Couponing: The Basics

Published November 27, 2011 by gweledydd

Hello everyone!  After much anticipation, Morgan’s coupon blog is finally here!  My first post is going to discuss the couponing basics.


The problem with saving money lies within your store choice.  The first thing you need to get OUT of your head is that Wal-Mart is the best place to shop.  While Wal-Mart has great deals on many products, when couponing they are rather strict and half the employees do not know how they work.  If you are not using coupons, then feel free to shop at Wal-Mart, but if you want to maximize your savings and get tons of free items, then you need to start shopping at Kroger.


Why shop at Kroger?  I thought you’d never ask….


  1. Kroger may be more expensive on some items, but their store loyalty card makes it worth it.  After you swipe your Kroger plus card, you can save so much money before even using your coupons!  NEVER underestimate store loyalty cards.
  2. Kroger gives you gas points that you can use to reduce your fuel costs.  For every dollar you spend in the store, you get one fuel point.  In special cases, you can even get quadruple fuel points for purchasing special products.  This deal is usually run on gift cards.  For instance, you can go into Kroger and purchase a $50.00 Kroger gift card to go towards your next shopping trip.  This purchase alone will give you 200 fuel points, which equates to $0.20 off the gallon at Kroger fuel pumps.
  3. Kroger DOUBLES coupons!!!  For any coupons up to $0.50, Kroger will double to $1.00.  On rare occasions and in certain locations, Kroger will double coupons up to $1.00.  This is VERY RARE, however, and in the Lynchburg-Bedford area, this is not the case.  😦  Despite this, however, you can still save TONS of money with the doubling policy currently in place.  I NEVER pay for toothpaste now using this tactic.
  4. Kroger will run store promotions to help you save even more money.  The most common sales are 10/$10 sales.  Many people think that you have to purchase 10 of the item to get the deal, but THIS IS NOT THE CASE.  You can purchase one of these items and still get it for $1.00.  Another common store promotion is the buy ten participating items and get $5.00 off your order.  This promotion is usually run in conjunction with an event, like the Daytona speedway giveaway, etc.  DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THESE SAVINGS!!!
  5. Although rare (at least in my opinion), Kroger still gives out Catalinas that are good for your next purchase.  I have only ever gotten a few, but they do help if you save them and remember to use them.  YOU CAN pair Catalinas with Manufacturer Coupons to maximize savings.
  6. Kroger also has online coupons that you can load directly onto your store card.  The bad thing with using these, however, is that these coupons do not double at the register and cannot be combined with other manufacturer coupons.
  7. If you have a store loyalty card, Kroger will mail you coupons based on your purchases.  Sometimes they will send GREAT coupons like $10.00 off your purchase of $50.00 or $100.00.


Another great place to shop is CVS.  I used to HATE shopping at CVS because they mark up so many items.  After Dad 2 explained their couponing policy to me, though, I LOVE them now!  Here are some reasons to shop at CVS…

  1. CVS also has a store loyalty card.  While you do not get nifty things like fuel points, you CAN still save a lot of money by pairing your store loyalty card up with store sales.  The majority of the store sales cannot be used unless you have a store card.  It’s free to have one, so why don’t you?
  2. CVS has IN STORE coupons that you can print out while you shop.  Usually near the front of the store, there is a big red box that looks like this:You can use these coupons with other CVS coupons.
  3. If you are a card loyalty member, CVS will email you store coupons that you can use with other manufacturer’s coupons or store coupons.  Unless stated otherwise, there is no limit to how many CVS coupons you can use.  So if you have a 30% off coupon and a $5.00/$20.00 CVS coupon, you CAN use both.  However, you cannot use two of the same type of coupon in one transaction.
  4. CVS’s best feature is the extra bucks.  Many items will have extra bucks deals associated with them.  If you can get these rolling, you may not EVER have to pay out of pocket for your purchases.  This requires a lot of skill, and I admit I have not been as good about these as other coupon promotions.
  5. CVS has a beauty club that you can use in conjunction with the extra bucks deals.  For ever $50.00 you spend on beauty products (makeup, soap, shampoo, etc), you get $5.00 in extra bucks.  Many times CVS will have extra bucks deals already on the makeup (like purchase $20.00 worth of Maybelline products get $10.00 in extra bucks) which when purchased STILL count towards your beauty points!
  6. CVS also has a gift card deal.  When some items go on sale, instead of extra bucks rewards, CVS will have a gift card deal.  If you purchase $30.00 worth of a participating product, you get a $10.00 gift card back.  The best part about this is that you DO NOT have to choose to get your gift card as a CVS gift card.


There are many other stores that you can save big at, but for our area of Central VA, these are the best I’ve been able to find so far.  Check back next time for couponing terminology!


– M


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