Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Couponing Tips

I read a great post over at HIP2SAVE. It reminded me of a recent, bad experience I had at a local grocery store. I actually debated quitting couponing all together. Some people think we couponers are scammers. They ask how can you possibly get all this for free? I've had cashiers tell me "I hate coupons." While sometimes I just laugh, other times I have a hard time smiling while people are being so rude. Some times the person behind me in line is amazed. Sometimes the person behind me is well, less than friendly. Couponing is awesome! It has saved my family thousands of dollars. On the other hand, it is time consuming and can be stressful. So, how can you make your couponing experience a positive one? Here are some tips to make your trip successful.

1.PLAN - Plan your shopping trip by making a list of exactly what you're going to purchase. Have the coupons organized and ready. Bring your calculator and add up approximately (before tax) what your total will be. This will save you trips to the Customer service desk.
2.CHECK - Check your receipt before you leave the store. This will save you from making a trip back to the store if a coupon doesn't scan correctly or the cashier didn't scan it at all.
3.KIDS - If possible leave the kiddies at home. They tend to distract you while you shop and check out. It will make your trip less stressful.If you must take the kids entertain them. Stop by the toy section and pick something up for them to play with. You can always stop by the food court and grab some popcorn too.
4.BRING A FRIEND - If you're able, bring a friend along. She can lend support if your trip goes sour. You can chat it up while you shop. You can also share deals and coupon matchups.
5.CHOOSE YOUR CASHIER WISELY - From my experience this is crucial. Walk down the checkout. Look at the cashiers facial expressions. If they look like crabby Patty go to another. I like the teenage boys. If the register beeps, they tend to push it through.
6.CHAT - Be friendly to your cashier. Strike up a conversation. Tell them a joke. If they're happy, you'll be happy too!
7.DON'T GO OVERBOARD - Keep your transactions small. If you need to, do several. It's easier to catch a mistake when you only have a few items. Walk your items out to the car and come back in. It may seem to take up more time but it's worth it!
8.SMILE AND LAUGH - If things aren't going well with your cashier don't get upset! This can be hard when they are being very rude. Remember you are saving your family money and helping others.They may just be having a bad day and be taking it out on you.
9.COUPON POLICES - Have them handy at all times. Keep a copy of each store's in your binder. If the cashier is questioning you, take out their stores policy and have them take a look. It will save you from making that call to corporate.
10.CORPORATE - If things still didn't turn out the way you planned you can always call corporate. They will log your complaint and hopefully fix the situation for you. They can also educate the cashier or manager on the proper coupon redemption policies.
11.COMMENT - If you get a great cashier or have a good experience fill out a comment card or call the manager. The phone number for the store is on the receipt. Why not call on your way home? It only takes a few moments. We want the good cashiers to stay. A simple compliment can make all the difference.
12. STAY POSITIVE - When you have a hard time try to focus on the people you're helping through couponing. Think of that food pantry donation you made and the people it fed. Imagine your debt being chipped away with all the money you're saving.


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