Extreme Couponing- How to find the hot coupon items in stock

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Is your store stocked or cleared out?
I know some of you new coupon shoppers are feeling rather let down, as you put forth the effort to plan the perfect shopping trip.  Only to get to the store and find the shelves empty.  I wish I had the perfect answer but unfortunately I do not, but here are a few tips I have learned over the years.

Few reasons the store may not have the items in stock:

More coupon shoppers- TLC ‘s new show Extreme Couponing has really brought a lot of attention to couponing in the last month.  I was talking  with my local store manager and he said they have seen a dramatic increase.  There are more coupon binders in the store than ever before, which they love.  They are working hard to order in enough products but do not want to be stuck with overstock either.  It is a balancing act, and they will get better at knowing supply and demand as time goes on.

Store has a limited supply–  Many stores  like Walgreens only get an allotted number of the hot promo items for that week. They are more of a quick-stop-shop store NOT a warehouse.   This number is normally based on past sales and earning.  Stores that get a limited supply are great to get a good deal at….BUT we do not encourage you to stock up or buy large quantities.

Stores do not know of sales that match with coupons–  Most stores are aware of the upcoming sales and what their projected sales may be.  BUT what many of them do not know is  the coupons that may match up with these sales.  Thus turning an “ok sale” into a stock up frenzy.   For example a store may know that $.50 for a bottle of Propel water is a good price and they may sell 500 bottles, and order accordingly .  But they may not know there is a $1.00 off 2 coupon making them FREE.  Which means they now have more people wanting the item and the need goes from 500 bottles to 2,500.  Most stores would love to move 2,500 bottles they just need to know ahead of time, so they can order in time.  I encourage you to get to know your store managers, tell them about upcoming match ups and help them know what to order.

Some stores value coupon shoppers others do not–  Not all stores understand the benefit of having coupons used in their store.  I have met personally with some store managers that are clueless as to how coupons work, and the fact they they do in fact get paid by the manufacturer for the full face value of the coupons PLUS an $.08 handling fee.  They see it as a hassle, choose not to stock up for sales, and really wish you would shop somewhere else.  If this is the case, the only advice I have is to try and educate them with a smile, or if you are a chicken like me shop somewhere else 🙂

When to shop–  You need to be aware that there are better times to shop than others.  The first day of the sale, or the day they restock is normally the best time.  Early morning is often a good time, because they restock at night at many stores.  Don’t hesitate to ask when the next shipment comes in and plan accordingly.  Also do not get upset if you walk in the last day of the sale and find empty shelves,  as much as the store would love to have every product you want….. do not take it personally if others get to the items first.

Place and order–  Many stores will allow you to place an order, if you are buying in large quantities.  This will allow you to get what your family needs but not take away from others.   Most of my local stores do NOT do this, but I know many other areas do.

Other coupon shoppers clear the shelves –  Yes it is sad but not everyone’s Mommy taught them to “play nice” and some couponers will clear the shelves, and buy many more than they really need.  BUT getting upset at others actions, really does not help anything.  Do not spend hours mourning the loss of your “could have been deal”.  Try to lead by example and show the better way to shop.  Also do not be to quick to judge, many people will say all I wanted was one…. and that lady took 6.   What you may not know is that lady has 10 kids, and she drove 45 minutes to get to the store.  Everyone’s needs are different, and if they really are just being greedy then shame on them… but it does us no good to judge others 🙂

Most important rule of all THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER SALE- do not let coupons rule your life.  Getting a good deal is fun, and helps me provide for my family…..  it needs to fit into my life but not take over my life.  If you try to hit every sale, and shop every store you will in deed get lots of good deals but at what price?   Freebies or good deals  are never worth it, if it means my kids do not have time with Mommy.  If you miss out on a sale it is ok, another one will roll around……

What tips do you have?  I would love to hear them

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