Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coupon Shopping "Rules" (Guest post by MLBB!)

I'm so excited to have my beautiful & talented cousin Julie from My Lil' Budget Book (MLBB) guest posting here today!  She has an awesome blog which I frequent daily, and she's here to teach us a few things she knows about grocery shopping using coupons!  I sure learned a lot from her post & am excited to give it a try!! 

Here's Julie!:)

Quite a few years ago in the beginning of 2008, I began making accordion style cash envelope systems then selling them online at Baby Be Jeweled, then a year later, due to demand of the product I opened up shop at My Lil' Budget Book.  I began feeling like my budget conscious buyers needed something more than just a cash envelope system to help them stick to a budget and in my efforts to bring that to them, The MLBB Blog was created, and taken over, lol!  I plan to get back to making MLBB Designer cash envelope systems again but for now I am blogging my heart out about budgeting, coupon shopping, saving money and so much more-including giveaways!  I just LOVE giveaways!  Be sure to come by and check out my Giveaways!:)



If you don't know by now, the best way to save on groceries is to match up coupons (up to 2 coupons per item - keep reading) with store sales.  And YES you can get coupons for things like sugar, flour, milk, cheese, canned milk and other cooking supplies:)  Even some fresh foods on occasion.

There are many sites that will show you EXACTLY what coupon matches up with what item in the ad EACH WEEK taking most of the work out of coupon shopping for you!

My Favorites are Grocery Smarts and Freebies 2 Deals.

I also share some match ups at My Lil' Budget BookJ

There are some "Rules" to coupon shopping that you need to know.

1) Coupons must NOT be expired (This may seem like a no brainer) - If you are military overseas then you can use them for up to 6 months PAST expiration date.

2) Pay attention to the BRAND and SIZE allowed by the coupon.  This is a VERY strict rule to follow-otherwise you could be committing coupon fraud...and yes it is illegal.

3) Pay attention to the QUANTITY allowed by the coupon.

EX: Only 4 like coupons (with 4 like products) in one transaction.  This is very common.

4) One manufacturer coupon + One store Coupon per Item + Sale Price=

BUY IT CHEAP OR GET IT FREE!!

Here is a recent example of how to get FREE items at Target.

5) Take store coupon policy with you- each store handles them differently.

In general you can use ONE STORE coupon and ONE MANUFACTURER coupon per item.

HELPFUL HINTS:
AD MATCH :)  Wal-mart is the best by far!

You don't NEED to take an ad with you but it does help in many instances to do it.

If  Harmon's has a killer deal on Kellogg's Cereal, Smith's has a deal on cheese, and Albertson's has a deal on ice cream you can take ALL THREE ADS to Wal-mart and ad match them as long as the item, size, quantity, and brands are all the same.

This can save a TON of time on grocery shopping with coupons.  Just remember to separate your items into groups of ad matching.  EX: All Smith's Ad matches together; All Albertson's together, All Harmon's together.

This makes check out sooo much easier!

**When looking up coupons on Grocery Smarts or F2D, you'll notice some codes for the Coupon Inserts- The most common are the following:

SS= Smart Source

P&G= Proctor & Gamble

GM= General Mills

RP= Red Plum

When you see something like $1 off 2 Kellogg's cereal SS 7-1 that means you need to refer to the Smart Source ad that came in the newspaper on July 1st.  If you look in the tiny binding of each insert, there is a date- for quicker identification, just write that date on the front of the insert.

There are different techniques to organizing your coupons, you can refer to this post I wrote a while back here for more details on that.

If you would like to learn more about how to coupon, please come follow My Lil' Budget Book and email me any questions you have- chances are I'll answer them in the form of a post and notify you directly about it.:)

Thanks so much Julie for the wonderful insights! I hope everyone takes a look at MLBB & starts saving lots of green on their groceries!
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