1. What is your stores coupon policy? Does your store double coupons? If so, how many coupons can be doubled? Kroger's in my area has unlimited double coupons. Meijer in my area will only double 2 like coupons. Can you use store coupons with your manufacturer's coupons? This is called "stacking". Meijers & Walgreen's are good examples of store's that allow you to stack coupons. Walgreen's has their store coupons in their weekly ad. Meijer's has printable coupons in their Meijer Mealbox section on their website. You can also go to the bottom of my blog to print the Meijer Mealbox coupons. The store coupons combined with manufacturer's coupons can add up to BIG savings and often times free groceries!!
2. Where are you going to store everything? If the only freezer you have is the small one above your fridge, you don't want to go out and get 50 boxes of frozen waffles just because they were free with your coupons. Using multiple coupons with store sales will allow you to get extra items of things you already use for very cheap or free. This is what stockpiling is all about. Purchasing the items you already use when they are at rock bottom prices, then combining them with coupons and stocking up on it so that you don't have to pay full price for it the next time you need it. Here's an example: Kroger used to carry Cottonelle toilet paper in the 4 roll packs for $1 a pack. If you had a coupon for $0.50 off 1 pack and your Kroger's doubled coupons, that made that pack free. If you had 50 of those coupons that was 50 free packs. Do you have the space to store 50 packs of toilet paper? We'll get into stockpiling a little later, but right now look around for places to store things. Often times I hear people say they can't stockpile because they don't have anywhere to put anything. Be creative! Do you have an extra drawer in a chest? This would be a great place to store toothpaste, deodorant, freezer bags etc. Buy some risers to raise your bed up and use the space under your bed to store things. What about the space between your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling? Look through your kitchen cabinets? When's the last time you used that bloomin' onion maker or that massive collection of butter bowls you washed out because you thought they would be good to store leftovers in? Where there's a will...there's a way!! (just don't forget where you put everything...lol...)
3. Expiration dates! Be careful with this one and watch those dates. Example: Your store has Kraft Miracle Whip on sale for $3 for 2 jars. That's $1.50 a jar. You have a coupon for $1.00 off 1 jar making that an incredible deal at only $0.50 a jar!! You think "WOW this is a deal I just can't pass up" so you use your 30 coupons to get 30 jars for $15.00. You get them home and notice that the expiration date is next month. Can you really use all of that by next month? Probably not...so you're out all of that money! And if you do notice something in your stockpile that is close to expiring and you don't think you'll be able to use it in time...DONATE IT. There are plenty of food pantries, churches, etc that would be thrilled to receive these.
4. Rainchecks! There's an awesome sale this week with items to add to your stockpile, you've got your list made out, clipped your coupons, and are ready to shop. You get to the store only to find out that the shelves are empty!! (trust me, this will happen quite often if you live near me!) If your store offers it, ask for a raincheck. That way when they restock that item at a later date, you can still get it at that awesome sale price.
5. READ THE FINE PRINT! Read each coupon carefully. Most coupons state "one coupon per purchase or per item". Each item that you buy is a purchase. If you purchase 10 of an item, then 10 coupons for that item may be used ( again, check your stores policy also. Meijer's in my area will only allow you to use 4 like coupons in each transaction) There are some coupons that state "one coupon per person" or "one coupon per transaction" which means you can only use one coupon per trip/transaction.
6. Rebates and Try it Free offers! Keep all of your receipts! You never know when a rebate offer will come out. If you throw away your receipts than you could miss out on a whole lot of money back offers!
7. Last but not least…You WILL mess up on a deal at one point or another. I think we all have. Don’t let one little mess up discourage you. Hold your head up high and learn from the mistake. The total saved in the future will be FAR GREATER than one little error!!