SHOPPING THE STORE

WALKING THROUGH THE STORE

Shop without the kids! At first when you start this couponing thing, it's much easier to shop without your kids!!  I know this is not possible for a lot of us!  I usually take a kid or three with me, and always have.  CVS and Walgreen's shopping can be a little more complicated, so leave the kids home when you are doing those deals.

Shopping WITH the kids. If you have to bring them, get them involved.  You can make them in charge of a few things on the list, and tell them they need to keep their eyes out for those items.  Have them look for peelies, hang tags and blinkies.  Print off a visual list of the things you are buying, and have them check off the items as you add them to the cart.  Some moms take DVD players for the kids to sit in the cart and watch as they shop.  I have used special carts in my grocery store that has a TV in it, it costs $1 and goes to a charity.

Stores often have unadvertised deals. So keep your eyes out!  Ask a manager or employee for any good deals not in their ad.  Also following a blog helps in this area.  Other shoppers will share a good deal they found, and a blogger will post it to their blog.

Keep your eyes out for peelies, blinkies and hang tags. My kids collect them for me when we shop.  I tuck them into a empty pouch in my binder.

Create a place to put your list & coupons that you've made ahead of time. You can paper clip them together, use a pencil pouch, recycled envelopes from junk mail, a small accordion file etc.  You can pull them out and place them in another section as you place items in your cart.  I just pull out the coupons from my pile if I can't get the item. 

Compare before you buy! Buying the larger bottle or item is USUALLY not the better deal to a couponer!  Surprised?  Stores specifically put the larger items at eye level, and the small items on lower levels because of this.  So when you are comparison shopping for the better price, divide the unit amount by the price, and see which size is the better deal!  Or sometimes the sales ticket will tell you the price per oz.  Also sometimes it isn't always cheaper to buy the named brand product vs. the generic and sometimes it's cheaper to buy the name brand w/a coupon VS. the generic!


Bring your coupons with you! If you've chosen a filing method that is easy to tote them with you, bring them in!  It never fails the time I don't bring my binder in the store, I find something a great deal, and have to run out to the car.  Save yourself the headache.  If you have chosen a different method of filing, and choose not to bring your coupons, more power to you.  You may end up saving money by controlling your impulse buys.

They are SOLD OUT!  Don't fret.  Most stores offer rainchecks on sold out items, unless stated otherwise in their ad.  Just got up to customer service and ask. 

Check the clearance shelves. Depending on your store, you might have to hunt for this section.  My stores put shelves by the employee doors, end caps, sometimes in the center isle at the back of the store.  Pair the clearance items with a coupon, to make a deal.  Beware that sometimes just because it's on clearance doesn't make it a good deal!  I've found things on clearance, that I know have been lower in price during sales!  You can also find clearance produce!

Discount meat is still GOOD! My store calls it a "manager special."  The store cannot sell meat past the expiration date.  So buy it and freeze it that day.  The meat in my store is at the far end in a seperate section, and at other stores I've just notice special red labels when it's on clearance or "manager special."  I do this all the time and have NEVER had a problem.  Pork and beef might not be all bright pink, but I've learned that they just add all that food coloring and the bright lights can discolor the meat quicker.

CHECKOUT TIPS 
  •  Hip2Save has some great tips on Cashier Coupon Scutiny
  • Some people like to tally how much in coupons they have before check out to be sure the cashier scans each coupon, so count them up at the end, or tally while shopping.
  • Criss-cross your coupons so they don't stick
  • Or hand them over one by one so you are sure they scan or just hand over the stack and watch the cashier carefully.  
  • In the end you are the customer, and whatever way you want to redeem your coupons you can!  It's all about what makes you comfortable!
  • Check your receipt before you leave the store to ensure all your items rang up correctly and all your coupons scanned.  This is where a detailed shopping list could help you keep track.
  • If a coupon won't scan or the cashier refuses to accept it and you feel it should be redeemed, have them call the manager to get a final decision.  Some people don't want to draw attention, so just decide if you want to buy it without the coupon, or have them take it off your order if they won't take the coupon with it.