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How to begin Couponing



How to use coupons at Giant Eagle and Other Stores!

My Coupon Database App for IPhone, IPod Touch or IPad!

After asking (bugging ;-)) my husband to make a coupon database app for me, I’m excited that it’s finally done and ready to use!  If you guys remember my post on Organizing Coupons, you know that I use a binder for my printed coupons, peelies, blinkies, etc.  However, my Sunday Inserts are filed in my binder and the coupons are not cut until I need them.  This helps me Save lots of Time that I would have spent clipping.

When I head to the store, I usually have my shopping list ready along with any coupons I plan on using.  I say usually since there are many times I leave the house totally unprepared 😉
Once I’m at the store if I see an unadvertised sale or something on clearance,  I need to know if I have a coupon somewhere in my binder that I could use to score a great deal!  My only way to do this would be to search online databases which was very time consuming.  Even with 3G or Wi-Fi, it seemed to take forever.  This is why I wanted my husband to create a Coupon Database App!

The Lady Savings Coupon Database lists only the coupons found in the Sunday Papers since these are the only uncut ones you’ll have with you.  I’m guessing most people organize their printed ones in a binder or envelopes.  Even if you cut your Sunday Coupons, this app will let you know if you need to pull out that binder and look thru it!  The best part is that it’s Fast 😀 and you only need network access to download the database once a week.  Once it’s downloaded you can use it at the store or anywhere with no need for internet!  If you want to check it out, search for Lady Savings on the app store.  Right now it’s $.99 and it has no ads on it!

I still have a few more insert to add and the Database will be up to date- working on it now!

 
 

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KFR Codes

Beginner Info on Getting Deals (very long….sorry)

**Update: This post was written BEFORE the new coupon policy came out so please note that you can no longer stack coupons and there is a limit of 12 “like” coupons per day and a limit of 2 “like” printed coupons (policy doesn’t clarify if it’s per day or transaction so YMMV)

**Sorry this is so long..I just had more and more things I wanted to say 😉

Barbara (Sunshine) commented on one of my post with these questions which I will try to answer.  If anyone has anything to add to it, please do 😀

“I’ve been using paper coupons for about four months now, and I’m wondering about the Cellfire and eCoupons program that GE has. There are others I’ve found, too, that you add things to your card.
Can a person use all of these programs on one card, or just one? Like, am I limited to just choosing one of these to use on the card?
A friend of mine saw a lady leaving the store one day, and she said her cart was filled to the top, and she paid nothing.
How is that accomplished? Anybody know?
I get great deals, and even moneymakers, but have never gotten a full cartload!
Which site is it that pays for schooling if you want, or you can use the money for whatever you want,(I can’t recall which one that is..” Can that be used also with the others? Is it legal to do that stuff?
All info. appreciated! Sunshine”

First I want to say, welcome to couponing!  I hope you are having lots of FUN 🙂

Giant Eagle Does allow stacking of paper and digital coupons.  Many stores have stopped this (like most Kroger stores) and I imagine that one day Giant Eagle will no longer allow it either.  But for now, they do 😀

You can load your card with digital coupons from all these sites(you don’t have to choose just one):

Giant Eagle eOffers – these come directly from the Giant Eagle website and there are LOTS of eOffers to add!
Cellfire – Giant Eagle only gets a handful of coupons to add, but some are really good ($1/1 Fiber One which makes it FREE when stacked with a paper coupon!)
Shortcuts -Again, Giant Eagle only gets a handful (the ones with the circle with an explanation mark cannot be added to a GE card)

Some rules about digital coupons:
*they do not double
*One-time use! (If you have $1/1 tide and you buy 4 bottles, only $1 will come off the first one)
*At Giant Eagle, they seem not to always work.  I suggest printing a copy of the eCoupons that you load to your card just in case they do not come off.  Simply take your receipt and your printed copy to Customer Service and they should take care of it.  They have excellent customer service.  If you don’t have time to go to customer service or don’t notice the mistake until you get home, simply call  1–800–553–2324, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.  I’ve heard from many readers that they will make it right!

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On top of the digital & paper coupons, you can also use Upromise.  You can go to my post here to read more about it.  The Upromise eCoupons do not come off of your receipt at the store, but the amount is deposited into an account.  This money is supposed to be used to pay for school or towards student loans, however, you can request a check if you want and use however you like!  So anyone can use this and it is completely legit to use all three combined if that would happen!

