Jan 19, 2012

Tip #11: Learn The Couponing Lingo {Surviving The Stores Through Couponing}

Jan
19
2012
Thursday

Tip #11: Learn The Couponing Lingo

With just about any skill-set out there, there are specific terms, or “lingo” that go along with that skill-set.

I know next to nothing about sewing.  Sure, I can sew on a button, sew back together a seam, and MAYBE put in a hem.  Maybe.

But if I wanted to start sewing items to sell and help bring in money for our family, then I would need to learn A LOT more about sewing and one of the first things I would need to study & learn is the sewing LINGO.

The people who put together the patterns aren’t going to explain exactly what every word means every time.  They are going to tell me that I need to do a backstitch and assume that since I am sewing that I know what that means.

So what does that have to do with couponing?

Well, I’m assuming that you are couponing to help bring in more money for your family.  And, like sewing, couponing is a skill-set that has its own LINGO!

Couponing lingo can be a little overwhelming at first, so I wanted to create a guide to help you understand some of the different terms that I (and most other couponers) use.

When a date is listed next to a coupon, the date is the date of the paper that that coupon was in. For example, if I put “2/8 RP” after a coupon, then that means that it came from the Red Plum coupon insert that came out on February 8th.

Here is the couponing lingo that you will find here at Surviving The Stores:

$/x: A certain dollar amount off of a certain number of items. For example, $1/1 is one dollar off one item and $1/2 is one dollar off two items.

x/$: How many items you can get for a certain dollar amount. For example, if I put 5/$10 then that means that five items will cost ten dollars total.

Blinkies: Coupons near the product, usually from a box that has a red blinking light on the top. When you take one coupon out the machine will spit out another one.

BOGO or B1G1: Buy One Get One Free

CAT or Catalina: Coupon that prints out at the register after your purchase (sometimes it is attached to your receipt and sometimes it comes from a separate machine)

CRT: Cash register tape/ticket – these print out in the store and are generally store coupons that can be used with a mfg coupon. The $5/$25 ($5 off a $25 purchase) CVS coupons are considered CRTs.

ECB: CVS Extra Care Bucks are store coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt and can be spent like cash on anything at CVS except prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, gift cards or lottery tickets. ECBs generally expire one month from when they are issued.

EXP: Expiration Date

FAR: Free After Rebate

GC: Gift Card

GM: General Mills coupon insert in the Sunday paper

IVC: Walgreen’s Instant Value Coupon – these are in their monthly catalogue

IP: Internet Printable Coupon

Mailer: Coupons that you receive in the mail

MFG: Manufacturer’s Coupon

MIR: Mail In Rebate

OOP: Out of Pocket

OYNO: On your next order

P&G: Proctor & Gamble coupon insert in the Sunday paper

Peelie: Coupon that is stuck to the package and you have to peel it off.  You don’t have to use the peelie on that product (you can save it for later), but you must buy the product that the peelie is on (you can’t just take the peelies off without buying the product).

PSA: Prices Starting At

RP: Red Plum coupon insert in the Sunday paper

RR: Register Rewards from Walgreens, which are store coupons that print from the Catalina machine next tot he register. They can be spent like cash in Walgreens on anything except prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, gift cards or lottery tickets. They generally expire two weeks from when they print.

SCR: Single Check Rebate from Rite Aid – you fill this out online to get money back on certain purchases

SS: Smart Source coupon insert in the Sunday paper

Stacking: Using a store coupon with a MFG coupon (for example, using a $1 Target coupon and a $1 MFG coupon on one item)

Tearpad: A pad with several coupons (sometimes refund forms) hanging from a store shelf or display

UPR: +UP Rewards – Rite Aid rewards that you get back at the register – you can use these rewards like cash on future Rite Aid purchases

VV: Video Values – you watch these videos on the Rite Aid website to get coupons for certain products (coupons only valid at Rite Aid)

WAGS: Walgreens

Winetag or WT: A coupon found in the wine section or hanging on wine bottles

WYB: When You Buy

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary (the deal might be good in one place, or one manager may allow it, but it might not work somewhere else)

I hope that helps to clear up any confusion about couponing lingo here on Surviving The Stores!  Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, or if you think there’s another term that should be added.  :)

<< Tip #10: Learn To Use Store & Manufacturer Coupons Together
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jun 8, 2011

Tip #6: Learn How To Do Coupon Match-ups {Surviving The Stores Through Couponing}

Jun
8
2011
Wednesday

#Couponing Tip - Learn how to do your own coupon match-ups!  Lots of great tips on saving at least 50% off when you shop!


