When Kay Luna – QC Times writer and savings connoisseur – agreed to share her super couponing knowledge with the folks at Gilda’s Club we were thrilled.
The members who attended the Super Couponing Workshop (along with a couple self-proclaimed, discount-savvy staff) walked away with a better understanding of what the latest craze is all about and some secrets to help save a buck. Here is what I learned:
Newspapers can be a great resource for savings – especially on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Everybody knows about the Sunday ads. It’s the thickest day for our local paper and that thickness is comprised of deals to suit anyone’s fancy. However, if you are looking for grocery store deals, Wednesday tends to be the best day to sift through the newspaper.
Is the time put into couponing really worth the savings?
Believe it or not, there are people out there that do this for a living. If this whole idea of super-couponing seems like a lot of work, it’s because it is….or at least it can be if you’re trying to be as extreme as the TV shows. Finding savings like you see on TLC’s popular show Extreme Couponing can literally be a full-time job. But if you’re like most people out there, you probably don’t have that kind of time. Which leads me to my next point….
The internet is your friend!
If you’re like me, the internet can be a BIG distraction. However, it can also be a great time saver when used correctly. Today it seems that any problem can be solved if you simply “google it.” Apparently, this is true for trips to the grocery store as well! By using the internet you can find sweet deals fast. If you know you are going to shop at a certain store (i.e. Target or Walgreens), consider visiting their website to see the current sales or simply google “Target coupons.” In the matter of seconds (unless you’re still using dial-up) you will have a list of current sales and coupons that can be printed and taken to the store.
In addition, consider checking out blogs about ways to save while shopping. The number of blogs out there can be overwhelming, so put that google machine to use again and looking for various super couponing blogs until you find some favorites. Many of these individuals blog full-time so their tips are worth reading. Since it is their job to find deals, they will often post helpful links and coupons for readers to use.
Don’t get down if you’re savings aren’t as EXTREME as those on TV.
In most cases, stores play along with the extreme savings game for more exciting register totals. The show just wouldn’t have the appeal if shopper totals went from $200 to $150 rather than $200 to $10. Guests on the popular TV show are often allowed to “double coupon” and use other methods to end up with a next-to-nothing bill when they walk out the door. This special treatment is for ratings, so don’t feel defeated when your savings don’t match up!
Other Tips & Tricks:
♦ Pair up coupons found online with store sales for extra savings.
♦ If it doesn’t make sense to buy something in bulk – don’t. Even if you do have that unbelievable coupon…do you really need that much Jello?
♦ If you are a regular at a certain store, ask about rewards cards. Many places, like CVS and Walgreens, ofter free rewards cards that allow you to earns points, cash, or special coupons. Doesn’t hurt to ask!
♦ Look beyond the inserts in the paper. Often times there are coupons or advertisements for deals within the meat of the newspaper.
♦ Search online for brand-specific coupons. Typically these can be used at any store that sells the product.
♦ Call the customer service phone number printed on products you love (or maybe don’t love). The number is there for a reason! Letting the company know that you enjoy their product or informing them about an issue you had is most often appreciated. Some places might even send you coupons or free products!
♦ The king of low prices – WalMart – does not take coupons. However, if you can show that another store sells a product for cheaper they will match the price.
♦ Don’t be afraid of second-hand shops like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Scouring these stores are always an adventure and you never know what treasures you might find. In fact, many stores send their never-worn overstock to these joints. I recently scored some awesome Target threads from Salvation Army – tags still intact!
Big thanks to Kay Luna for all the great information at our workshop! You can keep up with her on a regular basis through her blog http://workingmom.qctimes.com/.
– Paige & the Gilda’s Club Team
P.S. Check out some of these links to start saving today!
All You Exclusives: http://print.coupons.com/Couponweb/Offers.aspx?pid=14803&nid=10&zid=rd17
Saving Star: https://savingstar.com/
Kay Luna is a reporter, columnist and author of “The Working Mom” blog at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. She also appears from 8-9 a.m. every Friday on the morning show with Ron & Amy on Mix 96, and teaches journalism at Scott Community College.