Chat With The Coupon Mom

Let's sit down for a chat with Stephanie Nelson, a.k.a. The Coupon Mom.

Smitty says: Greetings MyTMMO members! Welcome to tonight's live chat with the nationally-famous Coupon Mom!
Bangalee57 says: thanks Smitty
Kippers_2008 says: hi smitty
BlackZ28 says: Hello Smitty
Smitty says: The rules here are simple. We'll put names on a list and call on you ONE at a time to ask your question!
Smitty says: To start us off...
Smitty says: If you would like to ask The Coupon Mom a question, type "question" in the chat room and we'll add your name to the list. When it's your turn, we'll call your name.
Lula24 says: Howdy!
Smitty says: Okay great guys!
Smitty says: Teacher4Ever, your question is up first!
Teach4Ever says: I tried using coupons that I printed online and my grocery store said no way. Is there a way around this?
CouponMom says: Good question! The best approach is to know what your store's internet coupon policy is: check their site or email their customer service to have a printout. Then you can speak to the manager, show the policy.
CouponMom says: Also, you want to print the coupon but don't cut it out so you can show the manager it is printed from a legitimate website.
Smitty says: Great answer. Does that help Teach4Ever?
CouponMom says: Finally, many stores' websites have printable coupons on them now. So I suggest you print some from that and if they don't accept them at the store, you can gently inform them that their own website has them!
Teach4Ever says: I did see a kiosk in the store, so maybe they have changed their policy. I'll check into it more. Thanks
Smitty says: Awesome job on the first question! Okay Jim.Knott, looks like it's your turn to ask your question!
Jim.Knott says to CouponMom: I am a single man...I have tried clipping coupons for groceries, but the products don't seem practical. At least the coupons I find in the newspaper. What are other sources and what strategies can I use to find coupons for the products I use?
CouponMom says: Newspaper coupons are your best first source, you can preview what they are on Saturday afternoons at couponmom.com, called the grocery coupon database, to see it's worth buying extra copies. You'd be surprised--toothpaste, shampoo, staples,
CouponMom says: If you shop at a Kroger or Kroger-owned store you can also get electronic coupons--go to kroger.com for those free coupons. You select the coupon and it's added to your store card, automatically deducted. Try those!
Jim.Knott says to CouponMom: thank you very much.
Smitty says: Good advice! That help Jim.Knott?
Jim.Knott says to CouponMom: absolutely!
Smitty says: Awesome. HoltMom it's your turn to ask a question!
HoltMom says: what are the best sites to buy coupons from and how long do they take to arrive
CouponMom says: I am not an advocate of buying coupons, actually. Coupons do say at the bottom that they are not to be sold. However, you can get all the coupons you need if you are a charity shopper and collect coupons in a box at church or work
CouponMom says: The Cut Out Hunger concept is simply that if you have multiple coupons and an item is free with a coupon, you have extras you can donate. When you are a charity shopper, people love to give you their circulars because most people don't use them
CouponMom says: Collection boxes easily get dozens of circulars, at absolutely no cost!
Smitty says: Good answer. Does that help out HoltMom?
HoltMom says: yes . thank you
Smitty says: Cool! Okay...Bumper it's your turn to ask a question for Coupon Mom!
Bumper says: my question is on the electronic coupons. do they have expiration dates? would you be able to add it to more then 1 grocery store to a coupon?
CouponMom says: Right now electronic coupons are only available at Kroger and Kroger-owned stores, and Giant Eagle's site has a few. With Upromise eCoupons you can select more than one store and the first store where you buy the item gets the coupon redemption.
CouponMom says: The neat thing about electronic coupons is that you can combine them with paper coupons. So look for match ups on sale items and save even more, I got a freebie this week with that fun tricks.
Bumper says: stores will accept both?
CouponMom says: The cashier accepts the paper coupon and the electronic coupon is automatic. I expect at some point they'll change their software but at this point the electronic coupon companies I work with have approved my sharing of that strategy.
Bumper says: better way to save money for us! thanks for the tip
CouponMom says: you are welcome!
Smitty says: Good question and answer. Alright "DREnlightened" it's your turn to ask a question!
DREnlightened says to Smitty: I live in a small town. The grocery stores in my area do not double coupons. Would you recommend the 20-30 minute drive to a store that doubles coupons?
CouponMom says: Only if the math were really amazing. What I'd suggest is that you become an expert at your nearby stores' savings policies. Even if stores do not double coupons, they most likely have other advantageous savings policies that you can use.
