Mommy Workshop: Couponing, Wrap Up

Thursday , 21, March 2013 2 Comments

Hi Peach State Mommas!  I would like to say thank you to all of you that participated in our second installment of the Mommy Workshop Series.  I have heard from many of you that were unable to make it so I wanted to briefly share what we talked about in the workshop.  We had a great time today.

I got started couponing a few years ago before we relocated back to the metro Atlanta area and boy is it easier to coupon here!  I did not have access to all of the different stores or a major newspaper that offered decent coupon inserts.  I love numbers and I am self-professed math nerd.  It is simply amazing to me that with a little bit of work you can get things free or sometimes even make money!  I got sucked in by watching Extreme Couponing on tv.  After a few episodes, I was hooked and had to figure it all out.  I am not an extreme couponer.  I do not have massive amounts of stuff stockpiled in my basement.  However, I am saving on average 60-80% regularly when I go to the store!

Here are the outlines Rachel and I shared today with the group.  I have expanded a bit on these areas to help them make sense.  I encourage you to utilize all of the free information available on the internet to get an in depth understanding of how to coupon.  This is just a good general intro.  I have included helpful links at the end of the outline.

Couponing Basics

  1. Coupon Insert: Coupon circulars inserted into Sunday newspapers amongst the other advertisements. Smart Source (SS), Red Plum (RP) and Proctor and Gamble (PG) put out coupon inserts, sometimes just called “inserts”.
  2. Manufacturer versus Store coupons
    1. A Manufacturer coupon is published by the manufacturer of a product or on their behalf by a marketing company and can be used anywhere coupons are accepted.
    2. A Store coupon is printed by the store themselves and may only be used at that location and can be combined with a manufacturers coupon on the same item.
    3. Printable Coupons: are manufacturer or store coupons you can print from various sites or from stores themselves like   Target
    4. Mail-in Rebates, , iBotta, Recyclebank
    5. Competitors Coupons: Some stores will accept another stores coupon.  Make sure to check your local stores to see what, if any, competitor’s coupons they honor (use Target store coupons at Kroger)
    6. Price Match (Aldi produce prices at Walmart): Walmart will allow you to price match produce prices for the exact item when you carry their printed sales flyer in to walmart.  This can be done at the checkout line by showing your cashier.

General  Couponing Tips

  1. Match Coupons and Sales/Promotions– Coupons are most effective when the item is on sale or promotion and you have a coupon.
  2. Stack your coupons: Using store and manufacturer together
  3. Double Coupons– some stores, mainly grocery stores, will double the face value of the coupon for anything $0.50 and under.  Anything more than that will not be doubled.
  4. Don’t be brand specific, be flexible on the brands you buy to gain the most savings
  5. Reframe your buying habits and consumption– for example, if chex mix is on sale that week, skip buying chips for the kids and let them eat chex mix.  Don’t buy items that you and your family will not use.  That’s not saving money at all!  Even if it is a good deal.
  6. Etiquette in Couponing: if you have multiple transactions let the people behind you go after you finish one of your transactions, carry cash to make it easy for multiple transactions especially for low dollar amounts, and don’t peel the coupons that come on a product in the store unless you are purchasing that item.  That’s stealing!
  7. Store Policies, carry them with you because most cashiers do not know what they will and will not accept
  8. Rain Checks– many stores offer rain checks if they are out of stock of the item.  These can be obtained at customer service.
  9. Donating items you don’t use or have an abundance of– find local shelters or the humane society to donate items that are free or nearly free.  Don’t forget the tax write off!
  10. Be on the lookout all the time- Coupons are everywhere!  Coupons aren’t just for the grocery store.  They are often available for all of your favorite stores.  I carry mine in my purse in a 5 x 7 photo album to always have them handy.

Liz’s System:  Clip and File in Alphabetical Order- Before I ever head to the store, this is what I do to save big!

  1. Browse for the Sunday Ad Review to determine if I buy one bundle or two bundles of Newspapers.
  2. Purchase one or two bundles of Sunday Papers- The bundles can be bought on Sunday and include a Saturday edition of the Sunday paper with a Sunday paper.  They are sold at a reduced price anywhere papers are sold.
  3. Sort all inserts and file in A-Z order in my coupon binder.  (good tv activity and get the kids involved!)
  4. Creates Shopping list on by browsing each store and selecting the items I want to buy and have the matching coupons for.
  5. Head to the store for big savings!  Take your binder with you because you never know what deals you might find.

When you’re at the Store:

  • Check prices in the store to make sure they are the same or lower than the ones shown on the website you use
  • Calculate your total before you get to the register so you know when something has been missed
  • Watch and make sure all coupons scan in
  • Be kind to the cashiers if there is an issue, they will be much more likely to work with you!


Rachel’s System- Clip only when you need them

  1. Collect sale flyers from Sunday newspapers (flip through sale papers to discard coupons you won’t use ,clip some that won’t ever go on sale, and clip some that you need to use right away.)
  2. Write the date on the front of the sale flier
  3. File according to month
  4. Use to match coupons with sales (instructions below)
  5. Print list from
  6. clip coupons and shop!

How to navigate

  1. Create an account.  It is free.  They will send you lots of coupon emails.  I have them filtered to go to their own folder.
  2. After account is created, you will click the ‘member login’ each time you visit to log in.
  3. Click the ‘grocery deals by state’ tab on the left hand side of the blue menu bar.
  4. Then, click the red ‘grocery deals by state’ button on the right hand side of the page.  (Repetitive, I know.  Not sure why you have to click on it twice!)
  5. Then choose your state from the list that appears.
  6. Next, click on the store where you plan to do your shopping. A new tab will open with the file containing all of the items on sale throughout that store, and the listing of coupons to pair with those items (if there are any)

This file will allow you to choose the items you plan to purchase , and will tell you where to find the coupons to match with them.  Pay attention to the %saved number all the way to the right.  I don’t purchase anything that is less than 50% off…unless I REALLY need it.

  1. Click the box all the way to the left, of the items you would like to purchase.
  2. Then, click the ‘Display Selected Deals’ button and the items that you clicked on will appear in the list. Print out list, or e-mail it to yourself.
  3. Clip coupons listed on your printout
  4. Shop and Save!

How to find a coupon for a specific item-

  1. Log in and click the ‘Coupon Database’ link on the blue menu bar
  2. Click the ‘Select Your State’ under the ‘Newspaper Coupons’ heading
  3. Then…choose your state.  A new tab will pop up with all of the currently active newspaper coupons.
  4. There will be a window at the top with a ‘search coupon database’ next to it. Type in whatever item you are looking for in the window.  For example.  If you are looking for a coupon for almond milk, then type almond milk in the window.  If there are any current coupons for almond milk, they will be listed below.


Helpful Links: Liz’s Favorite Rachel’s Favorite

I would love to hear how you guys are doing with your saving!  Please leave a comment to let us know how you’re doing and if you have any questions!

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