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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Using Offline Coupons
    I had PM'd another ABWer this information a while ago and if it's ok, I will just copy and paste it here. I have left out their name to protect the innocent but you know who you are (and please let me know if you have been couponing)!

    And I apologize, this is long but I am passionate about my couponing. Huh, maybe I should start a site about it!

    *********************************************************

    It's really not hard to do at all. Here is the basic process:

    1. Buy things BEFORE you need them. For example, if you are all out of toilet paper, you will pay just about whatever you have to just to get more.

    2. Match sales and coupons. Most things go on sale and most things will, at some point, have a coupon. Don't buy things when they are just on sale or when you just have a coupon. Generally, manufacturers give stores a discount about 2 to 3 weeks after they run a coupon. That's when they go on sale. Here's an example:

    We like those McCormick's Peppercorn Grinders. I don't buy them often because they are usually $2.79 each. They went on sale at my local Kroger at 10 for $10. I had a dozen $1 off coupons so I got 12 of them entirely free. This will last until they go on sale with a coupon again.

    And there are many more items that you can get for free as well.


    3. When you find a good deal, stock up like a crazy person. Seriously, I have like 12 shampoos, 20 boxes of cereal, 15 deodorants, etc!

    4. I have learned that there are things that you can almost always get for free:

    Toothpaste -- Colgate very, very frequently has $1 or $1.25 coupons in the Sunday paper. Walgreens and CVS put Colgate on sale almost every week and they both usually offer some type of register reward (it's a coupon printed out with your receipt that will give x amount of dollars off your next purchase). Both stores usually put Colgate on sale for around $2 to $3 and offer a register reward for the full purchase amount. You can still use your $1 or $1.25 coupon and actually leave the store making a profit. Here's how that would breakdown:

    Price of toothpaste: $2.25
    Coupon value: $1.25
    Register reward: $2.25
    So, you would actually pay $1 at the store but you would have $2.25 toward your next purchase netting you a profit of $1.25. It's a great feeling to get paid a dollar and a quarter and get essentially a free tube of toothpaste.

    Another example of an item that you can almost always get for free is Reynolds Foil. Walgreens puts it on sale about every 12 weeks for $.89. There are usually $1 off coupons every so often in the paper netting you a profit of $.11. Not enough to pay off the mortgage but most folks spend $3 or $4 on every roll. If you have multiple coupons and purchase 6 rolls:

    Regular Retail: $24 ($4 x 6 rolls)
    Your Cost: -$.66
    So you just saved yourself $24 -- enough to put some gas in your car or buy a few gallons of milk.

    Other items that can frequently be free:
    Deodorant
    Shampoo
    Snacks
    Soap (The best I usually can do is $.45 for a 3 pack)
    Liquid Body Wash
    Cough Drops
    Cereal (I don't ever find it totally free but I can usually get the large boxes for less that $1)
    Canned Dog Food
    Various Canned Goods
    Various Side Dishes


    5. Another important thing is to not be brand specific if you can. My husband doesn't care what brand of deodorant he uses so I get the free or almost free brand. A couple of weeks ago, Kroger had Brut on sale 10/$10. I had 6 $1 coupons, so I got 6 of them free. That will last him until something else has a similar deal.

    6. Sales generally cycle through every 12 weeks so try to stock up for about 12 weeks on the great deals.

    7. Where to get coupons -- I buy Sunday papers. The rule of thumb is to buy the same number of papers as there are in your household. So I buy 4 papers. If there are excellent coupons that week, I buy more. I also print them online -- coupons(dot)com (I know, I know, just don't download the toolbar), redplum(dot)com and smartsource(dot)com. Those 3 locations will limit you to 2 prints of each coupon from each computer. If you have more than one computer, you could print 2 from each. You can also find them on manufacturer's web sites.

    Another very important thing is NOT to go through and clip the coupons you think you will use out of the coupon inserts and throw the rest away. Simply date the outside of your coupon inserts and save them (yes, I have a ton of them). There are websites that actually match a sale to a coupon and refer you back to that insert. Here's what I mean:

    I like to go to couponmom(dot)com and look at the coupon database. It may show that cat food is on sale at CVS this week and then tell me where to find a coupon for the same product in this manner -- (P&G 1/3). I would then refer back to the Procter & Gamble insert from January 3rd to find that coupon. I hope that makes sense. If not, please let me know.

    Also, dining out is extremely expensive. I can usually make a meal for under $5 that will feed us dinner one day, lunch for the kids and myself the next day and my husband takes it to work for lunch as well, and sometimes it lasts for even another meal (but we are sick of it by then, Ha!).