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For printable coupons, there are four main sites:

Coupons.com
Redplum.com
Smartsource.com
CouponNetwork.com

You can print each coupon from these sites 2 times per computer.  Most the time you can simply hit backspace (delete on a MAC) to print the second time.  There are times when they limit these coupons to one per computer.  If you have many computers and it’s a great coupon, I suggest printing as many as you can.  Making a copy of a coupon is illegal.

Facebook also is a hot place for coupons.  If you have a favorite product, check out their site to see if they are running any promotions or offering any coupons.

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For non-printable paper coupons, The Sunday Paper is the main source! If you are still working on stocking up I would suggest getting many Sunday Papers each week.  How many you want will depend on what coupons are actually in there.  Right now I have plenty of cleaners, shampoos, razors and deodorants, so I wouldn’t spend money on a paper to get these for FREE since I don’t need them at all.  So how many papers you want will depend on what you want to stock up on and what’s in the paper that week.  The Sunday Coupon Preview lists the coupons that may be available each Sunday (all areas don’t receive every coupon and the coupon values may vary).

To get even more coupons, you may want to get the All You Magazine.  This magazine has tons of coupons! However, it is only sold at Walmart stores or you can subscribe online. Right now you can get  a 6 months subscription of All You at Amazon for $10. But I would suggest getting one from Walmart first to see if you like it.  You can check out the coupons that are available in the January issue here.

Also, don’t forget to search the stores for blinkie machines and tearpads!  Most of the time, the items are not on sale at the moment, so you might want to grab a few of these coupons and hold on to them for a future sale!  And if you have noticed, the coupons from the GE blinkie machines usually start with the number 9 (meaning it will not double).  The same coupon from another store (like Kroger) will start with a 5 (meaning it will double).  So, I make sure to grab a few extra at Kroger to use at GE!

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Okay, Back to your question 😉 Can you get a cartload and pay nothing?  My answer would be yes, however, I don’t think this should be the main goal.  If you have been getting many Sunday papers and have a lot of computers to print from, when a freebie comes around, you can snag many.  So your cartful of stuff would probably be many duplicates of a handful of items. (Ex., 12 coffee-mates, 12 toothpastes, 12 bags of rice, etc.) GE now has a rule that you can only use 12 like coupons per day so that’s why I gave an example with 12.  Digital coupons don’t help much with “stocking-up” since they can only be used once.  So, the FREE Fiber One Yogurt will only be FREE for the 1st one you buy.

When I first started couponing, I wanted my total to be as low as possible, so when I was getting a GREAT deal at Giant Eagle, I hated to ruin my total by throwing in something I needed or wanted that wasn’t on sale -lol.  So I would get an awesome deal,  but go home and wish I had a steak to cook for dinner or Giant Eagle’s delicious sugar cookies to eat ;-).  I did have one time when I got about $60 worth of groceries and paid absolutely nothing.  I had a coupon for everything and also had a few catalinas that I used – so it is possible.  However, most of the time you will pay at least a little.  The key is to have many coupons when something does end up being FREE after coupon so you can stock up.

It still is fun to see how little out of pocket we couponers can spend at the store, but I try to look at the overall total.  Last year, I tried to spend about $500 a month on all food (including eating out), toiletries and newspapers.  This is for a family of 5 (kids are 10, 14 & 15).  Some months I would keep better records, but for the most part I stayed around this number.  I think I can get this a little lower this year but for right now this is what works for me.  Before couponing I would spend at least $900 or more a month and I would get a lot less stuff.  So even without going to extremes, I’m saving at least $400 a month which is about a car payment or money to spend on other items!

I guess what I am trying to say is that everybody’s savings is going to be different. As long as you are spending less than you did before using coupons and getting more stuff at the same time, then I think it’s working for you. There will also be times that you have a buggy full of great deals and spend very little and the shoppers behind you will be wondering how you did it 😉

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I have written a few posts for Beginners (or anyone ;-)).  If you would like to read them, just click on the links below:

 

Beginner Tips – Getting Catalinas by Shelf Price at GE

Saving Money & Time – How to Organize Those Coupons!

Beginner Tips – How to Spot a Fake Coupon

Beginner’s Tips & My Blown Budget!

Beginner Lesson- Saving Money by Stockpiling

WHERE TO GET COUPONS???

Money-Making Catalinas!

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??

Join the Target Couponers Group Here!

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New to Couponing?? Check out my beginner tips!

