Last updated: August 23. 2013 11:45PM - 202 Views

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There are two inserts out today that include Redplum and Smartsource. This week’s coupon lesson is an overview of previous lessons to show you how to tie them all together and save your family the most. If you missed the previous lessons, you can find those at www.StephanieSavings.net and click on the “Online Lessons” tab.

Know when to use coupons:

It’s best to use coupons when items are on sale and/or come with some type of rebate or store reward. Adding a coupon into that will drop the price even lower for you. If you need an item and it isn’t on sale, go for the cheapest. It may be cheaper to buy an off-brand item than it would be to purchase the name brand and use a coupon, or other way around. This can vary and it depends on the items you need.

Coupons do not need to be used every time. If you’re using coupons to get items you don’t use, it’s a waste of money. Now, if you’re making a profit off of those items, that’s a different story. As I’ve mentioned many times, I personally do not use coupons for everything I buy. I use coupons for some items, but not everything. I rarely use coupons for food because I purchase mainly fresh items. If I’m purchasing an item that I wouldn’t use a coupon for, I simply go for the cheapest deal.

Tip: When purchasing fresh produce or an item sold by the pound, you do not need to purchase the entire pound. If you only need a fourth of a pound, there is no need to purchase any more than what you need. This sounds simple and silly, but it saves money and helps avoid wasting food.

How to get coupons:

You can get coupons from many sources such as The Lima News, magazines, internet, mail, etc. I recommend purchasing four newspapers each Sunday. Four newspapers gives you multiple identical coupons, which will help you stock up on items when they are at their lowest price. Each Wednesday you can view a list of coupons that are expected to come out at Stephanie’s Savings.

Using coupons:

If you’re wanting to use coupons at the drug stores, I suggest starting with only one store at a time. Once you are familiar with how the rewards work and their coupon policy, you can slowly add in another store, and so on. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to learn it all at once. It’s an easy way to burn yourself out from couponing and you will end up spending more money trying to figure everything out than what you are saving.

Applying the steps to saving:

1. Purchase your newspapers each Sunday when the coupons come out. Look ahead on Stephanie’s Savings to see coupons that are coming out. Keep your coupons organized. The more organized you are, the more you will save, and the easier it will be for you to use coupons

2. Check the coupon matchups to see what the best deals are that week and create a shopping list. You can usually see these a day or two ahead of time online.

3. For meals, I highly recommend making meal plans. You can view a meal planning website on Stephanie’s Savings. After you make your meal plans, you’ll want to create a shopping list.

4. Create two shopping lists to take the store with you if you need to do separate transactions at the register. Keep in mind, some stores will require you to walk out and walk back in. On the first list, have your transactions broken down into what you’re purchasing in each, coupons needed, and the amount you should end up paying before taxes. The second list is an actual shopping list. Looking only at transactions can throw you off while shopping, especially if you have the same products in the first and third transaction. Things are easy to miss, so it’s best to have a separate shopping list.

5. While at the register, watch to make sure all items ring up correctly and all coupons scan correctly. You will want to watch the computer to make sure coupons are being deducted. A beep does not mean the coupon came off. If a coupon does not come off, let your cashier know.

6. After you pay for your items make sure you have received any store rewards for any products that you should have. Put these rewards in a safe place if they are not loaded to your store rewards card. If you purchased items with a rebate, make sure you send that in as soon as possible.

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