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Birmingham Parent magazine

Monday, June 23, 2014

6 Tips for Making "Cents" of Couponing

By Becky J. Beall

By now, you should be in the habit of buying Sunday papers to get all those wonderful coupons, and hopefully you’ve been turned on and tuned in to how much money you can save each week. I wanted to share some more couponing habits that will turn coupons into money in your household!

1.     Learn the lingo. BOGO means buy one get one. If someone says the coupon can be found in SS0622 that refers to your Sunday paper inserts Smart Source June 22 (remember I said write the date on the front page in Sharpie?). Likewise RP means Red Plum and PG means Proctor & Gamble. These are the ones you will see over and over.

2.     As you begin to stock up on things that are on sale and have coupons attached, you’ll start to change your shopping habits. Learn to shop for what’s on sale with coupons so you don’t run out and have to buy it at full price.

3.     Don’t panic if you miss a sale. Sale cycles are typically about every eight weeks. This will not be the only time for peanut butter to be on sale.

4.     There is a fabulous couponing blogsite that I follow and I want to introduce you to it as well. is up-to-date on sales and gives you a heads up for what’s coming as well. Under the grocery store tab, I follow Publix because their BOGO Free sales combined with coupons simply cannot be beat.

5.     Think outside the box. CVS has an ExtraCare Card for shoppers that basically is a customer loyalty card. It is available at the register for no cost and you need to show it every time you make a purchase. You can earn ExtraCare Bucks (ECB) on certain items each week (you can see these items in their ad and on Southern Savers). The ECB can be spent on almost anything (exclusions are listed on their website and the ad, but almost anything). So let’s say toothpaste is on sale for $2.99 and you have a $1 off coupon making it $1.99 and they are offering a $2 ECB on that item. Remember to show your card first, then do your transaction, then coupons, then pay and your ECB will print on the bottom of your receipt. You can turn around and use the ECB to buy milk which is an item that rarely has a coupon. HINT: Southern Savers has a beginners guide to shopping at CVS video when you click the drugstore tab and then CVS. Good info!

6.     Relax and have fun. Learn in small doses so you don’t burn out. Saving money is easy and fun!

I hope you are learning something each week. I’m having fun watching you learn! Happy couponing!

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