Tip #6: Learn How To Do Coupon Match-ups

We’ve got our menu planning down, we know where to find coupons, and we now know to SAVE those coupons for a good sale instead of just using them immediately.

Today, we’re going to talk about doing your OWN Coupon Match-ups!

Coupon Match-up: Pairing a particular coupon for an item with a store sale to get maximum savings!  You literally “match” the coupon “up” with the store sale.

Why would you want to do your own coupon match-ups? Here are a few possible reasons why you might want to:

1.  Because you can’t find blogs that do match-ups for your local stores. Some smaller grocery chains aren’t covered by bloggers (yet!) and if you have one in your area, you might want to figure out what the best deals are there.

2.  Because you can’t find coupon match-ups for products that you want to buy. Yes, your store might be covered somewhere, but there are products that you see in your local ad, or products that you need to buy, that aren’t on your favorite grocery blogger’s match-up list.

3.   Because (gasp!) I might miss some deals sometimes! I know, I know, I should be able to post every deal all the time, right?  But there are definitely times where you will see an item in your drug store or grocery store ad and think to yourself, “I know this is a good price and I know there’s gotta be a coupon out there for it, why didn’t Rachel list it?”  I can give you an answer… are you ready?  I make mistakes…. I miss deals…. I miss things in the ad.  It happens.  I try my best to not miss things that would be a good deal, but I’m human. :)

If you fall into one of those categories, then this post is for you!  Honestly, coupon match-ups are pretty easy, they just take a little bit of time.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve found to be the best way for me to do coupon match-ups, but definitely don’t feel like it has to be done this way… do whatever works best for you!

Step 1: Get your weekly ad (or print it out from the store’s online site) and glance through the entire ad. First go through and circle the deals that are exceptional prices.  You will usually find these on the front page and back page of the ad (although there will likely be some inside the ad too).  Then, go through the ad again and look for any special sales like “Buy 10, Get $5 off instantly” type sales.  Circle the products that are listed under those special sale sections.  Next, go through a third time and circle the items that you either were planning on buying anyway, or that look like they are at least a decent price.

Step 2: Pull up the Coupon Database on your computer and search for each item that you circled.  If there is a coupon available for the item you searched for, then write down either on a separate piece of paper, or on the ad itself, where that coupon is found.  If it is a printable coupon and you haven’t printed it yet, then you can click on the link in the database to print the coupon immediately.

Step 3: Subtract the amount of the coupon from the price in the ad and voila!  You have your final price!  If it’s a price that you feel comfortable paying and it’s a product you need then go for it. :)  Clip the coupons that you need and paper clip them to the ad. Remember, don’t just buy it because it has a coupon!

Then you’re done (well, except for the whole going to the store part)!!  It definitely gets easier with practice and you start to learn which products likely have coupons out and how much that brand typically releases coupons for.  It will take much longer when you are first starting out than it will after you get some practice.

Again, don’t feel like you have to do it exactly how I’ve lined it out here.  This is the way that works best for me, but you find the way that works best for you!

Real quick, I know this post is getting pretty long, but there’s one more thing you need to know:  how to read the coupon wording on the database.

So in the example above I searched for “Seventh Generation” in the Coupon Database.  The columns tell you the description of the coupon, the value of the coupon, the expiration date of the coupons, where to find the coupons and any limitations on the coupons.  Most of it is pretty self explanatory, but the one thing that I wanted to point out to those of you who are new to couponing is in the “Source” column where it says “RP 01/10/10″. All that means is that the coupon came from the January 10, 2010 Red Plum coupon insert that came in the paper.  Sometimes it will say “SS” (which means the Smart Source insert) and sometimes it will say P&G (which means the Proctor & Gamble insert).

