Friday, December 31, 2010

How to be a Couponer : Lesson 1 - Becoming Familiar with your Stores

Whether you are looking to be an "extreme couponer" or just to save a good chunk of money off your grocery bill, you will have to start the same.

You need to become familiar with the stores in your area and if available, sign up for their loyalty cards.

Just go to the courtesy desk at your local store and ask for a card.  They will give you a card with an application you can send out and leave with them or mail in.  You can start using that card immediately.  With this step alone, you have probably just saved yourself about 5-10%.  Without a store loyalty card, you do not get advertised sale prices at most stores AND even more importantly, your coupons will not double (at applicable stores).
(This might seem like common knowledge, but I am amazed at the number of people I see that do not use loyalty cards)

If you live in my region (Houston), you will want to consider getting the following cards:


You will want to give them your proper address, phone number and email address as on occasion they will send you coupons based on your shopping habits.  Also, if there is an option, make sure you opt-in to mailings as this is what gives them permission to send you mail and coupons. (I was personally told by the Kroger plus card administrator that they cannot mail you coupons unless you opt in to mailings)
Most stores have an option to enter an alternate id at check out in the event you did not bring your card.  This is typically your phone number, so make sure you if you don't use a real one, you use one you can remember.

While, at the courtesy desk, this would be a good time to ask the store about their coupon policies.  Does the store double or triple coupons?  If so, what days?  Do they offer a scan right guarantee?  What are the restrictions?  Is there a limit to the number of coupons that can be used?  That are doubled?  (I will go into more details on this later and provide you with some answers for the stores in my region)
Some stores have finally put their acceptance policies online, which is GREAT and I highly suggest you print these and carry them with you in to stores in case an issue arises.   Each stores policies vary, even by region, so you may find some differences and it is best to know ahead of time then get an unexpected surprise at the register.

For your convienance here is a list of online store policies of some stores in my region:
Randalls (also Safeway and Tom Thumb)

In addition to asking about the coupon policy, be sure to ask if they offer special discounts and when these are available.  Some stores offer discounts to senior citizens (eligibility age varies by store), military or students.  Be sure to ask if you need to fill out any extra forms to get these discounts.

Stayed tuned HERE for full lesson plans (Sorry, I am working from a power point and have to type up everything I normally just say in my classes, but I will try to get all the lessons up throughout this weekend)


Kyle and Ali said...

Thank you SOOO much for doing this!! I mostly shop at HEB but seeing as how they don't have a loyalty card and they don't double/triple coupons, I may be looking for a Kroger closer to home. Do you ever get your good deals at HEB even though they don't double/triple??

Anonymous said...

Not sure my previous comment went thru. or not. I'd like thank you for taking the time writing about couponing in Houston area!
I've been looking for info. like this, and find it hard to get the deals you wrote about myself. Probably because I need to learn about basic couponing.
Looking forward for more lessons! Happy New Year to you and your family!


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