Surprises at the cash register are rarely a good thing. We want to be able to walk into a store with confidence, knowing what we want to buy and how much we want to spend.

Couponing should make us feel empowered, not nervous or afraid. The more organized and prepared we are, the more confident we will feel as we walk into the store.

TheKrazyCouponLady.com provides us with great matchups and the ability to make a shopping list of the items we want to buy, but it is important to create a shopping list that is clear and concise.

The matchups provided by The Krazy Coupon Lady often include several possible items and coupons. But a shopping list filled with matchups can be confusing and can lead to mistakes and unpleasant surprises at the register. A well-organized shopping list should have the following information:

Specify Item(s) and Quantity

When there are several possible items that can be used for a matchup, I strongly recommend listing each item. Be sure to include the size and/or type of the item that is on sale. In front of each specific item, include the quantity.

Price Each Item Should Cost Before Coupons

Since KCL is a national site, your local store may not offer the same sale listed in the matchups. Always include the price you expect the item to cost as part of your shopping list.

Expected Sale and/or Discount

Be specific: If there is a sale price of $3.50 when you buy 2, for example, include all of this information for each item to be sure your store is offering all of the discounts and sales you are expecting.

Specific Coupon(s) You Plan to Use 

There are many possible coupons to use with various values. List the specific coupon(s) that you have for each item you want to buy.

Expected Out of Pocket After Coupons and Discounts

Do the math using the quantity, price before coupons or discounts, any sales or discounts, and the coupon(s), to calculate the price you expect to pay out of pocket for each item. Do not count on the OOP price provided by Krazy Coupon Lady, because you may purchase a different item or use different coupons.

Expected Catalinas or Rewards

Catalinas and/or rewards vary from store to store. List all money back or points accumulated to ensure you get the deals expected. Often, items are deeply discounted or free because of Catalinas or Rewards you accumulate to use on a future transaction. I have experienced several transactions that should have printed a Catalina, provided +UP rewards, or Balance Rewards Points that I did not receive. Having a detailed list makes it easier to ask the cashier at the time of purchase and receive the Catalinas or Rewards.

Catalinas, Wellness Points, and/or +Up Rewards Needed for the Transaction

List the type of discount and the total amount that should be deducted.

Total Out of Pocket You Expect to Pay and Total Amount of Catalinas and/or Rewards 

Add up the expected OOP for all of the items, plus the expected Catalinas and/or Rewards for all items in the transaction.

This is an example of a partial shopping list (Note: Because this is a partial list there are no transaction totals):

Buy 2  Dove for Men Body Wash, 12-13.5 oz  $3.50 each, when you buy 2
Buy 2, Receive $2.00 +Up Reward, Limit 2
Use  two $2.00/1 –  Dove Men+Care Body Wash,13.5 oz or Larger, Bar 6pk or Larger or Shower Tool, Excludes Trial & Travel Sizes – (coupons.com)
And use $1.00/1 – Dove Body Wash – (adperk.com)
Pay $2.00, Receive $2.00 +Up Reward
Final Price: Free, when you buy 2

Buy 2 Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, 10 oz $3.50 each, when you buy 2
Buy 2, Receive $2.00 +Up Reward, Limit 2
Use two  $1.10/1 Vaseline Intensive Rescue Body Lotion 10 oz or larger (Target.com)

And use  $1.00/1 – Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion – (adperk.com)
Pay $4.80, Receive $2.00 +Up Reward
Final Price: $1.20 each when you buy 2 

Buy 1 Centrum Flavor Burst Adult Chews, 60 ct $6.99, sale price through 12/1

Buy 1, Receive $1.00 Up Reward through 12/1, Limit 4 

Buy 1, Submit for $2.00 Single Check Rebate through 12/4, One left

 Use $3.00/1 Centrum Flavor Burst Chews, 60 ct or larger, Limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip from RP 11/11 (exp 12/1)

Pay $3.99, Receive $1.00 Up Reward and Submit $2.00 Single Check Rebate

Final Price: $0.99  

Transaction Total:

Amount Due  $XX.XX

Use $13 +Ups from last week

Total OOP $X.XX

Receive $XX +Ups and Submit for $2.00 Single Check Reward for Centrum Flavor Bursts

As you shop, check your list to make sure you buy the right items at the right size to get the sales. Check displays to make sure prices and sales are what you expect. If you don't see the expected price or sale, ask a sales associate. Sometimes the sale simply has not been marked.

After the transaction, check the receipt to make sure all coupons and discounts were applied, and ensure that all Catalinas, +Up Rewards, Points, etc have been received. If you find a mistake, politely ask the cashier immediately for the best chance to resolve the problem.

 This has been a guest post by Heather from Eagle, ID
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