Shopper Savvy: 8 Couponing Tips

Buying in bulk gives you the most bang for your buck.If you think applying coupons to your order at the grocery store is just a big waste of time, think again. Shoppers saving 90 percent on household items, the hit TLC show, Extreme Couponing is mind-blowing. And, who wouldn’t want to tuck away several hundreds of dollars at a time? By using these tips, you can save just as much at the grocery store and beyond, even.

The Mind of an Extreme Couponer

1. If you want the awaken your inner-couponer, speak the language. For example, OYNO (On Your Next Order); BOGO (Buy One Get One) and MIR (Mail-in Rebate) all are valuable acronyms to know. Couponing for bargains may seem like a daunting task at first, but once you become familiar with it, you will know what these and other acronyms mean, verbatim.

According to the Web site, Coupon Diva, it pays to know these codes:

ALL YOU: – All You Magazine (Mfg. Coupon);

BOGO or B1G1: – Buy One Get One (Free);

B&M: – Brick and Mortar (Physical Stores Locations);

CRT: – Cash Register Tape;

DND: – Do Not Double (Coupon);

ECB or ECBs: – Extra Care Bucks (CVS);

GM: – General Mills Coupon (Insert);

MFG or MFR: – Manufacturer;

MIR: – Mail-In Rebate;

MM: – Moneymaker;

OOP: – Out of Pocket (Cash Paid);

OYNO or OYNP: – On Your Next Order/On Your Next Purchase;

PEELIE: – On Package Coupon;

PG or P&G: – Procter and Gamble Coupon (Insert);

PRINTABLE: – Printable Coupon;

PSA: – Prices Starting At;

RP: – Redplum Coupon (Insert);

RR or RRs: – Register Rewards (Walgreens);

SS: – Smart Source Coupon (Insert);

STACK: – Use a Store Coupon and MFG Coupon on a Single Item;

YMMV: – Your Market May Vary;

VV: – Video Value (Rite Aide Store Coupons);

W-IVC: – Walgreens Instant Value Coupons (Wags Store Coupon);

WYB: – When You Buy.

2. Buying in bulk gives you the most bang for your buck. It’s true. Extreme couponers don’t purchase an item when they need it, but when they can get it for the cheapest price possible. What does this mean to me? They stock up when everything is priced lower, thereby, saving boku bucks in the end.

Bear in mind: running out of breakfast cereal is no fun, especially if you have little ones; so you’ll dash to the supermarket, only to find your favorite brand is not on sale. The end result: you’ll wind-up paying whatever the asking price is for the product. Note though, that when buying perishable items, it’s important to check and double-check a product’s expiration date.

3. Know how much a product retails for. Be forewarned that trolling for the best coupon bargains takes both time and effort. As surprising as this may sound, it’s going to take research to find good deals on the items you need. Reading through ads should be done on a weekly basis. Also, plan on spending an extra few hours organizing and sorting through your coupons before making those highly anticipated visits to the grocer, as we will touch on below.

4. Be loyal only when it works in your favor. If you want to count the savings at the checkout counter, the thought of being a loyal customer when it comes to brands needs to go out the window. Taking things a step further, one week it might be best to purchase a certain kind of cleaning product, while the next, you may buy a different brand because you’re able to stack coupons.

5. No source is too great or small. Check multiple sources for coupons; don’t be content with just clipping coupons from one magazine or newspaper. Case in point, you may want to sign-up for weekend subscriptions to several papers. Also, ask friends and colleagues to pass along any ad inserts they aren’t planning to use. Local businesses, too, may permit you to take any unsold Sunday papers that are leftover the following business day.

6. Be practical by only purchasing items that you indeed will use. As tempting as it may seem, don’t buy 20 cans of peas if don’t enjoy eating them or can’t see working them into a dish, somehow. However, if you wish to donate these items, it might not be such a bad idea to purchase them; somebody else may like the product. Overall, try to use your couponing skills for items you both like and need. Think of it this way: If you purchase extra products you don’t need, they undoubtedly will go to waste. Where’s the savings in this? You may just have wasted money and time on excess items.

7. Use the Web to your advantage. A plethora of Web sites offer printable coupons, so you may want to bookmark and check out those sites on a regular basis. Look also, for promo codes to use during online transactions. And, signing-up for daily deal alerts from a variety of Internet sources is another option in your quest for coupons.

8. Keep up with your coupons by getting organized. Letting your coupons expire because of lack of organization won’t pass the savings along to you.

According to Discovery Communications, “One expert recommends using baseball card holders or sheet protectors in a binder. It’s a flexible solution that can help you keep tabs on which products should be added to your shopping list, and you can take it with you each time you’re ready to hit the aisles in case an unexpected sale pops up.” Which way you organize your collection is entirely up to you.

Being Self-Serving

As you watch the cash register tape grow longer from items purchased, you’ll see the savings pile-up, as well. Just be sure you have the space to store your newly found deals.

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-Kimberly Williams

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