Tips from Money Talks News and Our Own Coupon Expert
Money Talks News (MTN)
recently posted an article, "8 Lessons Any Shopper Can Learn from Extreme Couponers
", and it gave us an idea. Ashley Minton, the Member Service Representative at Coosa Pines FCU's Pell City branch, has been our very own in-branch expert and adviser on smart couponing. Considering what Money Talks News
writer Karla Bowsher suggested in the article mentioned above, we asked Ashley to share a few tips of her own.
MTN: Know store coupon policies. If you use coupons at all, you’ll save time and money by looking up and printing out the policies of the stores you frequent. Some stores only accept one coupon per item, but others allow coupon “stacking” and even accept competitor coupons.
Ashley: Ask for the policy at the customer service desk. Ashley's favorite grocery store, Publix Super Markets, has an information card that states their coupon policy. Check every so often for changes. This also includes BOGO's (Buy-One-Get-One-free offers); Ashley's local super market recently changed to limit BOGO's to five deals, or ten items. If you want more, then you’ve got to go back another time or take an extra person.
MTN: Prepare. The average extreme couponer on the show spends 15 to 40 hours a week preparing for shopping trips, but even five to ten minutes of preparation can save you time and money.
Ashley: Ashley prepares around 45 minutes to an hour per week. She first visits iheartpublix.com to look at the weekly ads, super deals and coupons (you can see the ads before the store actually posts them). The site shows the details of each item on sale, notes the stock-up items which would be really good buys, and details where you can find coupons for each item (newspaper or online). Ashley's Hint: you can order the coupons on eBay to be mailed to you before the sale ends. Ashley then uses the sale/coupon items to create a shopping list. By buying multiples when on sale, she has built up a small stockpile, which allows Ashley to get away with buying primarily what is on sale that week.
MTN: Buy multiples instead of stockpiles. Stockpiling 50 to 100 of the same item at a time is indeed extreme, but the rest of us can still learn from it. Whether you buy five or 50 bottles of mustard, buying in multiples saves money if you have a coupon or if mustard is on sale.
Ashley: If you use a lot of the product, and you have the coupons for it, then buy it now. "Especially items that don’t expire quickly," Ashley said. "We stockpile ranch dressing, ketchup, etc. because we go through a lot of it."
If even modest couponing sounds like too much work, MoneyTalks News offers a Deals page. Each week, writer Karla Bowsher searches through Internet specials and coupons, sorting out the best ones for subscribers. Her "Today's Deals" blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can find them at MoneyTalksNews.com/deals, or sign up for the MoneyTalks Newsletter to receive email reminders along with other ways to "save more and spend less".