A: First of all, welcome to Pocket Your Dollars and to the world of pocketing your dollars. The first thing to do is to get connected to Pocket Your Dollars via the free daily email, Facebook, Twitter, or RSS feed. On a daily basis read through the deals and start taking advantage of the savings. If you have questions about a particular offer leave a comment after the relevant post/article and myself, Laura (Carrie’s chief helper) or another reader will most likely answer you.
A: I was new to using coupons myself a few years back, so I know what’s like. We try to make it simple around here by telling you which products are on sale at good prices and which coupons to use alongside the sale to get a really good deal. Around here, we don’t even clip and file the coupons from the Sunday paper.
Instead, we use a coupon system where we save the entire coupon insert magazine-thingy that comes in the Sunday paper. Write the date of the Sunday in which you received it on the front cover, then file it. Keep them in chronological order in your desk and wait. The shopping lists at Pocket Your Dollars will tell you which coupons, from which paper and which insert (like 2/7 Smart Source insert, for instance), create a rock bottom-priced item. Those are the only coupons you need to clip and take along with you to the store.
Beyond understanding the coupon system we use, you should learn about the four stages of a frugal zealot so you know what’s in store in the weeks and months ahead.
A: These are the coupon insert magazine thingys (as we affectionately call them around here) that come within the Sunday newspaper. If you look at the top of the front page of each insert, you’ll notice a name across the top. That is the publisher of the insert and the name we reference throughout the site, like Smart Source, Red Plum, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, etc. We usually spell out the full name of the coupon insert magazine-thingy in our shopping lists, but sometimes we forget or readers will reference them in the comments with their abbreviations: SS (Smart Source), RP (Red Plum), PG (Procter & Gamble), or GM (General Mills).
A: Refer to the post on how to read the shopping lists. If you need any extra help with reading the lists, just ask by leaving a comment at the end of the specific shopping list you want to decode.
A: I do not use a coupon binder. Yes, you read that correctly. I am telling you that I do not clip and file all the coupons from the Sunday paper, organize them in some binder or file box, and then flip through them to make my grocery list. (Are you cheering by now? Isn’t that wonderful news that using coupons does not mean you give up every Sunday afternoon from now on?)
Instead, I use a coupon system where I save the entire coupon insert magazine-thingy that comes in the Sunday paper. I write the date of the Sunday in which I received it on the front cover, then file it. I keep them in chronological order in a hanging file folder at my desk. Then, and this is the beauty of the whole system, I use the shopping lists at Pocket Your Dollars. The lists tell me which coupons, from which paper and which insert (like 2/7 Smart Source insert, for instance), create a rock bottom-priced item. Those are the only coupons I clip and take along with me to the store. In essence, you only clip the coupons you need for your shopping each week.
After awhile though, your coupon inserts will start to pile up. I purge them quarterly and you can learn how my purging process works.
A: There are a few common reasons people cannot print coupons from the internet. The most common reason people have problems printing coupons is their internet browser, particularly if you use Firefox (if you don’t even know what Firefox is, then you probably aren’t using it). Refer to this explanation for a trick that relieves a number of coupon printing issues.
Two other thoughts, if the above-mentioned tricks don’t work. Coupons printed from the website Smart Source.com require you to have java-enabled in your internet browser, so be sure to check that setting (or ask a techie family member to help you set it). Coupons.com has their own company-sponsored FAQ that should help.
Unfortunately, we’re good at saving money, but not so good at technical support and don’t know much more than what we are sharing here about how to resolve coupon printing problems.
A: The coupon printers do not contain a virus or a Trojan, as some anti-virus software report. They do contain a small tracking code that informs the host company that you have been referred to their site from Pocket Your Dollars. This is a spyware of sorts, which is why some software programs interpret this as a virus. It’s not and it is perfectly safe.
A: Your personal target prices will vary depending on your brand loyalty and family needs, but a good place to start is to look at this rock-bottom price list. To figure out your own rock-bottom prices, keep track of the advertised sale prices of your ten most-purchased, most-expensive items over the course of 6-8 weeks. You’ll begin to identify what the lowest sale price is for the items you routinely buy. You will also begin to notice how frequently those items go on sale.
A: When you’re just getting started, it can feel frustrating to read a shopping list and hear of a great deal, but not have the coupon from a few weeks back. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. In short, there isn’t a way to go back and buy the entire coupon insert magazine-thingy from a previous week, although you can buy individual coupons from reliable sources like The Coupon Clippers.
Here’s the good news. After just a few weeks of saving the coupon insert magazine thingys from your Sunday paper I bet you’ll have almost all the coupons referred to in the shopping lists. It’s amazing that most of the coupons we refer to are from the recent past.
A: The easiest way is to buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper each week. I recommend home delivery over newsstand copies because home-delivered papers often get more coupons. Instead of buying extra copies, ask your co-workers and family to give you theirs. Or, if it is just one individual coupon you’d like more copies of, you can buy additional ones from The Coupon Clippers. Yes, I know they sell coupons on eBay, but they might not be legit for any variety of reasons, so I think it’s best to stick to The Coupon Clippers.
A: Please email the details of your company, product or service using the contact form. I’d love a link to your website so I can check it out myself. If it is a good fit for Pocket Your Dollars, I will share it. I reserve final editorial right for all content published on Pocket Your Dollars.
A: You’ve got two options. First, use the google search box in the upper right-hand corner of the website. It is set to limit the search to Pocket Your Dollars and usually does the trick to help you find something. Second, browse through the categories on the main navigation to locate the article.
A: I do my best to have the deals I reference on television and the radio easily accessible through the site when the segment airs. However, sometimes my segments are rebroadcast and the right-on-top, nope-can’t-miss-it links are already taken down. If that happens use the google search box in the upper right-hand corner of the website. It is set to limit the search to Pocket Your Dollars and usually does the trick to help you find something. Or, browse through the categories on the main navigation to locate the article.
A: Great! I love all the help I can get to spot out the latest and greatest deals, both local and national. To submit a deal, please email through the contact form. Be as specific as possible in your explanation and, if available, include a website address for more info on the deal. You can imagine how many awesome bargains the frugal zealots that hang out around find and share (it’s a lot!), which is why I don’t always have capacity to share them all. I do love to hear about them all though, so keep them coming!
A: Use the contact form on the website to send Carrie your request. Please include the following details: the organization’s name that is hosting the event, your preferred date, time, and size of group. Please note that Carrie also needs access to an overhead projector for use with her laptop.
A: Soon and very soon we will be launching a calendar where you can keep track of all Carrie’s media and public speaking appearances.
A: Use the contact form to email me your question or, for a potentially quicker response, leave a comment on the relevant post/article at Pocket Your Dollars and someone will answer you there.