Friday, May 23, 2014

Extreme Couponing Secrets: Take advantage of minimum purchase deals with coupon order

Each week, my ShopRite ad has a series of four store coupons.  They're not always things I'd like to purchase, but many of them are, and they're always really good deals -- often a discount of 50% or more.

 The only catch is the fine print:
"With this coupon and additional purchase of $15.00 or more (excluding fuel and items prohibited by law)"
 So for months, I didn't even bother to look at them.  The majority of my purchases at ShopRite were well under $15.

Then, a few weeks ago, a coupon printed at checkout to use the following week: $10 off a purchase of $50 or more.  What a great deal, but how was I going to get over $50?  It was hard enough getting over $15!

That's when I had an epiphany -- nowhere on the coupon does it say that it must be the cost after coupons. Could I still make it work?

The answer: definitely yes!

The trick:  Give them the price-qualifying coupons first.

When you're approaching a cashier with a giant stack of coupons, you may not be thinking about order.  The cashier may not really think about it either.  But in some cases, when there are requirements for the coupon to apply, it can make a huge difference.

In my last post, you may have noticed that I used one of those $10 off $50+ coupons for my $11 purchase.  They've been printing every week for me at checkout for a good month now.  The trick to using it was to make sure that I had at least $50 showing as the subtotal when I handed the cashier my stack of coupons, with that $10 off $50 coupon sitting right on top.  At ShopRite, the eCoupons loaded onto my card do come off immediately, so I had to take that into consideration, but I could leave all of my manufacturer's coupons and other store coupons out of the picture.  99.9% of the time, the cashier is going to scan those coupons from top to bottom.

Honestly, this is about the most complicated my shopping gets: figuring out whether or not I'm over $50.  I've tried using a calculator on my phone in the store, but what's actually worked out best for me is taking advantage of ShopRite's "Shop at Home" feature on their website.  My local ShopRite actually doesn't offer Shop at Home, but several of the surrounding stores do, and their prices are the same.  I just find the items I plan to purchase and add them to my cart.  That takes into consideration all the sale prices for that week.  Then all I have to do is deduct any eCoupons from that total, and make sure that it's over $50.

For the maximum savings, I try to plan my trip to as close to $50 as possible.  I just use Shop at Home for planning purposes, then go to the store to actually make the purchases.  If I'm cutting it really close to $50, I'll sometimes bring along a couple of coupons for candy bars that I could easily grab at checkout and add onto my order if my calculations are off.

When I don't have $50 of groceries that I need to purchase, that's where free products really come in handy.  In my shopping trip this week, I threw in several items that were free after coupons to make sure that my subtotal would be over $50.  That's a big reason why I saved so much -- there were so many free items added in that the $10 was actually a much bigger percentage off of my order.

I absolutely love this trick for making the most of store coupons.  You can bet that I'm checking those weekly coupons a whole lot more closely now!


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