EXCERPT: Elisabeth Leamy's 'Save Big'

Coupon + Doubled or Tripled
Sales are one way to use a store's incentives in combination with coupons. Double and triple coupon offers are another. For example, if you have a 50-cent coupon, the manufacturer kicks in 50-cents off of your purchase and the store matches it with another 50-cents of its own money. Nice!

Although the double or triple discount is usually automatic at the register, you will need to know, in advance, which stores double or triple coupons so you can double or triple the amount of business you give them! My neighborhood grocery store has a huge banner out front that proclaims "We Double Coupons." Since not all stores are so brassy about this fantastic offer, don't be shy --just ask at the courtesy desk. There are also two online guides to grocery stores that double coupons, which can be found at GroceryCouponGuide.com and Couponing.About.com. I'll link you to the pages of those sites that you need from my site, www.elisabethleamy.com.

Once you have determined which stores double or triple coupons, here are a few key questions to ask the manager: 1. Do you double coupons only on certain days or every day of the week?
2. To what amount do you double coupons? (The most common policy is 50-cents and below, followed by 99-cents and below.)
3. Do you limit the number of coupons for the same product that you will double in a single shopping trip? (If they only double the first one, you can wait and buy more of that product in a separate trip to the store.)
4. Do you have special times when you double or triple coupons up to a higher amount?

Big Secret: Many Stores Now Accept Expired Coupons
They do it so they can hold onto loyal customers. Guerilla grocery shoppers can take advantage of this, because many manufacturers alternate between offering coupons and offering sale prices. So, if you can use an expired coupon it might be easier to time it to match up with a sale.

With a thorough understanding of your store's coupon doubling or tripling policy, you now have to get your head around some "new math" so that you can use your coupons wisely. For example, if your store doubles coupons up to $.99, that means a $1 coupon is only worth $1, but a $.75 coupon is worth… $1.50! Odd. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize a $.75 coupon is suddenly more valuable than a $1 one at this store.

Coupon doubling and tripling policies are little goldmines. Seek out the stores that do this --especially for stockpiling-- and you will SAVE BIG. Here's an example. HotCouponWorld.com has a forum where new couponers can brag about their best bargains. A newbie named JJ Rogers wrote in that she had several 35-cent coupons for C&H sugar, which the store honored at triple value. Here's the deal she got:
C&H Sugar
Regular price: $3.05
Sale price: $1.50
Triple Coupons: $1.05
FINAL PRICE= 50-cents
BIG SAVINGS = 84%

84-percent off? Sweet! Literally. So, what did JJ the newbie do? She acted like a Guerilla Grocery Shopper and bought 15 five-pound bags. Whoa. That's 75 pounds of sugar! Instead of paying $45.75 for it, she spent only $7.50. Her kids will be wired for life!

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