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Couponing Motto: Be Prepared!

Ever wonder how those extreme couponers on TV do it? How do they consistently save 75 or 85 percent on their grocery bill? It’s all about timing. It’s all about having the right coupon at the right time. It’s all about being prepared.

We can pretty much tell what’s on sale across the country just by looking at the orders that come into The Happy Couponer Coupon Clipping Service. We can also tell who was a Girl Scout or Boy Scout because they order large numbers of coupons for items that aren’t on sale – yet. That’s what’s known as “Being Prepared.”

How to Better Utilize Our Clipping Service

We’ve found some of our best bargains just by cruising the store looking for unadvertised specials on products we use every day. For example, a couple of months ago our local Kroger had just one variety of Barilla pasta sauce marked down to 75 cents because it was being discontinued. Because we’re always prepared, we just happened to have a coupon for 25 cents off, which doubles at our store, so we got 20 jars for 25 cents each.

But we were prepared. We had already clipped the coupon because we knew it was an item we use all the time. How prepared are you?

We can always count on getting a lot of orders on Monday and Wednesday – the days most stores put out there new ads. Our couponers check their new ads first and then order coupons to match the ad items, and then it becomes a timing thing, waiting for the mail to arrive, hoping it gets there before the sale ends.

But what if you planned ahead?

Smart shoppers know about sales cycles and they plan ahead. For example, Barilla Pasta Sauce goes on sale about every three months. In fact, everything in the store goes on sale every 3 to 4 months. Generally, when you see a coupon pop up in the insert you know that item will be on sale sometime in the near future. If your family likes Barilla Pasta Sauce you should order multiples of that coupon now so you’re ready when the sale hits.

But it’s even more important to order coupons for your staple items in advance so you can take advantage of those unadvertised specials you’ll trip over. We found those Barilla pasta sauces on a Thursday and they were already almost gone. If we’d had to wait for the coupons to arrive in the mail we never would have got such a great price because they would have been gone.

But what about the cost?

Those 20 coupons for Barilla Pasta Sauce would have cost a total of $1.60 if you’d ordered them from our clipping service and you would have saved $10 on your purchase. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to stockpile every coupon that’s printed every week, but stocking up on a few that you know you’re going to use is definitely worth the investment, and it beats the heck out of buying 10 or 20 Sunday papers every week “just in case”.

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Top 4 Reasons to Use a Coupon Clipping Service

How can you save money if you’re paying someone to clip coupons for you? And how hard can it be to sit down with the Sunday paper and some scissors and clip a few coupons while you’re sipping your morning coffee? Think coupon clipping services are only for the lazy or rich? Think again.

You want to save more money on products you use all the time

Laundry detergent, cosmetics, deodorant, toilet paper, toothpaste… the list goes on and on. Look around your home and you’ll see dozens of items you use on a regular basis.

But what if that toilet paper were on sale for $1 a pack? And what if you also had a coupon for $1 off that pack of toilet paper, making it free when the cashier rings it up? A sale like that only comes along once in a blue moon. If you had enough coupons you could walk out of that store with a year’s worth of free toilet paper.

Using a coupon clipping service to buy multiples of the same coupons – and only the coupons you want – allows you to take advantage of those great deals and save even more money.

You don’t want to buy extra Sunday papers just for a few coupons

Even extreme couponers don’t use every coupon in the Sunday paper, sometimes they only use one or two. If your Sunday paper costs $2 and the coupons you’re clipping only total up to $1 in savings then you haven’t really saved anything. And now you have to haul all those papers to the recycling bin.

You live in an area that doesn’t offer the coupons you’re looking for

It’s a sad fact of a couponer’s life: Manufacturers don’t distribute their coupons to all marketing areas across the nation. It costs advertising dollars to have their coupons included in the inserts so they choose their marketing areas wisely. Your family may love Chicken of the Sea tuna but if it’s not a popular item in your marketing area you may never see a coupon.

On the other hand, there might be a Chicken of the Sea coupon in every Sunday paper in another area of the country and you can get dozens from a coupon clipping service in that area.

You don’t have time to find and clip coupons

Sometimes you’ll find up to three coupon inserts in your Sunday paper, and if you buy multiple papers… well, that’s a lot of flipping and clipping. And what about the inserts your friends, family and neighbors are saving for you? And how much time do you spend dumpster-diving for inserts?

Your time is valuable. Let’s face it, if you’re spending 20 hours a week clipping and sorting coupons then you better be saving a bundle at the grocery store every week. Time equals money and any time you can cut hours out of the coupon process you’re going to be saving even more money in the long run.

