This article, entitled 7 Tips for Stress-Free Money Saving at the Checkout comes from SavingsAngel.com.
When shopping with coupons, you will usually have no problems at the checkout – especially if you are following our deals each week. We test many of the deals we share and our staff of over 70 angels has years and years of finding the absolute lowest prices on common everyday products that you purchase on a regular basis.
For those who are new to shopping with coupons, you may, however, have encountered a stressful situation or two at the checkout. 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.
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.
Tip #1: Get plugged in with a community of experienced shoppers. SavingsAngel.com is a great source for connecting with local shoppers who know the grocery chains’ coupon redemption policies – and even which stores are easier to work with than others. Unfortunately, there can be variations from store to store on different ways to get the best price. A group of peers will help you navigate the waters – and is a great place to go 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: Choose your lane carefully! Not all checkout lanes will give you the same experience. A shorter line does not necessarily translate to a faster checkout experience. Sadly, there are some cashiers who are skeptical of shoppers getting groceries for 50%-70% off. Perhaps they are fearful of losing their job if they accidentally redeem a coupon incorrectly – which means you may need to explain many of your redemptions. This is very inefficient! Make a point of remembering cashiers who are easier to work with and who gives you a hard time.
Most couponers will also tell you that there seem to be patterns as to who might be easier to work with. Charity from Springfield, MO explains her strategy. “I am a TOTAL cashier profiler. I watch their little facial movements when dealing with the person currently in their line. Looking terse and smug rules them out immediately. Seems MOST of the time, I have good luck with mid 20-year-old members of the opposite gender. Oh, and I’ve got a pretty good accuracy rating.”
Tip #3: 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 (on paper preferably) 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 #4: Don’t be afraid to (kindly) ask for manager. Sometimes, 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 and wait for the manager to come check things out.
Tip #5: 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 staff. When in doubt, simply ask for your coupon back and leave the item, or talk to another manager. 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. The incredible deals you can get make any cheating completely unnecessary anyway.
Tip #6: 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 #7: 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 the exception – not the rule. When you have good information on deals and you’ve double checked the store ad yourself, 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, extreme 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 extreme couponer. Each week, SavingsAngel.com’s over 70 angels combine over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2000 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 home in January 2007. A husband and father of three, he now appears each week on television, in eight newspapers, and a number of radio stations across the country 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 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!