Welcome to Coupons Crafts & Centsable Living.  Here we will be able to discuss coupons, organization, shopping trips, show and tell for those great deals…. pretty much anything to do with coupons.  If you have a question there really is NO Stupid ones just ask.  If I don’t have an answer we will find one for you!  Happy Couponing!

Here are some quick tips you may use while couponing I will add more tips as I think of them or find great info.

1.  If there is a 10/$10 sale you do Not have to buy all 10 items.  Wether you buy 1, 7, or all 10 they will ring up for $1.  I wish I had known this some time ago because I thought I had to buy all 10 to take advantage of the deal.  With the new restrictions on some coupons stating you can only use 4 like coupons in one transaction it made me think I was getting a great deal on 4 items but still had to pay full price for the remaining 6 items.  I know this sounds crazy but that is how I thought it was.  Until one day my sister at Moms Saving Money shared with me the importance of not over buying.  I hope this helps others to save and be armed with information.

2.  Remember when shopping a great deal is very tempting, but if you do not need the item(s) then you are still spending money you could be saving.  I think many of us suffer from this.  I know I do all the time.  Just having a coupon does not mean you have to use it.  If you think about it how much More money could you be saving?  Remember it is all about saving but it’s also about CENTSable Living.  Save when ever you can even if it is pennies for tax.

3.  Get to know your local stores that you shop at.  I know the we all know where we shop and the layouts.  That is not what I am talking about.  I get to know my cashiers and store managers.  How do you do that?  Start off with a smile, go to customer service and ask to speak to the store manager.  Yes, I said ask to talk to the store manager, WHY you ask?  When asking for a store manager let the person you are talking to know that there is not a problem and you don’t want to interrupt anything the manager may be doing.  If the manager is busy leave a number where you can be reached.  When you actually talk to the manager praise them for how helpful their staff has been when needing help or with coupons.  Let them know how you feel.  If you have a manager who is not very receptive and seems irritated you will know right away, at that point smile and them for their time.  So many people ask me why I do this?  I will tell you it will help to know them later when and if you have a problem with an employee.  They will remember you. trust me.  I just moved to a new area and already know the 4 managers at my local Walmart, Food Lion and the mini market on the corner.  I have had maybe 3 issues with rude employees and every time it was resolved with a smile and a Sorry we are trying to make sure all of our employees are on the same page and clearly we have some training to do.  I am not saying you need to go and purposefully get an employee in trouble, we only want to make friends.. Getting to know your cashiers by asking how their day is going and trying to find something to talk about and wishing them a wonderful day or evening will make their day.  Then next time they see you….smile and your trip will be more pleasant.  Whatever you do DO NOT GO ON THE DEFENSIVE!  All your hard work will be down the drain, because one bad instance can ruin it all for you and everyone else who uses coupons. 

4.  When you are at a checkout and there are people lined up behind you, be kind, let them know you are using coupons and it may take a bit.  One, they will appreciate you, Two, the cashier will too.  They will notice your politeness and most of the time be prepared to help you.  If there are people with few items behind you, offer them the chance to go before you.  Remember we need friends, and a fellow consumer will appreciate you as well as everyone who uses coupons making transactions easier for you and others they may come into contact with.

5.  start a price list.  first I will start off by explaining what a price list is.  This is a list composed of prices on Items you buy for your household on one side of your list down the page top to bottom  ex. Crest Tooth paste, Dove Body Wash, Hamburger Helper ect…, across the top of you page there should be columns of the store names you shop at ex.  Walmart, Kroger, Target, ect… Next you fill in the prices that the items you shop for would normally cost.  It does take some time but will pay off in the end.  This is why it will help you save more money:

   A.  First you will know when a sale price is really a sale price

  B.  You will know who sells the item cheaper

  C.  last but not least this will help you determine when you have a $.50 coupon that will double at certain stores to $1 it would be cheaper at some stores rather than others.  Ex.  Lets take Nestle Chocolate milk pouches. They are at Walmart normally priced at $1.00, or at Kroger for regular price of $1.09.  Now most would say its cheaper at Walmart by $.09 in reality it is but…..if you use a $.50 coupon at Kroger it will double to $1.00 (if your Kroger still doubles) and it would make the item on $.09 instead of $.50 at Walmart.  So your price list will as you see pay off in the long run.  Here is a copy of my list and if anyone would like me to email a copy please email me at CouponsCraftsCents@gmail.com I will be happy to send one to you. 

Price List 2011

6.  When shopping for deals it might be wise to choose a time of day or even a day a week that there are fewer people shopping.  I shop early morning or late at night.  I choose to do this  so that I might save the headache of making other customers upset.  This way you will have more time in each aisle and be able to search all of your coupons without missing a deal.

7.  Price matching is key.  If you live in a smaller town that does not have a Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, or Publix but you have a grocery store such as Walmart it is almost necessary to price match.  First of all you will save money on Gas which is a high cost for everyone.  I have to travel 25 miles east or west to hit a bigger town so I shop the Walmart in my area.  I am armed with my ads for competitors every time I go to Walmart.  Sometimes I have planned out what I want to use the ads for but other times I might see unexpected things that are on sale other places but can get it there for the same sale price.  This is also when your  Price List 2011 will come in handy too.  You will be able to see the prices right in front of you to make sure you are getting a great price. 

8.  Make sure before heading out shopping to check out the coupon policies for the stores you will shop at.  I say this because it will save you time when you have a cashier that questions your coupon use or won’t allow something such as stacking coupons.  Sometimes policies will be updated without notice and if you have done your homework you will be prepared.  Please remember however we as couponers are not out to make a cashier or manager look stupid at all.  We MERELY want to be able to clarify our own understanding with what a store employee is quoting as policy. Sometimes employees will get information one day and then go on vacation or something only to come back to work with new policies that they may not be aware of.  Also remember to be polite about your questions, we all have to shop behind one another and one person can ruin couponing for all of us. 

9.  Shelf clearing-  I will say once again that I do not promote Hoarding.  There is a limit you should hold yourself to.  This will require self-control over your need to provide for your family.  Please Do Not clear out a shelf because you have 20 coupons for one like item such as BBQ sauce.  I mean to use common sense, if you know you will need 12 bottles of sauce over the next 6 months (My family grills out a lot) and there is a whole pallet at your grocery then it would be okay.  However, if you are at a store that has only 20 bottles on the shelf I would only take 5 or 6 bottles.  If it is the last day of a sale and afternoon then I would say it would be ok to use up whatever coupons you have left. (We all know there is usually very little left)  At that time is usually when I get my Rain Check for the items I really will need. 

10.  Rain checks- Our last tip brings me to Rain checks, if there is an item you find on sale that is not stocked write in a notebook (I keep a small one in my binder) so when you get to the check out you can remember to ask for a rain check.  Once again remember to use politeness when asking for assistance.  I only say this because last week when I shopped Walgreens I witnessed a young lady throwing a fit about an item that was on sale and not on the shelf.  The cashier was more than willing to help her look for the item as soon as she could get the line down or another associate to help her and even offered a rain check.  This young lady continued to rant about why they would have a sale item and not have any in stock.  I could see how irritated the cashier was getting.  By the time I reached the front of the line the manager was talking with this young lady and the next thing I know she was being asked to leave the store with No Rain check.  I was relieved that the Item I was looking for and needed a rain check on was offered to me with no hassle.  I smiled and said Thank You and went on my way.  It is not worth getting everyone worked up about something because it will lead to embarrassment and you will end up with nothing in the end.  Remember to play nice and you will be rewarded.

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