1. Pair store coupons with manufacturer coupons.

The majority of stores allow you to combine their own store coupon savings with your manufacturer coupons. Look at the top of the coupon in your store ad. Does it say “store coupon” or “manufacturer coupon” next to the expiration date? If it says “manufacturer coupon” then you can’t use another manufacturer coupon along with it, but if it is clearly labeled as a store coupon, you can combine the savings and really make out like a bandit, sometimes netting totally free products.

2. Watch for sales when a coupon for a new product comes out.

Frequently a manufacturer will introduce a new product with both a coupon blitz and sale prices to entice consumers to try their product. Watching the ads, a savvy consumer will wait for the sale to use the coupon, netting nearly free products.

3. Take advantage of Catalina and register reward sales.

Drugstores like Walgreens may seem like an expensive place to purchase your health and beauty items because their prices are so much higher than the discount stores. That isn’t the case if you take advantage of sale prices and register reward deals. A $12.99 razor on sale for $9.99 with a $4 register reward is a good deal. If you use your $4 coupon on top of that, the expensive razor suddenly becomes a $1.99 bargain.  The caution here is that you must remember to use the register rewards before they expire, usually within a two-week time frame.

4. Always check clearance shelves.

Some of your best deals will be the unadvertised, marked-down specials found on a clearance shelf or a grocery cart full of drastically-reduced merchandise. Pull out your coupons for savings on top of that clearance price to really maximize your savings.

5. Price match.

If you don’t want to trek all over town to pick up the best deals, find out which stores price match and bring in the other store ads for one-stop shopping. Some stores will also accept competitor’s coupons.

6. Keep an eye on the register.

If you can’t keep an eye on the cashier because you are busy attending to children or emptying the contents of your cart onto the conveyer belt, double-check the accuracy of your receipt before you leave the store. Make sure all your coupons were taken off and that the sale prices rang up correctly.

7. Remember coupon etiquette.

Be polite and patient. You are never entitled to the coupon savings and store managers do not have to accept coupons. Coupons are a privilege, not a right.

8. Watch out for impulse buys.

Pricey convenience items such as candy, mints and interesting magazines are often located near the checkouts, encouraging spur-of-the-moment purchases.

9. Beware of “paired” products.

Be careful of store displays that pair up something expensive with the sale item on the shelves. Maybe the spaghetti on the end-cap is the $1 sale price, but the sauce on the bottom shelf is the highest-priced sauce in the store.

10. Watch out for sneaky signs and sale prices.

Don’t let a sign dictate your purchases. Many sales (10 for $10) tempt the consumer to buy more of a product than they normally would. You usually don’t have to buy ten to get the sale price of $1.
Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in psychology and is a reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper. She is widely published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies and a popular speaker and workshop prese... Read More




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