Lesson 3 – How To Shop With Coupons

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You've now  got your coupons all organized in your binder and you're ready to shop!  The following tips will help you get the most for your money using coupons:

  • If your store has a loyalty card sign up for it!  Many stores will only allow you to get their sale prices if you have a store card.
  • Check your stores weekly ads for sales and match up your coupons or visit ConsumerQueen.com and check the blog  for deals at your store. We post the weekly deals and where to find the coupons to use for them.  All the work is done for you!
  • Make a list before you shop:  I always make a list of what I'm going to buy and which  coupons I'm going to use.  This keeps me from forgetting anything or buying something I don't need.
  • Keep the coupons for your shopping trip together: When I plan a shopping trip I place all the coupons I'm going to use at the store for that day together in an extra pocket of my binder.  That way when I get to the store with my list I don't have to search through my binder to find them.
  • Buy multiples:  If you can get 5 tubes of toothpaste for free or really cheap, get them! By the time you go through those 5 tubes of toothpaste they'll probably be on sale again.  If it's something you don't use, buy it and donate!! Remember don't buy more than you can use. Save some for others.
  • Always check the clearance section for really cheap items you can use your coupons on.
  • Check the meat department:  Most stores will discount meat that is getting close to it's “sell by” date.  I get a lot of really cheap packs of meat that I freeze and use later.  You can always check the ConsumerQueen.com website for meat coupons.
  • Price match:  Walmart and other stores will price match competitor's ad sale prices.  The items must be identical to get the price match.  In other words, if  Target has Crest Pro-Health 4.0-oz. mint flavored toothpaste on sale for $2.00 then you can get Crest pro-Health 4.0-oz. mint flavored toothpaste at Walmart for $2 if you show them your Target ad.
  • See a great deal on chips but the expiration date is tommorrow?  Not to worry, Cheetos, Fritos, Sun Chips, Tostitos, Doritos and most snack crackers can be frozen. What's really great is you can eat them right out of the freezer- no thawing!  The items never freeze hard and stay fresh forever!  Other items you can freeze are saltines, bread, coffee, tea bags and shredded cheese.   You can also freeze milk but you know the expression “don't try this at home”?  Well, take my word for it, don't try freezing skim milk or sour cream!


The number one reason most people don't coupon (or don't for very long) is they don't understand the concept of stockpiling.  I hear statements all the time like ” I used to take coupons to the store but I just didn't save enough to make it worthwhile”  or ” It's not worth all the trouble to coupon if I'm only going to save a few dollars here and there”   If  all you're doing is cutting out coupons for your regular weekly shopping trips then both of those statements are probably true.   In order to save BIG bucks you need to learn the art of stockpiling.

This the number 1 reason you need to have several copies of the Sunday paper coupon inserts!  When you find dish soap on sale for cheap or free buy 5 of them, when you find 5 cans of SpaghettiO's for 25¢ each, buy 5 of them.  Pretty soon you'll have a stockpile of  items that cost you very little.  The more you have in your stockpile the less you'll have to buy on your weekly shopping trips.  After awhile you'll find you're  buying very little regular priced items and saving a bundle on your grocery bill!  Stores put things on sale in cycles so buy the time you've used up your stockpile on something it will be on sale again!

What does your family use the most?  If you only use mustard every once in awhile then just buy 2 instead of 5.  Your stockpile will depend on you and your family's wants and likes.

Designate a closet or cabinet for your stockpiled items.  If you don't have enough room to keep it all in one place, split it up.  Put your stockpile of toilet paper, toothpaste etc. in the linen closet or extra shelf in your bathroom.  Put extra canned goods in your pantry if you have room.

Now you're ready to hit the store and shop!!  Next week we'll discuss some advanced ways to use coupons to save even more money.  Check back tomorrow for Lesson 4 – Coupon Money Makers!

If you missed our previous lesson just click on the ones you like to read from the list below:

Lesson 1- Coupons: Where to find them
Lesson 2- Organizing & Storing Coupons



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  1. I am a couponer and I agree with everything you say here except one does need to remember that depending on where you live you may have to pay tax on that toothpaste. In my state I have to pay tax on any non-food item. So you need to think of that. If I know I will use them I usually get them. Sometimes I even buy them to donate but if money is tight I might not want to.

    1. Thanks for your response! When we post something as 2 for FREE it’s generally known to mean before tax. We bloggers do that because some states don’t have sales tax , and as in your state sales tax on non-food prices only. You always have to pay the tax (if your state has any) on anything even if it’s free after coupons. So when we post something it’s always means before tax.

    1. Nope, you can only use 1 manufacturer’s coupon per 1 item. If your store puts out their own coupons they will usually let you use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item.

  2. Hi, I started couponing a few years ago, then gave it up. Now I’m back to try again! Someone mentioned about taxes on non food items. Well, here in Alabama, you pay taxes on food items as well! Quite a shocker from moving here from Florida, I can tell you! Not only that depending on where you shop in this area (Daphne, Spanish Fort area), in Daphne the tax is now 9.5%, and Spanish Fort it’s up to 10% now I believe. The taxes are just getting out of hand here. They just raised it last year to help the schools here (hopefully that’s where it goes). We do however have very good school system here in Baldwin county though!
    I do have a question, I thought Publix doubled coupons up to .50, but when I asked a cashier (I do believe he was a manager though), he said NO very quickly! Does anyone know for sure or is it different in different stores? And can you use Publix’s store coupons with manufactors coupons?
    Thank you for all your help and info on couponing, It is a help!

