Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First Timers

I remember it like it was yesterday! The first time I went in with an envelope full of coupons was a bit frightening. I had no experience with coupons. I kept envisioning the dreaded, "Price check on aisle 4" scenario. I'm not sure what I thought would really happen. I just knew there I didn't want to mess up.

Here's some advice. You won't mess up. Coupons are easy these days. With barcodes, and scanners there are no more price checks. There are some things you can do to eleviate your own stress.

1. Organize your coupons before going in the store. I do this by aisles, or departments. No one told me to do this back in the beginnign and I wish they had. My first trip took me over an hour. I kept moving back and forth in the store according to the order my coupon stack was in. I walked by coffee about 6 times and kept forgetting to pull the coupon and put the product in the cart. I think the night manager thought I was slipping stuff in my purse. But I was really trying to juggle all my coupons.

2. Use the Vertical or Horizontal method of redemption. Sounds official! But really it means, if you're claiming the coupon, or redeeming it (you have put the item in your shopping cart) it goes vertical in your coupon wallet or envelope. If you're still looking around and the product is not in the cart yet, it stays horizontal. That's it. Fancy, but will save you the trouble of looking for it at the register.

3. Throw out any expired coupons before you ever get in the car to go to the store. Presenting an expired coupon happens to the best of us. Yet, I would prefer to have all my coupons checked before I get to the register.

4. If you are trying a differnt brand, and you can't find it. Tell the manager or employee exactly what you are doing. Say, "I've got a coupon for new Chocolate Cheerios but I don't see them." They promotional items may be in a special place, and they will be happy to help you find them.

5. When you get to the register, the cashier wants the coupons AFTER they have scanned all the groceries. This also allows you to see the Pre-Coupon price on the monitor, and do the count down dance while they scan each one off. This is empowering stuff. Nothing feels better than to see the dollars actually shrink off your grocery bill.

Of course the good news, is that on my first trip, I saved over $80. Let me correct that, I earned $80 in one hour. After that I was hooked! Once you get your routine down, you'll feel confident in the store and will be able to start using more and more coupons with ease.

Keep Saving!