To save money, go mad over coupons

Most people are familiar with coupons, but over the years, coupons have developed a tarnished name.

Just as many things in life, there is a lot to learn in regards to couponing. The more you use coupons, the easier the process becomes.

Food and other household products rotate through a season similar to an annual calendar. Now that the holidays are complete, stores focus their sales back to everyday purchases.

Most of the local grocery ads come out in Tuesday’s mail. Many ads can also be viewed online at a given store’s Web site. You will see the largest savings if you match the store’s weekly sales with manufacturer’s coupons.

Anyone who is currently spending money on groceries, health and beauty products or cleaning supplies could save a lot more money by incorporating these basic techniques before heading for the checkout lines.

• Double coupons: Stores will run promotions that double the face value of the coupon.

• Stacking: Some stores will allow you to “stack” their store coupons with your manufacturer’s coupons for even greater savings. These store coupons usually come from flyers or in store ads.

• Price total promotions: Stores will offer promotions that will give you $5 or $10 off purchases over $50. If there are any stipulations the will be listed underneath in the small print.

• Quantity promotions: If you buy a certain amount of products you receive a discount (Example: Buy 10, get $10 off)

• Buy One, Get One (BOGO): This is the same as 50 percent off. Most stores will let you use two manufacturer’s coupons for the BOGOs, which in turn lowers the price per item.

• Marked down pricing: If an item is about to expire, the product is discontinued or if there is too much stock on hand, the store will often lower the price to push the products out the door. Once you combined the reduced price with a coupon, these items often become free products.

If you get to the store and realize that someone has beat you to the sale, the stores often offer rain checks to freeze that price for a later visit when they have more stock on hand. If the advertisement says limited quantities on hand or for participating stores only, the rain checks may not be offered. Rain checks at Albertsons are good for 30 days, and 90 days at Safeway stores.

After realizing there is a need for coupons, I have organized a service that allows me to distribute coupons locally. To find out more about coupon distribution service, e-mail me at I have also started a Facebook blog of items I recently purchased and the final cost for those items. You can find me on Facebook by searching under the name “Mad Coupons.” I do encourage others to post their coupon savings.

Let me know if you have any additional questions. My New Year’s resolution is to help other Federal Way families save money in 2010.

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