Using Coupons

United States
June 3, 2008 2:36pm CST
I really want to use coupons, but they don't seem to be working out for me. For one, when I go to the store to buy the item on the coupon, the stores that I go to don't carry that item or they don't carry that product in a reasonable size. Or, they want you to buy two of something when it would be a lot cheaper to buy one of something else. And, another problem I have had is that even with the coupon, the store brand, with the exact same ingredients, is cheaper. Does anyone have any tips on using coupons? I heard one lady got her groceries for free by using coupons. But, I don't see how she can do that if you are only allowed one coupon per product and most places don't double them
3 people like this
18 responses
@cortjo73 (6500)
• United States
4 Jun 08
I heard about that. I also heard that what she did, in addition to coupons is that there is a shelf rule. Something about if an item isn't shelved right, or the price doesn't match what it is supposed to be, you get that item for free. And, I know there is a dented can discount as my understanding is that a dented can can contaminate the contents so, it is discounted since you might be risking your life. And, another rule is that if there is an item that you are looking for and they don't have it or they are out of stock, you get a voucher for that item for free when they do have it. So, I think that she used all of the loopholes in order to get her groceries for free. You have to be very thorough though. Imagine how much time she spent in the store looking for the items that fit those loopholes in order to get her groceries for free. She must have been in there for hours. As far as how to work coupons to your advantage, I can't give you a good tip on that. There are some good ones out there but, you do have to dig for them. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!
2 people like this
• United States
4 Jun 08
I don't know of any stores in my area that honor that mis-shelved rule or the out of stock rule, but yesterday, I got a big discount on some raisins because they had the wrong price listed on the shelf where the item was. It actually said that the item was the cheaper price on the shelf tag, it had the name of the item on it and everything. So, they gave it to me at that price.
@lora2507 (33)
• United States
4 Jun 08
Try using coupons for only the products you buy. sometimes they show new ones if you buy two prodcuts and for new ones, that you don't even need. just stock with what you do need. it works out better.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 08
Hi Lora! Thanks for the advice. That was why I wasn't really using them in the first place, I just don't use that many brand names. But, sometimes I like to buy new things if they are a good deal.
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
4 Jun 08
I think the people who do the best with coupons make frugal shopping their career. They don't shop in one store, but buy from many stores. One woman I've encountered at another site saves so much using coupons. But she'll post about her week and she usually visits Kroger, Biggs, Meijer, WalMart, Walgreens, CVS and the dollar store. That's way too much shopping for me. And with the price of gas, it hardly makes sense.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jun 08
Luckily, I live close enough to some stores that I can ride my bike to. But, it's not convenient if I need to buy a lot of groceries or some heavy groceries like a 10 lb bag of potatoes like I did today.
@aplaza (631)
• Netherlands
4 Jun 08
I usually don't watch the show and only see it if I'm zapping the tv but I'm pretty sure that I saw this on oprah and that means it would have been on for you folks in the States much longer ago. Anyway I have a "feeling" that this person who got her groceries almost for free didn't mention that it wasn't her normal shopping. I bet this person just got everything that was available on coupons without even wondering if she needed, wanted or could use the product. What I would advise is having a look at some of the websites that offer coupons. These are updated daily or at least regularly. Some will even let you search for coupons for a certain store. That way you can find ones for the stores you frequent. Just dont' expect that the savings will be all that much more than the cost of a cup of coffee.
• United States
4 Jun 08
I actually didn't see that show on Oprah, the woman I know that got her groceries for almost free was a friend of someone I know. I was thinking about this last night and I also wonder if she got a lot of things that she didn't even need. Well, then, I hope she donates them to the local food bank. Thanks for the tip about the websites.
@lingli_78 (12845)
• Australia
4 Jun 08
i never use coupon when i shop for grocery as we don't have a coupon system here... the 2 major supermarkets here, coles and safeway, they always have special price for different items and they change them every week... so what i do to save cost is i buy those items that are on specials in bulk and adjust my weekly menu to their specials... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jun 08
That's kinda what I do. The grocery store I go to the most is a specialty type of store and I go there to buy produce. So, I usually buy what's on special for that week.
