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Here we are for part two of the post entitled Overwhelmed by Coupons? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.
You can read part one by clicking on Overwhelmed by Coupons Part One.
After sharing the first seven steps yesterday, the process left off at the point of just being ready to start checking out with your goods.
The final step in part one had you double check the items in your cart with your coupons and any deal scenarios you were incorporating so that you are ready to go for what should be a smooth and seamless transaction at the register whether you are being served by a cashier or checking out on your own.
Now that you are ready to move forward, so are we.
(this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you)
1. As you are checking out, watch the items that are being scanned for accuracy
It is amazing how many things don’t ring up correctly. These errors are easiest to handle at this point in the game, so it is greatly beneficial to pay attention to items as they are being scanned. Obviously if you are at a store where this is not possible you would eliminate this step, other than to double check any special pricing or sale items that you think may pose some sort of problem. At my Walgreens location, for instance, I can’t see the products being scanned, but I often double check things by saying something like, “Those were priced at $1.00, right?” of course stating whatever the expected price was to be. You can find errors that way as well.
2. Don’t be afraid to question a cashier if something doesn’t work out the way you thought, but do so respectfully
Although it can be frustrating when things don’t go right, being kind, soft-spoken, and respectful is always the way to go. If you approach someone this way, you are almost always going to get someone who is willing to help you. Not only is treating someone properly the right thing to do, you will have a more likely chance of getting the help you need. I’ve written more about this concept in How Being Frugal Starts With Being Gracious.
3. Double check your receipt again either in the store or in your car before leaving the store parking lot
You may wonder why this step is necessary. Even at this stage, I have found things that did not ring up correctly. There is nothing worse than discovering you are owned money once you get home. Then, you are forced with deciding whether it is worth the time, effort, and gas to go back to the store or just forget it. A great deal is never a great deal if you don’t get the right deal. When looking to be frugal, paying the correct price for products is essential.
4. When you get home, update your price log
Not sure of what a price log is? A price log is an important part of how I feed my family on the cheap. I have a price log that I have created that gives me a good, better, and best price for countless items that I have purchased. This is how I know whether it is time to buy something, whether it is time to stock up on something, or whether I need to let something pass me by because it really isn’t a deal after all. Just because something is on sale does not mean that it is a good price. My commitment to living a frugal lifestyle includes only buying things when they fall into my good, better, and best price range. Looking for help with creating a price log? No worries, I will share how I do that at a later time. For now, just write down what you buy and how much you paid.
5. File any unused coupons and double check your coupon stash for relevancy
Generally the coupons you receive in the paper are good for somewhere between one month and three months. This means that to effectively coupon, you are hanging on to plenty of coupons for three months. For this reason, you will want to filter your stash regularly to avoid hanging on to things you no longer need. If you are storing as many coupons as I am, keeping coupons that are expired takes up space and creates more time as I sift through them. Having random coupons floating around your house almost always guarantees that they will got lost before they get used. File them as needed.
6. Take advantage of any cash back coupon apps
Oftentimes when getting deals from sites like MoneySavingMom or Hip2Save, they will incorporate any cash back app options that apply. Ibotta is a common cash back app that I use. You can sign up for Ibotta by clicking on this link, and it’s free. Although these are great, it is fairly easy to forget to actually submit for the rebates that you qualify for. For this reason, make this a priority in the steps you follow to effectively coupon. I find that I need to take care of these cash back scenarios the same day.
7. Don’t toss those expired coupons!
You can still put those expired coupons to good use. The United States military can actually use those expired coupons at stores on base for up to six months beyond the expiration date. How cool is that? You can support our troops in this simple way. I feel our military is grossly underpaid for work that is simply irreplaceable, and since we all know how coupons can stretch the family budget, you can really make a difference in the lives of military families in this way. Mail your expired coupons to:
To Support Our Troops
PO Box 70
Daytona Beach, FL, 32115-0070
I hope that over the two posts in this series on coupons, I hope you feel less overwhelmed by them. Using coupons is an essential part of being frugal, and it is something that we can all do once we know and few things.
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