March 13, 2013
We’ve been answering questions for Ask I Heart Publix for over two years now, and we’ve definitely found that some questions keep popping up as new couponers write in. So every month we’re going to feature a “Best Of” Ask I Heart Publix, where we post some of our favorite questions and answers from past weeks, months, and years.
Don’t worry….we’ll still be answering the new questions you guys send in, too, so keep sending in those questions! Just remember if we didn’t get to your question this week…we will do our best to cover it another week!!
Don’t forget to look under the “About” tab where you can find the questions and answers from past weeks!
Here are this week’s “Best of” questions:
- I never know when to buy coupons…do you wait until you see the good deals?
- What is the absolute best strategy for using free product coupons if you live in half price BOGO land?
- Do you have any advice on how to balance couponing with a (VERY) busy schedule?
- What are your stockpile “rules”?
- If you activate a Upromise coupon on your card, can you get the contribution more than once, or is it once per item?
And here are the answers!
1.Courtney wants to know: I have only been couponing for a few months and I’ve just now started getting really awesome deals and I’m wanting to start my stockpile. I have thought about using a couponing service but never know when to buy coupons. Do you wait until you see the good deals? How early can you preview the Publix weekly ad to know what coupons you might want multiples of? Any advice would be helpful on purchasing coupons!
Christy: Michelle posts the weekly ad on Monday morning, so I always make a point of checking the ad on Monday for any great coupons I will need to purchase. If there’s anything I need, I always order on Monday so that I can be relatively sure that I’ll receive my coupons in time. However, there have been a few times this year that I’ve ordered coupons without a corresponding sale. When I know I will definitely use a high-value coupon, I scoop those up as soon as I can!
Michelle: I always check the insert preview each week and if there is a high value coupon (that I know I will use) I will order those in hopes of a sale. Otherwise I wait for the preview to order/trade my coupons.
2. Lisa wants to know: What is the absolute best strategy for using free product q’s if you live in half price BOGO land? As I see it, the only reason to wait for a sale would be to reduce tax. Any other thoughts?
Christy: I live in the land of true BOGO, so Michelle is definitely the expert in this area…the only thing I can think of that would make a free coupon better is if there was a store coupon you could stack with it. For example, if you had a free coupon for a Pepsi 12 pk, and a Yellow Advantage Buy flyer came out with a Publix coupon for ‘Free Pretzels wyb Pepsi 12 pk,” then you could double up on the freebies.
Michelle: I usually save my coupons to use to get my total up when using a $5 off $50 (& the like) Otherwise there is really no strategy when using them. I don’t think the coupon will reduce your tax. The only time that happens is when you use store coupons (I think?!!)
3. Brandy wants to know: I recently went back to work full-time last month. I gave myself some time to adjust to the new routine, but I’m still have trouble keeping up with my couponing and getting to the stores for the deals in addition to my “normal” household schedule, time with the kiddo, homework, dance classes, etc. Any advice on how to stay on top of my couponing? (Accessing the internet at work to see what deals are available is a major no-no).
Christy: This is something that I think we all struggle with from time to time…sometimes life gets busy and couponing has to take a backseat to everything else.
If I only had an hour to put into couponing every week, I’d spend that hour on the Super Deals post and the Happy Report. That’s where I usually find the absolute best deals – and at least if you can keep up with those great deals it will keep your totals lower during your adjustment period! Commenters, do you have any other suggestions for Brandy?
Michelle: Oh Brandy, I wish I had some words of magic but I think all of use have this same issue! I see so many deals day to day that I can’t keep up with what sale is where and what week!! Usually, each night I check my sites and print any coupons that I think I will use, grab any online deals that I want and call it a day. Then, I typically stay up late the night before I shop making my list and organizing my coupons. I do what I can do.
Sometimes I miss the deals but I don’t stress–THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ANOTHER DEAL! I have learned to prioritize and do the best that I can. I have yet to go to bed thinking…wow, I did everything that needed to be done today! I am happy if I make a dent in my to do list.
4. Krystal wants to know: When do you consider your stockpile for a certain item,”full”? Right now it seems like I have too much cereal, just enough of each type of condiment, and I am almost out of pasta. My kids will eat the frozen breakfast items as fast as I can buy them, so that area is fine.
I am finally starting to catch on to the cycles- for example, my first week couponing was a sale for 8 O’Clock Coffee, and I got a few bags. A few weeks ago, it went on sale again, so I bought 15 bags: enough to last me 3 months until it goes BOGO again. I had a great coupon combination for the cheap Olay bar soap and secret deodorant- but adding that to the Dove deal in the green flyer, gave me too many! I didn’t realize they expire so soon. I have 5 or 6 boxes of Glad garbage bags, but I know that’s something we will always use up, and they dont expire.
When do you consider your stockpile of a certain item so full, that you pass up a sale/coupon combination? Would you get it anyway if it was free? What are your rules? I don’t want to be the couponer who buys things JUST because it is a good deal!
Christy: I think that the longer you coupon the better you will get at managing your stockpile, but I also think that we all struggle with this sometimes. I’ve been doing this for a year and a half now and I still mess up from time to time! What I do now is try to take an inventory about every 4 to 6 weeks. I think I’ve mentioned before that I keep a Sharpie on the fridge and I write the month & year of expiration on anything I buy as it comes into the house, which makes my inventory MUCH easier. If I have more of something than I will use before it expires, I donate it to my local food bank..I want SOMEONE to be able to use it before it’s too late!
Michelle: You will be able to tell more as you go. I still find that I am always having to re-evaluate and inventory. Sometimes I stock up only to find that my family gets tired of a specific product. Other times I think I have enough to last me until the next sale and the boys go through double what I anticipate. I do my best to keep up but I make mistakes occasionally.
For items that do not expire that I know we will use (paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, aluminum foil, ziplocs, etc) I buy when they are at my “buy it now” price! I don’t care if I have 20 boxes of trash bags…if I can get them for $1 per box I will get a few boxes. You have to look at what you will use before they expire and also consider what you can store.
For the items where there are pretty frequent deals (toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc…) I just make sure I have a 3 month supply and then only buy when my stock is low.
5. Susie wants to know: If you activate a Upromise coupon on your card, can you get the contribution more than once, or is it once per item?
In the past all Upromise coupons have been available for a single use (with the exception of coupons that give you a percentage back….those are clearly marked and you can get a deposit every time you purchase those specific products). There are also some just-introduced “One or Many” offers that allow you to earn a deposit when you purchase a certain dollar amount of a certain product.
Joining Upromise is a great way to earn money with very little effort. Remember you do not have to have a child to participate.
I hope our answers to these questions were helpful! Make sure you ‘tune in’ next week for even more Q&A with I Heart Publix. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, email me at email@example.com.