When I first started couponing with my mom, there was really only one kind of coupon—the kind we found in newspapers. Yet, even in those simple times, it was still a challenge to ensure we got all of our deals and saved the most each week at the store!
Today, couponers like you and me have so many more ways to save, which means your pre- and post-shopping organization routine is KEY.
4 Main types of coupons
- Newspaper insert coupons. KCL maintains a comprehensive database of newspaper insert coupons (the inserts you see in your newspaper labeled Red Plum, SmartSource, P&G, etc.).
- Printable coupons. KCL maintains a comprehensive database of printable coupons (the kind you can print out at home before you shop).
- E-Coupons. KCL also maintains a comprehensive database of e-coupons (coupons offered in digital or mobile format for redemption in-store). LEARN MORE ABOUT USING ECOUPONS.
- Catalina coupons. These are the paper coupons that print out after your store receipt when you shop each week. Their purpose is to get you back in the store to save in the future.
Pre-shopping trip coupon organization
Here’s what I do to organize my coupons before heading out to the store to shop.
My pre-shopping organizing checklist looks like this:
- Go through my coupon file box and choose this week's newspaper coupons.
- Next, choose and print this week's printable coupons.
- Review my saved Catalina coupons and select the ones I want to use this week.
- Place all the newspaper, printable, and Catalina coupons I plan to use in my purse.
- Pre-load the e-coupons I want to use onto my grocery store loyalty card.
- Make a note of any rebates or cashback app offers I plan to redeem.
- Update my shopping list, starring each item that has a coupon, highlighting each item that has a rebate or cashback offer, and circling each item where I can stack a manufacturer coupon with an in-store deal and/or cashback/rebate offer.
- On the day of my shopping trip, I also go ahead and tuck my coupon file box into the trunk of my car…just in case.
Organizing for match-ups, unadvertised deals, and cutback offers
Here is what sets "Krazy" couponers apart from the pack: the ability to "stack" in-store and manufacturer coupons to save even more!
Note: If you’re new, "stacking" refers to using more than one deal, coupon, or offer to save more on a single product.
Stacking Example: Dial soap is on my shopping list. Let’s say it’s on special at Target–two bars for $1.50. I also have two Dial coupons I printed from the manufacturer website that are good for $0.50 off purchase of any Dial product. So when I get to the store, I pick up two Dial bars, use both of my $0.50 off manufacturer coupons, and walk out with two Dial soaps for $0.50!
But let's say I then get to the store and discover one of those "unadvertised deals"—the ones that the store doesn't put in its weekly sales flyer.
The in-store deal is for two bags of Doritos (my kids' favorite chips) for $1.99. I happen to know I clipped a Doritos coupon for $0.50 and it’s in my coupon file box, which just happens to be in the trunk of my car! I also pull up my Checkout51 app and find a cashback rebate deal for $0.50 off a Doritos full-size bag of chips.
So I buy the two bags of Doritos for $1.99, scan my Doritos coupon for $0.50 (making my in-store total $1.49), and then when I get home, I open up Checkout51 and scan my shopping receipt to earn $0.50 cashback for my Doritos purchase.
By stacking in-store deals, manufacturer coupons, AND a Checkout 51 app cashback rebate, I've scored two full-size bags of Doritos for my stockpile and paid just $0.99!
Redeeming other in-store deals
Once you’re in the store, you may notice other special coupons or deals (often called "blinkies," "stickies," or "peelables"). These coupons may be placed next to the products or even on the product boxes themselves.
Unless otherwise specified, you can use these coupons and deals right away the same day.
But…don't rely on your cashier to notice that a product has a coupon stuck to its packaging!
Instead, be sure to place these items in a special area in your cart so you can double check that your cashier applies the extra savings at checkout.
4 Steps to nabbing extra savings
After arriving home, you still have a bit more organization to do to capture maximum savings.
Here is my post-shopping trip step-by-step organization process:
- First, I file my Catalina coupons to use for my next shopping trip.
- Next, I complete any paperwork (or online forms) required to redeem any product rebates.
- After that, I scan in my store receipts to Checkout51, Ibotta, or any other cashback rebate apps that are featuring applicable deals.
- Finally, I file away my store receipt(s) (I like to do this by date) in case I need to return an item later or need to find a specific receipt at tax time.