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As a SavingsAngel shopper, everything may be going perfectly according to plan in the aisles and you’re ready to complete a 50% to 60% off shopping trip. You can still get tripped up at the register and lose some of your planned savings if something doesn’t scan right – or a cashier may not understand a coupon redemption policy. Most seasoned couponers have seen about everything and have learned by experience some of the helpful tips I’m going to share with you to make your checkout process as smooth as possible.
Tip #1 Get plugged in with a community of experienced shoppers. Whether online or whether you make some savvy shopper friends, a group of peers will help you navigate the grocery savings waters and answer questions about a store’s coupon redemption policy. Check out SavingsAngel.com’s community, for example. This is a great place to visit after your shopping trips – particularly when something does not go according to plan. You will keep more money for your family when you have friends to help you.
Tip #2 Know your deals. Make sure you know what you are entitled to at the checkout. You may work with a cashier who does not understand how to ring something up. Having the information ahead of time about your coupon and sale combinations will help you resolve any questions quickly. A register may “beep” at the cashier and not accept the coupon. If you know what that coupon is for, and show them that the size and variety you purchased matches the coupon, you usually can have them (or a manager) authorize the coupon. Similarly, you may be able to quickly see when and why a coupon does not work (you did not grab the right quantity for example).
Tip #3 Don’t be afraid to (kindly) ask for manager. When checking out, you need to view your cashier as your partner in getting you the results you are after. The better you get at explaining what you need to do, the easier the whole process will go. However, a cashier may be uninformed or misinformed as to how to handle coupon redemption or price matching. Simply asking, “Would it be okay if we had a manager look at this?” often resolves the situation in my favor. I’ve had cashiers insist that “they know what the manager is going to say.” I tell them they may be right, but I’m trying to shop as wisely as I can for my family and every 50 cent coupon counts. I thank them (in my most friendly demeanor) and wait for the manager to come check things out.
Tip #4 Be nice. Sometimes deals don’t go the way you think they will. Sometimes clerks and even managers get confused. Above all, remain calm – and don’t act like you know better than the employees. If things aren’t going to work out, simply ask for your coupon back and leave the purchase for another day. There have been a few deals over the years that I’ve left at the checkout because I was working with a cashier who was not willing to accept a coupon – even when it seemed abundantly clear to me that everything matched. I simply came back another day and redeemed them after double checking the product with my coupon. NEVER try to push a deal you feel is technically incorrect. Unfortunately, I see what I call ‘gray-area couponing’ on the Internet – and there is no place for it, in my opinion. The stores will likely not get reimbursed for an incorrect coupon. Unethical couponing hurts everyone. There are so many incredible deals to be had each week without ‘going to the dark side.’
Tip #5 Beware self-service checkout lines. Many self-service registers have a hard time handling coupons. Coupon entry in self-service lines can be slow and often needs an attendant to verify coupons. In my experience, this attendant is less experienced than many cashiers at the checkouts which can further complicate matters. In most cases, you’ll go much faster in a line with an experienced cashier at the register.
Tip #6 Explain to customers getting in your line behind you that you have many coupons and it might slow things down. They’ll appreciate the heads-up if they’re in a hurry. You’ll appreciate not having someone sighing impatiently as you redeem a stack of 40 or more coupons.
I hope my tips haven’t scared you off if you’re not currently using manufacturer coupons to buy your groceries with. Problems at the register are actually rare for most couponers. When you have good information on deals, you’ll generally have no problems. As you continue to do more enlightened shopping, you will gain more confidence and you’ll find that you nearly always get exactly what you want at the grocery store. This is especially helpful if “what you want” is groceries for pennies on the dollar!
The best couponers save hundreds of dollars every month at the grocery store. However, couponers can end up living very extreme lifestyles to get those savings. For over five years, SavingsAngel.com has equalized the playing field – giving extreme savings to busy families who don’t have the time or ability to be an full-time couponer. Each week, SavingsAngel.com’s team of more than 70 angels combines over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2,000 different manufacturer coupons. These combinations result in our members getting access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Simply log in, choose the deals you want, print or clip only the coupons you need, and save hundreds of dollars a month at regional and national stores. Our angels will personally work with you to craft a plan that will help you buy healthier food at lower prices – helping you keep $200 to $400 in savings each month.
Josh Elledge is the Chief Executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel, Inc. – launched from his Holland, Michigan home in January 2007. A husband and father of three, he now appears on television, in many newspapers, and a number of radio stations across the country each week teaching families how to cut their grocery bill in half using the Internet. Elledge created the technology found on SavingsAngel.com through the need to save his own family’s money. Successfully able to cut his own family’s grocery bill from $600 a month to less than $300 a month, his message has reached hundreds of thousands of families. SavingsAngel.com is now growing rapidly throughout the country. You can watch a short video at SavingsAngel.com that will explain more information about how to cut your own grocery bill in half with the help of SavingsAngel.com.
Written by: Josh Elledge, Chief Executive Angel - SavingsAngel.com on April 2, 2012.