Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coupon Boot Camp - Lesson 6: Combining Coupons with Sale Prices + Starting a Price Book

If you missed Lesson 5 on How Grocery Store Sales Work + Marketing Tricks, it's back online now. Blogger had some technical difficulties yesterday, which is why today's lesson wasn't posted yesterday like it should have been. It also caused all of Thursday's posts to go missing for a short time. Looks like they are back in business now though. 

Today we'll talk about combining coupons with store sale prices and how to start a price book.

A lot of people don't use coupons because they think they're going to waste money buying something they don't really need, spending money just because they have a coupon for something. Hopefully you're starting to see that's not the case at all and developing a whole new mindset about couponing. 

Before you can get a really good deal, you need to know what a really good deal is. Starting a price book is essential to smart couponing! Use a 3-hole spiral bound notebook for your price book and you can keep it right in your coupon binder. A price book is exactly what it sounds like. It's a book of different items you buy frequently and what the prices are for that item at various stores you shop at. It might sound like an awful lot of work, but it really isn't and it isn't something that needs to be maintained. For the most part, once it's done, it's done.

Make a line half way through each piece of paper in the notebook as you go along. Use each half to list a different item. You'll have 4 items listed on each sheet of paper in the notebook (front and back). When you go to the stores you normally shop at, bring your price book with you. Jot down the names of items you buy and what the regular price of each item is, along with the name of the store. 

When you look at your weekly sale ads. you can compare sale prices to those in your price book and determine if you're really getting the best deal possible. You can also keep track of the sale prices of the items you buy at different stores, what the sale price is and when it goes on sale. This will help you to follow the stores sales cycles like we talked about in Lesson 4

After you've started your price book, look at your store ads. each week and the coupons you have. Go through your coupon collection and match-up coupons for the items that are on sale and determine the price after coupons. 

Here's an example:
A certain brand of chips is on sale 2/$5 or $2.50 each. Looking at your price book you can see that the regular price of those chips is $2.75, so it's really not a great deal. Unless you really need those chips this week, you'll want to skip that sale. Of course you'll be implementing the Menu Planning and stockpiling strategies we've already gone over at the same time.

Keep going through the weekly sale ads., matching up coupons you have with those sale items, comparing to your price book and seeing what's a great deal and what's not.

My #1 Couponing Rule is to never use a coupon to buy an item that's regular price. The key is to use your coupons wisely on sale items that are at their absolute lowest sale price. Sure, you might save some money other wise, but not the kind of money you could be saving. And the whole point is to save as much money as you possibly can!

It's also really important not to buy anything just because you have a coupon for it, sale price or not. It can be tempting when you're just starting out. There will be many, many coupons that you'll throw away expired and that's ok. Remember that the goal here is to only use coupons to buy items at the lowest price possible. You'll need to learn to have patience and wait for that price to come around. Make sure that when you do find that low, low price, you're implementing the principles of stockpiling so that you have enough of that item until it goes on sale that low again. 

Next week we'll talk about learning stores coupon policies and I'll answer some of the FAQ I've been receiving about coupons and couponing. :)

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