I do my best to respond to as many questions, comments, and emails as I can, but unfortunately, there are many times that I just can’t get to them all. I promise it doesn’t mean I don’t like you! I love reading all your questions and comments, and even if I can’t always answer directly, I hope you’ll keep ‘em coming.
But because a lot of the same questions keep popping up, I thought it was high time that I put together a list of frequently asked questions. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion you may have about certain things, and if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below. I will try to update this list with more answers as often as I can.
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I want to save money with coupons, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?
Yes! Start here, with the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons. It is an eight-week course that breaks down the whole process into manageable “baby steps.”
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Where do I find the free eBook you mentioned in your videos?
Download it here: LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons Free eBook
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How can you use so many coupons at one time? Mine all say “One Coupon Per Purchase.”
A single item is considered a “purchase,” so “one coupon per purchase” really just means you can use one coupon per item. Every once in a while, a coupon will state “one per transaction,” in which case you will only be able to use one at a time.
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How do you save money on meat and produce?
Honestly, I save the most money on meat by not buying a whole lot of it. I am vegetarian, and while my family is not, we usually end up eating a lot of meatless meals. If cutting back on meat is not an option for you, then try to save on meat by watching prices and stocking up as much on possible when there is a good sale.
As far as saving on produce, you can check out my tips here for 7 Ways to Save on Produce.
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What is a money maker?
When the value of the coupons you are using for a product total more than the price of the product, you have a “money maker” situation. Different stores deal with this differently, but at many stores you can use the “overage” to help pay for the remaining items in your transaction. Utilizing money makers is one of the main ways that “extreme couponers” boost their savings percentages!
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What stores offer double coupons in Florida?
As far as I know, there are no stores that offer Double Coupons in Florida. I have heard that it is because of a State Law that prohibits changing values or prices, but I have been unable to verify that information. I have also heard that it is because there is no competition among grocery stores in Florida, but that is unlikely because Winn-Dixie and Publix compete against each other and both stores double coupons in other states. In any case, there are no double coupons in Florida.
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My store doesn’t double coupons! Can I still save money?
Of course! Even without double coupons, I consistently save 70-80% or more on my grocery bill every single week. If you don’t believe me, you can check out my weekly shopping results here.
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Where do I get coupons?
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What is a coupon matchup? How do I match my coupons to the sale prices?
A coupon matchup is simply just a list of a store’s sale prices that are matched up to currently available coupons. The “trick” to saving a lot of money with coupons is not just using them whenever you want, but waiting until an item goes on a great sale and then “matching up” a coupon to the sale to save even more, and to get that item at a “rock bottom” price.
The beauty of using coupons in the age of the internet is that most of the work is now done for you! On Saving Well, Spending Less, the sister site to LWSL, you can find coupon matchup lists for over 30 different national & regional grocery stores, drugstores, & big box stores.
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How will I know if something is a good price for stockpiling?
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Why do you have to do multiple transactions at the drugstores?
The three main drugstores, CVS, Rite-Aid, & Walgreens, all do promotions each week featuring their own “drugstore dollars.” (Extra Care Bucks, Register Rewards, & +Up Rewards.) The key to saving lots of money at the drugstore is learning how to “roll” those drugstore dollars into your next drugstore-dollar netting transaction, thereby spending the least amount of out-of-pocket money as possible.
If you are new to using coupons, I suggest you first get comfortable with the grocery stores before attempting the drugstores, but for more information you can read Parts 5, 6, & 7 of the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons here.
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Help! My coupons won’t print! Can you help me?
I know very little about fixing computer & printer problems, but here are a few troubleshooting tips you may want to try if you are having trouble printing coupons from any of the printable coupon sites:
-Run any software updates that may be available for your computer.
-Check to see if there are any software updates for your printer
-Update to the latest version of Java
-Try using a different web browser. If you have a Mac, use only Safari or Firefox.
-Check your firewall settings. If your firewall is set too strong, your coupons may not print. If you use a wireless router, also be sure to check the firewall settings on your router by connecting your printer directly to the computer.
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What is the difference between a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon, and why can I use both together?
A store coupon is issued by a specific store and will have the name of that store on it. It can be used at that store ONLY, unless you shop at a store that allows competitor’s coupons. It may or may not have a barcode, depending on the store.
A Manufacturer’s Coupon (MQ) is issued by the manufacturer of a specific product. It will generally state “Manufacturer’s Coupon” somewhere on the coupon, has a barcode, and can be used at any store that accepts coupons.
Stores will usually allow “stacking” of both a Store Q and a MQ because while the store bears the cost of their own coupon, they are reimbursed by the manufacturer for MQs. Because the cost is split between the store and the manufacturer, both are allowed.