CouponMom says: For example, find out if they accept competitors' coupons. If so, that opens up a lot of possibilities. My store does, so when I received a $5 off coupon for CVS by email this week, I was able to take it with me to the grocery store and get $5 off.
DREnlightened says to Smitty: would you recommend doing a price book in this case? CouponMom says: Also find out if they accept printable coupons, if they have their own store coupons. Most stores will allow you to combine a store coupon with a manufacturers' coupon on the same item.
CouponMom says: I always recommend doing a price book!
DREnlightened says to Smitty: Thank-you.
Smitty says to Internettie: Good stuff gang. Next on the list it looks like "Internettie" has a question for the Coupon Mom!
Internettie says: We buy a lot of fresh foods (fruits, veggies, meats, whole grains) how do we save with coupons?
CouponMom says: Look for coupons for those items. For example, this week I bought fresh broccoli with a coupon printed from the Target website (from last week), $1 off. I also bought Fresh Express spinach with a store coupon and a mailer coupon, paid 69 cents, not 2.69
CouponMom says: And there are other ways to save in the produce dept. without coupons. Ask the produce manager if they do markdowns. Mine does, at 8:30 in the AM, I get yesterday's perfectly good lettuce, carrots, etc. at half price.
Internettie says: I didn't know about that. Thanks!
CouponMom says: And always weigh what you buy when it is per unit. For example, I get romaine lettuce at 1.39 a bunch. One day I found the largest bunch was 2 lb. and the smallest was 1 lb. I know which one my husband would come home with!
Internettie says: Good advice. I'll do that.
CouponMom says: I guess I should clarify that I'm the grocery shopper in the family--I'd weigh them all and get 2 lbs!
Smitty says: I have to admit, even I'm learning a thing or two tonight. Okay, looks like JoeRitaS is next up with a question for Coupon Mom!
JoeRitaS says: We live in Florida , and I've only found Kmart to randomly offer double coupons. The next best thing is Publix that does the BOGO Free with coupons off each item. Are there other strategies that I could try?
CouponMom says: Publix is great at store coupons plus manufacturers' coupons. Watch for their green Publix Advantage Buy flyer, filled with good store coupons. Then keep an eye out for match ups with printable and newspaper coupons.
CouponMom says: And ask your Publix if they accept competitors' coupons. Mine does, they even have a button on the register for it. If they do, that is almost as good as double coupons. And you use 2 coupons for a BOGO deal if you have them, I'm sure.
JoeRitaS says: yes, I'll check the competitor's coupon policy tomorrow, thank you!
CouponMom says: You are welcome!
Smitty says: Great question JoeRitaS. According to my list, "KAKnoch" it's your turn to ask a question!
KAKnoch says: I have heard that military families can use expired coupons, even overseas. Is this true? I have an address of someone collecting these coupons and sending them overseas, but first I wanted to understand how this works.
CouponMom says: When you think of competitors coupons, consider the drugstore flyer coupons, the in-store coupon catalogs at Walgreens and Rite Aid too.
KAKnoch says: If this is doing those families good things then I would really like to do this...
CouponMom says: The policy is that OVERSEAS military bases accept coupons up to 6 months after their expiration date. If you have a base address and know people who want them, it's a really wonderful thing to do. It only costs domestic postage.
KAKnoch says: ok cool I am glad this is not some kind of scam, totally worth the postage... and I have sooo many that are expired! thanks!
Smitty says: Another thing I never knew. Great question and answer. Okay...next up to bat is "AggieMike88" with a question!
AggieMike88 says: Since I never did much couponing, I'm very much a newbie in this regard. So my question is 2 parts. First, can you share with us a brief overview of what your site offers us? Second, what do I need to do to take advantage of eCoupons for a store
AggieMike88 says: such as Kroger... and finally, any other advice for us that should be getting started to save money with coupons?
CouponMom says: First, the easy one. For ecoupons, go to Cellfire.com, Shortcuts.com and Upromise.com. Also go to Kroger.com to use their Esaver coupons.
CouponMom says: Second, the Coupon Mom site figures out the best grocery deals at dozens of grocery and drugstore chains across the country so you don't have to. We also have online databases of the coupons that come out in the newspaper making those much easier to use.
AggieMike88 says: when you find various deals, do you provide links to them?
