Lessons Learned

I will admit it.  I am a closet couponer.  No, I do not have 700+ toothbrushes or deodorant but I do have somewhat of a stash of staples that we use.

Every week I’m out to match up my coupons (organized and in a notebook) with the weekly sales to get the best deal.  I have to admit I started doing this before the big TLC show came on.

So I have learned some lessons throughout my couponing experiences and I feel like I should pass them along to help you save some time and frustration

  • Always go to the younger cashiers if you are going to be using coupons.  They are a little more friendly and helpful when it comes to figuring out the coupons and they are more willing to work with you.  It also helps if they are former students because then you already have a relationship with them going in to it.
  • This one is kind of embarrassing–One night (late at night) I wandered through Walmart and wrote down all the prices of the things that we buy regularly.  I organized those by category and wrote them on index cards.  This “price list” is a great go-to when I’m trying to figure out how good a deal really is.
  • Get organized and have a plan going in to the store.  If you just wander the store with your coupon notebook you will end up spending a ton of money that you wouldn’t normally spend.
  • Walgreen’s–I started driving 20 miles to Walgreen’s a couple months ago.  If they have good enough sales, it is worth the drive but there are certain things you need to be aware of.  First of all, the Ft. Scott Walgreen’s is small so their Sunday ad is smaller than Joplin or Pittsburg.  The bigger stores have better sales.  Ft. Scott Walgreen’s will price match the Joplin Walgreen’s ad but you must have the ad with you in order to do that. If you are looking at the weekly ad online, double check you are on the Ft. Scott ad or when you get to the store you will be sorely disappointed (not that that happened today or anything)
  • Register Rewards–Walgreen’s will give Register Rewards on some items.  If you can have a game plan, you can use your Register Rewards on the next purchase.  Ft. Scott Walgreen’s is very nice about helping you find items and letting you do more than one transaction in order to get the most out of your buck.  Today I had a cashier that told me if I bought my shampoo separately I would get 2 separate register rewards instead of just 1 RR if I did it in the same transaction.
  • Dollar General–They do take coupons and most of the time are not aware of what is in their ads.  I have gone before and mentioned something being on sale that didn’t have a sign and the cashier looked at me like I was crazy but low and behold the ad was right and I got the deal!
  • Ft. Scott Dollar General–There is a new DG in Ft. Scott.  It is really nice.  I had gotten a grand opening coupon from them so while I was in the Fort today I stopped by to use it.  I had my game plan of how I could spend $20 exactly to use my $5 coupon.  I had to rethink my plan when I found out that…They do not carry Pepsi products at Fort Scott DG.  Even when there is a Pepsi deal right on the front of their ad.
  • Walmart–They will price match other sales ads but you must have the ad with you.  This is a good deal if you don’t want to make more than one stop but since our local grocery stores will double coupons up to 50 cents and Walmart will not, if you have a coupon for the on sale item it is better to just take the time to make the extra stop.
  • It is not a good idea to take small children on these couponing adventures.  Although sometimes it is fun for the little helpers to get to pick out 4 boxes of fruit snacks, most of the time if you can manage it, it is better to leave them at home.
  • Usually if there is a BOGO promotion, you can still use 2 coupons which makes for a great deal.

First of all, I know I am a nerd.  What else is there to do in a small town?  I don’t buy things that my family won’t use and I haven’t bought cereal in awhile because I was getting overwhelmed with cereal boxes but it definitely saves money to just watch the ads and be organized.  It sounds complicated but really it doesn’t take me too much time each week to get a game plan.  Sometimes the ads aren’t even that good so I don’t have to worry about it.  I’m more than happy to answer any questions about how I get the most out of my money if you are interested.

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