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What do I do if something is on sale 3 for $5, but my coupon is for $1 off 2?
3 for $5 (or 10 for $10, etc.) sales, unless they specifically say “Must Buy 3 (or 10) to Get Sale Price” is a fancy way of getting you to buy more of an item. Thus, a 3 for $5 sale really just means that something is on sale for $1.67 (not quite as catchy, is it?) , meaning you can buy only two and use your coupon, making them $1.17 each.
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I don’t have a big family. Can I still benefit from using coupons?
Everyone can benefit from using coupons! It doesn’t matter if you are single or have a huge family, have dietary restrictions or eat mostly organic. Granted, the degree to which you save might not be as significant as someone (like me) who is very strict about buying and eating ONLY what is on sale, but any savings is better than none. You can still use the methods and techniques outlined in this site to buy the things that are right for you and your family, in a quantity that is reasonable for the size of your family. Saving $25 a week of your groceries will put an extra $1,300 a year in your pocket. That is a lot of shoes!
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What do I do if my coupon expires before I can use it?
Don’t expect to use all your coupons. Don’t even expect to use half of them. The key to extreme coupon savings is matching up a coupon to a great sale price. Lots of times, a coupon will expire before a sale comes up. And that is okay. More coupons and more sales will come along, and there will always be more match-ups. But if you want to do something useful with your expired coupons, consider donating them to the troops, who can use coupons expired up to 6 months at the Commissary.
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Is it okay to print my coupons in black and white only?
Yes. You will save a lot of money by printing your coupons in black and white. I only ever print in black and white and I have never once had a problem.
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I am afraid to print too many coupons because printer ink is so expensive! How can I save on printing coupons?
If you are serious about saving money with coupons, then I highly recommend investing in an inexpensive black & white laser printer. I personally use the Brother HL2140, but you can purchase the slightly newer Brother HL2240 on Amazon.com for less than $100. A high-yield toner cartridge costs about the same as an ink-jet refill, but will last anywhere from 4 months to a year.
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I know printable coupons can run out quickly & I don’t want to miss out on any? How often should I be checking the coupon printing sites?
An easier way of staying up to date on “hot” printable coupons is to “like” Saving Well Spending Less on Facebook. We check all the coupon printing sites several times a day and post updates anytime there is one we don’t want you to miss.
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How do you organize your coupons?
The way I keep my coupons organized has evolved over the years, and will probably continue to evolve as time goes on. I started by using a Couponizer book, then, as my coupon supply got larger, eventually switched to using a filing system, which I wrote about (and made a video about) here, where I filed my entire inserts by date and then clip only the ones that I needed for a particular shopping trip, based on my coupon matchups. I would still use my Couponizer to store my printables and loose coupons.
Several months ago I decided to try out the binder method, which I wrote about here. While I liked having all my coupons in a portable, ultra-organized format that I could take with me everywhere, I found that clipping ALL my coupons every week was just too much maintenance for me. So now I use a hybrid system that combines the Qubie binder method with the filing method; I use the Qubie to store all my printables, loose coupons, and any super high-value coupons that I notice when the new inserts come out on Sundays. Then I still file the whole insert by date and find the coupons that I need when I make my shopping list.
Don’t be surprised if the way you sort and organize your coupons changes over time too. For more information on where to find these items, go here.
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I don’t understand all these acronyms and abbreviations! Can you please translate?
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I need to find a coupon for something that’s not on sale this week. How do I do that?
Saving Well, Spending Less, in addition to coupon matchups, features a searchable coupon database that you can use to look for current coupons. Just click the big green “Coupon Database” button on the top of the left-hand column.
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There are no good sales this week! What should I do?
Slow weeks happen at every store. Once you have established a stockpile, you will find that you can “ride out” a slow week without much difficulty.
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Why can’t I find a coupon you have listed in my weekly insert?
Coupon inserts can vary greatly by region, with larger metropolitan areas getting “better” coupons than rural areas. If you find that you were missing a specific coupon that you really want to use, you could try ordering it from a clipping service. I have personally used The Coupon Clippers a few times to order coupons that I missed out on. Each time, my coupons arrived in 2 days.
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I’m still only saving 30-40% at the grocery store. How do I save more?
Mega-saving (70-80% or more) on a regular basis takes time. You need to first establish a plentiful and varied stockpile, as well as a good supply of coupons. You also need to commit to buying only what is on sale each week. A few non-sale–especially milk, eggs, dairy, & produce– or impulse items will really affect your bottom line. I personally almost always buy milk at CVS using Extra Care Bucks, and I usually buy eggs at Walgreens using my Register Rewards. But be patient and consistent, and you’ll get there. And remember, ANY savings is better than none!
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