon on the top and will your stores accept them?

Also, make sure you are really using them to their best potential—basically you need to figure out what will give you the most groceries/household items that you REALLY need for the smallest out-of-pocket cost. It’s great to get a lot of “freebies,” but if you don’t really need them and are paying more for groceries, it’s not a deal. Free isn’t always free. :) (And remember…you still have to pay tax on “freebies.”)

Hope this helps! I’ll be putting up more Couponing Basics as time permits!

(Confused by “Coupon Lingo?” Click here for the explanations.)

Note: I do still pick up freebies often so I can donate to charities or help out my family members. I just have to make sure I am providing for my family first. In the end, you’ll figure how to “run the deals” so that you can do both!

Swag Bucks: Worth Checking Out!


Sometimes I feel so far behind the times or like I live under a rock! :) Time is so limited that I always fear adding one more thing to my plate. Email. Blogging. Twitter. Facebook. Surveys. The list goes on and on….Somedays it’s sooo overwhelming!

So when I heard about Swag Bucks, I was like, yeah, I can’t handle another thing! But when I kept seeing these free codes pop up online, I thought I’d check it out.

In one day, I earned 11 Swag Bucks and did nothing but register, found a few codes on blogs and won 5 more by using them as my search engine. You turn the Swag Bucks in for prizes. Example: 45 Swag Bucks (SB) will earn you a $5 Amazon Gift Card. (Oh, how I loooovvee Amazon! I’ve been ordering from them for years.)

I looked at it this way: even if I just collected codes on blogs throughout the year, I’d earn an easy $5. So I thought…maybe you’d all want to check it out, too?

Click here to register and read all the details.

And here are two Swagbucks codes I’ve found that MAY still be working: BirthdayBuck and HappySwagDay. If I find more codes, I’ll share them with you. But you have to be quick at adding them, as they expire quickly.

Coupon Lingo List


For those of you that are new to couponing, I’ve compiled a list of some of the abbreviations/terms that you might find while shopping/blogging in the “coupon world.” If you see one that I missed, please let me know and I’ll add it. Thanks!

$$/$$ – This means $ off when you spend $ amount. Example: $5/$30 is $5 off your purchase when you spend $30. (Check to see if the amount has to be before or after coupons to apply.)

$/# – This means that you get $ off for every # you buy. Example: $5/2 would mean that you get $5 off every 2 that you buy.

B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free (B1G2 is Buy One Get Two Free etc.)

Blinkie = A coupon that prints out at a machine in the store. They are located by the product associated with that particular coupon.

BOGO = Buy One Get One Free

Cash Register Tape = Your Receipt. Also refered to as CRT.

CAT = Catalina. A coupon that prints out at the register that is either $$ off your next purchase or $$ off a certain product. You typically have to use them at the store they printed, but some stores will take “competitor’s” coupons. Note: These are sometimes delayed in printing so wait a minute before walking away from the register. If you think you were supposed to get one and didn’t, talk to the cashier/manager and explain.

Catalina = Also refered to as CAT. A coupon that prints out at the register that is either $$ off your next purchase or $$ off a certain product. You typically have to use them at the store they printed, but some stores will take “competitor’s” coupons. Note: These are sometimes delayed in printing so wait a minute before walking away from the register. If you think you were supposed to get one and didn’t, talk to the cashier/manager and explain.

Closeouts – These are typically greatly reduced items that the store does not plan on re-stocking.

Competitors – This is the term meaning “of related chains.” For example, grocery stores will take other grocery store’s coupons and drug stores will take other drug store coupons. Always check with each store on what their couponing policy is and whom they consider to be a competitor.

Couponing Policy – This is the statement that each individual store abides by, in relation to coupons. What is typically included in their policy is whether they: take competitor’s coupons, take coupons past expiration dates, “double” or “triple” coupons, accept Internet Printables or if they even accept coupons.

Coupon Insert – These are “packets” of coupons found in Sunday papers and also sometimes in the ads mailed to you during the week. These are typically sent out by Smart Source (SS or S), Red Plum (RP) and Proctor & Gamble (PG)They are also refered to as inserts, S, SS, RP and PG.

CRT = Cash Register Tape, or your receipt

Discontinued – This means that a store has depleted their inventory of an item and does not plan on re-stocking it.

