Well savingfordisneymeme, when I first wrote this response I was GREAT....after I lost the original reply, while submitting it, I admit I'm not as chipper as I was before it disappeared into cyber space....LOL!! However, I am going to try to remain cheerful and try again to respond to your questions....though I can't promise this response will be as long and detailed as my first was....LOL!!
I would love for you to share some tips about your Disney trips. I started a thread back in Nov. when we first started talking about booking our trip and got some wonderful responses and advice from other members here. This will be my family's FIRST Disney trip. Well, it will be the first for me and my two daughers anyway. Sugar Momma (my bride) went down numerous times growing up, though that was a few moons ago!! LOL And no thank you....if I want anybody to tell her I said that I will!!
WE have booked our trip for March of next year and will be staying in the Pop Century Resort. Anyway, if you have some time and want to share with me some of your best Disney tips, know that I will read them with note pad in hand!! The thread I started was in the Members Chat forum and the thread was titled DISNEY QUESTIONS?? I am going to add a link to it, but incase that doesn't show up as a link, you can find the thread there and add to it if you like...........anyway, here is the link... hope it works....LOL viewtopic.php?f=57&t=12775
Now on to your questions, which I might suggest that you post them in the future in either the coupon forum or under a specific store that you shop at or could shop at. The only reason that I say that is because this thread was started by the Queen to find out where everybody heard about the site, which means not a lot of folks will find questions in here. I am one of those that when I have time (which is a good thing, that I have tonight...LOL..since I lost my first response) will come and welcome newbies that have started a thread introducing themselves.....however, to be totally honest, I don't even come into this thread near as often, because I sort of think of it as the Queens way of knowing how everyone found her site....the only reason I popped in to say hello to you, was because your name caught my eye since we are planning a trip down to Disney! Then finding you were in La. also hit a cord with me and I wanted to find out what part of the state you were from!! Anyway if you find the appropriate forum, aka the coupon forum, when you have questions you are much more likely going to get more and probably "better" advice than from this particular thread (though I'll go ahead and say it....I give pretty darn good advice, if I say so myself! LOL). You'll find this site is full of great folks willing to help, but many of them will never know you asked a question in the new member forum, so keep that in mind in the future.
AS far as coupons, I would really be surprised to know that Times-Picayune or the Baton Rouge Advocate didn't carry both of the Sunday inserts weekly?? There are generally two weekly inserts that come out every Sunday, one is called "smart source" and the other is "red plum"....also once a month there is a Proctor and Gamble insert. I mean if the Shreveport Times carries them (and I know they do) then I would be just floored that those papers didn't have them as well. If either of those is the paper you are taking on Sunday.......I would call to find out if those coupon inserts are suppose to be in them every Sunday, if your paper is coming without them!! I say that because those inserts are in almost every "large" paper. You can even check to see what is going to come out in them, here in the coupon forum, before they even come out. Now, it's true that not every coupon will come out in every part of the country and the different "regions" will get different coupons, but you certainly should be getting some coupons in those major newspapers, every Sunday!! If not, then you may have to find another "paper" to get your coupons from each week. I would also suggest that you ask friends, family, neighbors, even co-workers that don't use them to save them for you....you'll likely be surprised at how many people will gladly give them to you each week instead of throwing them away, since so many have no intention of using them!! It is true to "stockpile" that you will need mulitiple coupons so that you can do multiple deals, when the deals are good.
