I went into the store last week with my coupons all ready for my deals. When I reached the cashier I didn’t have enough of the product to use the coupon. I was mad at myself. To save you from similar frustration, here are common mistakes you can learn from when using coupons.
1. Always check the fine print on your coupon. The most ideal coupon will clearly state what it can be used for. Many coupons are not ideal. Pay attention to what your coupon is for before you use it.
2. Watch the register when you go through the check out line. Some cashiers don’t tell you when a coupon doesn’t work. And some times the wrong price gets rung up for an item. I usually go through self-checkout aisle which allows me to check prices as I scan.
3. Be organized. Look at your coupons before you use them. You might have one that has expired, or even worse, you might not be using the correct coupon for the item you are purchasing.
4. Stack your coupons. Many stores will let you use a manufacturer coupon along with a store coupon. Always check the store flyer when you go into a store. Walgreens has a store coupon book located next to the store flyer usually in the front of the store. Also try to use your coupons for items that are on sale. This gives you a double stack of savings and if you can use a store coupon that will be a triple savings stack.
5. Spend your couponing time wisely. Keep them with you at all time so if you have a few minutes you can organize them, get rid of those that have expired and remind yourself about which coupons you have.
6. Don’t buy things you will not use. Sometimes just the savings a coupon offers will encourage you to buy something that you probably would never eat or use. So don’t be tempted.
7. Use the coupon for the size that makes the item closer to free. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to savings. Be mindful of the unit cost when using a coupon. A smaller size may be a better deal.
8. Do the math. It may see that you’re getting a good deal when you have a high-value coupon. After all, if you use that 50-cent coupon on a $2 box of crackers, you get a full 25 percent discount. But, if the store brand sells for just $1.25 and tastes the same, you’re overspending by 25 cents.
9. Store loyalty program cards can save you even more money. You won’t get the special price offers if you don’t have a store loyalty program card. You may also miss out on extra coupons. For example, when you enter a CVS store and scan your ExtraCare card at the machine by the door, it usually prints several coupons.
10. Don’t forget to use your technology. Your smart phone can be an efficient way to get more coupons for additional savings. Sign up for store apps to get all digital coupon deals. Right now when you load the Kmart app members get $5 in points to use on a Kmart purchase over $35. Target has a program called Cartwheel. Load that app to get the fourth level of savings — paper coupon, sale price, store coupon and Cartwheel app discount.
Savings for military and veterans
▪ Many Cedar Fair amusement parks are hosting Military Appreciation Days from May 28-30. Any member of the armed service, active or veteran, will receive a free regular admission ticket. At some locations, military members can purchase discount admission tickets for members of their immediate family (maximum of six) with a valid military ID. Kings Island in Kings Mill, Ohio is one of Cedar Fair’s parks. Cedarfair.com
▪ Home Depot and Lowes offer a 10 percent discount, up to a $500 maximum, to all active, reserve, retired or disabled veterans and their family members with a valid military ID. All other military veterans qualify for a 10 percent discount during Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Independence Day.
▪ Sam’s Club offers active military or veterans who enroll or renew their membership will receive a free $15 gift card. This offer expires on July 31. http://bit.ly/1qFqasR
Deals for teachers
▪ Apple.com has a page on theApple and Education website where you can find resources and inspiration to help you get the most out of your Apple products. http://apple.co/1VfUaID
Deals for brides
▪ Receive a free personalized engraved keepsake heart at Things Remembered. http://bit.ly/1TrVcSF
▪ Get a free issue of Bridal Guide Magazine. https://www.valuemags.com
Summertime entertainment deals
▪ Through June 30, buy $30 worth of participating P&G products in one transaction at select store to get one adult (up to $13 value) and one child certificate (up to $8 value) to see Finding Dory. pgmovienights.com
▪ Get $5 off a ticket to The Angry Birds Movie when you purchase two Ziploc brand products in a single transaction between April 1 and June 3. Take a photo of your receipt showing purchase, date and time and receipt total and upload it and receive a code for one e-Movie Cash® ticket (valued at up to $5). http://bit.ly/22hrOyL
▪ Get a free promotional code (up to $12 value) to see Disney-Pixar’s Finding Dory with a $20 purchase of any Coppertone products. http://bit.ly/1RlfIN2
▪ There’s a free Six Flags kids ticket offer with purchase of full price general admission ticket (weekday only) with Wet Ones purchase. http://bit.ly/1XsleEO
▪ All Toyr R Us stores are having a Memorial Day Parade featuring Geoffrey at 1p.m., May 28.
▪ Sign up for the Penn Station East Coast Subs email club to receive an offer for a free sub or a buy one get one sub. This offer will be available for a limited time only.
▪ Go to Krispy Kreme on June 3 to receive a free donut on National Donut Day.
▪ Have you signed up with PinchMe yet? Become a member to receive free offers and samples. Shipping is free. Pinchme.com
▪ Celebrate National Pet Month with Purina. Upload a video of you and your dog rolling in the grass by June 1 and Purina will donate $2 to Petfinder Foundation. Plus, you may win your share of $50,000 of prizes. www.pureloveforpets.com
▪ Buy $25 dollars’ worth of featured brands (Advil, Emergen C, Chapstick,Centrum, Nexium) in one transaction. Take a picture of your receipt and text WELLNESS to 811811 or upload to itsyourwellnessownit.com and you will receive a free infusion water bottle.
▪ Until May 31, trade in your used bike at Toys R Us to receive 25 percent off a new bike purchase. http://bit.ly/1RlhL3A
▪ Through May 28, Target is offering up a $50 Target gift card when you purchase two select X-Box or PS4 Games. http://bit.ly/1s5xaRj
Deborah Morris' every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.