Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wanna Be A Coupon Queen?

You want to save a bundle and are bollixed up by the coupon industry? Let’s take the guy head on.

Where do you find them?

Online on coupon sites. Friending product manufacturer's on Facebook. Buying the Sunday paper. By calling a manufacturer’s toll free number and asking for them or giving feedback. Trashpicking. Purchasing returned Sunday papers in bulk at the publisher (often by weight). Trading with friends. In the mail. Through entertainment books. Asking on freecycle

How do you organize them without driving yourself crazy?

Alphabetically my dear Watson. File them in a recipe box with lettered partitions by product name. They'll be much easier to retrieve. Then once a month go through your stash and pull expired ones.

What’s the best way to use them?

If you’ve ever formally tracked prices in your area stores, you know there can be a huge price range on similar items. So the trick is to get the best overall price. The “perfect storm” combination is a manufacturer’s coupon coupled with a store coupon on a sale item. Some stores allow you to use coupons on damaged packages or pulled items in the discount bins. Now you’re really talking my language. Some stores double coupons up to a certain amount. But if you get one of those printouts that say “$5 off your next purchase” you’re up there with the coronated wonders. Now the product manufacturers know all this stuff and they’ve been playing hardball. When a coupon used to say 50 cents off one, which can be doubled at some stores, it reads $1 off two, which can’t. And knowing when they will reduce a wholesale price on an item, thus influencing retail prices, manufacturers make their coupons valid for different time slots. One trick is to pay attention to the beginning and the end of expiration dates. So if your store changes prices mid-week, you might have a sliver of time when the coupon overlaps a sale.

That should be enough for now. We’ll save rebating for another day.

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