OK, FREE stuff.......yes they are truly getting all that stuff for FREE or close to it!! The key to what they are doing is Cherry picking sales, yes they match them up to a good sale, with the coupons they have.......sometimes there is a little luck involved too!! Catching a going out of business sale or something on clearance for instance.......but just doing some simple "shopping" can get you lots of FREE stuff!! And hold on to your hat.........but there are even instances where folks MAKE money, by knowing what items to get, what store to get it from and working a deal.......may not be a living they are making, but hey, they are making money (even if it's just a few pennies) they are being paid to take the products from the stores and doing it legally (of course!!) LOL
I'll give you one example of how to get something FREE...."legally"...LOL In this example I will use Kroger (now note, that I haven't been in a Kroger in years, none over here, but I just remember one being in Shreveport, so thought I would try to use a store that is in La. anyway and it should also be noted that I don't know the coupon policy of Kroger stores, since I don't regularly shop in them, which will KEY for you to learn, more about that later...LOL) anyway....we are going to get FREE shampoo from this Kroger. Here is how....they happen to have a BOGO sale. BOGO stands for Buy One Get One FREE sale (already you have ONE FREE bottle...LOL) It just also happens that this particular Kroger doubles coupons up to $1 everyday!! Also, as luck would have it, this particular Kroger will also allow you to use one coupon on each product ( I said as "luck" would have it, because there are more and more stores that are no longer allowing the use to two coupons on a BOGO sale....they figure since the second item is already FREE they shouldn't take the coupon but on one...however there are still "some" stores that will allow this...this is where knowing what your store's coupon policy is not only wise, but necessary........so, don't go up to the register with a basket full of this shampoo, until you know the policy of the store or are prepared to pay the difference if they won't take all those coupons!) So here is what we have, a store that has a BOGO sale, they take coupons on both products and will double those coupons up to $1. Now for this example lets say the shampoo was 3.99 per bottle and that our coupons were for $1 off. So, one bottle is already FREE (BOGO sale) we hand them the two coupons (one for each bottle, since the store allows this) when they are scanned, the coupons double and all of the sudden our $1 coupons are worth $2 each.......do the math......we have an overage of .02...........so we pay the tax and get both bottles of shampoo basically FREE!!! Now that's only an example and might not ever even be possible at Kroger, but it's one way to get FREE stuff...there are many other ways...it is basically knowing the coupon policies of the stores we shop at, matching that up to any sales and "cherry picking" those sales to get FREE or cheap stuff. So when you see somebody show you a closet full of FREE stuff that's what it is, other than paying tax!!
Now as far as when to use coupons.........that is something that will take time for you to learn. The answer to your specific question is both yes and no!! LOL The question probably should be more inclined to what your needs are......are you about to run out of a particular product and it's a must have in your home?? If so, and the store has a sale and you have a coupon to make it even cheaper, then it is likely time to get the item, will that mean it's going to be as cheap as could have gotten it for, maybe, maybe not....you will need to do some price shopping over time to determine a base price for your area and over time you will learn what is a fair deal, what is a good deal and what is a GREAT deal!! Only "stockpile" an item when it's a GREAT deal, other wise save what you can, until that GREAT deal comes along and you can stock up on it, until another cycle comes...another thing that takes time to learn!! I mean most stores run sales in conjunction with the coupons that come out. Hey if they are listed on this site before they hit the papers, don't think for a minute that the grocery stores don't know what is coming out, much likley long before "we" do!! LOL Sales run in cycles........of course, it is one of the main reasons to not be "brand" loyal. I mean this cycle it might have been product X shampoo that was on sale, the next cycle might have product Y shampoo on sale!! So there is no way to tell you hold on to them until the week before they expire (only time and some work will teach you that for your specific area)....if you need the item (after you have learned the base prices for your area) buy it at either a fair price or good price and wait until a GREAT deal comes along before stocking up on it.....if that happens to be the week the coupon comes out then by all means stock up on it!! I will add that you should never throw away a coupon before it expires (it has happened to all of us), but even if it's a product you KNOW you will never buy.....if it was offered for FREE, would you then "try" the product or get it and give it to somebody in need??
I know you said you lived 45 miles north of New Orleans, so does that mean that you are closer to Baton Rouge?? You have to remember I am a yankee to you true Cajuns...LOL When I think north of New Orleans that is what I think of, since when I went down to the Cresent City, that is what I went through to get there...LOL Anyway, it is likely true to get in on the GREAT deals that you will have to travel to a "city" where there are more options store wise and more competition to get better sales!! It is one thing that you will have to consider in deciding what will be worth it to you....even though gas prices are finally falling again.......if you have to drive a good distance to get to the stores that offer the deals, that is a cost you will incur and should be considered as well. I personally think that it's doable no matter where you are, but might take some good planning on your part and something that you want to invest time into, if it means having to go some distance which would not only cost the gas, but your time as well. Anyway, even if you choose to not go to a "city" that doesn't mean you shouldn't use your coupons.......hey even if you never find a store that doubles or has great sales, even if you just save .25 on this item or that item....those pennies do add up to dollars!!
There are many stores that have GREAT deals, many on here or big into ECB's at CVS pharmacy...there are some true money makers there from time to time! But again, you have to be near a CVS Pharmacy to be able to get in on those deals. Walgreens Drugstore is another one.
Once you decide where you have the option to shop, store wise, start watching those threads on this site. You will quickly learn the deals that others are getting at those particular stores and how they are getting those deals. It also means that you will need to know the coupon policies of those stores in your area. Most major "chains" will have a coupon policy, but you need to know what the policy is for the store you shop at, because it truly could be different from state to state or even in different parts of the state. In other words, just like in the example above, "some" stores still allow you to use TWO coupons on the two items (those folks that live near that store, will get the deal) I may go to the same "company" store in another part of town, or parish, or state and not be able to get the same deal, because the coupon policy for "that" store is different.
