You can find Couponing Tips #1 here and Couponing Tips #2 here and an intro to Couponing message here.
So for Couponing Tips #3, I want to talk with you about lingo. All these couponing terms that you will see here at Carter Chaos and also on other couponing blogs or on couponing shows or discussions. This is by far not everything, but should help you get started! I love questions and comments so don't hesitate to post! If there is a term I don't mention here, be sure to ask and I will give a definition if I can!
Stockpiling- Stockpiling does NOT mean hoarding but stockpiling can become hoarding. Stockpiling simply means purchasing items in a quantity to "stock" up for your family. A sensible stockpile should be 3-4 months worth of product for your family. For example you might have 4-6 deodorants on hand or for a family of four you might keep 8 toothbrushes on hand. These are just example numbers. Your personal stockpile should be based on items you and your family will use that you have PROPER space to store them. I DO NOT advocate 60 boxes of cereal under your bed (heard of mice & bugs??) or 90 bottles of salad dressing (that stuff goes bad!). I do stockpile though. I pick up multiples of things when there is a good sale on them and/ or I get a good coupon for them. 3-4 months is the basis because that is how often sales usually cycle.
Shelf Clearing- Shelf Clearing means purchasing every one of an item available in a store. I DO NOT advocate shelf clearing. You do not need to buy 20 of the same item. Period. Leave some for everyone else. Especially now that more & more people are getting into couponing, we are going to all be looking for the same items. Be generous to your neighbors. Buy 2-3 of an item. If you need more, ask a store employee if there are more in the back or when they will be restocked and come back. If you do want a massive amount of an item, call the store manager and ask for a special order of 50 deodorants (or whatever.) They will usually be happy to accomodate you. Obviously if there are only 1 or 2 items left in a store, then you can/ will take them. That's okay. Don't buy out everyone though if they just restocked the shelf. That's rude.
Stacking- Some store policies allow you to stack coupons. That usually means using a store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon on the same item. For instance this month Walgreens has a store coupon in the May coupon booklet for Tylenol Precise cream. I also have a manufacturers coupon for Tylenol Precise cream. I can stack the store coupon with the manufacturer's coupon for 1 tube of cream. Always check your store policies! There is a tab at the top of the blog with some store policies and links to other policies. Speaking of store policies.....
Store Coupon Policies- All stores have a policy about how they accept coupons. For some companies, like Walmart and Target, that policy is a Corporate policy meaning every one of their stores follows the same policy. Other stores like Kroger have a regional policy. Those policies can vary from region to region, state to state, and sometimes even store to store. You are always allowed to ask the particular store its policy. You can call ahead, email, or walk up to the service desk when you arrive at the store. Policies change often so make sure you periodically check for changes and if available print a copy and carry in your binder for reference.
Cashier Profiling- Let's just be honest, some cashiers are much easier to get along with than others. Some cashiers act as though every coupon you use takes a $1 out of their pocket, some act as though coupons are a hassle and you are a poor beggar if you use them. Avoid those cashiers. Find cashiers who are pleasant and customer service oriented. Try to avoid Coupon Nazis. They are out there and they don't want you to save a buck! If more than one cashier is available in your store, choose one that seems to be more coupon friendly. It will make your transaction much more pleasant. Men tend to be more coupon friendly and younger seems to be friendlier than older when it comes to coupon transactions. It seems very unkind to say but it makes a difference! Also your best defense is to come to know cashiers at the store's you frequent. Be polite and kind to cashiers, managers, stockers. If they are your friends you will walk away happier after every visit!
Coupon Binder- a 2 inch- 3 inch zippered binder with baseball card holders and dividers to hold and organize your binder. You can also use an accordian file folder. You really need to have a large storage and organization system if you are going to be "serious" about couponing. Otherwise you will quickly get overwhelmed with the number of coupons you have. Soon I will post some pics and info about my binder!
So not an extensive list but maybe enough to get started!