    Give it a try and I will most definitely be glad to offer any help or advice. I have converted many folks into couponers and they love it.

  2. #2
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    Nice, lots of good tips.

    I've used this before with a Kroger card - http://shortcuts.com/home It's been awhile but I think you register, input your card number, then you can add coupons to the card and when you checkout, you can see the savings.

    Also, BOGO sales. Buy one, get one free. The Publix near me always has something going on where you can pick up some great deals. And a lot of times with those, if you just want one item of the BOGO sale, it'll just ring up at half price. I used to work at a grocery store back in the day and that's the way we did it and I guess you can also use coupons on top of that.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Nice, lots of good tips.

    I've used this before with a Kroger card - http://shortcuts.com/home It's been awhile but I think you register, input your card number, then you can add coupons to the card and when you checkout, you can see the savings.

    Also, BOGO sales. Buy one, get one free. The Publix near me always has something going on where you can pick up some great deals. And a lot of times with those, if you just want one item of the BOGO sale, it'll just ring up at half price. I used to work at a grocery store back in the day and that's the way we did it and I guess you can also use coupons on top of that.
    Yes, thanks Trust, I forgot about these. You should definitely load the coupons from shortcuts.com, cellfire.com and, if you are shopping at Kroger, the eCoupons from their site to your Kroger card. Or whatever card you have at your grocery store. You can use these in addition to clipped coupons on the same item.

    Some stores will accept two coupons on BOGO items (one on each) but many will not. CVS does but my Kroger store doesn't. It's really up to them and their store policy.

  4. #4
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    I was checking out the Publix site, their weekly ad and noticed they were using - http://www.shoplocal.com/ it was publix.shoplocal.com

    And for example picked cereal and it's pretty nice. Can see the cereal deals for the grocery stores around here and some other stores. Also, browse the weekly ads.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    That's another great site to point out. But here in Podunk, Indiana, it always just shows Kroger or CVS anyway. Good reason for that too -- that's all we got! But it is a great resource for larger areas.

  6. #6
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    Oh, that's a great site. I've just been going thru it and right now, live in a pretty big city. I was looking for a site just like this. Just going thru the pizza section and as an example, a pizza crust I usually buy 2 pack Mama Mary’s pizza crusts is buy one get one free at one store and then DiGiorno Pizza, Walgreens has a nice sale on them and on top of that, they give you a free 2 liter Coke.

  7. #7
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    Obviously good tips here for a person who is organized and can spend time (like a part time job) and save. Every dollar saved is much more than a dollar earned (depending on one's tax situation).

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redtagdeals
    and can spend time (like a part time job)
    It isn't really all that time consuming. After you do it a few weeks, it's kind of second nature. This week though, I spent between 2 and 3 hours matching deals and clipping coupons. My kindergartener likes to help. She makes neat little coupon stacks for me.

    Still though, $248 with 3 hours of work is worth it to me. Honestly, I typically only save about 45-65%. Depends on how much meat I buy and if the husband needs his froo froo shee shee poo poo fancy lettuce and such.

  9. #9
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    bettylou, I can feel that you're a great mom and wife and having fun doing it. It does not matter how long it takes as long as it is fun and worth it.

  10. #10
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    When I was raising my family I did the coupon thing and had weeks where I got a heck of a lot for a little money using coupons, double coupons and sales. There were two large grocery chains that tried to "out coupon" each other and for several months there were triple and even quadruple coupon "wars". They finally had to stop and agree to only do double or they would both go out of business Plus the manufacturers themselves started restricting if coupons could be tripled or more.

    Back then it was estimated that most families would save 10% of their grocery bill, but I had weeks where I had the cashiers astounded by how much I saved. I pretty much averaged 40-50% with an occasionally higher amount.
    Deborah Carney
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  11. #11
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    I go grocery shopping at WalMart and spend about $190 - $200 per week for a family of 5, which includes breakfast, lunch, and 5 dinners. We eat out once per week and do takeout once per week.

    Honestly, I don't clip or print a single coupon before I go grocery shopping. I have a Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion all within a few miles of me. It would probably be worth the time to clip/print coupons, if there was a significant savings. Not sold on whether there would be.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    I go grocery shopping at WalMart and spend about $190 - $200 per week for a family of 5, which includes breakfast, lunch, and 5 dinners. We eat out once per week and do takeout once per week.

