Couponing 101

Have you tried couponing but felt that it was not helping any? First couponing is not just cutting your paper up and handing over a few coupons every now and then. If that is what you think, then you will save $5 or $10 dollars and become discouraged that it is not worth your time.

True couponing is cutting those coupons from your paper and then saving them until the product you want to buy is on sale. Doing this you can get items for 50-100% off regular price (Yes, that’s right – FREE).

1. Product prices fluctuate on cycles normally 6-8 weeks long. When an item is at its lowest price in that cycle you want to buy enough of that item to get you through until it comes back on sale. An example, your family eats 1 box of cereal a week, so you buy 6 boxes when it is on sale to get you through the sale cycle.

2. When it is a rock bottom price you use your coupons to reduce the price even lower. Grab some extra copies of coupons that you will use a lot of by purchasing more papers, getting friends papers, or buying the individual coupons online.

Let's use cereal as an example: You can buy 1 box every week for 6 weeks, or buy all 6 boxes on sale. 1 box @ $4.50 x 6 weeks = $27 1 box @ $1 x 6 boxes = $6 (I won't spend more then .75 for a box of cereal now)

That’s one product and you have saved $21. Now think of the other 200 products that the average family buys a month. Even if you didn’t have coupons for all of your items, if you wait until the product is on sale to purchase it you are still saving.

Want some more tips to save even more? 1. Cut ALL coupons or Save all inserts from the Sunday paper. If you save the entire insert to cut as needed make sure you mark the date on insert so that you can find it when you see a coupon can be used.

2. Start to shop buying only the things that are on sale and using your coupons then. Also when an item is on sale you STOCKPILE. Some sites recommend 12 weeks worth because that is the common time it takes for an item to come back on sale. That's great if you have the space, if not get enough that if you shop at two different stores you can hold off until it goes on sale at the other store. Once you have a good stockpile you will only be shopping for sale items and never having to pay non sale prices. Also once you pay an amazing price for something like .75 cents for cereal you will not want to have to pay the regular price ever again.

3. Make a menu for the week based on what is on sale that week at the store. An example being don’t plan fish when no one has it on sale.

4. If you know that you are going on a trip or having a special event in the future start a separate stockpile early for those items so that you are not paying top dollar just because you are on vacation for your groceries.

5. Do not be Brand loyal. I have found that we are trying lot's of new foods from couponing and we are liking some products better then our old ones.

6. No, house brands are not the best deal. National brand items bought on sale with coupons become incredibly cheaper than house brand items. That was a hard lesson to learn after years of automatically grabbing the house brand item. If you can buy house brand butter for 2.49 or get Land o Lakes butter for .80… that's not hard math.

7. Shopping at Costco and most discount stores will become a thing of the past. Why pay those high prices when you are getting things for 60%-90% off? (Not to mention Membership fees)

8. Start off with shopping one store. It can get confusing in the beginning it will be harder to get your scenarios ready, but in time it will be a snap. You will see an ad and know what coupons you have to match up with that great sale.

9. Try and use the buddy system, My mom and I go out every week together. We call each other to share our great deals. What great deal one might see the rest of us may have missed.

10. Don't feel like you have to run out to every store to get every deal. You will exhaust yourself and you will burn out quickly. Sales come and go, there will always be another great deal come Sunday or Wednesday.

Check out other Couponing 101 tricks in the side panel. See how to build your coupon binder.


B1G1- Buy 1 get 1 free
BOGO- Buy one get one free MIR- Mail in rebate
OOP- Out of pocket
PG- Procter & Gamble (From the Sunday paper)
RP- Red Plum coupon insert (From the Sunday paper)
RR- Register Rewards from Walgreens
SCR- Single check rebate from RiteAid
SS- Smart Source coupon insert (From the Sunday paper)
WC- Walgreens coupon
WYB- When you buy
OYNO- On your next order
Catalina- Coupon that prints on the small machine next to register
Peelie- Coupon on product
EXP- Expires
Coupon Fairy- Someone who leaves a coupon on a shelf next to the product
(This is always nice when it's the exact product you were looking at)

What is a Catalina?

A Catalina is a coupon that prints from the little box next to the register after you are done paying.
It can be for a dollar amount off your next purchase. (Like the ones pictured above)
Or it can be a manufacturer coupon. Usually from a different manufacture for example I purchased Fiber One yogurt and I got a coupon for $1 off of 5 yoplait yogurts.
It's important to watch the expirtation dates as they do expire just like a regular coupon.

Can I double my Catalina at Albertsons?
Yes, You can double a Catalina.
This is a great way to get free produce or other items that don't usually have a coupon.
Some Catalinas do state "Do not double" (But some cashiers still do double)

What do you mean by "Rolling a Catalina"?
Rolling a Catalina is a way to make several purchases with the least amount of money out of pocket. For example Skippy natural peanut butter was recently on sale at Albertsons for .99 cents. When you purchased 2 a catalina for $1 off your next purchase would print. I would then buy two more use one of my double coupons & my $1.00 catalina and pay nothing out of pocket.

My scenario looked like this 6 Skippy peanut butter, $6.00 OOP (3 $1.00 Catalinas)

My next scenario 6 Skippy PB , I payed with 3/$1 Catalinas used 3 Albertsons doublers $0 OOP + $3.00 more in Catalinas. I did this deal 5 times ended up with 30 jars of PB and payed $6.00 OOP that is .20 a jar + I still had $3.00 in Catalinas.

How do I know what will trigger a Catalina?
A store will have the product signed with what qualifies for a catalina. It will normally read buy "X" amount of "Y" product receive "$" amount on your next order.

Sometimes you will receive a Catalina to tell you about an upcoming promotion.
Word of mouth sometimes there will be no sign and no catalina printing to tell you about a promo. But someone makes a purchase and out prints a new catalina. For example Dole Mandarins had a promo recently wyb 3 cans you get .75 oyno. There were no signs for this deal.

What if I have problems with a Catalina?
Catalina is a third party marketing company that offers both manufacturer coupons and Albertsons in-store coupons. Catalina may be contacted at1-888-826-8766 for any questions about redemption and/or if a coupon fails to print within a transaction.

You will need to have a copy of your receipt available as they will ask you questions about the transaction.