• China
4 Jun 08
I always receive many kinds of coupons in the street, but I often don't concern it ,because many coupons aren't what is said . So I throw it into ash bin . For example ,if you receive a coupons you can get 20$ in his shop ,but when you get to the shop ,he tells you you must cost 100$ to buy his product ,you also can get the money . That's a lie ,so I don't believe any coupons . Although some shops will get you a real coupons , however ,you must pay it .
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jun 08
I don't think that's legal where I live. All coupons must be honored as they are written. Of course, the coupon might not be that good of a deal. The store owner can charge what he wants to for an item overall, so if he wants to charge you $100 for an item, that's his prerogative.
• United States
3 Jun 08
I ordered this one kit called SuperMarket Magic a few year back and they claimed just what you're talking about here: How to get groceries free (or nearly free using coupons). The program sounded good on paper but seemed hard to implement in real life, particularly because it was built around the concept of taking advantage of coupon double-days at stores. But as a few of you mentioned here, many stores just don't do that...or not very often at least. One tip I did pick up though is that there are different types of coupons that you can combine that could reap you more savings. There's the store coupon. Then there's the manufacturer's coupon. If you can combine these then you should be able to maximize your savings. There shouldn't be a problem in doing this because they are 2 separate types of coupons. Me myself, I only use coupons occasionally. What I do to save is shop the dollar store first, use store brands, and sometimes purchase regularly used products in bulk.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jun 08
I also buy in bulk and I've found the right stores to get good prices on things like produce. I don't come across the two types of coupons together like you mentioned all that often. So, as like one respondant said, you have to time the sales and the double or triple coupon days, I guess.
@twallace (2675)
• United States
3 Jun 08
Then you have to find the stores that carry the products that you have a coupon for. Remember every little bit counts no matter the amount of the coupon. For the only one product you have more than one coupon. I have used them a few times but not often. Right now I don't shop at all so coupons I don't really use at this point but keep trying and you will find the right store that you need to go too.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jun 08
Yeah, but wouldn't driving around to all the different stores using up gas defeating the goal of saving money?
@drannhh (15226)
• United States
3 Jun 08
We were just batting this back and forth in another discussion started this morning here on myLot. The conclusion my other friend and I came to was that we save a lot more by buying the cheaper brands and shopping for food at the dollar stores, and that coupons usually work out for non-food items. However, we do benefit from them once in a while. Yesterday we saw that the Safeway Deli had St. Louis ribs on sale at the same time that we just happened to have a coupon for an extra dollar off. Sure we used it. The manufacturer's coupons for name-brand items are the one we seldom use, but even so there are exceptions. I would never turn my nose up at a coupon for cents of on Claussen Pickles, for example.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 08
Yes, those are the coupons that I usually save money with-the ones that the stores put out for their own items or things already on sale. If it's a product that I already buy, then I will almost always use a coupon for it if I had one.
@yanna1027 (249)
• United States
3 Jun 08
My husband and I tried to use coupons for our grocery shopping but after we tried it, we ended up spending on foods/canned goods that we don't normally eat. We bought them on sale and really stock-up our pantry but it took us months before we could use all that we bought. So now, we're back to buying store brand for goods we really like. We save more this way.
• United States
3 Jun 08
That's what I usually do, but everyone told me that I would save a lot more if I used coupons. I do use coupons sometimes, but mostly I just go with the store brands if I can.
@momalisa65 (1979)
• United States
3 Jun 08
I think you are exactly right. I almost always find it is cheaper to buy the store brand than to use a coupon on the name brand. My mother uses coupons all the time. But her pantry is full of outdated things that she doesn't even like. She just buys them anyway because they were on sale at the same time she had a coupon for them, and it felt good to get them at that price, and she likes to brag about things like that, Lol. I'm sure there are people who get things free with coupons but I don't think they have jobs. Lol. I think they have to work hard and spend alot of time to figure out exactly when to go to the store when the sales start, and match up the coupons with the sale items, and it probably only works out that way occasionally. I could be wrong, but that's the way I see it.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 08
I'd bet that if I drive around to different stores, I can find all the products I have coupons for. But, it wouldn't be worth the extra cost in gasoline.
