Sunday, January 1, 2012
Couponing 101: How do I do this coupon thing, anyway?
My tip for today: Know your store's coupon policy. I print a copy and keep it in my coupon binder. Then, if there's ever an issue, I'm able to politely, but confidently refer to it. Here are the links to some of our local stores' coupon policies as well as the "in a nut shell version" from me:
Walmart: My favorite thing about Walmart is that they price match AND take coupons, so it might help alleviate the running from store to store to get a good deal. The other thing I LOVE about Walmart is that they will accept a coupon for an amount greater than the purchase price. For example, lets say you have a coupon for $1.50 off Tide that has no size restrictions. You could go to Walmart's travel section and get a single load packet of Tide for right around a dollar. Most stores would lower the coupon value, but Walmart will give you the entire $1.50 off. That means you either get $0.50 off your other items, or you can get cash back. What a great policy! Check out the link for an easy to understand version of Walmart's coupon policy...
HyVee: My favorite thing about HyVee is that they often have store coupons in their ad. Per their coupon policy, you can stack a store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon to get a great deal. We do this with pop a lot. HyVee often puts their pop on sale 4/$10 (sometimes with, sometimes without an in-ad store coupon). Then I scout out a manufacturer's coupon from another sale ad that week (Lewis drug has them a lot). We've found them for as much as $2 off the purchase of (4) 12-packs. When stacked with the HyVee sale price, we get Coke or Pepsi products for 4/$8 making each 12-pack only $2. The lowest we've paid for a 12-pack is $1.75...but even at $2, it's cheaper than the generic stuff!! Check out the link for their entire coupon policy.
Walgreens: Before I started couponing, I seldom went to Walgreens. I found that they were often times double the price of places like Walmart. Their sales, though, combined with the fact that you can stack a Walgreens coupon with a manufacturer's coupon make for the best couponing, often times. For example, Walgreens will have a buy one get one free sale on an item. You can use 2 manufacturer's coupons as well as a Walgreens coupon, if one is available. I've gotten 2 items FREE this way. If you coupon for very long, Walgreens will soon be one of your favorite places to shop! Click the link for more on their coupon policy.
Lewis Drug: Lewis drug is another place I sometimes find unexpected great deals. They do except printed coupons, but the value can not exceed $5. This can be disappointing sometimes when you're purchasing a more expensive item (like a Sonicare toothbrush, for example. There is often a $10 off printable, but you can't use it at Lewis Drug). Check out the link for Lewis Drug's complete coupon policy.
Menards: My favorite thing about Menards is that they accept competitor's coupons. They also price match, plus 10%. For example, if Home Depot has something on sale in their ad for $10.00. You can take the ad to Menards, and you'll get that exact item for $9. It looks like you could still use a coupon on top of that,so it can make for a great deal!
Kmart: Does not have an "official" coupon policy. I don't stop at Kmart very often, so I can't speak to their policy. I do know that you can get some good deals there (especially on toys) with online printable coupons. Be sure to comment if you know the ins and outs of Kmart's coupon policy.
Sunshine Foods: I couldn't find a coupon policy online, but I'll tell you what I know. They DO accept printable coupons as well as coupons for FREE items (I've never tried using a printable FREE item coupon, but they accept the ones from the newspaper or from magazines). The double coupons with a value of $0.50 or less on ALL items, even though their ad says that doubling doesn't apply to sale items. Occasionally, Sunshine has tripling events where they'll triple coupons with a value of $0.50 or less, usually around holidays. I'll post weekly coupon match-ups for Sunshine as they often have a great deal or two on groceries each week. (Be sure to go online to sign up for their e-mails..choose the store of your choice, then enter your e-mail in the upper right hand corner. They send great coupons to your inbox!)
Home Depot: I can't speak to their coupon policy other than I do know they accept competitor's coupons. What I can tell you is that they, like Menards, price match plus 10%. This can help decrease your running around and get you a great deal!
Hopefully this will help you as you go to use your coupons. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions that you may have, or share any experiences that you've had at any of the stores. We can all learn from each other...