Nov 22

Guest Post – The Secret To Coupons (Part 2)

Thanks to Sarah from Capitally Frugal for the following guest post! Sarah is a savvy shopper, couponer and frugal blogger located in Northern Virginia. She grew up in Hawaii and came to college here in Northern Virginia, where she met her husband.  He got a job in the wonderful world of IT and they ended up staying in this area after they got married in 2007. They were blessed with a little girl in 2008; and college, marriage, and a baby in such rapid succession left them with some expensive bills.  After she left her job to take care of their daughter, she tried every way she could think to earn a little extra money.  One of the biggest blessings to her family has been entering giveaways that generous bloggers offer!  And, now, she’s hoping to bless her readers and friends in the same way! Be sure to check out her blog chronicaling her frugal victories as well as adventures in deal-seeking! Enjoy!

Hopefully, you made it through The Secret To Coupons – Part 1 last week :)   Here is Part 2 with 5 more tips to finding the best coupons out there to lower your grocery bill.  I really hopes this helps some of you!

6. Sign up for Store Rewards Programs
Most stores offer rewards programs these days; and, it is worthwhile to sign up for them!  Many times you will receive coupons, via snail mail or email, periodically throughout the year.  JcPenneyKohls, and Bath and Body Works are among my favorites – they send out high dollar coupons every few months.  I’ve been able to score terrific deals on my husband’s work clothes and get Christmas presents frugally!  Restaurants also offer discount programs.  If you sign up for their rewards programs, they frequently let you know of offers in your area and send you the occasional coupon.  I’ve signed up for Ruby Tuesday’s program and received many B1G1 entree coupons over the months!

7. Sign Up for Company Trial Programs
Vocalpoint and Kraft First Taste are just a few of the trial programs that you can sign up for.  Every few months, they will send you a product to sample, along with a stack of coupons.  You can use some of the coupons, and pass the rest on to your friends.  Just recently, Vocalpoint sent out a sample of Pampers diapers with several high dollar coupons.  I was able to combine them with CVS and Rite Aid sales, to score some terrific deals!

8. Check Companies’ Websites
Do you have a favorite manufacturer?  In addition to writing to them, you should also check their website for coupons!  Many companies have a special area for printing coupons – sometimes, you have to sign up for their email alerts and other times you have to fill out a brief survey.  But, it’s definitely worthwhile to shave money off your grocery bill.  I’ve set up a Gmail account, that I use to sign up for email and coupons – this way, it doesn’t clog my regular Inbox.

A few companies that I especially love are Seventh Generation and Coleman’s Organic.  Seventh Generation regularly resets their printable coupon page, and I wait to print my coupons until the products go on sale at our local grocery store.  That way, I don’t waste ink, from expiring coupons!  I’ve been able to get our dish washing liquid for free every time I’ve needed it!  Coleman’s is also great, because they give you 5 $1 coupons for filling out a short survey.  Organic meats are so expensive that any coupon really helps, and I wait until dollar doubler days at Harris Teeter to make these coupons go even further.

9. Create a Facebook Account
I know many people are worried that Facebook invades a person’s privacy; but, you can create an account without compromising your identity.  Like I’ve mentioned before, have a separate email address, use a pseudonym (such as Thrifty Jean), and don’t add any personal details that you feel uncomfortable sharing.  It’s very easy, takes just a few minutes, and opens a huge door to coupons!  Tons of companies are jumping on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagon, and are promoting their pages with incredible coupons.  I’ve gotten coupons for free DiGiorno pizza, a box of pasta, pens, razors, and much more!

10. Search Ebay
Every once in a while, I hear about high dollar coupons that are not in our area.  Once I’ve exhausted other means of obtaining it, I search Ebay.  Many times, you can find a coupon “lot” (usually 10-20), very cheaply.  With this method, you do need to do a mental cost analysis.  If you’re only saving a dollar, after you pay for the coupons and shipping, is it really worth your time and money?  I’ve also found that the most cost and time effective way of purchasing coupons through Ebay is by using vendors who offer the “Buy Now” feature.  Otherwise, once you begin bidding, the cost escalates quickly – and, I’ve often seen people paying $4.50 for a $3 coupon!  Please don’t ever do this – it’s bad for my sanity. ;)   But, if you must bid, calculate the greatest amount you will pay, wait until the last 3 seconds, and put in the amount.  This has a three-fold benefit: 1) it prevents you from bidding too high; 2) the price doesn’t shoot up; and 3) many times, you win by default.  (For those of you who are not too familiar with Ebay, if you bid “$5″ for an item but the highest amount everyone else bids is “.50,” you only have to pay $.51.)

As an example, a few months ago, Harris Teeter was doubling coupons up to $1.99.  Stonyfield Yogurt was on sale, and with a $1/1 coupon, it was free.  On top of that, each yogurt container has codes that you can cash in for free items.  I found 20 coupons for $1 on Ebay; and used them to get 20 cups of organic yogurt and 4 containers of Happy Baby puffs (once I submitted the codes) for free.  Not a bad deal for $1 out of pocket!

Hopefully, you’ve found this series helpful – I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions!

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