Thursday, June 26, 2008

Triple your savings

Today a word about triple coupons. Triples are when stores triple the face value of a coupon. In our area several stores occasionally offer triple coupons. I read a rumor on Hot Coupon World that Harris Teeter may offer triples the weekend after July 4th. The stores in this area will triple up to .99, which means a .25 coupon has a value of .75 and a .50 has a value of 1.50.

Here is my preparation for triples strategy. Once the store has officially announced it either with a sign, something on their website or a confirmation on a coupon message forum, I start going through my coupons. I pull coupons with a .50-.90 denomination. Mostly a lot of .75 as those will be worth 2.25. Pay close attention to the bar code on the coupon if it starts with a 9 be warned it will not double or triple.

Once you have your coupons gathered you need to know whether or not the item will be a good deal. Just because you have a coupon does not mean the item will be a bargain. I look at the sale circular first and pull coupons that match up to the items that are on sale. For example let's say Oscar Mayer hot dogs are on sale for 2/$4 and I have a .55 coupon. That coupon will triple to 1.65 making the hot dogs .35 a pack.

After I have gone through the sale circular I look for the regular priced items and unadvertised sales to find deals. There are a couple ways to do this. You can make a reconnaissance trip to the store and go up and down the aisles and write the prices down. I usually write the price on the coupon that way when I get home I can figure out if it will be something I want to purchase. I usually try to make my recon trip the day before triples. You have to be aware of the day the sale cycles start though. Most grocery ads come out on Wed, so if your store is running triples starting Thurs, if you go Wed you will be able to see the current sale prices on the sales tag on the shelf. Most stores will have a date somewhere on the sales tag that tells you how long that sales price is good for. The other way is to take advantage of the online shopping websites through your grocery stores. Harris Teeter is Express Shopping and here is Lowes Foods . You don't have to buy the items online just use their websites to search for the items you have coupons for and see what their prices are. Keep in mind that different areas may charge different prices for the same things, but you can get a general idea if the item will be a deal or not.

Some key points:

Know your stores policy: Harris Teeters official policy states 20 per day; however it is possible to use your VIC card up to 5 times in one day. Same things at Lowes Foods. I usually go through the line, take my items to the car, come back in and start the process all over again. Some people are bold enough to take a cart up there and split it up, I however find that rude to other people waiting behind you in line and I think you are drawing attention to yourself. If you were to use 20 coupons per transaction for 5 transactions each day spread over 3 days that is the possibility of redeeming 300 coupons! That is some serious savings ladies! Also Harris Teeter and Lowes limits you to 4 of each item per transaction. Those hot dogs I told you about, I could only use 4 coupons to purchase 4 packs per transaction. The idea behind this rule is so one person doesn't go in and wipe a shelf clean of something. Harris Teeter will only let you use two Internet printables per transaction. I have not seen this enforced, but it is their policy.

Make a cheat sheet: Do the math for each possible face value of a coupon on a 3x5 index card. That way you won't have to remember that a .55 coupon is really worth 1.65.

Be Organized and have a plan of attack: Group your coupons you plan to use according to the layout of the store. I usually start getting all my non-perishable items on my first few trips and end with the dairy, meat and frozen. That way you if you are making several trips at one time your ice cream is not melting in your car while you are in the store getting your free toothpaste.

I promise you it is addicting!! Please comment on your past triple sucesses and once you experience a triple come back and tell me about it.

See you at the sale!


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