Are you new to couponing? Here are some links to my previous posts that give some tips for beginners.  I do want to point out that I do not know everything about couponing…or anything else for that matter (just ask my husband and kids, they’ll tell ya 😉 )  But, I hope that sharing what I do know will help someone!  I LOVE talking about coupons & deals, so if anyone ever has a question for me or a deal to share, please email me at tammy @ ladysaving .com (remove spaces)


Beginner Tips – Getting Catalinas by Shelf Price at GE

Saving Money & Time – How to Organize Those Coupons!

Beginner Tips – How to Spot a Fake Coupon

Beginner’s Tips & My Blown Budget!

Beginner Lesson- Saving Money by Stockpiling

WHERE TO GET COUPONS???

Money-Making Catalinas!

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??

Hobby Lobby Promo Code

Beginner Tips – Getting Catalinas by Shelf Price at Giant Eagle

Cllick on picture if you would like to see it bigger!

I wanted to explain a little about Shelf Price for anyone who may not know about it or that’s confused by it!

Sometimes when Giant Eagle has a Catalina Deal, you must buy a certain number of products to get a Catalina. These are not the times I’m talking about 😉 .

Other times, you have to buy a Dollar Amount in order to get the Catalina.  The participating items are usually on sale.  However, in some cases, the register rings up the original price of the item and then deducts the amount needed to bring it down to the sale price.  Therefore, even though you are paying the sale price, you only have to buy the dollar amount based on the regular “shelf” price.

In the ad, if the Giant Eagle rewards card is NOT shown under the sale price, it probably will NOT work on shelf price.  If they GE rewards card is shown, it should work – but can’t be guaranteed.

Here’s an example for this week:

Edy’s Ice Cream 1.5qt is on Sale for 4 for $10 ($2.50 each), but you can see from under the sale price that you are saving $9.96 on 4 using your GE Advantage Card.  So the regular price (Shelf Price) is $19.96 for 4 ($4.99 each)  The register will more than likely ring up $4.99 and deduct $2.49 to bring it down to the sale price of $2.50.

The Catalina is: Get $4 OYNO WYB $12 of particpating products so as long as you reach $12 “Shelf Price”, the Catalina Should print.

Edy’s Ice Cream 1.5qt $2.50 ($4.99 Shelf)
Use: $1/2 Edy’s products, any (2) 48 oz+ – Parade, May 23 2010(expires 7/31!)

Deal Scenario based on Sale Price & just buying the Edy’s Ice Cream:

Buy: 5 Edy’s Ice Cream 1.5qt @ $2.50 each = $12.50
Use: (2) $1/2 Coupons
Pay : $10.50 & get back $4 OYNO = $6.50 ($1.30 each)

Deal Scenario using Shelf Price:

Buy: 3 Edy’s Ice Cream 1.5qt @ $2.50 each = $7.50 (Shelf Price $14.97)
Use: (1) $1/2 Coupon
Pay: $6.50 & get back $4 OYNO = $2.50
($0.83 each!)

Just make sure that you know that this doesn’t always work and you are taking a chance doing it this way .  When the Giant Eagle ad lists the amount you are saving, it more than likely will work, but if it doesn’t have the amount listed, it probably will not work!

Has anyone had good or bad luck with doing it this way?  Let us know 🙂


 
 

Saving Money & Time – How to Organize Those Coupons!

I started writing a post a few months ago about organizing coupons and I am so glad I didn’t finish it!  I use the binder method to organize my coupons and for a long time I would clip almost every single coupon and file it! The only coupons that did not make it into my binder were things that I wouldn’t buy even if they were free.  This way was very time consuming.  I slowly started getting behind  filing my coupons when I started blogging and especially after school let out!

Saving money is very important to couponers, but we don’t want to waste time doing it!   I still LOVE the binder method, just not the way I was doing it (which is why I’m glad I didn’t finish my original post 😉 ). If you are new to the Binder method, it’s simply a three ring binder with baseball card inserts which will hold coupons.   You can divide it up into categories like Frozen, Pantry, Refrigerated, Cleaning, Toothpaste/Toothbrushes, etc.  This is the new way I organize my coupon binder which is much quicker.