CouponMom says: Finally, we aggregate the best printable grocery coupons in one place, our primary links do not even require registration, just print. There are MANY "coupon" sites out there that claim to give you printable coupons but they end up giving you spam.
AggieMike88 says: Oh, so I can also print out the printable ones
CouponMom says: When we find deals, we provide a list of them and members select and print the items they'd like. On each coupon deal, we tell you where to find the coupon. (e.g. printable, newspaper or electronic) and we also let you know if there's an extra promotion
CouponMom says: For example, you might go in Kroger and see that Quaker rice cakes are on sale for 99 cents, that's pretty good. But our list would tell you that qualifies for a 50 cent automatic rebate per item (when you buy 10 participating items) and there's a coupon
AggieMike88 says: ahh... cool... thank you... This is timely since shopping night is tomorrow! Thank you very much!!!! thank you smitty!
CouponMom says: So instead of paying 99 cents, let us figure it out and you end up making a PROFIT of 51 cents per bag. Do I even need to tell you that I bought 10 bags?
Smitty says: Great question AggieMike!
Smitty says: Whew...and great answer to Coupon Mom! (that was a long one!)
Smitty says: Okie dokie...it looks like "Auburnie" is up next with a question for Coupon Mom.
Auburnie says: My question is: What is the most practical way to organize and/or track coupons that is also time efficient?
CouponMom says: Well, if you love couponing and you have time, many of our members use the Binder system, which you can learn all about by going to the coupon mom forum and putting "binder system" in the search box
CouponMom says: But if you are like me and you have more good intentions than time, I suggest our "no clip" system. You save the entire grocery coupon circular and put that Sunday's date on the front. Save the whole thing. Keep a stack in a box or file each week.
CouponMom says: Then when you use our site, or any other grocery deals site or blog, every deal will always say the date the coupon came out. So you select your list, sit down with your stack of coupons, and cut out only the coupons you need. 15 minutes a week
CouponMom says: Try that!
Smitty says: Does that help Auburnie?
Auburnie says: Great -thank you . I was intimidated by the complicated systems
CouponMom says: You are welcome!
Smitty says: Cool beans folks..."BayStateZeta" it's your turn to ask The Coupon Mom a question!
BayStateZeta says: Is there a fee for membership to your site? Also, What do you think of the Upromise electronic coupons? Is it worth signing up for Upromise? We have a 2yr old and are not currently signed up.
CouponMom says: Definitely sign up for Upromise, nothing to lose and you'd be surprised at so many things you are currently buying or spending on that you could be getting free money on
CouponMom says: The coupon mom site is free. There are ads that you can skip, although we think our advertisers offer good coupons too so you may want them.
BayStateZeta says: Great, I'll have to spend some time on the site.
Smitty says: That help BayStateZeta?
CouponMom says: Good to hear!
BayStateZeta says: Yup
Smitty says: Sweet! Okay "TrinkKat" you're up to bat with a question for Coupon Mom!
TrinkKat says: As a newbie to couponmom, what is the most important lesson I should learn? And is there a "best day" to shop?
CouponMom says: That's not an easy question to answer--I will encourage everyone interested in mastering couponing to read our free eBook on our homepage, free download, no email sign up required. Just 10 pages but gives you the basics.
CouponMom says: As far as best day to shop, I like to go on the first day of the sale week so I get the best pick of ultra deals.
CouponMom says: As for MOST important lesson, I'd say it is PLANNING. The more time you set aside to really plan your meals for the week and your list, the more you will save.
CouponMom says: That's it!
TrinkKat says: Thanks. I'll spend some time on the site. I spend a lot of time planning menus and our list.
CouponMom says: Great!
Smitty says: Good stuff, I know I need this info for myself. Looks like "JW0728", it's your turn for a question!
JW0728 says: I am also a newbie, what is your best advice for getting started in couponing. And what is your favorite story about how couponing has helped your family. :)
CouponMom says: Other than reading the eBook, I would suggest that you spend time on our coupon mom forum, in the questions and answers section and in the success stories. There are thousands of members really helping new couponers, I love to see that.
CouponMom says: And as far as my family goes, the most significant change for us was when we discovered that we could buy food for charity, a lot of food, at no cost when we used coupons. That has actually been life-changing.
JW0728 says: where do you donate your food?
CouponMom says: And of course, in the process we've saved thousands of dollars over the past 16 years using coupons ourselves.
CouponMom says: We donate our food to a few different food pantries in our local community. You have one too, I'm sure. You may know it. IF not, just go to Google and enter the name of your suburb and the term "food pantry."
