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Tips from the Coupon Queen

Couponers, put down the scissors!




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Jill Cataldo is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

January 18, 2011 | 1922 views | Post a comment

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared some of the ways that expert coupon shoppers plan shopping trips. They only buy an item when its price hits a low point in the store’s 12-week pricing cycle. They use grocery list matchup websites to view a detailed list of what products are cycling low in price during the current week at their stores of choice. And -- this one will surprise you -- they don’t cut coupons out of the paper.

That’s right. Serious coupon clippers do not sit down when their coupon inserts arrive in the paper each week, scissors in hand, to clip, snip, and sort coupons by product, type, and expiration date. Does anyone enjoy cutting and managing hundreds of little, loose pieces of paper? I may be a coupon maven, but I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t particularly enjoy cutting out coupons! I prefer to spend as little time clipping as possible. Fortunately, grocery list matchup sites help us do just that.

When I teach this method in my Super-Couponing workshops, I call it my “clipless system” of couponing. It’s a little play on words -- Super-Couponers literally clip less. The strategy is effective and has proven to be very popular with shoppers. Shoppers who clip only the coupons they intend to use in the store this week enjoy significant savings with the least possible time commitment.

Last week, I showed an example of what a grocery list matchup website looks like. (Find a list of popular matchup sites on my website, http://www.SuperCouponing.com, by clicking the “Getting Started” link.) These matchup sites track the sales cycles at your stores of choice, showing not only items with prices that are hitting low points in the sales cycle, but also exactly which coupon to use to cut those prices even further.

This week, let’s look a little closer at an example of a grocery list matchup for two products:

Name-brand dish detergent (11 ounces):

Sale price: 99 cents

Coupon value: $1 -- 10/10 PG

Final price: Free!

Percent saved: 100 percent

Name-brand fruit-and-nut trail mix (6 ounces):

Sale Price: $1.29

Coupon value: $1 -- 6/20 SS

Final price: 29 cents

Percent saved: 71 percent

Now, take a close look at the codes to the right of each dollar value of the coupons in these two examples. These codes show the date that the coupon ran in the newspaper, and a two-letter abbreviation corresponding to the name of the insert. Popular coupon inserts you may find in your weekly newspaper include Procter & Gamble, SmartSource, and RedPlum. A matchup site will abbreviate the names to indicate in which coupon insert booklet a shopper will find the coupon.

So, my $1 dish detergent coupon can be found in the 10/10 PG, meaning the Procter and Gamble insert from Oct. 10. My trail mix coupon can be found in the 6/20 SS, the SmartSource insert from June 20.

Instead of clipping all of my coupons each week, I save the entire coupon insert, intact. I begin my weekly shopping trip by consulting a matchup site. I load a shopping list for my store of choice, clicking only the products on sale that I wish to buy this week. Then, I print the list and sit down with my collection of coupon inserts. I cut only the coupons that my list calls for. The whole process takes me less than an hour a week. I only cut exactly the coupons I need that week, so I do not waste time or energy cutting out and organizing bunches of coupons. I’m clipping... less!

Do you have to be terrifically organized to be an effective coupon clipper? Not at all. If you save your coupon inserts each week and store them together in a file, you’ll start building a library of coupons to draw on for each week’s shopping trips. Next week, I’ll share some options for organizing your coupon inserts.
 
« Previous Blog Entry (January 11, 2011)
 


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