WHEW!!  That was a lot to cover in one post, huh?  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.  I really hope that you are able to find the Coupon Database feature useful while you survive the stores!

<< Tip #5: Match Coupons With Store Sales Tip #7: Learn The Grocery Store Sales Cycles >>
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jul 14, 2009

How To Start Couponing – Part 2

Jul
14
2009
Tuesday


You have started getting coupons from the paper and printing them online, you have them organized in your favorite organization system…. now what?

Here is the #1 piece of advice that I have for new couponers: DON’T start couponing at all the stores in the same week (or even the same month!) You will quickly get overwhelmed, frustrated, and more than likely, will end up giving up.

The best store for brand new couponers to begin couponing at is probably Walmart. There are no “doubles and triples”, no store coupons, no coupons that print out after you check out. Walmart is very plain and simple: you buy the product at a certain amount and you give them your coupon for them to take off a certain amount. Simple! In saying that, the best deals to be had typically are NOT at Walmart, but it’s a great place to begin your couponing journey.

Your next step up on the ladder depends on where you want to start saving first. Do you want to focus on grocery savings, or focus on drug store savings? Personally, my BIGGEST money saver is not having to buy those “budget-breaker” items like makeup, razors, feminine products, etc… so when I was starting out I chose to learn how to shop the drug stores first.

If you choose to go with learning the drug stores next, make sure to choose ONE (either CVS or Walgreens) and get good at it. My opinion is that it’s easier to start with CVS. Take your time, and make sure you really have it down before you move on to the next one.

While saving at the drug stores has been HUGE for us, we have also been able to greatly knock down our grocery budget. The KEY here is not just buying what you have coupons for, but buying things when they go on sale AND you have a good coupon for it.

I have heard from so many people who have gotten frustrated with couponing because they do tons of work and only see $5 come off at checkout. Every time I ask, the problem is that they are buying what they normally would buy, only they are using coupons. Make sure to come check out the coupon matchups every Wednesday HERE to see what the BEST deals are for that week at your store. After a few weeks or so of stocking up on the best deals, you will have enough in your freezer and pantry to plan your menu off of what you have ON HAND, instead of planning your menu and THEN shopping for those items.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I hope not! But I will go ahead and stop here and leave the rest for another post.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add or if you have any questions!

If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Mar 11, 2009

How I Organize My Coupons

Mar
11
2009
Wednesday

“How do you organize your coupons?” I get that question pretty often, so I wanted to share with you guys, step-by-step, what I do with my coupons when I get new coupon inserts or printable coupons.

There are many GREAT ways to organize your coupons, but this is the method that works for me.


1) I lay out all of my inserts from the previous week.


2) I open up all of the inserts to the center (or somewhere around the center)


3) I take the pages that are the same, put them together, and staple ALL of the coupons. Then I lay these pages to the side (so that I’m doing all my stapling at one time and all my cutting at one time).


4) I cut out the coupons that I think I would use. For me, I ask myself, “If I could get this item for free with this coupon, would I?” If the answer is “yes” then I cut out the coupon. I find that there are several items each week that I would not get even if they were free.


5) I then file all of the coupons that I have cut out in my 3-ring coupon binder alphabetically. I know that many couponers file their coupons by category, but my brain doesn’t work like that. I forget which category I put them in or I wonder if I should put it in “hygiene” or “paper products.” I bought a couple of packages of plastic baseball card holders (found at Walmart) to put my coupons in and I love using them!


6) The rest of the pages from the inserts that have coupons that I stapled but didn’t cut out, I file by date. So all of the coupons that I didn’t put in my coupon binder from the March 8th paper will go in the folder “3/8/09.” Why do I do this? There are all kinds of things that you can do with coupons you don’t want. You can trade them at places like Hot Coupon World for coupons that you actually want, you can sell them on Ebay, and you can donate them to military families stationed overseas to use in the Military Commissaries (even expired coupons within 3 months!) Also, there are times that an item that you wouldn’t buy (even if it was free) ends up being a money-maker at CVS or Walgreens.