• United States
3 Jun 08
When I was young and single and poor, what a combo, I would only buy something if I had a coupon. Now, I look for grocery stores that double or have a special day to use coupons, like Mondays or Thursdays. Sometimes a grocery story will honor other competitors coupons, you might try that. Their add will have it cheaper and most stores want your business so they will comp the price so you can buy it there.
• United States
3 Jun 08
I think there might be one store left that does double coupons, but their prices are so high to begin with that it's not worth it.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
3 Jun 08
It's rare to get a lot of groceries for free by using coupons. Those ladies who have the bragging rights to that usually planned this long in advance and take advantage of double and triple coupon days. Yes, unfortunately this doubling and tripling is not done by all stores. Ours don't do this anymore either. Buying store brand may most often work out to be cheaper or just about the same amount. I have not encountered the not carrying the product except for when those 'neat sheets' came out. Our stores had a two week delay in delivery and the coupons and commercials were out before they had it in stock, lol. I use coupons as needed. Any savings is better than none. If I get free milk if I buy certain cookies for my kids, well they are cookie monsters, lol. And four dollars plus saved on milk compared to $2.50 for the cookies I can use as a treat... I never by something just because I have a coupon, lol. If there is a cheaper alternative, I go for it. And yes, store brands are often cheaper.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 08
That's the kind of reasoning that I use when I use coupons. If it's something I buy usually or something I want to try, I will use the coupon. But, I get so frustrated when they don't have the item that I have the coupon for. I went to Wal Mar today to get that extra soft Scott toilet paper because I love Scott TP and wanted to try the kind in the coupon. But, all they had was a 12 pack that I can't fit anywhere in my home.
@dragon54u (31617)
• United States
3 Jun 08
I don't understand how she can get all that for free. I'm lucky if I find one coupon I can use in the entire Sunday paper! I don't use sugary cereals or most of the name brand stuff, I buy the store brands. They rarely have coupons for meats and when they do, the store brand is cheaper even using the coupon! Maybe someone here has good advice. I sure don't. I'm glad you posted this, we're sure to learn something!
• United States
3 Jun 08
I know what you mean, but I've heard of other people getting their groceries for almost free, too. Even when they double the coupon, I rarely got anything completely free unless I also had a gift card. Since I eat mostly whole foods, I can't always use coupons as they don't usually have coupons for produce.
@ynigz1 (472)
• China
4 Jun 08
coupons is nice. Sometime I have it in restaurant, but in our city store rarely offer that.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
4 Jun 08
Hmm... did you go to the right store? The coupon concerned may not be applicable at all branches. It is not usually a problem for my case when I do use coupons.
• United States
4 Jun 08
Which is not a problem for you, not finding the item, not getting double or triple coupons, or not saving any money?
• Singapore
4 Jun 08
Huh? Exactly what I said. No problem at all. I found the item, I wasn't forced to buy anything I didn't want and I saved money using the coupon.
• United States
4 Jun 08
OK. So, do you get your groceries for free or nearly free like that lady, too?
• United States
29 Jun 08
I have seen that coupon queen story before, but never figured out how she does it. I guess she wants me to buy her book to find out her real secrets. I don't have the money for that and even if I did, I could get the same info for free online. I have a coupon blog and always put up the best coupons as I find them. It helps me keep track and I like sharing my coupon links with friends!
• United States
29 Jun 08
This was actually a personal friend of someone who managed to get her groceries for almost free, not someone on TV or who is famous. Maybe she used that book, I don't know.
• United States
4 Jun 08
Hi desertdarlene! I have given information on coupons, the system that works for me, saves me about $60.00 per month. If interested visit my discussions. I tried for years to just use the bar code coupons, and frankly it got me no where. Why? Because it was on items that I did not use, or when trying them, did not like. What good is a coupon or sale on any item.... unless you benefit from it, like it, need it? I could give you the store I use, if you are interested? Also, I know of stores that do double them!
• United States
4 Jun 08
Are the stores in the San Diego Metropolitan area?