    1. Lisa, Publix stores are all different…..some double, some don’t, some double up to $.50, some double up to $.75. It’s really hard to know with them. I think some of them are privately owned and can make up their own rules. As far as I know you can use Publix store coupons with manufacturer’s coupons. Also, I heard they take other store’s coupons as well. We don’t have any Publix stores here in OK so don’t have any first hand knowledge. Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks Queen Mum!! They just opened this one up not long ago(a few months ago). And I know that this one doesn’t leave the coupons out by the door with the sale papers, they have them behind the courtesy desk and you have to ask for them, and they give you only one of each booklet they have and are very nice about getting them for you and let you know if something is different than normal with the coupon booklets. I was just so surprised at how quick the guy was with his “NO”. Kinda threw me back a bit. Usually they are very friendly there. Maybe he was asked this a million times already that day, I don’t know. But, I was only buying milk at the time with no coupons, so don’t know why he sounded alittle abrupt. Anyway, I do like Publix better than the other choices around here. This area is really just started to grow in the last 2 years! When we moved here, there was no lowes(only 1 home depot), no Publix, no Sams, only one movie theater. They had only 1 Walmart & 1 Target for all of Daphne, Spanish fort, & Fairhope. Now there is 2 Walmarts, 2 Publix’s (with a third being built), 2 movie theaters, a lowes and a Sams, & more resturants and other business’s popping up all the time now. Still only 1 Target though!

  4. Ok, You know the stores that say they take competitors coupons? Well, so far all the “store coupons” say you can only use at their store. So, how can you use a stores coupons at a different store? And I noticed that in Publix’s coupon booklets, some of them say redeem at Publix and some of their coupons are actually “manufacturer’s coupons” but you can only redeem them at Publix. And noticed at least at Publix that some of the coupons don’t have bar codes on them. Oh boy this stuff gets a tad confusing! Help!

  5. Hi newbie here! not even a cut coupon yet but am really interested in it. What are some good coupon sites i can print from? And any good tips. Thxs so much

    1. Sarah, if you click on “coupons” at the top of the website then printable coupons from the drop down box you’ll see several links to coupon websites:)

  6. hi, so i desided to start couponing im 20 and i live on my own with my husband, some weeks moneys tight but ive been really wanting to start this. i live in new hampshire the tax free state and its ahrd to find coupons any were. ive been looking on line and ive been getting coupons my thought is im afraid that im gonna have a bunch of stuff at check out and they will refuse my coupons and we only have walmart hannafords and shop n save and market basket. im a little confused on how to start. is it the more coupons u save up the less money u spend or is it just go for it with the coupons u got.

    1. No matter how many coupons you have it’s going to be better than not having any at all LOL!! It’s better if you have multiple coupons for the same thing so you can buy more than one item when it’s on sale. That’s how you save the most…..by stockpiling. If you have a problem and they won’t take your coupons you can always just not buy it if it’s more than you can afford at the time. I’ve done that more than once. Walmart will be a good place to start since their coupon policy is pretty good.

  7. Ok I have few questions and I am a little confussed on the stock piling thing. First, I heard that walmart takes other store coupons is that true?? Second, I know walmart will price match compertiors ads but can you use the ad and coupon?? Also, I am not getting the stockpiling thing even though I read what you wrote on stock piling???

    1. Hi Carrie, yes Walmart will take other stores coupons IF they state manufacturer’s coupon on them and if they are for a specific product for a specific price. For example if the coupon says $.40/1 Viva Paper towels they will take it. If it said 10% off Viva Towels or $.40/1 any paper towels they wouldn’t take it. Yes you should be able to use the ad price match and a coupon. When ever you see that you can get toothpaste real cheap or free at Walmart don’t just buy 1, buy several (we say 5 is a good number). Take those 5 toothpastes home and put the ones you aren’t going to use right then up so when you run out of the one your using you don’t have to pay full price for another one, you just go get one from your stockpile that you got for free or cheap. If you do this with everything you use like shampoo, deodorant, canned foods, pasta, pasta sauce, boxed foods then pretty soon you’ll have a stockpile of stuff that you got cheap or free and you’ll be buying very little at the store on a weekly basis. It’s going to take you about 3-5 months to get a ggod stockpile because not everything you use will be on sale every week. One week you might be able to get shampoo and pasta and the next week it’s canned veggies and deodorant. Hope this helps:)

  8. This could be a very stupid question but how do you stockpile when every coupon I have says limit one per person or transaction? That would be nerve wracking and time consuming if I have to go back and make several transactions instead of all at once.

  9. I am 15. While my sister has expensive doctors and insurance bills with her disability my family has been wondering if the couponing would be worthwhile. I have a question. My small town has only a County Market and am not sure they double coupons at all. We also recently just Got a ShopKo. Do I have to obtain coupon policies on both stores? Or must I get coupons from the neighboring town’s Wal-Mart and then use the coupons there or am I overanalyzing this whole thing?

  10. best coupon website. Get best collections of coupons also best deals and best cashback offers. Click out!

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