CouponMom says: However, one third of our members who tell us they donate food let us know they are giving food directly to friends and family members who are struggling financially now. Charity does begin at home too.
CouponMom says: That's it!
Smitty says: That help JW0728?
JW0728 says: yes it does....we have a Children's Home down the street! Thanks!
Smitty says: Woo hoo!
CouponMom says: Fantastic!
Smitty says: Okay...next on the list is Auburnie with a question...go for it!
Auburnie says: We used to be frequent users of Upromise but since we have become loyal Dave Ramsey followers and use the cash and envelope system, we have abandoned the Upromise because it requires a debit or credit card. Do you have any suggestions on how to do both?
CouponMom says: Actually, you can take advantage of Upromise savings just with your store discount cards, like Kroger and CVS. When you buy a Upromise item you get a few cents. And the new grocery ecoupons for Upromise are pretty high value, just your store card
Smitty says: Alright...that help Auburnie?
Auburnie says: yes thank you - i thought you HAS to use a debit card or credit card
Auburnie says: oops HAD
CouponMom says: You are welcome!
Smitty says: Good advice. Okay MikeAndNataly, it's your turn for a question for Coupon Mom!
MikeAndNataly says: should i be getting the paper every day or do the coupons come out on certain days? Also are there sites to sign up with in order to receive coupons in the mail?
CouponMom says: OK, the Sunday paper is the main source of newspaper coupons. And Procter & Gamble does mail out coupons when you sign up on their product sites, instead of printable coupons. Most other companies do printables. So check out sites directly
CouponMom says: For example, sites like Swiffer, Tide, Folgers, Charmin and others have had mailed coupons in the past. Search around and you'll find them.
CouponMom says: That's it!
MikeAndNataly says: ok thanks
CouponMom says: you are welcome
Smitty says: "TimAndAmie"...it's your time to ask Coupon Mom a question!
TimAndAmie says: What would you say is a good average of what someone should save each week with coupons?
CouponMom says: Any savings is good--although savings can vary from 25% to 75% (or more) based on the items purchased in a particular order. I feel accomplished when I save 50% on my family's total groceries when combining sale prices and coupons together.
TimAndAmie says: Thanks!
CouponMom says: One thing--we don't want to be too focused on "savings" percentages, I do see people get caught up in working toward a goal. That can work against you when you are buying items you don't really need just because they are 75% off.
CouponMom says: For example, a 75% off box of granola bars may cost $1 but 5 bananas at 0% off also cost $1. I actually focus on actual spending. My goal is to feed my family at $100 a week and that way, I'm focusing on value for my dollar, not just savings figures.
CouponMom says: Remember, rice and beans. Beans might cost $1 a bag. No savings percentage but a lot of food for $1!
CouponMom says: That's if, off my soapbox.
TimAndAmie says: That's good advice! I started budgeting $250 for groceries for my family of 5, but with couponing, I can get a week's work for less than $100.
CouponMom says: I love to hear that, congrats!
TimAndAmie says: It's thanks to your site - thank YOU!
CouponMom says: Now I'm laughing, you are welcome!
Smitty says: Okay gang, looks like it's time for Coupon Mom to log off and get back to couponing. We'll make the chat transcript available for everyone in the next few days, so be on the look out! Everyone give a big thanks to Coupon Mom!
TimAndAmie says: Thank YOU, CouponMom!
TeamMonty92 says: Thanks for all the tips!
TrinkKat says: Thank you!
RJDeal says: Thanks Stephanie! God bless you!!
JSTCash says: Thanks coupon mom
Internettie says: Thank you, CouponMom!
Talker285 says: thanks coupon mom and smitty
Nova820 says: Thank you!
Auburnie says: thank you!
Bangalee57 says: thanks so much!
CouponMom says: You're welcome everyone, fun to be with you!
MTL8826 says: Thanks Coupon Mom!
Bumper says: thanks Smitty and coupon Mom!!
Smitty says: Thanks for coming everyone!!!!
RobertWo says: Thanks
Stewards6 says to Bangalee57: Thanks and continued blessings.
RJDeal says: Thanks Smitty!
Texger says to CouponMom: Thank you!
Lindzy says: thanks!
Lindzy says: oops! I mean THANKS!
Smontgom says: final thoughts?
CouponMom says: Yes, don't miss the drugstore freebies this week!
Smitty says: Good one!