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You’re Wasting Money If You’re Not Using A Coupon Clipping Service

We read dozens of other coupon blogs and they all talk about the same thing. We’re even guilty of it ourselves at The Happy Couponer Blog. “Use THIS coupon on THIS item at THIS store and you’ll save THIS much money.” Coupon Match-ups and Deals. Whooohooo! It occurred to us today that when you spend all day long focusing on one coupon it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. And that means that maybe we’re not showing YOU the big picture.

So here’s the message we want to share with you today…

There’s no ONE coupon that’s going to cut your grocery bill in half. There’s no ONE deal that’s going to save you tons of money. You can’t coupon today and forget about it tomorrowand expect to save money. It’s an ongoing process and every single coupon is valuable from the moment it’s clipped until the day it expires.

We spent ZERO dollars on everything you see pictured above – and YOU can, too! Everything you see in the picture above was FREE – 20 boxes of Chicken Helper and 20 4.6 oz tubes of Colgate Toothpaste. The total retail price before coupons and loyalty card discounts was $68.50. Both items are on sale this week at Kroger, priced at 10 for $10, and we had a $.50 coupon for each box and tube. Our store doubles coupons up to $1 so everything you see in the picture was FREE.

Both items were on sale this week in the Get 10 for $10 deal.  EVERY STORE IN THE COUNTRY runs a 10 for $10 sale now – NOT just Kroger!

Now first let’s assume that this is enough Chicken Helper and Colgate Toothpaste to last your family for a year. You’ve just completely CUT $68.50 out of your grocery budget for the year. With just two items.

But what if this will only last your family for six months, or just four?

You keep going back to the store or you make multiple transactions until you get enough to last a full year. Neither of these products will expire so it only makes sense to get a year’s supply while you can get them both for FREE.

But here’s the secret: You have to be prepared for sales like this. We had 20 coupons for Chicken Helper. The coupons are for $.50 off 1 box and our local Kroger store doubles up to $1. If your store doesn’t double, it’s worth it to find a store that does if it means you’ll shave $68.50 off your annual grocery bill with just two products, don’t you agree? And if you can’t find one, $.50 is still a pretty darn good price.

The Chicken Helper coupons we have were included in the September 22 SmartSource and expire on 11/2/2013. Did we know on 9/22 we’d need these coupons? Nope. But we clipped them anyway and we clipped enough to enable us to buy a year’s worth of Chicken Helper if we tripped over a super-good deal. And we happen to think FREE is a pretty darn good deal!

The same goes for the Colgate Toothpaste coupon. We clipped 40 of these coupons for $1 off each tube because that’s how many 4.6 oz tubes of toothpaste we’ll need for a year. You see 20 tubes in the picture right now and we’ll be going back tomorrow for 20 more. And all 40 tubes will be FREE.

That means that with just two items we’ve completely eliminated $102.50 from our annual grocery budget. Imagine what we can do when we start multiplying that by all the products we buy on a regular basis!

What If We Just Used One or Two Coupons – Like You?

Sure, we could have taken one or two of each coupon into the store today. Or even 10 or 12. But eventually we’d run out of Chicken Helper and Colgate Toothpaste and we’d have to buy it again. Only the next time we might not get such a great deal. Seriously. How can you beat FREE?!

Now Do You See The Value Of Using A Coupon Clipping Service?

How many newspapers would you have to buy to get 40 copies of any one coupon and how much would those newspapers cost? You’d eat up all your savings just paying for papers. The total cost for the 40 coupons we used to purchase everything in the picture is just $3.20 – less than the cost of two Sunday papers! You’d still shave more than $65 off your annual grocery bill!

And you can’t just clip one – you need to clip them ALL because you never know when you’re going to trip over a money-maker deal or be able to stock up on a year’s supply of something for FREE. So where would you store all those coupons?

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace, WE do all the clipping, sorting and storing!

Here’s What You Need To Do

  • Stop focusing on that One Big Deal and start focusing on all the products you use on a regular basis. That’s where you’ll see the most savings.
  • Know the prices on all the items you regularly buy so you can recognize a good bargain.
  • Know when you’re getting a good deal and when you’re getting a deal that’s so awesome you should buy an entire year’s supply NOW. (Download our free buying guide to learn more.)
  • Learn which stores in your area accept coupons, and which stores double or even triple coupons.
  • Quit wasting money on Sunday Papers and find a reliable coupon clipping service, like The Happy Couponer.

Plan Ahead For The Future

Now that we have a year’s supply of Chicken Helper and Colgate Toothpaste on hand we can completely deduct $68.50 from our annual grocery budget and put that money to good use elsewhere. But eventually we’re going to need more, right?

Here’s the kicker… Now we have time to wait for another super-awesome deal! Another deal where we can get them FREE again! This is how those Extreme Couponers get all their groceries for FREE or next to nothing. And You Can, Too, but not by buying up every Sunday paper at the corner store.