    Honestly, I don't clip or print a single coupon before I go grocery shopping. I have a Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion all within a few miles of me. It would probably be worth the time to clip/print coupons, if there was a significant savings. Not sold on whether there would be.
    With the example bettylou gave in the other thread, she saved about $250, spent $100, so got about $350 worth of groceries for $100. And that might be more of an extreme example of what's possible. Even if you saved 20% off your grocery bill, that's an extra $160 a month. Will take some planning but you can see some savings. Actually, you might be able to get your kids to do all the work, use some kind of incentive. Give them a percentage of whatever you save.

  13. #13
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    There seem to be so many sites with so-called printable grocery coupons that are not all they claim to be. Sounds like combining clipped coupons from my local paper and couponmom dot com and shortcuts dot com may be a good place to start.

    I have the time so I might as well make the effort to see what kind of savings I can get each week. It is very convenient to go to one place to get your food and paper products. Not sure I will be too keen on going to Kroger for some food, Food Lion for more food, and Walgreens for toothpaste and TP.

  14. #14
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    In my own opinion, this is really good for people who doesn't have loads of work or for students. But still, it's a great tip for each and everyone of us.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gillian2009
    In my own opinion, this is really good for people who doesn't have loads of work or for students.
    Maybe I am being overly sensitive here, but this offends me more than I can express. I work way harder now than when I had a j-o-b.

    [The rest of this post was edited out by bettylou for saying things I just probably shouldn't have]
    Last edited by bettylou; January 31st, 2010 at 07:12 AM. Reason: delete

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    When I was raising my family I did the coupon thing and had weeks where I got a heck of a lot for a little money using coupons, double coupons and sales. There were two large grocery chains that tried to "out coupon" each other and for several months there were triple and even quadruple coupon "wars".
    Is it wrong that I am salivating right now. Quadruple coupons!

    Ha! Ha! Coupon Wars
    ......in a grocery store far, far way

  17. #17
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Do stores like Food Lion or Kroger still do double coupon days? If so, how do you when they do?

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Hi SB, I don't have a Food Lion near me but my Kroger store (and I think most) does. And they always do it, everyday.

    They are also having a Mega Event sale this week and next week. That's when you really need to stock up -- just be sure to buy the participating items in groups of 10 to get the additional $5 off each group of 10.


    In a different post you mentioned about going to various stores to get different things. To be honest, I very seldom do that. The nearest Walgreen's and Walmart are 1/2 hour away and it's not usually worth it for me to go there. Walmart does take coupons but they do not double them so I don't buy very much food there.

  19. #19
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Hey there bettylou.

    How do you know about this Kroger Mega Sale event? Is it on one of those coupon sites mentioned above?

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    How do you know about this Kroger Mega Sale event? Is it on one of those coupon sites mentioned above?
    You can go to the Kroger site. They always have a virtual sales flyer. From what I understand, the items in the Mega Event are the same everywhere but the prices vary by region. Just as an example, here is how to work those deals:

    Hormel ChiliMaster Chili:
    *Reg. price $3.49 each
    *On sale at $1.29 each
    *Coupon from last week's(1/24) SmartSource coupon insert will double to $1 making the cost $.29 each
    *Since it is part of the Mega, you will receive an additional $5 off each group of 10 participating items, which makes this totally free (and depending on your store's policy on coupons, you may make a little money).

    And remember, you don't have to buy 10 of the same item to get the $5 off, you can mix and match all of them.

  21. #21
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    Sorry if I offended you. But I'm just telling what I think is truly happening. Also, some people are into that kind of job and they are happy w/ regards to pay. So, I think you are in the right track.

  22. #22
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettylou
    *Coupon from last week's(1/24) SmartSource coupon insert will double to $1
    Is that an insert in the newspaper or something that comes in the mail?

  23. #23
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettylou
    They are also having a Mega Event sale this week and next week. That's when you really need to stock up -- just be sure to buy the participating items in groups of 10 to get the additional $5 off each group of 10.
    Sorry for the questions. But how do you know what items are included in this buy 10 of and get $5 off?

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    SB, sorry, yes, that is one of the inserts in the paper. In general, there is a SmartSource and a Red Plum insert in them. Once a month, there is a P&G one. Occasionally, there are 2 SmartSource or 2 Red Plum, or maybe even a General Mills one. There are no coupon inserts on holiday weekends.

    With the Mega Event, there are pages in the Kroger flyer that tell you what's part of that sale. Also, they are marked on the shelves at the store (but you really need to have a game plan before you even go to the store).

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    SB, You may find this blog helpful -- I visit it regularly. Here's a great link to the Mega Deals and coupon matchups for this week at Kroger:

    http://www.southernsavers.com/2010/0...ly-ad-124-130/

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