Jun 28

Know Your Rights with Coupons

Each store has their own policies as far as coupons are concerned.  Some are very strict regarding their policies since they most likely have to answer to an umbrella company.  Especially in nationwide chain stores, the policies for couponing are very specific and are expected to be adhered to by the cashiers in the checkout lanes.  Their registers are preset with the limitations that the company has listed in their policies and in most cases cannot be over-ridden unless the umbrella company gives permission.

Those are the times when you really have to do your research for couponing.  There are a lot of stores that will post their couponing policies online so you can print them out and add them to your coupon folder for reference.  For other stores you may have to ask them for a copy of the policy.

When you present your coupons at checkout, some cashiers will balk at allowing them.  If you have a copy of the coupon policy with you, you can politely and respectfully show the cashier the pertinent part of the policy that allows you to use those coupons.  There are times when a cashier may not be aware of the full policy.

Remember to smile and thank that cashier for their patience in your use of your coupons.  You will make a better impression on them than if you get upset, obnoxious or loud.  There are times when some couponers are actually removed from the store without their purchases when they show a tendency toward violence.  In the end it is usually because they did not research the policies of that particular store when it comes to the use of coupons.  The other thing is that they get so worked up due to the enforcement of store policies that lose all respectable treatment of the cashier.  The important thing is to know your rights in the use of your coupons and to follow the store policies in order to reap your savings.

Jun 28

Ease into Couponing

There are a lot of people that would just jump in to couponing with both feet, clipping every coupon they can find and buying only those products.  But the problem is that they get to checkout only to find out that the number of coupons they can use is limited or that they grabbed the wrong product off the shelf.  A lot of times they realize that they really didn’t save all that much money due to their lack of research and planning.

First of all, start with the one store that you frequent the most.  Learn their couponing policies and if there are any limits on the number of coupons you can use in one visit.  Sometimes the registers are set to allow only a certain number of coupons, a lot of times only ten.  So if you have a basket full of merchandise that would exceed that limit, you will end up paying the full price for the products that are over the limit.  In addition, the store may limit the number of registers you can frequent in that one visit.

Next is to get acquainted with the cashiers at that store.  He or she will know that you have coupons for your purchases and will be prepared to assist you.  There are some times that a store manager will over-ride a limitation on the number of coupons for loyal customers.  Although that does not happen often, some stores in rural areas will provide that service if the umbrella company allows it in their policies.  If the store is privately owned, it is up to the owner whether they will allow you to go over the coupon limitations.

You also have to remember that there are some people that just pop into the store for something quick for dinner.  You should shop during off-peak hours in order to prevent frustrating the people behind you that are just grabbing a couple of items after a long day at work.

Jun 28

Make Couponing a Habit

A lot of people will use a coupon only occasionally when they shop.  That is if they remember to take the coupon with them when they head out to shop.  In order to get the most out of couponing you have make it a habit.  For example, take some time every week to go through the coupons in your Sunday newspaper or your favorite couponing web sites.  As you start collecting the coupons you want to use, take the next step.

Find a way to organize your coupons that is comfortable for you.  Some people organize them by expiration date, sorting them into folders that are labeled either by the month or the day of expiration.  The problem with that system is finding the coupon you need at the time of a sale, since all of the coupons that fall in a particular time frame are stored together.  The good thing about that system is that you are less likely to miss out on the savings you get with the coupons due to expiration.

Another way is to organize them by the type of product.  Sheet protectors or baseball card holders can be used in a binder that you can take with you when you shop just in case you find some great deals that aren’t on your shopping list.  This system is a great way to find your coupons easily and quickly.  The problem is that sometimes you can miss seeing the expiration dates and lose out on the savings.

If you do your couponing preparations routinely on the same day each week, it will become a habit.  It can actually be a relaxing way to spend some time with the family, teaching them what you know about couponing and saving money.  You might even get their input on some of the products that your family wants to try.