Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting Bargains at Double & Triple Coupon Events

If you've been reading my blog for a little while, you've probably noticed that I've been getting a ton of deals from double and triple coupon events at my local grocery stores. These events have become more and more common in the past few months, and they are where I've gotten some of my best deals. (Check out here, here, and here to see some of my shopping trips.)

However, if you're new to couponing, these events might seem confusing and little overwhelming, so I thought I would share the process of how to pick up these great bargains at special coupon events.

1) Find a special coupon event at your local store. In my area (Northern VA/DC metro), the stores that have had recent triple coupon events include Shoppers, Bloom, Harris Teeter, and Giant. Kmart has also had several events lately. If you're in the habit of reading your local store circulars every week, you should be alerted about the event a few days before it starts. Another way to search for a local store would be to google something like "triple coupons Illinois grocery store," and see what you can come up with.

2) Read the terms of the event, including the fine print. This is very important, because each store has different restrictions and limits on their double or triple coupon events. For instance, during their events, Bloom and Harris Teeter triple all coupons up to $.99 in original value, with a limit of 20 coupons per day. However, Ingles (a grocery store near my parents in North Carolina) only triples coupons up to $.50 at their events. Shoppers Food Warehouse seems to change their restrictions each time! Their best event is when they triple coupons up to $.50 and double coupons up to $1.00. You can almost always get something free with a doubled dollar coupon! Kmart currently has an event where they double coupons up to $2.00. Wow! Also note that some stores don't take Internet printed coupons, and some only take them up to a certain value. Check the store's website for their coupon policy.

3) Match up bargains. It's too overwhelming to wander through the store with all your coupons trying to triple the coupons in your head and figure out the best deals. Instead, go through your coupons at home and see what might be a good deal. At triple coupon events I tend to focus on two things: sale and coupon matches and the highest value tripled coupon. For instance, if I were going to triple coupons at Harris Teeter, I would check their sales for the week to see if I had a coupon for any of those items that would be tripled. I would also look for all my $.75 coupons, because that is the highest value coupon that they were tripling. (I rarely see coupons with a value between $.75 and $.99.)

Another invaluable resource for preparing for these events is couponing blogs. If you find a good blog that covers your local store, you won't have to do any work at all! These blogs tend to have a list of the best coupon matchups, including items that are free or almost free. All you have to do is make sure you have the corresponding coupons. The blogs I tend to check that cover my area are Frugal in Virginia and Redemption Unlimited. Southern Savers also had a great list of Bloom triple coupons last weekend. To find a local blog, try Be Centsable's The Grocery Gathering, which features links to blogs for a ton of grocery stores each week.

4) Make a list and organize your coupons. With any of my bargain shopping, I have an envelope for each store in which I put all the coupons I think I'll use at that store before I shop. For a triple coupon event, I include any coupon I think I might use, even if I have more than the limit. Sometimes, especially if I'm shopping at a busy time like Saturday afternoon, the stores are out of some of the best deals, so I might substitute a different coupon toward my limit of 20 coupons.

5) Pay attention when you're checking out. This is really a general bargain shopping tip: pay very close attention as your items or coupons are ringing up. Often there are one or two coupons that either don't triple or don't scan altogether. Nine times out of ten they should have scanned or tripled, and the cashier just needs to enter it manually. Occasionally there is a reason that the coupon didn't work (if it says "do not double or triple), and it that case I might just ask the cashier to take the item off my order.

6) Be flexible with what you buy. At double or triple coupon events I can definitely get great deals on items that were on my shopping list (like my yogurt deal last weekend). But when I get free or almost-free items they are often not something I would have purchased anyway. I don't normally advocate buying something just because it's a good deal, but if it's free or $.12 or $.19, what do you have to lose? I won't buy something that would be wasted just because it's free, but that would be the rare food item! I might not have been planning to buy a graham cracker pie crust, but if I get it for free it just means I'll be making pie next time we need a treat. I also have donated or given away a number of items that I have gotten for free or very inexpensively, and it's great to be able to help others so easily.
If you try a double or triple coupon event for the first time, I'd love to hear about your success!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. I love to hear your feedback!