Double Coupons = This is the term used when stores will double a coupon’s value. Example, if you have a $1 off coupon, they’ll take $2 off. Stores vary on how often they do this ranging from never, always, on occasion or specific days of the week. Some stores may also set a maximum value limit. Example, no coupons over $2 and only 10 per transaction/day.

ECB = Extra Care Bucks. Exclusive to CVS. They work like cash on your next order. (Some restrictions do apply.)

ES =Easy Saver. This is Walgreens’ monthly rebate program. You can find the books by their ads in the store.

EXP = Expires or Expiration Date

FAR = Free After Rebate (See Rebate for explation)

FAE = Free after Extra Care Bucks (See ECB or Extra Care Bucks for explanation)

FARR = Free After Register Rewards (See RR or Register Rewards for explanation)

Inserts = These are “packets” of coupons found in Sunday papers and also sometimes in the ads mailed to you during the week. These are typically sent out by Smart Source (SS or S), Red Plum (RP) and Proctor & Gamble (PG) They are also refered to as coupon inserts, S, SS, RP and PG.

Internet Printable = A coupon that can be printed online. Also refered to as IP or Printable.

IP = Internet Printable Coupon. Also refered to as “printable.”

IVC = Instant Value Coupon. These are found at Walgreens in their weekly ads.

MFR = Manufacturer

MIR = Mail In Rebate. These are checks or coupons that the manufacturers/stores will send you if you meet the requirements on the rebate form.

OOP = Out-of-Pocket. This is the amount of money that you have spent after coupons, ECBs, RRs, Catalinas (See terms for explanations)

OOS = Out-of-Stock. This means that the store is temporarily out of an item but plans on getting in more inventory. Sometimes they will offer a raincheck in cases like these.

OYNO = On Your Next Order. Used when refering to coupons that you can use on your next order at that store. (Sometimes Competitors will take them.)

OYNP = On Your Next Purchase. Used when refering to coupons that you can use on your next purchase (order) at that store. (Sometimes Competitors will take them.)

Peelie = Coupons found on products in the store. (Don’t forget to pull these off and hand them to your cashier when you check-out. Don’t rely on the cashier to notice them for you. It will only aggravate you later when you come home to find it’s still there!) :)

PG = Proctor & Gamble. A big chain of brands that also puts out a coupon insert.

Prinables - These are coupons that you can print online. Also refered to as IP or Internet Printables.

Q = Coupon

Raincheck = A slip you can ask for in the store when an item’s on sale and out-of-stock. Some sales will specifically say “No rainchecks” and some stores will put an expiration date on their rainchecks

RP = Red Plum. This is a coupon insert that you’ll either find in your paper or the mail.

Register Rewards = Exclusive to Walgreens. They work like cash on your next order. (Some restrictions do apply.) Also refered to as RRs.

Rolling Catalinas – This means that you can use a catalina (see definition) as payment on another transaction of equal merchandise and another catalina will still print. Example, if you buy 5 “name brand items,” a $5 catalina will print. If you then buy another set of those same 5 “name brand items,” you can use the previous catalina you received as payment towards the order and another $5 catalina will print.

RR = Register Rewards. Exclusive to Walgreens. They work like cash on your next order. (Some restrictions do apply.)

S or SS = Smart Source. This is a big name coupon source. They not only send out inserts in the papers but they also have an online site with printables.

Stacking Coupons = This is the term used when stores will let you use their own store coupons along with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item. Example: Most Targets would let you use their $ off “specific brand” product coupons along with a manufacturer’s coupon for that same “specific brand” product.

Triple Coupons = This is the term used when stores will triple a coupon’s value. Example, if you have a $1 off coupon, they’ll take $3 off. Stores vary on how often they do this ranging from never, always, on occasion or specific days of the week. Some stores may also set a maximum value limit. Example, no coupons over $2 and only 10 per transaction/day.

UPC = Universal Bar Code. This is the bar code that’s scanned on products for pricing/info at the stores. Several companies will ask you to mail these in on rebates

WAGS = Abbreviation for Walgreens

WT = Wine Tag. These are coupons that you’ll find hanging on the wine bottles in the stores.

YMMV = Your Mileage (Manager) May Vary. This is what you’ll see when someone finds a deal but they want you to know that your store branch may not offer the same deal.

WYB = When You Buy

OK, now you can put on your job applications/resumes that you speak a foreign language – Coupon Lingo! :)