A good example of that is Walmart (and yes, my fingers haven't given out yet, I will try to answer your question about Walmart too...LOL.....but , you must endure my Walmart story first...LOL) Though they have a specific policy, I even think it's listed somewhere on this site, I was once told by Bentonville (Walmart's Coporate Offices) that it was up to the manager!! Now in the end, the manager did what the policy stated and it was a cashier (or "associate") that was wrong, but Bentonville connected me with the manager (who is still a friend and a name I don't mind dropping when the coupon "police" come strolling along...trust me, you will meet them...LOL...don't be scared, it's just an employee of a company that doesn't know the policy of the store they work for and the main reason YOU need to know it!!) anyway, Bentonville never answered my question saying that was a store level decission, so they had the manager of the store contact me to give me the answer to my question, which again turned out to be what the "company" policy stated that is posted here and on thier site!! LOL
As far as Walmart matching prices, yes they will match any competitors ad. Prior to Black Friday sales this year they were even running ads, saying, don't run all over town, come to us and we will match any sales ad. They have always matched an ad. Now that doesn't mean that you can take your coupons in there and say "Kroger" doubles up to $1 and will take two coupons on the two items....remember they match the "ad"....if it's a BOGO, then that's what they do. If the item is on sale for 1.99 then that's what they do. They also take coupons, at FACE value. So you won't be able to get the same deal you could at "Kroger" but you can $ave taking that ad into Walmart!! Yes you do have to carry the ad in. I also remember something about it having to be within a certain distance to the store. In other words, you couldn't take a sales ad for a Shreveport store into a Walmart in New Orleans and them match it. I want to say it's something like within 50 miles of the store, but that coudl be wrong?? OH, just because I ain't tired yet........LOL......they don't match their own prices....LOL OK, I had a manager one time tell me that they would match any store within that 50 miles or whatever it is, but that they wouldn't match the online price for Walmart. Now the truth is, I wasn't asking them to match their own price, I was merely asking him to honor the price stated. The website clearly stated, online or "in stores". He wasn't having it and he wasn't doing it, no way, no matter what I said. He wouldn't even look it up online to see if I was telling the truth. He didn't care and his exact words, which I clearly remember...LOL were......We'll match any store, but we don't match our OWN prices!!! HIS words, not mine!! I about fell out!! Turns out that even though, they hadn't changed the signage in the store, the item was already lowered in the computer system, so I ended up buying it at the price the website said it was offered........however I wasn't too happy with this manager and this "dumb" remark. So, as you can probably tell by now, I like to write (LOL), so I fired off one of my infamous letters to Betonville and let them know that even though I had helped that stores bottom line for the month, despite the treatment I had recieved (and I only did so because it was a computer for my Dad and I was leaving to come back to Alabama the next morning and I wanted that taken care of before I left) from this particular manager (name listed on my letter to Bentonville, along with what he had said) and I promised that I would never go back to that particular Walmart. Which I haven't........of course, that was an easy promise for me to make since that particular Walmart is in Atlanta, Tx. and pretty far from my home!! LOL Anyway......yes they will match a "competitors" ad (LOL), but remember to carry it in with you.
I know I have given you a lot to decipher, along with my rantings and ramblings, but here is the main thing..........don't expect to fill your cart up with stuff, when you are first starting to learn how, and expect to just pay $1.99 when you get to the register. Remember to learn anything "well" takes time. However, the good news is, when learning how best to $ave......you get to start $aving from the very start.......sure it may not be bunches and bunches of money, but every PENNY $aved is a PENNY earned!! I would suggest that you surf this site and read, read, read. You will find a wealth of information here. Figure out what stores you have available to you to shop at and start in those particular threads. I promise after reading what others are doing and how they are doing it, it will become easier and easier for you to understand. Also be patient, it will take you a little time to learn the stores coupon policies for your area. Find out about why your paper doesn't have the weekly coupon inserts in them EVERY Sunday.......if they don't carry them, change papers!! LOL Or find another source to get them!! After surfing around and reading if you have more questions, post them in an appropriate forum and there are many on here with much more knowledge than I have and the great thing about this site......is the wonderful people that call this their little online family...they are always willing to share not only the great deals they find, but the knowledge they have learned!!
Ok....I am finally getting tired.......but I am still "Cheerful"..LOL!! OH, and looking back over this reply, it's at least as long as the first, maybe a tad bit longer even.....so, I guess I wasn't as distraught over losing the first one, as much as I thought I was!! LOL