COUPONS ~~ Just some basics that you may not know
~What are they?
Manufacture's put out coupons for their products. They are usually paper, plastic and/or card board and are cents or dollars off of purchasing a specific item. They are counting on you using them. Usually promotions will run around the same time of the coupon's life to also help promote the item. The stores that you use them in get fully reimbursed, plus an .08 cent handling fee per coupon. Combine with a BOGO free promotion to save even more. If the items ring up half price you can use a coupon on each.
~Where do you get them?
Coupons are put in the Sunday newspapers each week. Except for a holiday weekend, then usually not. There are types of inserts that you may receive; General Mills, P&G, Red Plum and SmartSource. You can also go to the manufacture's websites and look for coupons. They will usually be offering printable coupons. If so, most of the time you can print two per computer. Some may be in pdf form, if so, they are limitless, until the manufacture pulls it. You will have to download a coupon printer from the site. It keeps record of your computer. The internet printables are not allowed to be copied. They will each have a different set of code numbers on them. Each can be traced back to the original computer it was printed from. You can also contact the manufacture via website, calling or mail to request coupons. Tell them that you enjoy their products and/or are just wanting to try it. Companies love to hear good feedback on their products. You can also get coupons from magazines, and from the stores themselves. The "All You" magazine is put out every month and is a reasonable price at Wal Mart. It has lot's of product coupons in it. They may also have hangtag or peelie coupons in front of the products they are promoting. Stores also may have store coupons around their sales flier stand or at the customer service desk. Most of the time they can be used in conjunction with the manufacture's coupons. As long as there are not any rules against it on either coupon. If ever in doubt, just ask the store manager on duty their coupon policy and note their name at time of conversation.
~How do you use them?
Simple enough. You purchase the item indicated on the coupon and redeem at the register, during check out time. Some stores may allow you to bring the receipt and coupon back in if you forget to use it. Just ask at the customer service desk.
~Why should you use them?
Manufacture's print millions of these a year and probably adjust prices to accommodate for the coupon, in expectation of it being redeemed. So, using the coupons is the way to bring the prices back down. Not to mention, saving the money you will create more money in your household. So, in turn you are earning an income while shopping.
~Do they expire?
Yes, most coupons all expire within a couples of months. There are, from time to time coupons that say NED(no expiration date), but those are rare. Some peelies on products have a longer date to last the shelf life of the product, maybe a year or so. Never cut the expiration off, it voids the coupon. If you do by accident, tape it back on and clear it's use with the store manager.
~What do you do with them when they expire?
Once the coupon expires the store will not accept them. Some managers may allow a few days after expiration, but don't count on it. Again, ask the store manager before attempting to use them. Cashiers are trained to look at the dates before scanning and they will tell you. If you miss the exp date before checking out and are not allowed to use it you have the choice of having them take that item off your bill. Tell them that you missed the date and will buy again later. Most coupons will repeat themselves within a few weeks. They just may be different denominations. Also, there are ton's of military moms across the internet that are sending these to their soldiers. The military base commissaries will take expired coupons up to 6 months. I will also be posting an address or two soon that you can send them to. If you don't do this, then you can recycle them.
~How much can you save by using them?
Well, that amount is up to you. A little or a whole lot. I have saved thousands of dollars a year using coupons. I personally try to not ever buy a product that I am not using a coupon on. Unless, I need milk, eggs or bread. But, even if you look you can probably find a coupon for those too.
~Should I buy something just because it will really cheap or free?
I do it all the time. It may be an item that I do not need today. But, if I ever do I will have it on hand. If you don't need it, then someone you know just might. It is a good way to bless others or save money later.