Every Sunday, I arrange the inserts into a little book.  Let’s say I got 4 Red Plum inserts.  I take those four inserts and arrange them so that the first page of all 4 inserts are together, the second pages are all together, and so on.  If there are any pages that don’t have any coupons that I would want, I simply throw those pages away.  I then go thru the insert  and cut any coupons that I will use even without a great sale.  For example, I would clip a Tropicana OJ coupon.  I try to stock up on OJ when it’s on sale and I have a coupon, but I would buy it even if it wasn’t a great price.  Since my insert is organized with matching pages together, I can cut all 4 coupons at once (make sure they are lined up so you don’t cut the date off one by mistake!)  I file these OJ & other coupons I plan on using, with or without a sale, in my binder.  I then mark the date on the front of the insert  and place it in a pocket in the front of my binder.

This is much faster than cutting and filing each coupon and they are still organized and easy to find.  You are probably wondering why I would need a binder if I’m just clipping a few coupons.  Along with the few insert coupons that I clip, I also put all my printed coupons, coupons from the mail, coupons found at the store(blinkies), catalinas  and  all my Kroger Store Coupons into my binder.

When I am making my shopping list, I simply go online to my Giant Eagle or Kroger match-ups.  I “add” any item I want to the printable shopping list, print any coupons that need printed, and then print the list.  Any coupons from the inserts that need clipped  can be quickly found by date & type (redplum/smartsource/P&G) and clipped.  If I’m going to Rite Aid or CVS, I use one of the many awesome blogs out there that cover those stores to find the deals & coupon match-ups.

I place all the coupons I intend to use into an envelope to take to the store.  However, I always carry my binder with me just in case I see an unadvertised sale or decide to buy something else.  This is especially important when going to Rite Aid.  Many of the great deals may be out of stock and you will need coupons for other products to get your total up to $25 so you’ll be able to  use one of the many $5/$25 coupons they offer.

This is what works for me.  Everyone is different and you may have a different method that works great for you!  Feel free to share your ideas or tips in the comment section.

To see more of my beginner tips, go here & click on the title of the post you want to read to see the full post.

Beginner Tips – How to Spot a Fake Coupon

Do you sometimes wonder if a coupon you printed is actually real?  Sarah over at A Thrifty Mom has a great post about how to spot a fake coupon and what happens when people use them.

Here are some ways you can tell a coupon may be fake. But, you’ll want to head over here (part 1) and here (part 2) to read it her whole post.

* All numbers under the bar code are the same

* 6 of the same coupon print on one page!

* The image looks homemade on the coupon

* No size limits listed on coupon (some legit coupons don’t have a size limit either)

* No watermark printed on the coupon

* Only one set of Bar codes

* Too good to be true!

Want to check on a particular coupon?  Head over to the Counterfeit Coupon Alert at Cents Off.  You’ll be able to see the most recent counterfeit coupons.

You don’t have to worry when coupons come from legit sites like Coupons.com or Redplum.com.  You usually can print 2 coupons per computer from these sites.  However, as with any coupon, it’s illegal to make photocopies of the coupons.  Companies have a limit of how many coupons they want to allow.  That is why great coupons go fast!  They reach their limit and are taken away.

Some companies are still using PDF coupons, like the recent Scotch sponge coupon.  These coupons have no print limit and can be printed as many times as you want.  I’m not sure why some companies still use this way of distributing coupons, but as long as it comes directly from the company’s website it is legit!

Beginner’s Tips & My Blown Budget!

Do you have a monthly budget for your grocery spending?? Since January this year, mine is $500 a month for a family of 5.  When I first started couponing, I didn’t keep track of the amount I was spending, I was just buying, buying, buying!

Thanks to quickbooks I was able to go back and see how much I usually spent in a month for groceries….and it was over $900 a month(many months a lot more!).  That’s when I decided to set a budget and try to stick to it!!  If it’s the end of the month and we need something, I still buy it even if I go over budget.  I call this borrowing from next month=]

Things I include in my $500 grocery budget…

*all food & beverage items

*cleaning products

*paper products (toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, tampons, pads, etc)

*eating out

How my budget got completely blown in April…. The last two weeks of April I was sick & my husband had to take over much of the cooking & shopping.  After Pizza Hut, Subway, and a grocery trip with just 2 coupons, we were over budget. I’m not sure how much over  because I didn’t even keep track as usual!  Instead of “borrowing from May” I decided just to start fresh:)

So my tips are:

*Set a budget for your household items & keep track of your spending.  Everybody’s amount will be different depending on the size of your family and the area you live in.

*Don’t get sick because husbands can blow a budget – ha ha=]