This is a guest blog post from my wife and Chladek Wealth Management SVP of Marketing, Angie Chladek. I consider her our “Chief Home Economist” and believe that her tips will be highly valuable to others as well.
I’ve always been skeptical of using coupons. In lieu of clipping coupons, I have always opted to purchase generic store brands unless the name brand item I’m purchasing is advertised as on-sale. However, I don’t like the taste of many of the generic brands, or have felt that what I saved in money I lacked in nutrition. After attending an event hosted by Lindsay Cole Smith, author of the blog Coupon is a Verb, I have a new-found respect for the amount of savings you can accrue over time just by taking a few extra steps. Lindsay’s information is very valuable and I’ve asked her if I could share it with you all.
Check out the following tips and resources to become better acquainted and start couponing today:
- It is absolutely necessary to sign-up for a new, free email address (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) specifically for couponing, giveaways, etc. Otherwise, you’ll be bombarded by info that is not important until you decide to sit down to look for savings.
- Couponing is best done when you “stack” or combine store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, and store deals together.
- At the end of this blog post, I’ve listed the websites that are beneficial to couponing. Make sure you “Like” those websites on Facebook. The deals they list often need to be acted upon fairly quickly, so you’ll want to stay “in the know.” These blogs also frequently list couponing stacks that you can perform that day or week to receive free items. They also let you know when you need to buy a Sunday paper, or stock up on a certain item.
- Sign up for every store rewards card that you can and keep them on a separate key ring.
- Figure out a way to organize your coupons. I use a binder with baseball card holders and dividers. One hint: place like-item coupons in the same pouch with the earlier expiration date in the front. Every coupon website I’ve seen has advice on how to organize your coupon system.
- Did you know you can use two coupons (one for each item) on Buy One Get One (B1G1) Free Deals? Most stores allow this, but check the policy if you’re wary of trying it.
- Did you know you can usually use the coupon on the trial/travel size of an item? If it’s not in your budget to purchase the full price item at that time, you can get the trial size for free, almost free, or you might even get money back!
- Walgreens, CVS, and Target all offer store coupons in addition to their store circular
- At Walgreens, they have a coupon book that they come out with at the first of the month, and often a theme coupon book they offer every so often for things “baby products.” Go right now to Walgreens to get your March book. They go fast and are highly valuable.
- Target offers coupons via their website that are excellent deals, even on their store brands. They also offer coupons on produce and meat, which many other stores do not.
- At Amazon.com, you can often combine coupon codes for discounts of up to 50% off on diapers, groceries, etc. Amazon typically has a coupon in each issue of Parents or Parenting Magazine. The discount is worth the cost of the magazine, and Amazon also offers free, 2- day shipping.
- Coupon websites only allow you to clip one or two coupons of the same kind per computer. To get around this, print the coupons you want on multiple computers, so you can take advantage of B1G1 deals and do it multiple times through the month.
- Do you frequently purchase a certain product? Call the company and ask for coupons.
- Stockpile household and non-perishable items in a place where you can easily find them. We have shelves in our basement dedicated to our deals and it’s a lovely thing when I run out of toothpaste or toilet paper and can just grab it from the basement.
- Most importantly – don’t cheat the system and try to get away with things just to save money. Being honest helps all of us continue to have fun at the couponing game!
Favorite web resources for coupons, freebies, and giveaways:
Angie Chladek is a mom to a toddler (with #2 on the way), SVP of Marketing for Chladek Wealth Management, and part-time staff development facilitator for elementary school educators. She is also currently serving as the Coordinator for the Mothers of Young Children group at Cure’ of Ars Catholic church, Leawood, KS.