Couponing 101: Learn the Right Time to Use Your Coupons

Posted: 04/16/12 6:00 AM (Modified: 04/16/12 8:45 AM)

If you've been following our Couponing 101 series, you now know Where to Find Coupons for Products You Use, How to make a Coupon Binder and The Beginners Guide to Coupon Usage. Now, it's time to learn when to use all those coupons. I'm going to list these out then use separate posts to go over some of them in greater detail.

Most coupon users simply cut the coupon out of the paper on Sunday and hit the store Monday with their lists. However, what I'm suggesting is a bit more strategic than that. If you want to save hundreds of dollars a month, you'll have to know the perfect time to use those coupons.

1. Track Sale Prices: Make a list of your items and every single time you go to the store, write the price of the item next to it on your list (Do a different one for each store and write down the price even if you're not buying it then). Don't overdo it, start with your top 20 items you purchase on a regular basis. After you've been tracking for a few weeks, you'll start to notice how much the prices fluctuate.

You'll also notice there's a regular price, a sale price and then a rock-bottom price. You're looking for the rock-bottom price. That is when you use your coupon. The great thing about this is you'll also notice your price will come back around again every 6-8 weeks and if you're tracking, you'll know exactly when that price will drop.

It is important to be strategic with your coupons and combine them with rock-bottom prices to save the most money.

2. 'Stack' Coupons: Couponing stacking is pretty simple. This means to 'stack' your manufacturers coupon with a store coupon. Target, CVS, Walgreens and other stores offer 'store' coupons. You can find these by looking at the coupon itself and it will specifically say, 'Target Store Coupon' or 'Walgreens Coupon'. These are basically special store promotions that can be combined with manufacturers coupons (coupons from the newspaper or printables). This is my favorite way to save as it will give you double the savings!

3. Use Coupon Matchups: We provide weekly coupon matchups for the most popular stores in this area, both national stores and local. This means, we take your sales flyer and literally match it up with the coupons that are available right now then tell you the final price. SO, we make it super easy for you to plan your weekly grocery trip. Simply check out the coupon matchups and make your list around the sales and coupons. Seriously, it's savings made simple.

4. Pick the Right Store: You DO NOT need to shop at 20 different stores per week. That's not realistic at all. But, you do need to make sure the store you're shopping at is the best for savings during the particular week you're there. For example, if I only have time to hit one store this week, then I'll check out our Coupon Matchups and decide which store offers the overall best savings. Maybe it's Target or maybe it's Walmart, I'm not store-loyal, I'm open to savings.

This also means you need to know the store coupon policies so you save the most money. Visit our Money Saving Queen Forums and click on the store you're looking for. The top thread in that store forum will have the Official Coupon Policy for your particular store.

5. Pricematch WITH Coupons: Many of you have taken your competitor ads to Walmart but have you used coupons with them? The idea here is to apply as many savings methods as humanly possible to get the price of your item down as low as it can go. That means, if you visit Walmart or Target to pricematch a competitor ad, be sure to take your coupons with you too. For Walmart, this simply means taking in a competitor store ad and telling the cashier (when they're ringing up the item) what the price is being matched to. At Target, this typically means you have to visit the Customer Service desk after you checkout and they'll reimburse you for the difference.

These are just a few basic coupon usage tips that will help you save the most at the register. Stay tuned, I'll be telling you all about BOGO strategies, more coupon trip tips, rebates, rainchecks and more!

Old to new | New to old
Jan 9, 2011 09:38 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I want to know where you get such a great Iams manufacturer coupon. Is it through being on the P&G mailing list? I just got on there so maybe you got it before I started.

Jan 9, 2011 09:22 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The one above just expired, usually they are in the P&G which comes in the newspaper. However, you can also find them for sale on Ebay and

Jan 11, 2011 07:18 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I just shopped at Wal-Mart in Duncan on Sunday. They would NOT accept a manufacturer's coupon AND a price match deal. They would only price match the item OR take the coupon but not both.

Jan 15, 2011 01:55 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I like to use my MFG coupons on the lowest price I can find. I heard about a new site at Church that might help me locate the lowest price. It compares prices at the top stores here in Atlanta. From what I’ve read, it updates twice a week and shows where the lowest prices are on a few hundred items. You can print out your shopping list or have it sent to your phone. (I’m not savvy enough for that though). I emailed them since their not up yet, and they told me they will be up on January 20th in Atlanta and Birmingham AL. then other cities.

Jan 24, 2011 10:06 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I have a question. I am new to this couponing thing and I have tried to ask this question of lots of ppl and they either do not answer me or gave me conflicting advice. Can you use a .50/1 and a .50/2 coupon on the same two purchases. I went to Kroger the other day and it went through on cereal but would not go through on my cookies. I am confused. Is this a cashier error? How do I know when it will work? On the cookie one, the cashier acted like I was trying to steal something by trying to use that coupon with the other and I didn't say that I just did the same thing on cereal, so I just simply said oh they must have stuck together. What do I do?

Apr 15, 2011 02:04 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

This week i price matched @ walmart useing toys r us ad. The game operation is normally $15 i priced matched Toys R US sale 6.99 & used manufactured coupon for $3 off. Making the game mine for only $3.99 :)

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