FAQ and Lingo

Here’s some of the frequently asked questions and topics that I have seen across multiple deal forums:

  1. I’m so excited to begin couponing! Where and how do I start? I suggest that people new to couponing simply start small with making a shopping list and doing small coupon trips to your local grocery store, and then “graduating” to new stores once you start to get the handle of it.  Always keep the coupon policy of the store you’re visiting handy, as you might end up (politely, of course) teaching the cashier a thing or two about their own job! I don’t suggest starting at drug stores (CVS, Walgreens) because they are a little more complicated to understand deals for.
  2. I missed a great deal last week on ItemA. Will it ever go on sale again? Sales do come and go, so if you miss out on a great deal on a specific product, another deal for the same or similar product will come up in a few weeks or at a different store.
  3. Just because you have a coupon does not mean it is a deal.  If you don’t want or use the product, why shell out money for it, even with a coupon?  I only buy things that I don’t use if they are a money-maker (see below) in order for me to buy the things I DO need like grocery staples and such.
  4. What’s a money-maker? A money-maker product is one that costs less than the value of the coupon.  For example, Walmart sells the Johnson & Johnson travel-sized first aid kits for $.97.  I have a coupon for $3 off any 2 J&J first aid items, no exclusions.  Walmart will pay me back $1.06 for every two first aid kits I buy with the proper amount of coupons.  I save this money up in order to buy grocery items that do not have a coupon nor are free (fresh fruit, meat, etc.)
  5. R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Please, please, PLEASE remember to be kind and courteous to others in the store, to the people who want to get in on the same deal as you, and to your cashier.  I often hand people a coupon or two for an item that I know I will not need if they are looking at it or if they put it in their cart.  It’s a kind gesture to other shoppers to show them that couponing is cool. When I get to the check-out lane, I try to talk to the cashier a little to make the process not seem so long.  If they have a problem with an item or a coupon, it is because most of them are just trying to follow their store’s rules.  Please do not get angry and upset with them if they will not allow a coupon or deal.  I simply just say “nevermind, I’d like to take that off of the total” and move on.  Like I said earlier, deals come and go, so next time might be a better time for it.  If the problem is with their lack of knowledge on the policy, then simply and kindly pull out your copy of their coupon policy to show and educate them on it.
  6. Why didn’t I get a coupon in my paper’s insert that was listed on the preview site I read?  Coupon inserts vary by region and what paper you buy.  I have noticed that the Eagle has very limited coupons compared to the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, and the Arlington Star Telegram.  Also, coupons can vary greatly by state.  Read the next question for ways to find coupons from inserts that you didn’t get or need more of.
  7. How do I get multiples of a coupon? You can easily pick up more coupons through buying a few more newspapers, ordering them through a clipping service, or through picking up a few more off of the tearpad, blinkie machine, or peelies.  For the tearpads, blinkies, and peelies, please don’t take more than you think you will use.  These three ways of picking up coupons are a *hot* debate on most forums, as some think that taking them is like clearing a shelf and preventing other customers from using it.   You can also ask your neighbors if they would be willing to give you their inserts, or if there is a recycle center near you that you can get them from.
  8. Is it okay for me to clear the shelf if I have enough coupons for the deal? I believe, as well as many other couponers, that it is NOT okay to clear the shelf of a product, simply because it leaves other customers and couponers disappointed that they were not able to score just a few of that item while it was on sale.  Please consider going to multiple stores and pick up just a few each time instead of wiping one store clean of that product for the entire week.
  9. Patience is a virtue.  There are times when you will only be able to save just a small percentage of your bill, and it can get frustrating if you expect to save at least 75% each time.  Remember to keep realistic expectations and to be patient with deals, but have fun finding them!  A penny saved is a penny earned, so no matter how much you save, it’s money you wouldn’t have saved if you were shopping without coupons or a store card!
  10. What is the best way to organize my coupons? There are a multitude of ways to organize and store your coupons.  I prefer the binder method, as it allows me to sort the coupons how I want with the ability to see up to 9 at a time by using the baseball card pages.  Other people I know use a binder, but take only the coupons they know they will use in a pencil pouch to the store, an accordion file folder, a box, envelopes, or even plastic baggies.  I suggest that you try out a couple different methods before investing heavily in one way and then realizing you don’t like it.  If you choose the binder option, I suggest getting a zippered binder so in case you drop it, your coupons won’t go flying all over the floor. 🙂
  11. What does “doubling” and “tripling” mean? Some grocery stores will double and/or triple the value of your coupons for even more savings.  Not all areas offer this, as the Houston area Kroger stores recently stopped all doubling and tripling of coupons, as well as putting a limit on the number of identical items you can buy with coupons.  Check your store’s coupon policy to see how they handle any doubling or tripling and any limits on it.  As of right now, B/CS and D/FW area Kroger stores are the only ones in Texas that will still double/triple; D/FW stores allow 3 identical coupons to double/triple per transaction, while B/CS has no limit that I am aware of.  I am unsure about any of the other chains at the moment, as we don’t have many to choose from in B/CS.

Feel free to contact me for any other questions you may have about couponing!

Coupon Lingo & Abbreviations:

  • AC = After Coupon(s) (as in, “I used 4 MQs and 3 TQs, so my total AC was $1.23.”)
  • BC = Before Coupon(s) (as in, “My total BC was $56.78.”)
  • BOGO = Buy One, Get One free
  • Blinkie = In store, on aisle coupon dispenser with blinking LED light
  • GM = General Mills (insert)
  • HTH = Hope That Helps
  • MM = Money maker
  • MQ = Manufacturer’s Coupon
  • MPP = Multiples Per Page
  • OOP = Out of Pocket
  • OOS = Out of Stock
  • PA = Price Adjustment
  • P&G = Proctor & Gamble (insert)
  • PM = Price Match
  • Peelie = Peel away coupon on retail package
  • RP = Redplum (insert & coupon site)
  • Q = Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source (insert & coupon site)
  • VQ = Vendor Coupon
  • YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary (as in, something may or may not work for you)
This information was accumulated by myself through my own knowledge as well as an accumulation of other information I found in various other blogs and sites over time.

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