There is no doubt that California is expensive. When people think about saving money in California, I think they instantly think of ways to cut back on certain expenses like electricity and water..maybe cut off the cable or ways to save on gasoline. For most people I think groceries is the LAST thing they think that they can save on– because, we gotta eat, right?! 🙂 The truth is: groceries are the first thing you can pretty much count on saving money on. Why? because the money you save is in YOUR control. No, you can’t control the prices of food but you can control when you shop, how you shop and learn to take advantage of store sales and couponing.
Couponing is a easy way to get an instant discount on items that you purchase regularly– even if it something that you have never tried or maybe want to try–coupons are a great way to get items at a discount without much needed effort.
Tip: When manufacturers release new products–you will often see high value coupons once that product is released. This is a great time to seek out coupons which may give you the item for cheap or free!
Different Types of Coupons (and where to find them)
Coupon Inserts– These come in the newspaper usually on Sunday but sometimes on Saturday or one day through the week. Sometimes, you may even get your coupons in the mailbox and not in the newspaper. (you will need to check with your newspaper to find out if they offer all coupon inserts in the paper) They vary week by week on how many inserts are in the paper. Some weeks you may find only one and another week you may find up to four. One thing you do want to watch is that some of the larger town newspapers carry more coupons. If you purchase a smaller towns newspaper you may want to find somewhere to compare it to a larger town. I usually subscribe to four or more papers so I can have multiples of each coupon.
- P&G – Procter & Gamble Newspaper Insert
- RP – RedPlum Newspaper Insert
- SS – SmartSource Newspaper Insert
Peelies– These are located on the product themselves usually folded and stuck somewhere on the product. Watch the cashier closely when checking out and using these. Most of the time the cashier either won’t see them or choose not too so make sure you take it off and hand it to them to make sure you get your coupon taken off.
Blinkies– These are located on the shelf usually in front of the item that they are to be used for. It is usually a blinking machine that spits them out at you.
Tearpad– These are exactly what they sound like. They are little pads of coupons that you will find laying around near the product that it is to be used for. These are normally manufacturer?s coupons and can be used at that time on your purchase or you can save them to use at a later date when the product is on sale.
Catalina– These are store coupons that print off at the register when you purchase select items at the store. You will often see these advertisements in the store flyers or posted on the shelf near the items. Catalinas are normally used off your next purchase at the store where you got them.
There are tons of places to grab coupons online you just need to search around a bit. Make sure and follow all of your favorite companies on facebook because they often will post coupon deals for their faithful followers! Now back to the lingo and abbreviations:
B1G1– This stands for BUY ONE GET ONE and can either be buy one get one free or buy one get one half off. I have seen it go both ways.
B2G1– Same thing as above except you have to buy two to get the special deal.
Double Coupon– This is for the lucky ones that have stores that participate in double coupons. Stores will sometimes offer double coupons on specific days of the week or if you are extremely lucky your store will do it all the time. It means exactly what it says you will receive twice the amount of savings when using a coupon. For instance if your coupon is for $.25 off a particular item the store will give you $.50 cents off. Sometimes the store will cap out at a certain amount so check your local store to see what their policy is. Often times they will double up to $.50 or $1.00.
Stacking store coupons– This term is used when you stack a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon and can lead to a great deal especially when used in combination with a sale.
How to Get the Most from Your Coupons
Wait for the right time to use your coupons. When you get your coupons hold on to them and don’t use them right away! Your first thought when collecting coupons is to use them right away so you can get those discounts quick. You will find that if you simply hold onto the coupons and wait for a store sale (or even more as shown below) you will maximize your coupons to their full potential and save even more money. Check out the diagram below:
As you can see, waiting for the perfect combo can mean even more savings! The scenarios above do not always happen but this is just an example of examples that I have experienced over my 6 years of couponing.
Stock Up When You Find Items for the Lowest Price
How exciting is it when you find something that you purchase regularly, on sale with a deep discount? Why would you want to pay more for that particular item when you know you can buy it for less? Why not buy enough to last you until next time it goes on sale? Don’t let the store control what price you pay– stock up when the price is low and don’t pay that full price a week or two later. Here is an example of the savings you can achieve when you purchase enough of the product to last you over the course of a month:
I have three boys and we go through AT least a box of cereal per week. Whenever we see cereal on sale (it doesn’t matter which type– my boys aren’t picky) we purchase at least enough to last us a month. Let’s say this regular price on cereal is $3.99– that means if I bought 5 boxes I would spend $34.95 on cereal (YIKES!)
Now, if the cereal is on sale and I use a coupon.. let’s say it is $0.99 after the coupon.. If I buy one box, I’d save $3. If I purchase just enough to last us one month– I would save $15! Just imagine what you could do with that $15 and where you can put it in your budget. $15 might seem like a lot–but if you do this with more than just one item on your grocery list per month–the savings will add up!
Couponing can be beneficial if you stick to it and don’t get discouraged. Start with couponing in one of your favorite stores– then once you master that, move on to another store in your area! It will get easier.
Want to learn more about couponing in California? Be sure to check out more in-depth lessons HERE