Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Do You Use A Coupon?

Now that you have found yourself some coupons, it is time to go to the store and use them!  Maybe you’ve never used a coupon before and you feel a little bit nervous about it.  No reason to fret over it, because they are really simple to use, and they do not cause nearly the hold-up at the register and the negative attention you might be imagining!

Let’s imagine you have already shopped and are ready to check out (we will discuss the planning part in a later post).  You have bought the items needed to use your coupons and are waiting in line at the register.  The cashier has rung up your items and told you the total.  Now, all you need to do is hand over the coupons *before* you pay!

I know this can be a little tricky for some, especially if you have children along as distractions!  I cannot tell you the number of times I forgot to hand over my coupons when I was getting started.  This is how it went down:  My husband and I were both working and my first daughter was 1.  We would go shopping on a Saturday as a family.  I would have my coupon binder and would pull out the ones I had used, and he would put them in his pocket.  We would check out (I would usually have to run off and change a diaper) and he would pay and forget all about the coupons!

If you do this, do not fret!  It can be fixed.  Simply take your receipt and your coupons over to customer service.  They will scan the receipt, scan your coupons, and issue you a refund.  Once I sent my husband to Tom Thumb because he was baking cakes for his coworkers and they were having a sale.  He agreed to pick up a few more items while he was there.  I gave him the list and the coupons.  He went, got the items, paid, then remembered the coupons.  He says that the first thought that ran through his head was “She’s gonna kill me!”.  He went over to customer service and they gave him back the amount from the coupons in cash (even though he’d used a gift card that was a reward from transferring a prescription there).  He came home beaming that he had succeeded.  Yes, I was very proud. ;)

Now, assuming you have *not*  forgotten about your coupons, which would be ideal, there are a few different ways to go about handing them over to the cashier.  There is no wrong way to do it, though.  :)

--    Some people like to lay the coupons out on top of each item on the belt. I think this helps assure themselves that they have all of their coupons. The cashiers will usually stack them all up and scan them together at the end, though. You also risk them blowing off and getting sucked under the belt as it rolls, so use caution.

--    Some people like to hand their coupons over one by one to make sure each one scans properly. This is a great way to catch if an error occurs, but it is the most time consuming. I like to hand over a few at a time instead of the whole stack.

--    Some cashiers have told me that they have to separate the ones printed from the internet from the ones from the newspaper, so at least at those stores I have begun doing that.

--    If you have printables, fan them out to make sure they do not stick together.

--    Separate any coupons for FREE items from the others, and fill in or remember the price if you can. That helps the cashier out. They will sometimes insist on scrolling back through the transaction to find it anyway, but I always help them look for it. They usually appreciate that, too.

How do you hand over your coupons?

Check back in tomorrow to learn about what happens to coupons after they are redeemed!  Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter so you don't miss it!


Paula Wethington July 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM  

As I put the item in my shopping cart, the corresponding coupon goes in the front of the box. As the groceries are waiting on the belt / customer ahead of me checking out, I take the coupons out of the front of my box. I unfold any of the oversized ones (I use an index card box for my coupon caddy). I make sure they are all facing the same direction. I put identical product ones together. I put the bottle deposit slips together (Michigan thing). I put the dollar off my shopping cart ones together. When cashier starts to ring up my order I give her the handful of coupons and my key ring if this is a shopper card store.

Yetsky July 4, 2011 at 9:48 PM  

I always wonder how these coupons were used. I'm glad to have come across your I know how it works! Cool!

Amanda July 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM  

Welcome Yetsky! I'm glad you found my page. I'm on vacation right now so things are pretty slow around here, but it will be back to normal soon and feel free to email me if you have questions!

@Paula, that is pretty much how I shop, too. I have a little file folder and I put all the ones I plan to use at a store in their sot, and then I pull them to the back as I put the items in the cart, and then they are all there to hand over at the register. =)

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