7) For printable coupons, I try to print out the ones that I think I would use as soon as I see them, punch holes in it with a 3-hole puncher, and file it alphabetically behind the newspaper insert coupons in my 3-ring coupon binder.

There are several other coupon organization options too…

::  Just filing the WHOLE coupons by insert date in file folders.  Then when you see the coupon matchups you can only clip the coupons that you need.

::  Filing the coupons in envelopes or in a binder by category.  LOTS of couponers love this method.  It really just depends on if your brain works better with categories or with alphabetically.

::  Using a coupon filing system like The Couponizer

How do you guys organize your coupons? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!!

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jan 6, 2009

How To Start Couponing

Jan
6
2009
Tuesday

EASY Tips to get started #couponing - you don't have to be an extreme couponer to save 50% or more every month!

How To Start Couponing

Does the idea of couponing seem overwhelming to you? It did to me too! I wasn’t raised in a couponing family, and I didn’t get started with couponing until late 2007. But after a little practice it started to feel like second nature. Typically the only time I get frazzled now is when I am shopping WITHOUT my coupons. :)

So where do you begin? How do you get started? Hopefully I can provide some help to those of you who are where I was a year ago. Here are the steps that I recommend taking to begin effective shopping with coupons…

1) Get Coupons!  You can’t “coupon” without coupons!  You can find coupons in the Sunday paper, or you can print lots of coupons from Coupons.com, Redplum, and Smart Source!  There are several new printable coupons every day, so be sure to check the newest daily printable coupon round-up to see which ones you want to print!

Most large-city Sunday papers have a couple of coupon inserts each Sunday. The most common ones are the Smart Source and Valassis (or Red Plum) inserts. Proctor and Gamble also puts out a monthly coupon insert.

2) File your coupons! Check out this post to find out which coupon organization system works the best for you.

It typically takes about 1-2 months of saving up coupons from the paper to really be effective at couponing. Don’t get discouraged during this time as you see deals and sales using coupons that you don’t have yet… they will come around again! Check out how I organize my coupons!

3) Get a subscription to All You Magazine!  It will cost you less than $2 each month, and it seems to always be worth it to get it. File these in a separate folder in your filing box or filing cabinet.

4) Find the coupon matchups! Each week we provide the best coupon match-ups for stores across the country!

5) Make a list. From the deals that you find for your local store, make a shopping list and clip or print the coupons that match up with the weekly deals.

6)  Learn more! Be sure to also check out the other articles in the Where To Begin section!

Be sure to follow along as I share my top Tips For Surviving The Stores Through COUPONING!  Tip #1:  You DON’T have to be an extreme couponer!

**If you are heading out to eat, or to the mall, check out the RESTAURANT Coupon Database and the RETAIL Coupon Database!**

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Sep 24, 2008

Pinching Pennies

Sep
24
2008
Wednesday


What comes to your mind when you think about using coupons? For me, it was an old lady at the grocery store flipping through her envelope of coupons to save $5.00 on her $100 grocery bill!

I had a friend ask me this morning, “So what drives you to save every penny that you can?” I responded with, “I actually did not do it [couponing] for a while because I thought it was about saving pennies, but when I realized that people were saving thousands every year then I took another look at it.”

The key to saving money with couponing is not using coupons in and of themselves (although this does help a little bit with things you were already going to buy), but pairing the coupons up with the deals at the store that week (and going to the stores that double and triple coupons). That’s what what’s I’m here to help you with!  I do all of the pairing for you so that you can stockpile food when it is a super good deal.

For me, the most beneficial aspect of couponing has been getting all of the typical “budget breakers” for free at CVS and Walgreens.  These include toiletries/makeup/razors/feminine products/paper products/etc.  Since I started couponing, I have been able to get thousands of dollars with of products at these stores for pennies on the dollar!

You can take a look at several of my shopping trips HERE!

Do you have a couponing story? Have you had to get over any stereotypes that you had associated with couponing?

Print this post This post may contain affiliate links. Click to view full disclosure policy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."