Couponing 101/Rebating 101

Couponing 101
If you have absolutely no idea how to do this couponing thing, you are in the right spot. You have already taken the first step-you found "Couponing"--A Mom's Sport! Information on the blog is constantly being updated for beginners and extreme couponers. Believe me, extreme couponers still learn new things about couponing. 
My plan to help you is to give you tips and information you need. I want to help you learn how to save A LOT of money on groceries, health and beauty products, cleaning supplies, toys, clothing, baby products and much more by using coupons. Couponing starts out as a time investment, but if you are consistent, you will be a pro in just a few weeks. Let the savings begin!!!

Stephanie's Binder Method:
Setting up a coupon binder is a lot of work-but well worth it when it comes to saving on your grocery bill.
With this method you clip all coupons you will use and file them into baseball card inserts organized by dividers into a three-ring binder (one that zips around the edges is the best). Accordion files are used to organize store coupons.
Plastic envelopes accompany you on your weekly shopping trips holding your list with matching coupons. While shopping, only your envelope goes into the the store with you. This allows you to purchase items only on your list.

Coupon Lingo:
Manufacturer Coupon (MANU)
A Manufacturer Coupon is put out by companies in newspapers or online. A MANU can be combined with store coupons (check store policies). Make sure to read small print of MANU coupons. Coupon will state Manufacturer Coupon, usually located at the top. You can also request coupons from your favorite companies websites.
Store Coupon (SC)
A Store Coupon is a coupon put out exclusively by the store, which it is redeemable. Always try to match a store coupon with a MANU, if possible, for more savings. Check store policies.
Competitor Coupon (CC)
A Competitor Coupon is a SC that can be used at another store. A few businesses that accept CC are dry cleaners, hair salons and pharmacies. Check coupon policies or call your local stores.
Rain Check (RC)
A Rain Check is slip of paper given to a customer when a store is out of a particular item needed. If a store is out of an item on your list, ask for a rain check. You can use the rain check next time you shop at their store. Rain checks are only redeemable at the store where issued.
Buy One, Get One (BOGO)
Buy One, Get One is when you purchase one product, you receive one (being same product) for half off or free. This is usually a good deal, but not always the best. A plus to BOGOs is you can use multiple MANUs.
Mail in Rebate (MIR)
A Mail in Rebate is receiving money or credit in the mail for a purchase. This process (usually) requires filling out a form, and mailing it with the original receipt and UPC code (Universal Product Code). When you purchase an item you can receive a MIR for, you do have to pay upfront, but receive all, or part of it back. The turn around time for a MIR is usually 8-10 weeks, but well worth the wait.
Out of Pocket (OOP)
Out of Pocket is the money you are required to pay upfront.
Catalina (CAT)
A Catalina is a paper coupon you receive for promotions the manufacturer offers to customers for additional savings. CATs are the slips of paper that print out of the machine next to the register. They are a fantastic way to help shrink your grocery bill.

Where to Find Coupons:
Coupons come from a variety of sources. Below is a list of types of coupons and where to find them.
Manufacturer Coupons: Manufacturer coupons, also known as MANUs, are issued by the manufactures as an enticement to purchase their product. A great place to find MANUs is the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts. Coupon inserts are published in the newspaper every week, except for major holiday weekends. Use Sunday Coupon Preview to double check for inserts before purchasing your local Sunday newspaper.
Store Coupons: Store coupons, also known as SCs, are issued by the store you are shopping at and can only be used at that store. A lot of stores will let you use a  SC and a MANU together, this is referred to as "stacking coupons".
Catalina Coupons: Catalina coupons are in one easy location-at the register. You receive these coupons when the cashier gives you your receipt. Not all stores provide their customers with catalinas. Catalinas are either SCs or MANUs. 
Printable Coupons: Printable coupons are coupons you print from the internet. Printables are both SCs and MANUs. Visit "Couponing"--A Mom's Sport for a list of printable coupon websites.
Blinkies: Blinkies are found in grocery stores in little black boxes hanging on the shelf in front of the product. Coupons that are inside Blinkie machines are MANUs.
eCoupons: eCoupons are one of my favorites! They are digital coupons online. You simply upload coupons to your store rewards cards. eCoupons can not be stacked and they do not participate in double/triple.
Tearpads: Tearpads are simply what they sound like, tearpads. These are found in various locations throughout grocery stores. Tearpads normally supply MANU coupons.
Hangtags: Hangtags are coupons that are literally hanging from a product. Hangtags are normally MANU coupons.
Peelies: Peelies are peel-away stickers placed on products. This is a great enticement to purchase products. Peelies are normally a MANU coupons.

Stores and Coupon Policies:
What grocery stores and drug stores are in your area? Make a list and collect each of their coupon policies. Browse online or ask the cashier next time you are in the store. Become familiar with their store coupon polices. After taking time to know the policies, the stores you thought were to expensive to shop at, are now going to be your best stores to go to. 
A few things you need to know at the top of your head about each store you shop at:
-How many like coupons will double/triple?
-What is the value that will double/triple?
-Are internet printed coupons accepted?
-Can I stack coupons?
-Are competitors coupons (CC) accepted? 
-Will I receive overage?

Other Tips & Tricks:
-Ask for a raincheck.
-Look for coupons in the store.
-Buy the smallest size possible. 
-Get a loyalty card for each store that offers them.

Rebating 101

You have made it through Couponing 101, and now know to combine sales and coupons to maximize your savings. It is now time to take it up a notch. Rebates! Rebates will save you lots of money and you will LOVE it! 

Another way manufacturers reel you in to purchase their products are rebates. Rebates are offers that will get your money back in the form of a check. Completing rebates ON TIME is the most difficult task. Once you complete a few, you will be hooked!

Rebate Process:
To request a rebate, you must have an official rebate form. These are found in stores, printable from on-line, newspaper inserts, magazines, etc. You do have to keep your ORIGINAL receipt (Cash Register Tae-CRT) as a proof of purchase. You will also need to keep the Universal Product Code (UPC), which is the bar code that is scanned when you check out. Rebate forms are very specific-if you do not send each item the form requests or completely fill out your rebate form, you will not receive your rebate. Rebates will be rejected if you send in a photocopy of the receipt. Rebate requests must also be received by the company by their due date. Companies will dispose rebate request that are received past date. 

Receiving your check for your rebate request can take from 2-15 weeks, depending on the company. Rebate forms state how long it will take for your check to come in.

Tips for Rebating:
-Read the form completely. 
-If the form states "one per household", do not waste time sending a form in for each person in your house. You will only receive one. Companies categorize rebates by address. 
-Completely fill out form and attach all needed materials and make sure they are going to be received by their due date. 
-Always hand write information on rebate forms.
-Circle the item purchased on the receipt for each specific rebate. This saves a lot of rejects.
-Check to see if your rebate requires a certain size envelope. Tape the envelope shut, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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