Monday, August 25, 2008

Shopping with coupons: lessons learned

Shopping during double and triple coupon days has been quite a learning experience for me. Here are the lessons that I learned:

1) if the stores are not doing this promo often, there is a great chance that they are not prepared to handle all smart shoppers that will jump in on an extra-savings opportunity. The doubling/tripling coupons started last Thursday, and there were only 3 checkout lanes open on Thurday night. The lines were huge and it took forever to check out.

2) if this is a limited-time action (ours was 4-day only promo), it will likely attract customers who may not normally shop in the store, but have a bunch of coupons to redeem. Not only this would add to the checkout time, you would also face your competition: searching for the same items you have coupons for, sometimes beating you to them and emptying the shelves if something's a particularly good deal.

3) speaking of the deals, with double and triple coupons they are awesome! I made one more trip to Shoppers during promo days (I needed to deposit my checks from surveys and reward programs, MySurvey and InboxDollars mostly, and my bank is conveniently located in Shoppers) and matched my coupons more carefully that time. Got a few products free or better:
  • Crab Classics imitation crabmeat (on sale for $1.99 each, free with doubled $1 coupon from here, limit 2 printouts per PC);
  • Easy Mac (on sale 10/$10 - 2 pks free with doubled $1/2 coupon from the most recent paper)
  • Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (reg. $1.59/lb - better than free with doubled $1 coupon from the most recent paper)
  • Mt.Olive relish (2/$3 - free with tripled $.50 coupon from the paper)
  • French's mustard (priced between $1.20 and $1.34 - better than free with tripled $.50 coupon from the paper)
  • Rice-a-Roni or Pasta-Roni (10/$10 or 8/$10 - better than free with tripled $.50 coupon from here)
  • I also got a loaf of French bread free for a survey that printed at the bottom of my receipt last time around.
4) although it may be very tempting, next lesson is: do not try to redeem each and every coupon that you have. Just because it can be doubled or tripled doesn't mean you're getting the best deal: the product may be on sale at a competitor's store and you can get a better deal with the coupon redeemed for the face value there.

5) don't get discouraged if you can't redeem all the coupons you have! :) I have observed a couple trying to find ALL the items for ALL the coupons and getting very upset if they couldn't. It's not the end of the world. Seriously.

6) shop on Saturday. Our crazy sale run Thursday thru Sunday. All the early birds flew in on Thursday, and most of the folks I know were going to shop there on Sunday: they had to take the advantage of the promo, but needed to find/clip/organize their coupons. That leaves Friday when a lot of folks stock up for the upcoming weekend, and Saturday... when it was nice: some of the stuff that was sold out on Thursday got re-stocked and there were very few people in the store :)

7) it helps to organize the coupons by aisles. After the first trial run, I had a pretty good idea what is located where, and when I put my coupons in the order I'd expect to see the products in the store, it was a breeze to find what I needed.

8) if the coupon says "do not double" it doesn't mean it won't double at the register. This is something that I learned from comments to my earlier post, but haven't tried this time around. All the coupons I had doubled and tripled correctly (but none said "do not double" as I had separated and left those at home)

This was fun! :)
I hope Shoppers (or any other grocery store in our area) does it again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow...special days to use multiple coupons?? At BJ's Wholesale Club, they accept both manufacturers’ coupons from the Sunday newspaper – or print them online from sites like or – and BJ’s own coupons that can be found in-club or on their website at .

BJ’s allows multiple coupons to be redeemed on multi-packs of “individual for sale” packaged items. An example would be: BJ’s sells a 3 pack of tooth paste that is normally sold and packaged as individual items in other major retail stores; you could use up to three coupons on this type of packaging in addition to many other items.

Not already a Club member…go to for a free shopping pass... and let the extra savings begin!

Hope this is helpful to many!