Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why Would I Want to Coupon? How Do I Coupon?

Part #2 in a four part series Never Pay Full Price for Drugstore Makeup. Click here for part #1.

Saving money on drugstore cosmetics and other beauty items is easy once you learn how to best utilize coupons. On average I pay less than 50% on most beauty and cosmetics items I purchase. So why pay full price when you can combine sales with coupons to score HUGE savings. This post is going to take an in depth look at how and why to coupon.

First and foremost are manufacturer coupons which you can easily find in the Sunday edition of your local paper. I purchase 4 Sunday papers every weekend. Actually I usually purchase the Saturday early edition of the Sunday paper. It contains the same coupon inserts and it allows me to prepare my Sunday shopping trip on Saturday. I clip the coupons and organize my coupons every weekend. Unless there are no coupons in the Sunday paper.

How do you know if there are any coupons in the Sunday (or Saturday early edition) paper?
Sunday Coupon Preview will not only tell you if there will be any coupons in the Sunday paper but it will also tell you how many coupon inserts there will be. It, also, provides a list of the coupons which will be included in the inserts.

How do I store my coupons so that I can easily find the one I am looking for?
I prefer the box method but some prefer the binder method or the no-clip method. Honestly, it's person preference; you just need to organize them to be able to find a particular coupon easily on the go. You don't want to spend untold amounts of time searching for a coupon that you know you have.....somewhere. I keep my coupon box in a tote bag and I take it with me when I go shopping. It's not uncommon for my coupon box to just hang out in my car then I always have it with me if I need to make an impromptu trip to the store.

How do I sort my coupons?
Again this is personal preference. I keep my clipped coupons in 3 5/8" x 6 1/2" envelopes. I label them by manufacturer. I also have a few generic envelopes such as Beauty and Personal Care. My L'Oreal, CoverGirl, Maybelline and Revlon envelopes are almost always holding coupons. But I would file Rimmel or Milani under Beauty because those coupons tend to be rare. I file my envelopes in alphabetical order making it super quick and easy to find any coupon.

When do coupons expire?
Every coupon has an expiration date clearly printed on the coupon. Usually it's located at the top of the coupon but it can be printed elsewhere. The coupon pictured below expires July 13, 2013.

How much and which product can the coupon be redeemed for?
The coupon is valid for whatever is WRITTEN on the coupon. Not what is pictured on the coupon. The coupon above is valid for $1.50 off of one CoverGirl product which could be a lipstick, an eyeshadow or a foundation. This coupon is valid for more than just the BB cream and foundation pictured. The coupon below is valid for $4.00 off TWO CoverGirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm or Lipslicks Smoochies.

Other than the Sunday paper where else are coupons available?
The simple answer is that coupons are also available at Coupons.com, SmartSource.com and Save.com. Usually you are allowed to print two of each coupon per computer. Coupons can also be found all over the internet on websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

With so many sources offering coupons and so many stores offering sales how can I possibly keep track of it all?
This is much simpler than it seems. There are plenty of blogs and websites that will post the matchups of the coupons with the sales. The Krazy Coupon Lady, Coupon Mom and Passion For Savings are all great national websites for helping you keep track of all the sales and coupons. I highly recommend doing a Google search for 'coupon matchups Oklahoma City' (use your local city). This will help you find sales in local stores in addition to national chain stores. Also it is very common that local websites will host coupon classes which can be very beneficial in teaching the basics of couponing.

What are the definitions of all the acronyms that are used in couponing?
Balance Rewards - Walgreens rewards program
BOGO - Buy One Get One Free
BOGO50 - Buy One Get One 50% Off
B2G1 - Buy Two Get One Free
Blinkie - A small machine that has a red blinking light which dispenses coupons located in the shopping aisle.
Cartwheel - Target's app that provides additional discounts at checkout.
Catalina - A machine at the cash register that issues coupons based on your purchases.
CRT - Cash Register Tape
Double Coupons - Some stores will provide a discount at double the face value of the coupon (unless the coupon states otherwise)
ECB - CVS's Extra Care Bucks which provide a specific dollar amount off of your next purchase.
eCoupon - Coupons which can be found on your cell phone or other mobile device.
Extra Bucks - CVS's Extra Bucks see ECB above.
Mobile Coupons- See eCoupons above.
OOP - Out of Pocket costs
Peelie - Coupons located on a product which can be peeled off and used to save instantly
P&G - Proctor and Gamble, a parent company that owns several popular brands and provides coupon inserts in the Sunday paper.
PSA - Prices Starting At
Raincheck - When a product is on sale and out of stock some stores will issue a 'raincheck' that will allow you to purchase the product when it's restocked even after the sale has expired.
Rebate - A discount that is received by mail after mailing in receipts after the purchase(s) have been made.
RR- Register Rewards, Walgreens coupons that print with your receipt.
RP - Red Plum, a company providing coupon inserts in the Sunday paper.
SS - Smart Source, a company providing coupon inserts in the Sunday paper.
Stacking - the ability to combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for one item.
Store Coupon - coupons provided by a store for use at their store exclusively.
Store Loyalty Card - a store specific card that provides additional savings and discounts.
UPC - Universal Product Code or barcode which the registers scan.
WAGS- Walgreens
WYB - When you buy.

This seems overwhelming where do I start?
Start by learning one smaller store such as CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid. They all have different programs with different advantages and disadvantages. You should be familiar with at least one of these stores already. So pick whichever one suits your fancy and learn the ins and outs of that store. For instance, I predominantly shop at CVS as I don't have a Rite Aid nearby and I don't care for Walgreens points system. On your next trip to your chosen store ask the cashier or manager for a copy of the coupon policy. This will help clarify any questions you may have and it is important proof should their be a discrepancy. Then after you have purchased paper and organized coupon, check your matchups on local blogs and then go purchase a few items listed in the matchups. Remember you can always go back a couple of times to make additional purchases. Just don't overwhelm yourself to start with. Start slow and build from there. \

The following blog posts will provide additional information:

Learn How to Coupon at CVS
Learn How to Coupon at Target

So step one would be to purchase multiple copies of your Sunday paper. Step two is to determine which coupon organization and storage method works best for you. Step three is to determine at which store you would first like to learn how to coupon.

I hope this helps answer some basic questions about couponing. If you have any additional questions please comment below. Stay tuned for the next posts about CVS and Target.