General Coupon Info & Help

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General Coupon Info & Help

Below is information that may help you if you’re beginning your frugal adventures into couponing.  I’m by no means an expert, but I do use coupons just about every time I shop and have since my husband and I were married in 1997.  I even used coupons when I was one of the few people to whip out my trusty coupon organizer in the store — an old junk-mail envelope!  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or if you’d like to share a deal on our website.  Enjoy your savings!  :)

Coupon Lingo
You’ll encounter a lot of terminology when using coupons. Use this list of coupon lingo to help you:

  • $/# = This is often seen when listing a specific coupon in a matchup.  For example, $1/2 would be read as $1 off of two items.
  • B1G1 or BOGO = Buy one, get one free.  B1G2 would be buy one, get two free.
  • Blinkie = A coupon that prints from a small machine typically located near the product in the store.
  • Catalina = A coupon or ONYO coupon that prints out of the little machine near the register.  Click here to read more about Catalinas.
  • ECB = Rewards earned at CVS.
  • EXP = Expires
  • IVC = These are Walgreens coupons found in their monthly booklets, print ads, and seasonal/specialty booklets.  The monthly booklets can be found at the front of the store (in a rack where the weekly ads are placed).
  • MFR = Manufacturer
  • MIR = Mail in Rebate
  • NLA = No Longer Available
  • OOP = Out of Pocket
  • OOS = Out of Stock
  • OYNO = On Your Next Order
  • P&G or PG Insert = Procter and Gamble insert found in your Sunday paper.
  • Peelie = A coupon attached to a product in the store.  The peelie may be for the item it’s attached to or another product.
  • Q = Coupon
  • Raincheck = These are slips you may request at customer service if a sale item is out of stock.  Some sales specifically exclude issuing rainchecks and some stores put an expiration date on the raincheck.  Walgreens will not issue rainchecks for a register reward item.  They will, however, issue a raincheck for an item that is on sale.
  • RP or RP Insert = RedPlum insert found in your Sunday paper or mailed to your home (in some locations – not mailed in North Texas).
  • RR = Register reward you receive at Walgreens.
  • SS or SS Insert = SmartSource insert found in your Sunday paper.
  • Tear Pad = A pack or pad of coupons located near the product in the store.
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary.  This means that a deal posted may not be possible at all store locations.  For example, someone may post an amazing deal at Best Buy and make a note that YMMV because of available stock.
  • Reading a coupon listed in a matchup:

$0.75/1 Fiber One Cereal 6/10/12 SS Insert (exp 07/21/2012) -or-
$0.75/1 Fiber One Cereal, exp. 6/10/12 (SS 07/21/12)
This means the 75¢ off of one Fiber One Cereal coupon found in the 6/10/12 SmartSource insert (and the coupon expires on 7/21/12).  The inserts have the dates printed on the spines, or outer edges, of the insert packet.  It should also list the newspaper in which it was found in.

Get Your Coupons
You’ll need to start out your frugal adventures by collecting coupons.  Use the resources below to begin your coupon collection.

Organize Your Coupons
There are many methods you could use to organize your coupons.  I do have a coupon binder but I rarely keep it updated.  I tend to resort to my old-time favorite method – just cutting the coupons I know I can find a great deal on and storing them in pencil bag in my purse. I keep the rest of the insert intact and put a post-it with the newspaper date on the stack of leftover inserts.  The inserts are then stored in my office at home and I can go back to the stack later if I find a sale.  This isn’t the most organized method and I often find a sale and have to come home to get the coupon that I need.  You’ll have to find the method that works best for you.  :)   Here’s my coupon binder and pencil bag (click to enlarge the images):

Download my coupon tab pages:  CLICK HERE

I have sheet protector tab pages for each category in my coupon binder.  Behind the tab pages are 9-slot baseball card pages.  The binder is a 3 inch heavy-duty Avery binder I purchased at Walmart with a gorgeous handmade cover I purchased from Stylin’ Binders.

The tab pages and baseball card pages were purchased from Amazon:

9-slot Baseball Card Pages I Use:
Ultra Pro Silver Series 100/9 Pocket Page Protectors

Sheet Protector Tab Pages I Use: Avery Protect and Tab Top-Load Clear Sheet Protectors with Eight Tabs, Letter Size (74161 )

Where I Shop
I only shop at a few stores in my area – Walgreens, Walmart, Albertsons (occasionally), Aldi, and Kroger.  If you’re just starting out, I would recommend couponing at a few stores rather than attempt to shop at them all.  You might miss a great deal, but I promise you that same deal will come around again.
Newspapers for the North Texas Area

I’m often asked how many newspapers I purchase each week.  It depends on the week but typically three:  one Dallas Morning News delivered on Sundays, and one (FREE) Al Día and one (FREE) Briefing delivered on Saturdays.  I’ll occasionally purchase a Denton Record-Chronicle.  The Al Día, Briefing, and Denton Record-Chronicle coupon inserts usually contain fewer coupons than the Dallas paper.  EXCEPTION:  For those weekends when there is only a P&G insert, it’s better to purchase the less expensive newspaper as P&G inserts are the same regardless of newspaper. 

Below are links to the newspapers serving the North Texas area.  Al Día and Briefing are both free and deliver Saturday editions that contain coupons (most of the time – sometimes the coupons are missing).  I live in Denton and have Al Día and Briefing delivered to our home.